Salt Spring Island Industrial Land Needs Assessment Report.
To be a consultant and write reports, that’s the life. There seem to be so many reports and so little action ever. It is an interesting report prepared for the Island Trust.
The recommendations from the report make perfect sense, basically streamlining the complex zoning.
The most glaring omission in the report is the high taxation of commercial/industrial land. Commercial/industrial on Salt Spring is taxed at 2.44 times the residential tax rate. Who would bother to rezoning from residential to commercial? Most of the 1200 plus Salt Spring home-based businesses operate on residential land. Most do so by flying under the Islands Trust’s non-existent radar. Most probably claim the homeowners’ grant on their land. The Islands Trust only seems to go after the most visible offenders after receiving multiple complaints. Unless you are in waste management or tow a massive black barge into the harbour chances are you will never hear from the Islands Trust.
There is no incentive to re-zone residential land to commercial/industrial on Salt Spring. The commercial/industrial land has been for sale for a long time due to the red tape and high taxes. No one will step up and buy the Vesuvius pub and pay the $33,334.57, in property tax, per year and open a pub (FYI it’s probably impossible to get a liquor license) How many pints would one have to sell just to pay the taxes? If one could make a dollar per pint one would have to sell over 90 pints per day to pay the property tax.
I do not know what the report cost (I think it was 50 or 60k) but I do know one thing it will be filed away with all the other reports and there will be no action. When one writes a report for a government body one does not probably want to slag their over-taxation. Without high over-taxation, there would be no money for reports.
For the people thinking of moving to Salt Spring, the report is good information about the fabric of the island.
Scott & June Simmons
The Salt Spring Team