Chilliwack man defends decision to use alpacas, llamas to lower taxes 0
(QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)
A man the City of Chilliwack alleges is exploiting a tax loophole said Tuesday his alpacas and llamas were indeed helping to lower his property taxes and is perfectly legal.
Trackside Holdings Ltd. owner Stan Rogers applied to temporarily change his industrial land in October, 2012, in order to permit grazing animals on site at 10 Progress Way properties, all in the 44000 block.
According to a city spokesperson, that permit was never approved but the animals were brought in anyway.
The city said having farm animals on the land meant that when BC Assessment came to calculate property taxes for the area, the amount — which according to city documents was $156,800 in 2012 — would have dropped to $1,400.
The farm animals were brought in during summer last year for “vegetation control and assistance with property taxes” and removed about five months later, after the assessment, according to the property owner.
Mayor Sharon Gaetz told media on Tuesday the tax reduction was a “loophole” that should be closed.
The city is now asking the province to close that gap, likely through a Union of B.C. Municipalities resolution when the civic conference is held later this month.
But Rogers said other cities, such as Vancouver, encourage agriculture on industrial and commercial properties, pointing to the example of Alterrus Systems Inc.’s leafy greens farm on top of a downtown parkade at 535 Richards St.
“This is simply, in my view, an issue the mayor has brought up that should not have been raised,” Rogers said.
“It’s not like someone (has) been hurt or something. It’s absolutely legal.”