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Fire Service Charge

News


March 31, 2017

The UNA Board Chair sent a letter to the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development expressing the UNA's opposition to the fire service charge.


March 27, 2017

The Taxation Working Group sent a letter to the UBC Board of Governors asking that the BOG approach the provincial government to seek the termination of the fire service charge.


February 3, 2017

The BC government sent a second package of documents from the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development in response to the second FOI request. These documents show that a fire service charge was being considered in late 2013. They also show that, in comparing the UEL and the UBC neighbourhoods, CSCD officials presented inaccurate and misleading information to their Minister and the Cabinet Working Group on Core Review.


January 11, 2017

The BC government sent a package of documents from the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development in response to the second FOI request. The only item of interest is what appears to be a draft of an email from a Ministry official to Michael White of UBC.


November 30, 2016

The BC government sent a small package of documents from the Ministry of Advanced Education in response to the second FOI request. As usual, the documents are heavily redacted. The only new information is that this matter was under discussion in the government in late 2014 and the Ministry of Advanced Education was involved then.


October 5, 2016

The Taxation Working Group met with Minister Fassbender and officials to discuss the fire service charge. The Minister stated at the end of the meeting that he will not reconsider the charge. We are going to submit a report on the meeting to the Campus Resident. Our discussion notes for the meeting are available here.


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September 2, 2016

Bill made a further freedom of information request to the BC government asking for all documents regarding the recovery of costs for providing fire protection service to the UBC neighbourhoods. The request applies to the period from June 1, 2013 to July 31, 2015. It is hoped that the response will provide further insight into cabinet's decision to impose the fire service charge.


August 20, 2016

Bill sent an email to UBC commenting on a letter from Jacquie Dawes, Deputy Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, to Richard Alexander, UNA Chair. The email critiques the letter, which promotes the government's position on the unfair fire service charge rather than addressing issues in a factual manner.


August 10, 2016

The BC government sent a second package of documents in response to the March 20 Freedom of Information request. These are the documents from the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. There is considerable overlap with the documents provided on July 7. Again, the documents are heavily redacted – there is a lot of information that the government doesn't want residents to know about the fire service charge. The government's misunderstanding regarding taxation in the UEL is blatant. The documents show that the government worked closely with UBC to develop a communications plan to try to lull residents into accepting the fire service charge without complaint.


August 5, 2016

We sent a response to Minister Fassbender's letter pointing out once again that his decision was based on incorrect information regarding taxation in the UEL as compared to taxation in the UBC neighbourhoods. In repeating our request for a meeting, we said: "A community of 11,000 residents is surely entitled to be heard by the decision maker when the decision has such an adverse impact on the community’s financial position."


July 20, 2016

Minister Fassbender has rejected our request that he reconsider his decision to impose a fire service charge on the UBC neighbourhoods. His letter repeats the faulty comparison of taxation in our community with taxation in the UEL and does not respond to any of the points we made. The Minister made his decision without meeting with representatives of residents. Clearly UBC residents don't count for anything in the Minister's mind.


July 7, 2016

The BC government sent a package of documents in response to a March 20 Freedom of Information request. These are the documents from the Ministry of Advanced Education. While the documents are heavily redacted, some interesting information has been retained. The package includes a letter of March 10, 2016 from the UNA Chair accepting the government's decision to impose a fire service charge on our community (at p. 29). It also includes briefing notes to Minister Fassbender. The January 5, 2016 briefing note (starting at p. 76) is particularly worth reading. The cover letter that accompanied the documents describes the codes used to indicate why material was redacted.


June 15, 2016

The agenda package for the June 14 meeting of the UNA Board includes a memorandum from the UNA Chair regarding the fire service charge and also a letter sent by the Chair on May 20 to the Deputy Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. The documents are available here.


June 5, 2016

We sent a letter to the BC Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development (Minister Fassbender) requesting that his Ministry discuss with the Finance Ministry the application of a portion of our rural property tax to cover our share of the cost of fire protection service.


May 23, 2016

We sent a letter to the BC Finance Minister (Minister de Jong) requesting that a portion of the rural property tax paid by UBC residents be applied to cover our share of the cost of fire protection service.


March 20, 2016

Bill Holmes made a freedom of information request to the BC government asking for all documents regarding the downloading of fire service costs to property owners in the UBC neighbourhoods. The request applies to the period from August 1, 2015 to March 18, 2016.

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This website provides information relating to the BC government's unfair and unjustifiable decision to impose an annual $1 million fire service charge on the UBC neighbourhoods.

This is a serious financial issue for our community. Currently we pay $3.5 million through our services levy to fund the operation of the community. The fire service charge will reduce that to $2.5 million — a huge reduction.

We sent a letter to BC's Finance Minister on May 23, 2016 describing the concerns with this new charge. In brief, the charge increases the unfairness that already exists between taxation in our community and taxation in the University Endowment Lands. Furthermore, the charge is not justifiable: the rural property tax we pay to Victoria is more than enough to fund our share of the cost of fire protection service for this area.

You can read our letter here. It takes the position that a portion of our rural property tax should be applied to our share of the cost of fire protection service.

The UBC Neighbourhoods Taxation Working Group is a group of now five residents who are spearheading this initiative:

  • Ying Zhou, Chancellor Place. While Ying is the UNA's Treasurer and the Chair of the UNA Board's Finance and Audit Committee, she is taking part in this initiative as a resident.
  • Laura Cottle, Hawthorn Place. Laura is participating as a resident, not in her capacity as an elected UNA Director.
  • Rose Wang, Hawthorn Place. Rose is participating as a resident, not in her capacity as an elected UNA Director.
  • George Mackie, Hampton Place.
  • Bill Holmes, Hampton Place.

Please feel free to get in touch with any of us regarding this matter. This link starts an email addressed to all five of us.

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