By David F. Rooney
Revelstoke City Council voted unanimously to approve a tax break for Garth Jones, the man who is purchasing Mountain View School and plans to renovate it to allow construction of a high-end distillery, a medical clinic, a cafe, and a top floor apartment.
In a presentation to Council, Development Services Manager Dean Strachan said Joes wanted a five-year tax break, followed by a five-year period during which taxes would gradually be introduced. However, while Council approved the tax break for the first five years, they turned down Jones’ bid for a second five year period during which taxes would be slowly imposed on it.
Council also turned down his request for water main upgrades at taxpayers’ expense. (Activate the YouTube player below at about the 1:12 point to watch Council’s discussion of this issue. Incidentally, my apologies to people for the slow start to this week’s video. The intro photo along with the title should only be 4 seconds; instead it appears to last considerably longer than that. However you can skip the title sequence completely. [I’m sorry about that: DFR])
This property has never been taxed because it is the property of School District 19. Mayor Mark McKee noted that because of that the City doesn’t lose any money by granting Jones a tax break. In fact, it works out to the City’s long-term advantage because it will widen number of services available and increase the number of jobs open to Revelstokians.
As for Jones, while he did not want to comment on Council’s decision he did say that he was generally pleased with it as it will make it easier to preserve the historic Mountain View structure. It reminded him of the hospital in the small town his mother lives in Wales. The historic building was closed and although local residents wanted to save it, that did not happen. As a result it was demolished.
McKee said that without a white knight, Mountain View School could itself be knocked down. And that is something the community would come to regret.
Council also heard reports from the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 46 and the Revelstoke Rod & Gun Club.
Legionnaires Jon Opra and Branch 46 President Ed Koski pinned poppies on Mayor McKee and all of the members of Council. They also made a brief presentation, which you can watch starting at about the 17:42 mark. They asked Mayor and Council to attend the Remembrance Day ceremony on November 11.
In the past three years the Legion has contributed $18,000 to the community,” Koski said.
Council then heard from BC Transit, which you can wan watch at 19:37.
Rod & Gun Club Vice-president Greg Brule also made a presentation to Council, which you can watch starting at the 30:16 mark on the video, regarding the club’s new property off Westside Road.