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Local developer asking city to defer two years of property taxes

A local developer has asked the City of Grande Prairie to make a precedent-setting decision. Trader Properties Inc. wants to have its property taxes from 2018 and 2019 deferred, as well as any penalties for the two year period cancelled.

It is the company developing the Trader Ridge area, which includes the new Windsor Ford dealership. Their request is one that has never been approved by the city.

The amount owed from 2018 sits at just over $1 million with roughly $260,000 in current penalties. The 2019 taxes, which will be levied in May, will be around $958,000 in total.

The developer argued to the Corporate Services Committee Tuesday that his undeveloped land is being hit with the same rate as that of a fully developed parcel of property, which has created an unfair level of tax.

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Committee Member and City Councillor Dylan Bressey says he understands the need to try and work with local developers, but the Municipal Government Act has strict guidelines to follow when it comes to taxation.

“The problem is, the MGA doesn’t recognize different classes of commercial property, so we have to treat all commercial property the same throughout the city when it comes to taxation.”

However, Bressey says a precedent would be set if the city were to overturn the fees. If done, he explains it would have to approve any other similar request from commercial property owners.

Bressey says the only course of action he felt comfortable taking was to ask further clarification from the legal department.

“I’ve got a strong desire to work with the development community and to attract investment to Grande Prairie. But, we’ve got to work within the legislated framework that the province has created.”

No timeline has been given as to when the discussion will reconvene. requested an interview with the firm representing Trader Properties Inc., but it declined.

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