Swans and geese on Vanderhoof’s Nechako River in April, 2019. (Aman Parhar photo)

Vanderhoof will not see any tax increase this year due to COVID-19

The decision was made as a result of the economic impacts of the pandemic on residents and businesses.

Vanderhoof residents will not be seeing a two percent tax increase this year anymore due to the economic impacts of the virus pandemic.

“I think we felt really good about the decision initially to raise taxes with the cost of living, but as time went on, we realized that this is a really tough time that we are seeing our town go through in the last month,” Gerry Thiessen, mayor of Vanderhoof said.

So for 2020, the same taxation from 2019 will be in place.

READ MORE: Two percent tax increase being discussed by municipal council

The mayor said council had discussed long term plans for making their reserves healthy, primarily the police reserve which is currently at approximately $1.2 million.

The reason for having a police reserve is that if Vanderhoof’s population crosses five thousand residents, the town will have to pay 85 percent of policing costs.

To not increase taxes in 2020, council decided that they would not add $150,000 to the police reserves this year, the mayor added.

Meanwhile, the Omineca Express also spoke to Thiessen about how businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 and what council’s plan is in terms of infrastructure, and their vision for Vanderhoof.

Last year, the provincial government gave Vanderhoof a $5.8 million grant aimed to be used towards infrastructure improvements.

Thiessen said, “Our hope is that during the coming year we will be able to use a substantial amount of those reserves, so people will be seeing those infrastructure upgrades.”

One major priority is improving Burrard Street and Main Street as they are “falling apart,” the mayor said.

Other than that, projects such as Highway 16 re-development, developing parks and playgrounds, environmental stewardship, diversifying the workplace to encourage more investors is what the mayor envisions for Vanderhoof.

In terms of how COVID-19 has affected businesses, Thiessen said its been “dramatic”.

He said it is “concerning” that local personal care businesses have had to shut down and that sawmills such as Canfor – Plateau and Nechako Lumber have had to take downtime due to the pandemic.

“We have been talking in council to develop a strong plan to rejuvenate businesses in Vanderhoof,” Thiessen said.

In terms of specifics, the municipal government wants to work with Northern Development Initiative Trust to “find what we can do to sustain Vanderhoof,” the mayor said.

He said council is thinking of ways to promote businesses. “We have shared a number of things with Attraction and Retention groups, we developed a tax incentive bylaw, we will have to be more aggressive as a community.”

Mayor and council are also starting to build a relationship with the Chamber of Commerce and Thiessen said he wants to work with them “closely” in finding solutions to revitalize the business community once the pandemic has passed.

Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Municipal GovernmentVanderhoof

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Northern Health assuring public it has declared no public exposure events or outbreaks

As of Sept. 17, there are 241 cases in the Northern Health Authority region

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Anne Marie Sam seeks NDP nomination for Nechako Lakes riding

She also ran in 2017 but was defeated by BC Liberal John Rustad

Northern Health records 1st fatality due to COVID-19

Six people died from the novel coronavirus on the weekend, health officials confirm

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Thousands of child care spaces coming to 35 B.C. communities

Province announces milestone in Childcare BC plan

Most Read