Creekside closure impacts tax base

The city said Friday the closure of Creekside mill will have an impact on the city’s 2012 budget.

The city said Friday the closure of Creekside mill will have an impact on the city’s budget.

As a result of an application for a closure allowance for the Creekside operation by Tolko to the BC Assessment Authority, the city’s industrial assessment base will be affected in 2013 with an estimated loss of $3.5 million in assessment.

“It is important to note that this is not an automatic loss of taxation revenue to the city, but a loss in assessment value, which may need to be collected among the remaining assessment classes, or from an increase in the mill rate to the major industrial class,” the city said in a press release Dec. 7.

Council will consider tax rates and other items when it deliberates the 2013 budget and five-year financial plan beginning in January.

Mayor Kerry Cook said council wants to acknowledge the closure has been a serious blow to Tolko, its workers, and the community.

“We lost more than 100 positions when the Creekside operation closed three years ago, and another 22 people lost their jobs when Tolko decided not to re-open. It is also important to remember the positive news we’ve had this year — re-investment and West Fraser’s announcement of a new multimillion dollar planer mill.”

City Council is committed to working with Tolko, West Fraser, and other forest products companies, as well as the provincial government, to ensure that Williams Lake and the Cariboo region sustain a thriving and beneficial forest industry.

“The impact has been since 2009 when it Creekside first closed. It’s now final and the effects of what happened prior now become reality,” said Paul French president of the United Steelworkers Local 1-425.

“It’s sad the city entertained the one per cent tax shift in industrial to residential and business prior to now, because now the city will lose further and the impact will be felt by somebody,” French added.