Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Letter to the Editor - Jan 20,2006 - From Blair King - Parking Lot Taxes

We post letters to the editor prominently sent to our attention. EDITOR-LFP

January 20, 2006

The Honorable Kurt Alberts,
Township of Langley,
Municipal Hall
20338 - 65 Avenue
Langley, BC, V2Y 3J1

Dear Mayor Alberts,

Re: TransLink Parking Site Tax

The purpose of my letter is to take advantage of your new position on the TransLink Board to address an inequity in the new TransLink "Parking Site Tax". While I recognize the need for increased funding for transit, it is clear that the "Parking Site Tax" that has recently been put in place by TransLink is inequitable, specifically in that it charges comparable parking tax rates regardless of access to TransLink services and has the perverse effect of collecting greater taxes from individuals and businesses that are under-served by TransLink (and thus require more parking) than businesses and individuals that are well served by transit. As described on the TransLink information page:

the parking tax will be a implemented as a property tax on parking area. The amount of the tax will not be based on the assessed value of the land, but on a rate per square metre that TransLink will set through a by-law.

Based on the current formula businesses in rural Langley, who are unserved by any transit, are being charged the same rate as businesses at Metrotown Mall, which is served by over 10 bus lines and the SkyTrain, and businesses on Broadway in Vancouver, where a bus passes by every 2-5 minutes. Since these taxes will ultimately be passed on to the consumer this has the effect of placing an unfair burden on the citizens of Langley, Surrey and the other outer municipalities to provide greater services to the citizens of the core municipalities. Consequently, as our new representative to the TransLink Board, I would like to request that you forward a motion at your earliest convenience to amend the current parking tax calculation to prorate the levy dependent on available bus/SkyTrain service in the area. In this way the merchants and shoppers of Langley, that are virtually bereft of transit service and are utterly dependent on automobiles for their customers and shopping, will not be subsidizing parking spaces for shoppers in Vancouver who have other options. I am not requesting that you ask to repeal the tax as it is clear that road and bridge improvements will simplify commuting in our region, merely that the rate be lowered in regions where viable alternatives to the personal automobile do not presently exist.


Blair King

CC (via email): Editor - Langley Times
Webmaster - LangleyFreePress

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