Business owners who want to do new construction or renovations to their premises are about to get encouragement from the Town of Creston.
Town council directed staff to prepare a new bylaw that will give owners a tax break for new construction and improvements at Tuesday’s regular council meeting.
A revitalization tax exemption program is intended to “encourage new commercial businesses in new and renovated building in the town’s zones that permit commercial uses and thereby establish the commercial services and the investment and employment opportunities that will attract additional economic growth to the Town of Creston; and reinforce the municipality’s ‘open for business’ approach and attract redevelopment of commercial businesses within the municipality,’ ” according to a draft bylaw.
Council indicated support of a program that will qualify businesses that do $50,000 in renovations or new construction of $150,000 or more. A five-year full exemption from municipal taxes on the value of the improvement would result, with an additional five years of a 50 per cent reduction in municipal taxes on the improvement value. Value of improvements will be determined by the change in property assessment value as determined by BC Assessment.
“This program, which would run for a three-year period, has a similar intent to a previous revitalization tax exemption bylaw for hotels and motels, which contributed to the construction of one new hotel and upgrades to two others,” Mayor Ron Toyota said yesterday. “The intent of a new program is much broader. It will apply to permitted businesses in commercially zoned areas throughout the town of Creston.”
With a number of new businesses and possible upgrades being explored already, Toyota said that council wants to encourage improvements that can lead to additional employment opportunities.
He said that town staff are also in the process of preparing a façade improvement program to encourage the beautification of commercial business fronts.
•Town staff were directed to produce a draft an integrated pesticide management policy that could be implemented this fall.
•A development variance permit for construction of storage space at the rear of Creston Seventh-day Adventist Church will proceed to a public hearing stage after no objections were received.
•An application for a development variance permit for a Birch Street residence will proceed toward a public hearing process. The applicants want to enclose an existing carport and create additional storage in the carport.
•A development permit was approved for the “bunker” at 801 Vancouver Street pending receipt of an irrevocable $25,000 letter of credit. The permit allows for development of a mixed-use commercial construction known as Cherry Wood Distillery.
•Council received for information a letter from Tercel Telecom Ltd. of Richmond, which indicated interest in putting fibre optic lines in Creston and other rural B.C. communities.
“I don’t think they are aware that Telus has already installed fibre optic service in the Creston area,” said Toyota.
•After receiving a letter suggesting several possibilities to accommodate small dogs in local parks, council directed staff to determine whether any can be done at a low cost to taxpayers.
•Engineering manager Colin Farynowski informed council that water restrictions will be put in soon. In the third week of May, the level of the reservoir on Crawford Hill dropped to under 55 per cent, which is under the requirements for insurance purposes. However, he added, the town water wells weren’t activated at that time, so there is no immediate cause for concern. Earlier this week, the Arrow Creek water treatment plant was shut down for several hours, but the town’s water wells were pumping and water pressure remained adequate.