Letter: VGD concerns considered

The Ski Society has collected input from the community over the last 2 years. We discussed issues, brainstormed solutions, and forwarded them to the Resorts Branch and the proponent. Because of a good relationship with the proponent, we’ve been able to make changes to the project based on input we received from the community.

Last week’s editorial brought up a number of concerns, one being that property taxes will increase. This may or may not be the case.

As Korie explained, a rise in assessed value does not necessarily result in higher property taxes. With a larger tax base, especially including higher end real estate (with proportionally higher property taxes), we could see stable property taxes….we just don’t know because of the complexity of the factors.

I think this is a great question for Village of Valemount staff members that are knowledgeable about property assessments, mill rates, and taxes.

Another concern mentioned in the editorial related to school enrollment. While every situation is different, we can look to other municipalities with resorts and see that school enrollment will probably increase with the development. Families will move to the community for recreational and small business opportunities.

While it’s prudent to consider the chance for negative impacts, the information contained in the master plan demonstrates that there will likely be positive outcomes relating to all of the concerns in the editorial. For example:

Jobs: additional jobs that weren’t here before. While some will be entry level, many will be higher skilled jobs related to construction, operations, marketing, and the many small business opportunities presented by more visitors.

School enrollment: enrollment has declined significantly over the last decade. Any new economic development and a larger job base will bring new families.

Housing: we have a surplus of viable building land in and around Valemount. We do not have the same restrictions (geographical & regulatory) as other resort municipalities that limit new construction and thus increase housing costs. (i.e. Jasper, Whistler, Revelstoke). The Regional District is already considering allowing secondary suites on small acreages. The Village of Valemount also has many tools available to increase density and promote new housing developments.

Property Taxes: a broader tax base will bring in more revenue for the Village. If there was a marginal increase, it would be offset by new economic opportunities and shorter ‘shoulder’ seasons.

There is no doubt: this project will change our community. But we are not about to become Whistler #2. Change will be incremental and predictable. And together we will adapt to and embrace change, creating the vibrant community we envision.

Jared Smith
Valemount Ski Society

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