Rural usage of District recreation services information needed

It’s one step to determine if rural residents should be taxed

Rural residents could be asked to support District of Houston recreational facilities. (Houston Today photo)

Rural residents could be asked to support District of Houston recreational facilities. (Houston Today photo)

Determining the usage of Houston’s recreational facilities by rural residents is needed before any next steps are taken that might result in their being taxed to support those facilities.

“Once this has been established it will determine the direction to be taken,” says Rob Newell, the Bulkley Nechako regional district’s director for the rural area surrounding Houston.

His comment follows a District of Houston request to the regional district that it consider establishing a taxation plan within a 25 kilometre radius of the municipality.

Newell did add that the task of determining rural resident usage would require some work.

“I’m not sure how it would work with the arena, but for the rec centre simply recording whether a user is municipal or from the regional district,” said Newell of how to determine usage.

The proposal from the District, if approved by rural residents, would involve a property tax to support all of its recreational services, including the Leisure Facility, Claude Parish Memorial Arena and community hall.’

“Although these services provide benefits to the community at large and improve the livability of the community, they are entirely financed by the municipality,” a report on the matter to the District council indicated.

“A large portion of the revenue directed to Leisure Services is sourced from property taxation, with a minor offset from fees and charges,” the report said. “Adding a contribution from the regional district would offset this requirement and allow for more regular contributions to the Recreation Capital Reserve Fund.”

And, the report continued, rural taxation would reduce the potential for rural residents being charged more than District residents for various services.

As of this year, a higher rate for non resident users of the leisure facility was eliminated.

That was “a source of customer dissatisfaction, given that non-residents pay 25 per cent more than resident users do for the same service,” a report on District user fees published earlier this year stated.

Having rural areas share in the support of municipal services through taxation is common in the northwest.

In Houston, rural residents pay for fire department services supplied by the District of Houston.

“This extends fire protection coverage from the Houston Volunteer Fire Department to Morgan Road, parts of Buck Flats area, part of Gun Range Road and Derksen Road, the Vanderplog Rd area, and partway down Equity Mine Road and Omineca Way outside of District boundaries,” said District of Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck.

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

Just Posted

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

Accessibility improvements and more classrooms at the Houston Christian School should be completed by the new school year. (Houston Today photo)
Accessibility improvements coming to Houston Christian School

Construction package includes two classrooms

The soft opening of the nature centre at the Buck Creek CANFOR hatchery took place mid-April. (Angelique Houlihan photo/Houston Today)
Houston hatchery and nature centre’s upcoming events

The conservation group to host summer students this year

Council wants a say in the expansion of long term care services in Smithers. Pictured here is the Bulkley Lodge facility in that community. (Google photo)
Long term care remains on council priority list

Wants to be involved in expansion plans in Smithers

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Most Read