Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead Friday, July 3, 2009

Sunwave drops its assessment appeal and the city waits for the next step in that ongoing drama, the School District's Secretary Treasurer returns to her home and Ridley's taxes become an interesting question of note. Some of the highlights from the Friday edition of the Daily News.

SUNWAVE HAS DROPPED THEIR ASSESSMENT APPEAL-- With Sunwave's parent company China Paper Group dropping their property tax assessment appeal, the rumour mill once again gets stoke at what the future for the old pulp mill site may be, the Daily News examines the latest developments in a front page story (see story below)

Tax collection proved to be a hot topic in Friday's paper, as the Daily News reviewed one of the interesting points in the exchange of correspondences between former President and CEO of Ridley Terminals Dan Veniez and his bosses in Ottawa was the fate of Ridley Terminal property taxes.

In that letter, the details of which this blog back on June provide a link for, Mr. Veniez raised the subject of deferred taxes to the City from RTI. The Daily News sought out Mayor Jack Mussallem for his thoughts on that issue (see story here)

Her departure comes amid a wee bit of chaos at the School District, but if the indications from Friday's Daily News are correct, Kim Morris may have just decided that it was time to go home. (see story here)

The Friday sports pages featured a review of the Terrace Hill Climb last week as well as a preview of the Dave Saunders Memorial Hill Climb.

Total pages in the Friday edition (16)

Front page, headline story:

By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Friday, July 3, 2009
Page one

Now it could come down to pay up or lose it, for Watson Island owner.

According to Mayor Jack Mussallem, the China Paper Group has dropped their property assessment appeal, leaving payment of the final tax bill as the shadowy Chinese organization's only option.

That is if they want to retain ownership of the Watson Island site.

While the assessment itself has dropped, there is still a $6 million price tag on the tax.

Mussallem said he is aware of a few potential buyers for the Watson Island property that resides under the Sunwave name.

"We are very interested to see who the new purchaser of Watson Island will be," said Mussallem."

Mussallem added that there are a variety of options without alluding to whom the potential interests could be.

"If SunWave now do not see themselves as the owners anymore would they want to spend money on an appeal?" asked Mussallem rhetorically. "They [would] look at it in terms of what's to be gained."

The city signed an agreement with Sun Wave Forest Products in 2006 to forego the municipal portion of those taxes, provided the company was producing pulp by Jan. 1,2008.

Sun Wave did not meet those conditions and now owes taxes from half of 2006 and all of 2007, said the city.

Taxes on the property have ranged up to $2 million in the past.

The city has already had to eat some $11 million in taxes it spent but never received from former mill owners - including New Skeena Forest Products and the provincial government.

"It has provided jobs in the past and we hope that the new owners would put forward a project that provides jobs in the future," said Mussallem.

The city of Prince Rupert was not part of the appeal process but was kept abreast of what was happening with the infrastructure over at the old pulp mill site.

The China Paper Group has until September to pay off its taxes or it faces losing the old pulp mill complex for nothing.

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