Harrison Hot Springs has dangled a carrot out to potential developers, introducing a Village Core Revitalization Tax Exemption bylaw.
Council voted in favour of moving ahead with the process of adopting the bylaw, giving it a unanimous first reading on Monday night. The bylaw would see tax rates frozen for a period of five to 10 years for developers at the pre-development level.
The idea was discussed at a committee of the whole meeting previously, said Andre Isakov, manager of planning and community services.
A map of the revitalization area to be considered for the bylaw earmarks most commercial and multi-family property north of the Miami River.
“The whole concept is that it has to be limited (to the Village core),” Isakov told council. The hope is that the frozen rates will encourage developers to build in Harrison’s core, and that current landowners will redevelop their commercial properties, and revitalize the Village core.
Isakov underlined that the Village won’t lose any property tax revenues. Rather, he explained, it forgoes property tax increases following redevelopment for the purposes of gaining development and tax revenues long term.
A proposed bylaw was submitted to council and is available on the Village website.
The public will have a chance to learn more about the bylaw in an informal, drop-in, information session on Apr. 4 at the Village office, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Similar bylaws have been adopted in Parksville, Chilliwack, Sooke, Salmon Arm and Maple Ridge, Isakov told council.
The bylaw is one of several initiatives discussed that could help revitalize the core. Other ideas include forming a business improvement association and the development of a facade improvement program.