Council passes tax incentives to redevelop motels and hotels

Hotels and motels that are redeveloped as housing or mixed-use will now be eligible for tax incentives

Hotels and motels that are redeveloped as housing or mixed-use will now be eligible for tax incentives.

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, council passed a by-law providing for a revitalization tax exemption that will see the assessed value of improvements and property tax increases from renovations deferred for 10 years.

The bylaw is intended to encourage older motels and hotels to meet the city’s housing needs. It passed by a vote of 7 to 2, with Mayor Ken Christian and Councilor. Denis Walsh opposed it. Walsh said he thought it was “ill-advised” to grant such a broad tax exemption.

“We’re in the property tax business — it’s the foundation of all of our services,” Walsh said.

He also raised the issue that there was no deadline for submission of applications, which provided more incentive for owners to implement the renovation.

Walsh also suggested the bylaw should target an area of ​​the city deemed to be in need of revitalization, and pointed to the need for a wide variety of hotels and prices in Kamloops.

“I just don’t see why we would go ahead with such a generous donation,” Walsh said.

The city’s Director of Development, Engineering and Sustainability Marvin Kwiatkowski said the bylaw is not exclusive to redevelopment of multi-family developments.

“It can be mixed-commercial, it can be a hotel or a multi-family building, so it’s a bit broader than that,” he said.

He said the city considered restricting the exemption to motels and hotels along Columbia Street West, but ultimately didn’t want to rule out the possibilities.

“We don’t think a new hotel will redevelop into a multi-family. We see to rejuvenate specific areas, but it’s not just one area we want,” he said.

Kwiatkowski said the settlement may be reviewed and reassessed in a few years, at which time metrics on how it has been used will be provided.

Com. Kathy Sinclair praised the settlement. She said it’s a way to help alleviate the current housing crisis in Kamloops.