Green Party leader says oil handling at site breaches terms of deal, which province should enforce
By Robert Jones, CBC News Posted: Jan 23, 2015 4:34 PM AT Last Updated: Jan 23, 2015 5:47 PM AT
New Brunswick Green Party Leader David Coon says Canaport LNG in Saint John should be subject to full municipal property taxes following the construction and operation of an oil pipeline at the site last year.
“Any other purpose [than liquefied natural gas] would seem to me does not apply [for tax protection] and therefore, the province is in a position to enforce its legislation and collect the necessary tax,” said Coon.
The province passed legislation in 2005 that carved out three properties in Saint John for a special LNG tax zone. The legislation freezes property taxes in the zone at $500,000 until 2030.
CBC News has previously reported that full property taxes on the site without the special rate would be $5.3 million, but several sources with the city suggest, at full commercial property tax rates, the annual bill would be more than $8 million.
The terms of the property tax arrangement are outlined in provincial legislation and regulations, which specify it is to apply to property “solely for the receiving and containment of liquefied natural gas.”
Coon says the introduction of oil handling equipment at the site breaches those terms, which he says the province has a duty to enforce.
Six tankers have used the LNG wharf to unload crude oil since September.