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Mar 14,2007 - TriCity News

By Janis Warren The Tri-City News
Mar 14 2007

A request from School District 43 to hike school-site acquisition charges is like “throwing salt in the wounds,” a Port Coquitlam city councillor says.

Coun. Greg Moore joined city council Monday to reject the application from the school district, which wants to revise its School Site Acquisition Charges (SSAC) policy to better reflect rising land values in the Tri-Cities.

The charges — similar to municipal development cost charges — are levied against development and designed to help pay 35% of the cost of buying new school sites.

Earlier this month, the school board closed five elementary schools, including PoCo’s Lincoln, — a move PoCo city council fought. The campaign to keep it open was led, in part, by Moore, whose daughter attends the school.

“It’s unbelievable timing that the school district is asking for more money,” Moore said, adding, “It’s too bad this is happening. It’s like now they’re throwing salt in the wounds.

“I do find this rather incorrigible at this time to ask for more money,” Coun. Darrell Penner added. “Certainly, it will drive the cost of housing up in the area.”

According to a city staff report, the increase in valuation would mean a 65% to 70% hike in SSAC for new residential units.

Moore said he wishes the school board would meet with PoCo city council to explain its long-term vision for schools.

In 2003, PoCo council rejected the school district’s initial SSAC proposal as it didn’t contain any new schools within the city.

“It was felt that the resulting SSAC would be unfair to Port Coquitlam developers as it requires them to pay an SSAC, which directly assists developers would are their direct competitors in other jurisdictions within SD43,” Richard Wells, acting corporate director, wrote in a report. “Ultimately, the provincially appointed facilitator rejected the city’s concerns regarding the fairness of the proposal.”

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