Let’s head back to September 1969 when Mayor Dugald Morrison received what was considered a handsome cheque at the time from the B.C. Harbours Board.
The $68,797 cheque was a grant in lieu of taxes for the new superport lands at Roberts Bank.
Harbours Board chairman Bill Mearns described the gesture as “good citizenship.”
Morrison promised the money would be put to good use.
Fast forward a few decades and the harbours board is long gone.
The province has also long restricted municipalities' ability to set property tax rates for ports they host after a successful lobby effort by the Port of Vancouver, which claimed municipal taxes impacted port competitiveness.
Former Delta finance director Karl Preuss in a 2019 interview said there had not been much of a difference between the city tax rate and annual payment rate set by the province, so Delta hasn’t lost much.
He said Delta in 2018 received around $400,000 in payment in lieu of taxes that were applicable only to vacant port lands.
When port properties are occupied by a third party, the tenants pay a tax rate capped by the province. In 2019, Delta expected to receive $5.6 million.
The finance department hasn’t worked out yet what Delta might receive in taxes if the port authority’s proposed Terminal 2 is built, added Preuss.