Starting next year, seven Penticton businesses will enjoy five years of tax breaks, thanks to a bylaw the city introduced in 2010 to spur economic development.
The economic investment zone bylaw was introduced as a response to the ongoing economic downturn, attempting to stimulate new construction or renovations in the city’s hotel and motel industry, downtown core and manufacturing and industrial areas through a set of incentives. Non-profit, low-income housing and green developments meeting certain criteria were also on the list to receive the incentives.
Those incentives include up to a 100 per cent tax relief for a five-year period and reductions in building permit fees as well as development cost charges. However, the tax breaks only kick in upon successful competition of the project. Anthony Haddad, director of development services, presented council with a list of projects that have qualified under the bylaw, ranging from a $150,000 addition to a $1.12 million new building.
Tax breaks for the improvements to these properties range from $1,000 annually for a pool addition to $7,000 annually for the construction of an Okanagan Avenue building. In total, the City of Penticton will be discounting the taxes for these seven businesses by $23,600 each year, for a total of $118,000 over the five-year term.
“We’ve seen significant investment through these applications,” said Haddad.
According to his figures, the total value of all seven projects is almost $3 million. Most of the projects were started earlier, but there were two, Haddad said — a property on Ellis Street and an industrial building on Commercial Way — that were started in 2012 and finished in time to be included in the 2013 economic investment zone bylaw tax breaks.
While he didn’t have a record of the total number of jobs created, he described an Okanagan Avenue project as creating “significant employment opportunities.”
“I would hazard a guess, over 30 to 40 (jobs) in the businesses, given what we have approved,” said Haddad.
Projects that have been completed under the bylaw include a new mixed-use development at 218 Main St, new industrial buildings at 1900 Camrose and on Commercial Way, a renovation to an existing industrial building at 101 Rosetown, a new pool for an existing hotel at 1050 Eckhardt Ave. and a new manufacturing building at 662 Okanagan Ave., as well as internal renovations to a building in the downtown at 146 Ellis St, creating new office space and employees within the downtown.