2024 CVRD Area G Director’s Budget Update

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2023 presented three unexpected fiscal challenges for Area G residents. General inflationary pressures led to higher utility expenses, insurance premiums, and other operational costs necessary to maintain facilities and deliver services.
Average home tax impact

2023 presented three unexpected fiscal challenges for Area G residents. General inflationary pressures led to higher utility expenses, insurance premiums, and other operational costs necessary to maintain facilities and deliver services. The sudden but urgent need to replace the Stocking Lake Dam and the inadequacy of the Water Filtration Plan vaulted two “once-in-a-lifetime” infrastructure projects to the top of our priority list. Finally, the cost associated with phasing in Regional Recreation made a reasonable 2024 budget very challenging.

Stocking Lake Dam

First, the good news. We’ve secured funding for Area G’s portion of the Stocking Lake Dam rebuild. Through the Community Works Fund, the Provincial Government awarded CVRD 5.7 million to use on infrastructure at the Director’s discretion. After many long conversations and deliberations, my colleagues agreed to allocate 2.6 million dollars to the dam’s reconstruction. The dam is at the end of its life and needs replacing. If everything goes as planned, the new dam could come online in the summer of 2025 when Stocking Lake is at its lowest level (this is a best-case scenario).

If Area G had to pay for the rebuild, we would have needed 30-year financing, costing $500 per year per household. I’m immensely grateful to my colleagues for prioritizing our infrastructure.

Regional Breakdown

Maintaining existing service levels was a priority for the Board, which means that costs associated with inflation, population growth, and regional recreation funding resulted in a significant budget increase. 

      • 9.15% Core services

      • 6.17% Regional Recreation Service (approved by public referendum in 2022)

      • 0.77% Library (provincially mandated)

      • 0.26%Transit (provincially mandated)

    CVRD Budget News Release: https://www.cvrd.ca/DocumentCenter/View/109175/CVRD-News-Release-Budget-Adoption-2024

    Local Breakdown

    The average Area G home is valued at $807,350 and will pay $1,080.89 in Regional District Requisition Taxes in 2024. In other words, $133.88 per $100,000 of assessed property value. While this equates to roughly a $200 increase from last year, Area G remains the lowest tax jurisdiction in the CVRD. Below is a breakdown of exactly where your taxes are going per $100,000 assessed value:

    Fire – 41.64

    Frank Jameson Community Centre – 1.22 

    Saltair Recreation – 6.57

    General Government – 11.30

    Vancouver Island Regional Library – 14.63 

     911 Emergency-  2.69 

    Grants-In-Aid – 0.51 

    Economic Development – 1.82 

    Regional Tourism – 0.31 

    Electoral Feasibility Studies – 0.08

    Environmental Initiatives – 1.91 

    Emergency Planning – 3.26 

    Community Parks (Excl Islands Trust) 17.17 

    Electoral Area Services – 6.11 

    Regional Parks – 4.25

    Kinsol Trestle – 0.30 

    Regional Parkland Acquisition – 2.50 

    Animal Control – 0.40 

    Building Inspection – 2.10 

    Bylaw Enforcement – 3.96 

    Parks & Trails (Excl Islands Trust) – 6.75 

    Planning (Excl Trust) – 15.25 

    Regional Recreation – 15.46 

    Arts and Culture – 0.34

    Safer Futures – 0.09

    Social Planning – 0.16 

    Cowichan Valley Hospice Society – 0.16 

    Cowichan Housing Association – 1.98 

    Water & Watershed Protection – 1.82 

    Solid Waste Complex – 18.5

    Visit this link to view an Insert with visualizations of the information above: https://www.cvrd.ca/DocumentCenter/View/7536/CVRD-Area-G-Tax-Brochure?bidId=

    Please visit this link to see how Area G stacks up compared to other regions in the CVRD. Remember that cities and towns like Ladysmith also pay municipal taxes, which are not included in these summaries: https://www.cvrd.ca/DocumentCenter/View/9540/Sched-E?bidId=

    Tax imact CVRD

    Saltair Community Center

    I approved a $281,600 loan to retrofit the Saltair Community Center with heat pumps and windows. The cost to service the loan is $6.57 per $100,000 or roughly $50 per household. It will be paid out within five years. Why did I approve this loan?

    1. You own the Saltair Community Center; maintaining it is our responsibility.
    2. These upgrades will make the building exponentially more usable for current and future paying tenants.
    3. These upgrades will lower operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
    4. Heat pumps provide air conditioning.
    5. It’s essential to maintain our community assets.

    Dozens of working families use the Inquiring Little Minds Daycare in the Saltair Community Center, which often shuts down in the summer because the building gets too hot. I don’t personally use the Daycare, but I have three children and know the challenges associated with finding childcare. Daycare can cost as much as $1,800 per month, depending on whether you qualify for subsidies, and waitlists can often be as long as two years. I choose to support young working families who don’t want to worry about their toddlers in hot buildings while at work and can not afford to take a week off work because of a heatwave. I hope you will join me. 

    You can find the complete breakdown of tax requisitions for the Saltair Comunity Center here: https://www.cvrd.ca/DocumentCenter/View/9472/456?bidId

    Saltair Water and Parcel Tax

    The project upgrade started in 2013 and was established to replace sections of aging infrastructure within the water system. The focus of the project’s initial phase has been to replace and upgrade pipes with a history of water main breaks. The “pipe replacement” Parcel Tax is charged once a year and incorporated into your property taxes. With this project winding down, we could see a reduction in 2025. 

    Location of Upgrades


    Function 640 – Saltair Water: The role of the Saltair Water System function is to operate and maintain our water system. Revenue sources include user fees and parcel tax and can be viewed here: https://cvrd.ca/DocumentCenter/View/7213/640?bidId=

    Please click the link below to view a PowerPoint on distribution, treatment upgrades, and Stocking Lake Dam replacement projects. https://cvrd.ca/DocumentCenter/View/108342/SW-MTG-PP-Public-Meeting-2023-11-12

    Thetis Island Wharf

    Function 490—Thetis Island Wharf: This function provides for the operation, repairs, maintenance, and upgrades of the Thetis Island Wharf. It is funded primarily through requisition; however, last year, I put $91,800 from the Community Works Grant into the Capital Reserve Fund to ensure no interruptions to the upgrades that are now underway or to be used for future upgrades. 

    For a complete breakdown of the budget, please visit this link: https://www.cvrd.ca/DocumentCenter/View/7174/490?bidId=

    Grants-In-Aid, Ruxton Island Water Cisterns

    Besides the Saltair Community Center requisitions increase, the only other “local” tax increase I approved was to Grant in Aid. I did this to help Ruxton Island acquire two water cisterns for improved fire safety and help local organizations like the SDRA continue their work. For a full breakdown, please go here: https://www.cvrd.ca/DocumentCenter/View/9415/117?bidId=

    Saltair Water Filtration Update

    While nothing in the 2024 budget addresses Saltair Water Filtration, I have been working very hard with staff to provide you with a viable solution, which we will present at some point in 2024. I am very excited about the direction and will share more as soon as possible. 

    In Summary

    The 2024 budget is a compromise, and there are a few services (e.g., Park Acquisition Fund) that I would have left out of this budget and only funded after entirely phasing in Regional Recreation. However, I chose to reach across the Board and work with my colleagues to find creative solutions to their challenges and ours. While we saw a double-digit percent tax increase for the second year in a row, that cost is more than offset by receiving a grant to fund the Stocking Lake Dam fully. This is the definition of a win-win. 

     I believe that you know how to spend the money you earn better than we do at the CVRD. It’s my goal to keep as much of it in your pocket as possible while understanding that there are services we all need and want (some even mandated by the province); sometimes, the government is the best entity to deliver those services. My colleagues and I don’t always agree on what those services should or should not be, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that we all share one thing in common: we care immensely about the well-being of our communities and neighbours.

    If you have questions about the 2024 budget, please let me know in writing by email or on social media, and I’ll respond in video format for everyone’s benefit. 

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