Is Red Wing part of the RDOS?

Board date: 
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Neighborhood: 

In 2008 the Penticton Indian Band became a taxation authority, which means they collect property taxes from non-natives living and conducting business within the boundaries of their reserves.  In some cases, the PIB then turns around and contracts service provision to the RDOS (e.g., garbage and recycling) or the City of Penticton (fire protection).

Currently there is overlap between RDOS electoral areas and PIB lands.  However, since 2008 all decisions about which services are provided to areas like Red Wing, at what level, and at what rate of taxation are made by the PIB Chief and Council, not the RDOS.  Since non-native residents of band lands are not band members (and thus cannot vote in band elections), the implication is clear: non-native residents of band land have no democratic representation in any local government.  Although Red Wing residents can vote in RDOS elections, the RDOS acts as a service provider to these residents (one of many), not a decision-making body.

The Bish report referred to in the RDOS Corporate Services Committee outlines the history of this situation and makes a few recommendations.  The most important recommendation as I see it is to remove reserve lands from municipalities and regional districts in British Columbia.  This would simply formalize the current reality and make the governance situation for non-band-members on band lands more transparent.

I have summarized this with a little matrix.  Red Wing (and soon Skaha Hills) falls into the shaded area.

 

Comments

Dear Dr. Bryden,

Does your proposal mean that we may pay more in taxes? Does it also mean that we may pay more for services such as garbage removal at Redwing Resort?

Sincerely,

Dr. Brian B. Casey
444 Ridge Place
Penticton BC V2A 8N7
250-276-5982
brianbcasey@gmail.com

The bottom line is that it is up to the PIB to determine how much you pay.  And since you do not have a vote on the PIB, your only practical recourse if you are unhappy with your taxes is to move.  I can't say whether you pay more or less tax than when the RDOS collected your taxes.  I have no visibility into your current tax rates.

As I see it though, the primary risk is in the other direction: First Nations may opt out of charging certain taxes to non-native leaseholders in order to compete more effectively on price.  The Bish report highlights Regional Hospital Districts and Translink as two examples in which non-native users of services may or may not be taxed at the same level as those outside of native taxation authority.  There is little to compel the PIB to tax for the Okanagan Basin Water Board even though many Red Wing residents benefit in the most direct way imaginable from investments in basin health.

This likely suits most Redwing residents fine.  After all, who want to pay tax?  But broader issue is equity.  If the services of the OBWB are beneficial then everyone who benefits should pay for the services.  If the services are not beneficial then no one should pay.

As I say, I am not 100% sure what the PIB charges for and does not charge for (I am not provided with this information).  This whole issue strikes me as a big gap that the province needs to address and resolve.

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