Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has redetermined that the Cold Lake Golf and Winter Club is eligible for Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT).
The redetermination was ordered by a Federal Court, which had found that the City of Cold Lake was not afforded procedural fairness, nor did PSPC make reasonable decisions when it had determined that the Golf and Winter Club would be ineligible to receive PILT. PSPC’s initial decision was made because the City entered into an agreement to run the Golf and Winter Club at the request of 4 Wing Cold Lake.
“This was a landmark decision for our community and we are happy to see the redetermination that we have,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “This has taken up a lot of resources on the City’s part to be heard and get our fair shake from Ottawa when it comes to PILT, but the dispute is still far from over. While we remain hopeful that an expensive and time-consuming tribunal hearing can be avoided, we are prepared to ensure our residents are well represented and that our community’s concerns are well presented to the tribunal.”
Payments in Lieu of Taxes are paid to communities with federal properties within their jurisdiction, for municipal services provided. This process is governed by the Federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act.
The dispute over the eligibility of the Golf and Winter Club was a smaller dispute stemming from a larger disagreement over how much PILT the City of Cold Lake is due. Since 2012, the City of Cold Lake and the Federal Government have disputed the valuation of CFB Cold
Lake and the PILT owed by the federal government to the City of Cold Lake. To date, approximately $13.1 million in PILT is disputed, in addition to about $13.4 million in penalties, for a total outstanding bill of roughly $26.5 million.
In April of 2014, the City of Cold Lake won a decision at the PILT Dispute Advisory Panel, however, the Government of Canada applied that decision to only one of the disputed years. The City of Cold Lake is currently seeking a judgement for the remainder of the disputed tax
years (2013-2021), and hopes for a result that will set the standard for PILT payments going forward.
A tribunal to hear the 2013-2020 PILT dispute is expected to take place early in 2022, however, a decision could take from several months to a year to be made.
At its Regular Council Meeting on October 12, council voted to send a letter to update the Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada on the current situation, and to outline its concern over the continued legal battle.