Municipalities often cite the need for more tax revenue as a reason for residential development. Does it provide them with more discretionary revenue?
Well, not necessarily, and not in the case of the Town of Rosemère, Québec. The municipality wants to build housing on their now unused golf course. A citizens’ group, Rosemère vert, is taking ecological action to keep it green. The Legacy Fund wants to help them do so.
The Legacy Fund for the Environment asked the former Mayor of Westmount, Peter Trent, to prepare a report on the financial impacts of this proposed development. With his 20 years experience on intermunicipal boards, Mr. Trent is well placed to determine whether this proposed development (causing environmental destruction) would provide Rosemère with a bonanza of tax revenue.
What he found was that the proposed development would actually increase property taxes for existing residents. Mr. Trent’s original report and video presentation was followed by his supplementary report that dealt with the Town’s more recent “clarification” of its plans. Mr. Trent did this work pro bono. Sometimes, we can fight for environmental rights using tax arguments! Environmental defense is not always about marching in the streets or chaining ourselves to trees, important as those may be. Sometimes stopping environmental destruction can be done through the pocketbook.
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