MPAC Assessment Called "Erroneous" by Toronto City Staff
TORONTO, July 3, 2013 /CNW/ - The Toronto Port Authority ("TPA") has
formally requested that the Federal Government convene a new Dispute
Advisory Panel ("DAP") to consider the amount of Payment-In-Lieu of
Taxes (PILT) that Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport ("BBTCA") pays to
the City of Toronto ("the City"). The independent DAP will advise the
TPA and the City on the quantum of PILT that is appropriate for the
BBTCA to pay.
On April 3, 2013, after more than two years of consideration and
negotiation, City of Toronto staff recommended to City Council that it
accept a payment of $0.94 cents per passenger PILT for BBTCA. The
figure is the same amount paid by Pearson International Airport to its
host municipalities and exceeds the $0.80 per passenger fee that was
recommended to the City and the TPA by a 2009-vintage DAP. City
Council rejected the staff recommendation, without giving direction to
City Staff as to what figure it would accept. In the wake of Council's
refusal to provide its Staff with guidance on the matter, the TPA
advised that if, after 90 days, Council did not accept the advice of
its own Solicitor and Treasurer on the recommended BBTCA PILT, it would
consider requesting a new DAP. Today, we have proceeded to make that
"The Toronto Port Authority has always been willing to pay its fair
share of taxes. To date we've paid 100% of the PILT recommended by the
2009 DAP for BBTCA, and we offered to pay the higher Pearson Airport
level in an effort to resolve this issue once and for all." said
Toronto Port Authority spokeswoman, Pamela McDonald. "But we don't
think it's fair to ask our passengers to pay one penny more in tax to
the City than they pay when they fly from Pearson. Despite what some
would have you believe, it is passengers who pay airport PILTs and not
the Federal government."
Further, the TPA agrees with City staff, who have publicly said that
MPAC, the municipal property assessor, has assessed BBTCA property
"based on what we (the City) feel were erroneously high assessment
values".1 City Staff advised Council on May 7th that if they had to dispute those values at another DAP panel, they
"would anticipate that they would be lowered substantially. Even then,
City Staff received no direction as to what airport PILT City Council
would accept from BBTCA passengers."2
MPAC has suggested to the City that BBTCA property be taxed as if it was
an industrial site with land values heavily influenced by condo
values. Some City Councillors agree with the high MPAC assessment,
even though they would never support the idea of putting an industrial
development on the BBTCA site. BBTCA is an airport, not an industrial
site and certainly not a condominium site and, therefore, should not be
taxed like one.
The proposed per-passenger PILT approach is widely used at other
airports in Ontario: Pearson, London, Ottawa and Thunder Bay.
For years, MPAC, the municipal property assessor, has assessed the BBTCA
as Industrial land. MPAC included in its analysis the notion that the
airport property could be a high rise condo development site, despite
the fact that the land is zoned as parkland in the City's Official
Plan, and has been an airport since 1939. The BBTCA is currently
governed by the Tripartite Agreement (executed by each of the City of Toronto, the Department of Transport
and the TPA). The Tripartite Agreement outlines that the property is to be used as an airport, and only an
airport, from 1983 - 2033. As such, no condominiums, power generating
stations or manufacturing plants could be built on the site. This has
not stopped MPAC from trying to assess the airport at the industrial
development rate, which is the source of the so-called "$26 million tax
arrears bill" reported in the media.
No one in Toronto, whether they are a fan or foe of the airport, thinks
the BBTCA property should be an automotive plant, power plant or high
rise condo development. Why then should it be taxed that way by MPAC?
According to a 2012 survey conducted by Ipsos Reid (a representative,
randomly-selected sample of 700 adults living in Toronto, included 300
who live downtown, South of Queen Street.): https://www.torontoport.com/Marina/Marina-News/Survey-Reveals-Most-Torontonians-Agree-Billy-Bisho.aspx
Eight in ten (83%) of those surveyed 'agree' that Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
(BBTCA) 'is great for the economy of Toronto' - including 85 per cent
of those living downtown south of Queen.
84% believe the airport is a great gateway, with the majority (87 per cent)
saying it is a valuable asset for the city.
Eight in ten (81%) Toronto residents 'agree' that 'Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is an
important part of Toronto's future economic growth'
87% 'agree' that BBTCA is 'a valuable asset for the city'
Nearly half of all downtown residents (50% cent north of Queen; 45% south of Queen) have used BBTCA
Nine in ten (89%) Torontonians 'agree' that 'the Toronto Port Authority provides
important economic benefits to the City of Toronto'
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is proud to have become a valued
contributor to our city. According to a recent Economic Impact study,
the airport will contribute $1.9 billion in annual economic output and
5,700 jobs to the Greater Toronto Area economy.
About the Toronto Port Authority
The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto
City Airport, the Port of Toronto (Terminals 51 and 52), and Toronto's
Outer Harbour Marina. In addition to moving more than two million
passengers through the airport in 2012, the Port Authority provides
transportation, distribution, storage and container services to
businesses at the Port, and owns and operates Toronto's largest
freshwater marina. The Toronto Port Authority was incorporated on June
8, 1999 as a government business enterprise under the Canada Marine Act
as the successor to the Toronto Harbour Commissioners.
For more information on how BBTCA is contributing to Toronto, visit www.torontoport.com
1 City Council Meeting, Tuesday, May 7, 2013 Item: EX31.27
2 City Council Meeting, Tuesday, May 7, 2013 Item: EX31.27
SOURCE: Toronto Port Authority
For further information:
Pamela McDonald, Director, Communications and Public Affairs (416) 863-2028 or (647) 405-8185 (mobile), firstname.lastname@example.org