MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Taxes on contaminated land should be lowered: owner

Published by MAC on 2007-08-15

Taxes on contaminated land should be lowered: owner

CBC News

13th August 2007 A Belledune man says he's appealing his property assessment because arsenic and lead contamination on his land should lower his taxes.

While some might say Ron Doucet has a million-dollar view from his waterfront home, he doubts anyone would want his land. He lives 150 metres from the Brunswick lead smelter, where he also worked all his life.

"I worked and I got paid, but I didn't expect them to poison my property, and probably my kids and my grandchildren," he told CBC News.

Despite the fact that Doucet's land has high levels of lead and arsenic, his property taxes have ballooned from $470 a year to $800 in just three years.

Doucet says he wants that number reduced.

"Contaminated property is actually worth nothing. Who buys contaminated property? And my house is located on that property, so that devaluates my house big time."

A representative for the province told the Assessment and Planning Appeal Board on Friday that Doucet's land is contaminated, but that all other properties within a four-kilometre radius of the smelter are as well.

Brent Staeben of Service New Brunswick said that over the past three years, properties near the smelter have been selling and at higher than their assessed values.

"This is what really matters to us is the transactions and the real estate sales that are happening in the area," he said.

The board will rule on Doucet's appeal within 60 days.

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