B.C.’s Supreme Courtroom has rejected a “public place of worship” property tax exemption enchantment for a non-public island close to Swartz Bay.

Knapp Island is dwelling to the Shin Mei Religious Centre, which is a mixed centre for educating the Shinto and Buddhist practices. Shinto is Japan’s native perception system, and Buddhism is a religion that originated in India.

Beforehand, the centre operated on Salt Spring Island on the Brilliant Woods Religious Centre and was open to the general public. In 2021, the centre moved to Knapp Island.

When it operated on Salt Spring Island, it was granted a property tax exemption because it was open to the general public. Nonetheless, the Knapp Island property has been deemed by BC Evaluation for the 2022 tax yr to not be eligible for property tax exemption because the island close to Swartz Bay is just not open to the general public.

Knapp Island is owned by the Matsuri Basis of Canada, which operates the Shin Mei Religious Centre.

The Property Evaluation Attraction Board had beforehand dominated that Knapp Island is used as a spot of personal worship, not public. The B.C. Supreme Courtroom ruling notes that Matsuri accepts that it’s a place of personal worship, however argues it must be eligible for property tax exemption regardless.

Matsuri’s argument is that different Gulf Islands are additionally locations of personal worship and have been granted property tax exemption.

“It’s also nicely established that the truth that others will not be in compliance with the legislation is just not a defence to 1’s personal non-compliance with the legislation. Neither is it a purpose for the Board or this Courtroom to sanction non-compliance,” the ruling by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Francesca Marzari says.

Marzari rejected Matsuri’s enchantment and famous that the property assessor is “usually entitled to its prices” because it was profitable within the enchantment.

The Property Evaluation Attraction Board additionally maintained the worth of the north parcel of the Island at $4,410,000, whereas the south parcel’s worth was elevated to $8,534,000.

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