I have just received information regarding Pacific Skydivers and their lease with Pitt Meadows Airport.
Apparently, the Airport Society has decided to increase their lease for the area of grass used for skydivers to land to $53,058 plus property taxes of $9,456, to a total of $62,514 - a 2,500 per cent increase.
It is mind-blowing. What business could ever sustain that sort of rent increase?
And this is just for their landing area.
Aside from the rental amount, how in the world do they justify an increase in property taxes to almost $10,000?
The entire airport's property taxes last year were $142,000. Is that small area almost seven per cent of the airport property?
If Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have any intention of attracting and growing businesses and tourism, why would they allow the Airport Society to proceed this way?
Pacific Skydivers is an important part of the economy of the area. In business there for more than 20 years, its staff and owners have bought property and homes in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, to be close to work. It supports local businesses - fuel purchases, aircraft repairs, local pubs, and restaurants.
It attracts tourism and potential residents to the area. People from all over Metro Vancouver come to do tandem jumps for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions: they get to see our community and what it has to offer from the land and the air.
Why would we do anything to jeopardize that?
The situation at the airport and the Airport Society needs some close scrutiny.
Drew Allan and Maple Ridge
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