Pits & Quarries
Decision that will have 50 gravel pits pay back taxes may have province-wide implications
March 1, 2023 By Wellington Advertiser
An Ontario Divisional Court decision that will see about 50 Wellington County gravel pits pay around $4 million in back taxes is good news for residents of Wellington County and will have implications province-wide, county officials say.
The decision has roots in a series of appeals of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation’s (MPAC) assessments of aggregate properties which were settled prior to 2016 when MPAC and the Ontario Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (OSSGA) negotiated a new formula for assessment of gravel pits and quarries. The land value for the purpose of current value assessment became approximately $9,200 per acre in Wellington County’s three southeastern municipalities: Puslinch, Erin and Guelph/Eramosa.
In its appeal that led to the 2021 decision, the county argued assessment of up to $137,000 per acre would be more realistic for some of the properties, based on sale values of vacant land available for development as gravel pits. However, the review board ruled gravel pits are unique in Ontario due to legislation that sets them apart by distinguishing the value of the aggregate itself from the cost of the land, meaning they can only reasonably be compared to other gravel pits. Since the original decision was released in 2021 by the assessment review board, there have been hundreds of appeals by municipalities across the province.
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