News West Nipissing island residents oppose paying taxes for services they don’t receive SHARE ON: Rocco Frangione, staff Wednesday, Dec. 4th, 2019 Municipality of West Nipissing to look into tax structure for island residents (Supplied by Livestream) The Municipality of West Nipissing will look into whether taxes can change for island residents. Councillor Denis Senecal brought the matter to council and sided with the island residents saying many don’t feel they receive the same services as non-island residents and as a consequence they should be paying less in taxes. In a letter to council, the residents ask elected officials to consider creating a tax category for water access residents similar to what’s in place in Muskoka and Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands. Although staff will look into the matter, some councillors oppose the concept. Roly Larabie says while he would like to support the idea, the fact is the only service island residents don’t have is a driveway to their cottages. “They have a road the (general) public pays for and they have access to the dump,” Larabie said while naming several services everyone has. His colleague, Jeremy Seguin says the island residents also have firefighting services even though that service is provided by boat. Councillors Yvon Duhaime and Chris Fisher also opposed the different tax structure with Fisher pointing out he lives on the highway and has no lights or sewers but still pays under the same tax structure. But Denis Senecal countered the arguments with the question, “how do you justify taxing someone who gets no services.” Mayor Joanne Savage sided with Senecal by pointing out there are very clear services the islanders don’t receive like having the roads plowed. Savage also pointed out the residents don’t have sidewalks or lights. The Mayor said it would be a sign of good faith if the matter could be examined. “It’s a tedious task but at least it will put closure to the issue if we can find out what the amount will be,” Savage said. Lise Senecal was another councillor who sided with the islanders saying there was a big difference with the services the residents of the islands received compared to non-islanders. “To me, they’re paying for nothing,” Senecal said. Staff has been directed to breakdown the cost of services homeowners receive so a tax comparison can be made between both types of settings. It may take about two months to compile those figures.