Decades-long dispute over value of Citadel Hill nearing resolution: Halifax
Members of the 3rd Brigade of the Royal Artillery prepare to fire the noon gun on Citadel Hill in Halifax on Monday April 10, 2006. (Andrew Vaughan / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
HALIFAX -- Municipal officials in Halifax say a 22-year-long dispute with the federal government over the value of Citadel Hill is nearing an end.
Halifax spokesman Brendan Elliott says acting CAO John Traves has been in discussions with Ottawa recently and feels a resolution will be reached "shortly."
"(Traves) said they have been having good conversations and he gets the sense that there's a willingness to resolve it," said Elliot on Thursday.
The two sides went before a federal panel in Halifax nearly two years ago to help determine how much Ottawa owes the city in back taxes for the national historic site.
Early last year, the payment in lieu of taxes advisory panel valued Citadel Hill at $41.2 million -- $37.6 million more than what Ottawa argued the national historic site was worth.
The panel's recommendation was sent to the Public Works Department and minister Judy Foote will ultimately make the final decision, more than two decades after the dispute began.
The federal government had argued in Canada's top court that the roughly 16 hectares of land in downtown Halifax was only worth $10 because it has no commercial value.
But the Supreme Court ruled in June 2012 that Ottawa cannot set payments based on its own property value assessments that are far lower than provincial assessments.
While the federal government does not pay property taxes, the Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act provides a framework for municipalities to collect on federal property such as national historic sites and parks.