Pictuted here are (front, from the left): Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher, Theresa Borden, Alex Cameron, manager of the Royal Canadian Legion – Arras Branch 59, and Antigonish County Warden Owen McCarron. (Back, from the left): Jeff Teasdale, executive director for the Antigonish branch of the CACL, and Central Nova MP Sean Fraser are seen here outside the former Philatelic building in Antigonish.

ANTIGONISH: A request from the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) to change their tax rate assessment from commercial to residential was defeated by councillors in the Town of Antigonish.

Representatives with the CACL made the request during the town’s regular monthly council meeting on May 17. After a discussion on the issue, councillors defeated the motion 6-1, with town councillor Sean Cameron as the only supportive vote.

Following the meeting, Mayor Laurie Boucher said while the town fully supports the CACL, and they recognize they’re an intricate part of the community, this is just not the way council wishes to support them.

“With a number of not-for-profits we have in the Town of Antigonish, council has determined that the best way to give someone support is through our Community Grant Program,” Boucher said. “That is the intention of the grants, to help people out when they need it, especially this year because of COVID. We understand CACL, just like other businesses in the area are really struggling.”

According to Boucher, she explained property evaluations determine CACL is a commercial entity because they sell woodworking products, they offer catering services, they employ people, and they run a café.

While she recognizes the difficulty they’re facing, highlighting the fact they’ve been closed for a while and a lot of their clients are immune compromised, council understands they do need a little bit of extra help.

The mayor encouraged CACL representatives to reach out to town staff to see what other ways they can help.

“It is the will of council that subsidizing their taxes is not the way to do it, but we invite them to come to us with any of the needs they have and we’ll be able to evaluate it then,” Boucher said. “We do have the ability to reduce it, but just because we can doesn’t mean that’s the best way forward and we understand it is a problem for them and we’ve given them a solution to the problem.”

She suggested senior staff will reach out to the chair of the board and also the executive director of CACL to discuss anything else they can do for them.

“If you look in the past the Town of Antigonish has (supported) the CACL wholeheartedly along the way,” Boucher said. “I have no reason to believe that won’t be the same going forward.”