Fingers are crossed at the BX Press Cidery near Vernon.
The B.C. Chamber of Commerce has passed a policy calling on the province to provide incentives for land-based wineries and cideries. They both face higher property taxes for producing an alcoholic beverage on agricultural land.
“While most production that occurs on agricultural property isn’t viewed as light industry, when alcohol is involved in that product, the building is viewed by BC Assessment as being light industrial and in most cases subject to significantly higher property taxes,” said Tracy Cobb-Reeves, president of the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce. “This is a real barrier to development and job creation at land-based wineries and cideries and we believe the province should review the issue.”
Melissa Dobernigg, of BX Press Cidery, is hopeful the call will be heeded by the province.
“Our property is taxed light industrial even though, under the (Agricultural Land Reserve), we are not allowed to have industry on farm land,” said Dobbernigg. “We grow our apples right here, we press them, we bottle it.”
“More funds would mean value added to the processing of our apples.”