No tax break for Upper Canada Academy

In this August 2018, file photo, the Fairfield House on County Road 2 near Summerstown, Ont. South Glengarry won't be giving a tax break to the developer of this property, who is building a boarding house for international students. The township's hands are largely tied by provincial law. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

SUMMERSTOWN – A boarding facility for international students going to area schools won’t be getting a tax break from South Glengarry.

The developer of Upper Canada Academy (UCA) had come to council in January asking for a $5,000 cap on property taxes for the County Road 2 property for seven years.

Jesse Ning was looking for some relief given his multi-million dollar investment. The first phase of construction, which started last month, is $2.8 million and another phase would start in 2022 at a cost of $5 million.

The facility, in the historic Cariboo Cameron home (Fairfield House) overlooking the St. Lawrence River, is expected to house 200 students and hundreds of summer campers while creating 30 full-time and 30-40 part-time jobs.

But in a report to council tonight (Monday), the CFO says the municipality’s hands are tied due to provincial law.

“Ultimately, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing stated that we have no authority to offer tax abatement to the UCA,” Corporate Services GM Lachlan McDonald wrote.

Had the cap gone ahead, South Glengarry stood to lose anywhere from $17,000 to $26,000 in taxes every year ($120,000 to $183,000 over seven years).

Update 10 p.m. Monday: As expected, South Glengarry council unanimously rejected a tax break for Upper Canada Academy, based on the staff report.