Van Belle Nurseries. Undated file photo

Another greenhouse operator condemns health care payroll tax

If the province wants tax revenue, approve pipeline, says Abbotsford-based Van Belle Nursery owner

Another large Fraser Valley greenhouse operator has condemned the new provincial health care payroll tax for loading new costs onto their business.

“It really hurts,” said Dave Van Belle, president of Van Belle Nursery, an Abbotsford-based greenhouse that grows over 400 varieties of plants at four locations covering 100 acres.

Van Belle told The Times his company is “in the same boat” as Langley-based Darvonda Nurseries, which made the news last Tuesday (Feb. 27) when Langley East Liberal MLA Rich Coleman rose during question period in the Victoria legislature to say the Jansen family that operates Darvonda was “blindsided” by the announcement of the tax.

Darvonda co-founder Tamara Jansen estimated the tax would mean $100,000 in added costs for the family business and warned they may be forced to make cuts as a result.

Van Belle, who employs up to 150 people at peak, anticipates the same cost.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Langley greenhouse faces $100K hit from health tax

Van Belle said the tax was “bad for business.”

“It’s maybe good for populist vote-getting,” Van Belle said.

“If they’re (the provincial NDP government) looking for tax revenue, let the (TransMountain) pipeline go through. There’s billions waiting to be happening, to be collected right there.”

He said the government was raising revenue “on the backs of people who are creating jobs (and) the people who are creating jobs like me, are getting sick of it.”

He said his company is re-evaluating its plans as a result.

“There’s only so much you can risk before you start saying, we’re not going to hire any more or we’re going to put a hold,” Van Belle said.

When Coleman brought up the impact of the tax on Darvonda last week, he directed his questions at the provincial minister of agriculture.

“Do you think this family should lay off people, should they reduce production, make it a smaller farm, sell the farm or increase prices?” Coleman said.

Finance minister Finance Minister Carole James responded by saying that most businesses won’t pay the tax or will pay only a portion.

“Anyone with a payroll of under $500,000 will not pay anything,” James said.

The five per cent of businesses with payrolls of more than $1.5 million will pay the full 1.95 per cent, she added. Businesses that fall between will pay a portion of the full tax.

“We are protecting health care that we all care about in this province, and supporting small business, and supporting citizens in British Columbia,” James said.

READ MORE: BC BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Just Posted

UFV baseball coach returns to pro ranks

Jordan Lennerton, who also coaches at ‘The Yard’ in Chilliwack, played 1 game for the Quebec Capitales

Camp Ignite aims to inspire future first responders

Four-day camp offers young women a chance to experience the challenges of being a first responder

General aviation traffic down to a trickle at Chilliwack Airport

Minimum visibility guidelines can’t be met when conditions are so smoky you can’t see the mountains

At least 14 illegal fires set between Chilliwack and Hope this month

Conservation officers are fed up with people not listening to the province-wide fire ban

Surging Valley Huskers stun Okanagan Sun

The perenial doormat Huskers beat the perenial powerhouse Sun 22-18 in Chilliwack Saturday night.

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Canada’s team chasing elusive gold medal at women’s baseball World Cup

Canada, ranked No. 2 behind Japan, opens play Wednesday against No. 10 Hong Kong

Lower Mainland animals feeling effects of smoky skies

Animal shelters are trying to keep their critters healthy through the smoggy days.

Former B.C. detective gets 20 months in jail for kissing teen witnesses

James Fisher, formerly with Vancouver police department, pleaded guilty to three charges in June

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark criticizes feds for buying pipeline

The $4.5 billion purchase of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline second worst decision, she said

‘Takes more courage to fail’: B.C. ultra-marathon swimmer reflects on cancelled try at record

Susan Simmons halted her swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back because of hypothermia

Animals moved from B.C. Interior shelters to make way for pets displaced by wildfires

The Maple Ridge SPCA houses animals to make space for pets evacuated from B.C.’s burning interior.

$21.5 million medical pot plant to be built in B.C.

The facility is to be built in Princeton

Most Read