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Nanaimo gives train station tax break

Oct 07 2012

The recently restored E&N railway station on Selby Street will soon be one of just four historic buildings in Nanaimo with a 10-year property tax exemption from city council.

The tax exemption for the 126-year-old heritage building, which was severely damaged by arsonists five years ago, received approval in principle from city council in 2010. Final approval is expected to be given at the council meeting scheduled for Oct. 29.

The building re-opened in July.

The Island Corridor Foundation, which owns the station that has seen $2.4 million in renovations since the fire, will save approximately $30,000 in municipal property taxes annually for 10 years.

Chris Sholberg, Nanaimo's heritage planner, said the foundation has done everything that is required to qualify for the tax exemption, including investing more than $200,000 into the building's renovations.

"The E&N railway station is a case-book example of an iconic landmark building in Nanaimo that is important to the city's history," Sholberg said.

"It's one of the top-rated buildings on the city's heritage registrar."

The other three heritage buildings in the city that have qualified for the 10-year municipal tax exemption are the Great National Land Trust Building, the Commercial Hotel, which is now the Painted Turtle Guesthouse, and the Gusola Block.

The original E&N station in Nanaimo was officially opened Aug. 13, 1886, following Sir John A. Macdonald's hammering the "last spike" of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railroad at Cliffside, near Shawnigan Lake.

The first train arrived in Nanaimo at 12: 30 p.m. that day.

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