Let’s start with city council’s latest – and hopefully last – decision on this year’s tax take.
After all my grousing prior to the budget deliberations, it would be churlish of me not to give a bit of thumbs up for giving residential an 11 per cent tax break.
Of course that’s only just over half the amount they hiked us last year and nine per cent less than the decrease in the average assessed value of a home, but at least they didn’t try and steal any of the $200 northern and rural homeowner benefit we get from the province this year.
(Incidentally, in those earlier taxation editorials I talked about that benefit as an increase to the normal home owner’s grant. It is in fact a new and separate grant – sorry for any confusion).
Is that good news enough though to offset having to sit through those often shambolic marathon sessions on the budget?
And trying to figure out the dizzying on-again off-again shenanigans of rate apportionment?
Well, the sun is shining, the snow’s off my roof and the first crocuses are in bloom in my front garden.
So I am in a cheerful enough frame of mind to say all is forgiven.
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The announcement of a new player in the KM LNG project answered a nagging question I’ve had for some time now.
Knowing that Encana was a 50:50 partner with Apache in a major gas play in the Horn River Basin, I couldn’t understand why they weren’t also buddied up on the LNG front.
So that’s that one out of the way.
But here’s another.
Cenovus, as you will recall, bought the Methanex site towards the end of last year. Paid $38 million for it.
Yet in noting that purchase in its year-end report, Cenovus stated it planned to sell the terminal in anticipation of being able to negotiate a deal with the new owner that would allow it to continue bringing in condensate.
So why buy it just to flip it?
And flip it to whom?
How about their sister company, someone who would obviously be co-operative when it came to continuing condensate shipments?
Which would, of course, be Encana.
We shall see what we shall see.