Should Sun Rivers residents pay hospital taxes?

The mayor of Kamloops thinks they and other non-Tk'emlups members living on the reserve should indeed chip in — and the Tk'emlups council is looking into implementing such a tax collection.

The Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation intends to examine how it can add to the collection of hospital taxes.

During a council to council meeting at Sandman Centre this week, Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian, who is also chair of the Thompson Regional Hospital District, told Tk’emlups representatives he wants the band to collect hospital taxes from leasees on the reserve.

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“The average home in Kamloops spends about $160 a year in hospital tax and my understanding is those in Sun Rivers aren’t paying that piece and yet they have the same utilization [of Royal Inland Hospital] as the rest of the population,” Christian said.

Christian said he understands Tk’emlups members pay the tax through the First Nations Health Authority, but noted it’s not collected from non-Tk’emlups members living in developments such as Sun Rivers or the Silver Sage and G&M trailer parks.

Tk’emlups Coun. Katy Gottfriedson said the hospital tax issue is an ongoing concern for the band.

“I think there’s certainly conversations we can be having to look at supporting that,” Gottfriedson said. “This [band] council is very much strong in its stance on collecting of more taxes just for the ability for us to be more self-governing.”

She said the band does not want to be perceived as “draining any kind of resources because of the developments in our territory.”

Tk’emlups Chief Rosanne Casimir said the band will look over its current taxation laws and discuss how it can implement collection of hospital taxes before having conversations with other levels of government.

“We know we all utilize the hospital,” Casimir said.

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