Nov. 24, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Rental rates for Crown land will be frozen and an independent third-party assessment will be undertaken to study fair-market value for the province's publicly owned land, Natural Resources Minister Wally Stiles announced today.
"Our government believes New Brunswickers should receive a reasonable rate of return from those leasing Crown land," said Stiles. "We also recognize, however, that determining market values for land in remote areas is difficult and subject to debate, so we have decided to conduct an independent assessment."
As a result of the decision, the provincial government is cancelling rent increases planned for 2010-11 and 2011-12 for camp lot, maple sugary and other leaseholders. This decision will save 3,200 leaseholders $573,422 in 2010-11 and $981,855 annually beginning in 2011-12. Stiles said letters will be going out to all leaseholders immediately informing them of the independent study and the cancellation of the increases.
Stiles said hundreds of leaseholders contacted the department when Crown land rental rates were increased this year and notice given of planned increases in each of the following two years. A common issue raised by many of the leaseholders was the market value placed on Crown land in remote areas.
"The information gathered in this independent study will be of great value in establishing rents for Crown land that are fair and reasonable for the owners and the users of public land," he said. "Once this study has been completed, we will review the findings to determine whether the rental rates are at the appropriate level or should be adjusted."
Stiles said that the department will immediately begin the process of selecting an independent third party, and it plans to have the study completed by next summer.
There are 2,718 camp lot leaseholders and 508 other leaseholders in the province, including those operating maple sugaries.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Matt Jones, communications, Department of Natural Resources, 506-453-2614, e-mail, email@example.com; Anne Bull Monteith, communications, Department of Natural Resources, 506-453-2614, e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.