Esquimalt repeals Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw, announces plans for business façade improvement program


News release
For immediate release 
Esquimalt, B.C.—Esquimalt is updating its approach to improving storefronts in the municipality. The township’s Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw—launched in 2015—incentivized businesses and properties to beautify the corridor while also supporting heritage conservation. 

The now-repealed program was part of Esquimalt’s 2014 Economic Development Strategy, which identified a number of strategies and actions for promoting economic growth. The goal was to provide property tax relief to approved properties for new construction and exterior improvements that have a minimum construction value of $10,000.

“As a council, we are committed to supporting revitalization and beautification initiatives along Esquimalt Road. While we saw some uptake in the Revitalization Tax Exemption program, it was overall not as successful as we had hoped,” said Mayor Barbara Desjardins. “We used feedback from that process to design an improved initiative that will be more accessible and flexible to businesses.”

The initiative is the forthcoming Business Façade Improvement Program. The program’s guidelines were presented to council on December 5 and approved unanimously. 

The program is open to businesses located in Esquimalt and outlines a list of eligible improvements including permanent features such as signage, awnings, lighting, windows and exterior surfaces. Successful applicants would be repaid the costs of eligible improvements.  

The grant is intended to pay for labour and materials to complete façade improvements on main roads and, for corner buildings, façades on intersecting streets. 

The township’s involvement would be limited to program development and marketing as well as an initial compliance review of all applications. The Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce has agreed to administer the program on the township’s behalf. The Chamber would be responsible for approving applications and issuing payments; payments would go from the township through the Chamber to the applicant.

Funding for this program would be established similarly to the local grants account with an annual amount included in the financial plan.

The next steps in the new program are to finalize administrative details and prepare communications. The program is expected to launch in spring 2023. 

While no new applications are being accepted to the Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw, existing revitalization agreements will remain in place contingent on their continued compliance with all terms and conditions. 

More information

Façade Improvement Program: staff report



Tara Zajac, Manager of Communications
[email protected]