Court decision could mean big bucks for Canada's historical sites

Allen Rollin, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:41 PM ET

MONCTON, N.B. - Historic sites across Canada are hoping for a huge boost in revenue after the Supreme Court ruled the feds have been lowballing payments to Halifax.

For 20 years, the city has been fighting to have the federal government recognize the value of its historic Citadel land, blocks from the water's edge, to be $19 million.

The feds have insisted that, because it has no commercial value and cannot be developed, the site is worth only $10.

While not setting a specific value on the historic site, the Supreme Court on Friday sided with Halifax that the federal government has wildly underestimated the value of the 45 acres of the downtown area.

Ottawa is exempt from paying property taxes, but it is required to offer funding grants in lieu, and those are based on land value.

Halifax says, with the new ruling, it is owed $7 million in back pay for the historical site.

"(The ruling is) a very important victory not only for Halifax but for all municipalities across Canada," where other historic lands and National Parks are facing the same undervaluation, Halifax mayor Peter Kelly said Monday.