The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is suing Sunshine Oilsands Ltd. over $15.8 million of unpaid taxes and arrears, according to court documents.
The municipality filed a statement of claim on June 26 in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Fort McMurray.
The taxes are linked to the West Ells facility, a steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) oilsands operation west of Fort McKay.
None of the allegations have been proven in court. At the time of publication, Sunshine Oilsands had not filed a statement of defence.
The taxes are for the years 2016 to 2020. The statement of claim says, “Assessment Notices and Tax Notices have been duly issued by the Municipality to the Defendant in respect to the Property in each of the Tax Years and the Defendant has never commenced any assessment complaint in respect to any of the Tax Years.”
The West Ells oilsands project produces 5,000 barrels a day and started in 2015.
In an email, a representative for the municipality said it’s owed $19 million in outstanding property taxes from oilsands companies in the region.
But at this time “no other similar situation to the Sunshine Oilsands case exists as of now.”
The municipality said the decision to take the matter to court was because a “possible limitation deadline came up that requires the RMWB to file a claim to exercise this option.”
But the municipality is still willing to work with the company directly to find a “fair and equitable” solution.
The statement of claim says that the municipality will continue to accrue penalties.
Sunshine Oilsands Ltd. did not respond to CBC’s request for comment.