The Property Assessment Appeal Board has ruled in favour of BC Ferries in its appeal of the assessed value of two properties at the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal, resulting in significantly reduced tax revenues for the District of West Vancouver in 2013.
Friday, November 2, 2012, West Vancouver, BC
In its ruling, the Appeal Board reduced the previous 2012 assessed values for these two parcels, which had been valued at $41.4 million and $6.3 million respectively, to $10.00 each. The decision is retroactive to 2010, 2011 and 2012 and will require the District to repay property tax revenues collected for the last three years.
“The District of West Vancouver is extremely disappointed with the Property Assessment Appeal Board’s ruling, which is a significant loss of property tax revenue for us,” says Mayor Michael Smith. “We are appealing this unfair decision, which essentially means West Vancouver taxpayers will now bear the cost of fire, police, parks and roads services at the terminal. We will do everything we can to reduce the impact of this decision on our taxpayers. This is another example of costs being downloaded to a municipality, and this decision sets a precedent for assessment reviews for ferry terminals in the entire province. Every city and town in B.C. that has a ferry terminal should be worried about this outrageous decision.”
The ruling translates into a loss of approximately $250,000 in anticipated tax revenue for 2013 and the repayment of approximately $750,000 in tax revenues collected since 2010. The District has been working on a 2013 Proposed Budget that did not contain a property tax rate increase, but the projected loss of revenue from this ruling could translate into a property tax increase of 2 per cent in 2013. “To suggest that a large parcel of West Vancouver waterfront has no value is absurd,” Smith adds.
The District is appealing the Appeal Board’s ruling, but can only do so on a “stated case” basis. This means that any appeal can only be on point of law; the District cannot introduce any new facts into the case. The Appeal Board based its determination on the grounds that the properties have no market value because they have no other purpose other than as a ferry terminal and there is no potential for profit under this use.
Residents will have the opportunity to discuss the potential implications of the Appeal Board’s ruling at two 2013 Proposed Budget Open Houses. The first is scheduled for November 14 from 6–8 p.m. in the Seaview Room at Gleneagles Community Centre and the second for Wednesday, November 21 from 6–8 p.m. in the Marine Room at the Seniors’ Activity Centre. Please visit westvancouver.ca/budget for more information after November 6.