Fallout from tragic slide still being felt
Landslide-affected property drops by 91 per cent in value.
By JUSTIN BEDDALL Staff Reporter
Jan 12 2006

While most North Shore residential property owners garnered 10 to 20 per cent increases in the assessed value of their homes in 2005, Nancy Van Insberghe’s property value plummeted by nearly 91 per cent.

Insberghe’s property, located at 2430 Chapman Way, is directly adjacent to the home destroyed during last year’s horrific mudslide that killed Eliza Kuttner and seriously injured her husband, Michael.

When the 2005 tax roll came out her house was valued at $670,000. BC Assessment now has the value of property pegged at $62,300 in the recently released 2006 tax roll.

Her property is one of the nine that the District of North Vancouver had planned to purchase in the aftermath of the January 19th slide, but she learned recently that the District — which has already reached settlements with eight of the other homeowners — would not be offering her a full buy-out package. According to the District, the preliminary assessment of her home concluded that it was only necessary to purchase a small portion of 2.2-acre property — the driveway area, which was directly impacted by the slide.

While the District has maintained that it is committed to ongoing discussions and reaching a fair and positive resolution with Van Insberghe, an insurance coverage issue associated with the property appears to be a major sticking point.

Van Insberghe, who is at the moment waiting for the results of a new geotechnical report that will ostensibly determine the fate of her property, was understandably upset by the swift devaluation of her home.

“It’s your biggest asset, your life savings are tied up in it, it’s not like you can just walk away from it. All $62,300 of it,” she said Tuesday.

She’s hoping the District will resolve the issue soon. “It’s a huge burden not to have it resolved,” she said. “I wish I could be [optimistic] but until I get some concrete evidence it’s really hard to be: it’s been on and off, up and down. It’s just been devastating to never know where you stand.”

Other slide-affected homes that have been purchased by the District also received drastic declines in assessed value in 2006, with prices ranging between $51,800 (2274 Chapman Way) to $47,400 (2175 Berkley Ave.)

Jason Grant, an assessor for the North Shore/Squamish Valley region, noted that “the properties affected by the buyout were reduced by BC Assessment to nominal values to reflect their intended future use as green space.”

Grant said he had no knowledge of being contacted by Van Insberghe directly but encouraged anyone with questions about their assessment to contact BC Assessment.

“If you look at the other ones, every one that has been purchased — the nine — they’re all reduced in excess of 90 per cent, including mine, but mine was on the list to be purchased,” Van Insberghe noted.

“It’s unbelievable. What can you say?” she added. “Everybody else is jumping for joy because they have this increase in value and I had a 91 per cent decrease.”

One of Van Insberghe’s neighbours, located at 2274 Chapman Way, received $747,000 for their home from the District in the buyout settlement.

District spokeswoman Colleen Brow said it was not appropriate for the municipality to comment on a decision made by BC Assessment.

“Ms. Van Insberghe is encouraged to bring up the matter with the BC Assessment Authority but we are not privy to their assessment process and unfortunately are unable to comment on that,” Brow said.