Slide area homeowners may get tax break

By Justin Beddall
Staff Reporter


Homeowners affected by last week's tragic mudslide in North Vancouver will not receive retroactive adjustments to their 2005 property value assessment.

Earlier this month, B.C. Assessment sent out property value assessment notices, but according to North Shore area assessor Jason Grant it's too late to make any changes to the assessed values of homes affected by the slide for the 2005 assessment role.

Grant explained B.C. Assessment is bound by a series of provincially legislated dates that doesn't permit the property assessment authority to add newly constructed homes or remove destroyed homes from the assessment role after Oct. 31, 2004.

"We are unable to change the assessment role because of the slides," Grant said. "When the time is appropriate, B.C. Assessment will be working with the local government officials and consulting with homeowners to determine the extent to which this matter will impact the 2006 assessment role."

Grant said vendors and purchasers will ultimately determine changes to property value assessment in the area affected by the slides.

"It's up to the market to determine what will be paid for homes in that area."

Longtime Riverside Drive resident Charles Brauner's property assessment went up $70,000 in 2005. He believes that homeowners in the area affected by the mudslide should have their property values re-assessed and then pay property taxes based on the re-assessed values.

B.C. Assessment is an independent Crown Corporation that provides property assessments for homeowners and local governments, but is not responsible for issuing taxes.

District of North Vancouver chief financial officer John McPherson said Wednesday that the municipality does have the ability to appeal to Victoria for tax relief for the affected homeowners, but noted, "the granting of that relief would be up to the province."

McPherson added it is up to District council to decide if the municipality will make a formal application to Victoria. "We'll do what we can for these folks."

Coun. Alan Nixon said Wednesday that he could see no reason why council wouldn't give some consideration to making a formal application to Victoria. He did note, however, that it would have to be done on a case-by-case, site-specific basis.

"I can't see why we wouldn't debate it," Nixon said.

Coun. Maureen McKeon-Holmes agreed.

"Staff will be preparing for council a petition to the government to get homeowners tax assessment relief, we have to make the case though [to the provincial government]."

Brauner, meanwhile, noted that property value assessments are a relatively minor inconvenience compared to the tragic loss of life and property following last week's disaster.