Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nanaimo & Saanich Challenge Ferries Assessment

Both Nanaimo City Council and North Saanich District Council yesterday endorsed recommendations to jointly appeal a recent decision of the Property Assessment Appeal Board regarding the Horseshoe Bay terminal in West Vancouver.  This decision reduced the assessed values of the upland (non-maritime) property from more than $47 million in 2012 to only $20.00. This will result in the District of West Vancouver having to pay back more than $750,000 for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 taxation years.

Although this decision will not immediately impact the City of Nanaimo, it previews what could happen should BC Ferries appeal the assessments of their terminals.  In 2012, BC Ferries paid approximately $1.1 million in property taxes on the three terminals in Nanaimo. The appeal is of immediate concern to North Saanich given it is already under appeal from BC Ferries. In North Saanich for 2012 the amount was approximately $395,000 on the Schwartz Bay terminal.

It is unusual for one municipality to appeal an assessment ruling in another jurisdiction.  In this case, Council of both municipalities believe that being a participant in the process is the best way to protect the interests of all Nanaimo and North Saanich citizens.  It is also a way to support BC Assessment and the District of West Vancouver, who have already filed their own appeals of the Property Assessment Appeal Board decision. Nanaimo and North Saanich will participate jointly in this appeal, sharing legal resources and costs.

Mayor John Ruttan says “Council believes that it is important that every property bear its fair share of the cost of the services that are provided by local government. We think that this is the best way to ensure this outcome in this instance.”

Mayor Alice Finall of North Saanich endorsed that statement.   She stated further: “Acting jointly in this manner should improve the possibility of a fair outcome for our two municipalities.  For both, the sharing of costs and legal resources in pursuing a common aim makes good sense.”


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