B.C. ferries, B.C. Assessment reach deal on terminal assessments

Nanaimo to lose $150,000 in taxes after three terminals here are reduced in value by 22 per cent.

Nanaimo will lose $150,000 in total tax revenue from its three B.C. Ferry terminals after the provincial government stepped in to resolve a property assessment dispute between the ferry corporation and B.C. Assessment.

In 2010, B.C. Ferries appealed the $47 million assessment given by B.C. Assessment for its Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. Late last year, the Property Assessment appeal board reduced the value of that property to just $20, saying the lease requires the property to be a ferry terminal, and because B.C. Ferries is losing money, a market-based approach suggests the property is virtually worthless.

If that decision had held, the City of West Vancouver would have had to pay B.C. Ferries back about $750,000 while losing the property from its tax base.

That decision, however, prompted B.C. Ferries to appeal its other 48 ferry terminals in the province by the Jan. 31 deadline, including Nanaimo’s Duke Point, Departure Bay and Gabriola terminals. If a similar decision was reached, Nanaimo would have lost $1.2 million in tax revenue, prompting Mayor John Ruttan and other mayors whose municipalities host ferry terminals to approach the province for a reasonable resolution.

On Thursday, Bill Bennett, minister of community, sport and cultural development announced the province had encouraged a deal between B.C. Ferries and B.C. Assessment that would see value in B.C. Ferry terminals be reduced by as little as 12 per cent in Richmond to as much as 22.1 per cent in Nanaimo.

“The appeal board decision directing B.C. Assessment to value the Horseshoe Bay terminal at $20 was simply not reasonable or fair to local taxpayers,” said Bennett. “I asked the parties to enter into discussions and agree to a fair assessment level that made sense. I am pleased with with the agreement and appreciate the efforts by everyone involved.”

Overall, B.C. Ferries will see about $1 million in total tax relief for all of its terminal properties for the length of the five-year agreement.

“We view this as a positive outcome for all parties involved,” said Deborah Marshall, B.C. Ferries spokeswoman. “All along we’ve stated we want to pay fair and reasonable property taxes throughout our service areas and we see this as a positive step. It also helps with predictability and helps mitigate fare increases.”

B.C Ferries claims its property taxes have risen from $1.3 million in 2003 to $5.2 million last year.

Prior to Thursday’s agreement, Nanaimo’s three ferry terminals were valued at $50.1 million. The adjusted taxable value is now $39.6 million, meaning Nanaimo will take a tax revenue hit of $150,686, the highest of any municipality.

The Horseshoe Bay terminal is once again assessed at $47.8 million, down from $54.6 million, which means the City of West Vancouver will lose $32,221 annually in taxes.

The municipality that takes the second biggest hit is Delta, which will lose $133,426.

Ruttan said while not ideal, the resolution provides certainty.

“We didn’t have much of a choice in this really, and I’m not entirely satisfied but at the same time it’s important to note, in my opinion, it’s fair and equitable,” he said. “But it’s still a lot of money and we obviously didn’t budget for this and we had no way of knowing in advance this was happening, and we’ll have to make up for it somewhere.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Nanaimo, as seen from the Nanaimo Parkway. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo’s state of the economy report points to positive outlook in hard times

Job losses and shutdowns have hurt, but some sectors showing resiliency

Firefighters from three departments battled a house fire south of Nanaimo for more than nine hours Sunday. (Photo courtesy Martin Leduc)
Home destroyed by fire south of Nanaimo

Firefighters from three fire departments battle blaze fanned by strong southerly winds on Sunday

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared over at Eden Gardens. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Nanaimo’s Eden Gardens

One staff member and one resident tested positive for the virus over past two weeks

Gabriola Island poet Naomi Beth Wakan’s latest book is ‘Wind on the Heath.’ (Photo courtesy Elias Wakan)
Former Nanaimo poet laureate revisits past poems in latest collection

Gabriola Island’s Naomi Beth Wakan presents career-spanning ‘Wind on the Heath’

A copy of the book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” by Dr. Seuss, rests in a chair, Monday, March 1, 2021, in Walpole, Mass. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author and illustrator’s legacy, announced on his birthday, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, that it would cease publication of several children’s titles including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo,” because of insensitive and racist imagery. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
6 Dr. Seuss books won’t be published for racist images

Books affected include McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer

FILE – Oshawa Generals forward Anthony Cirelli, left, shoots and scores his team’s first goal against Kelowna Rockets goalie Jackson Whistle during second period action at the Memorial Cup final in Quebec City on Sunday, May 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
B.C. government approves plan in principle to allow WHL to resume in the province

League includes Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants, Victoria Royals

The fundraising effort to purchase 40 hectares west of Cottonwood Lake announced its success this week. Photo: Submitted
Nelson society raises $400K to save regional park from logging project

The Nelson community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

AstraZeneca’s vaccine ready for use at the vaccination centre in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Reichel/dpa via AP
National panel advises against using Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on seniors

NACI panel said vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are preferred for seniors ‘due to suggested superior efficacy’

A public health order has extended the types of health care professionals who can give the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
‘It’s great that midwives are included’ in rollout of B.C.’s COVID vaccine plan, says college

The order will help the province staff the mass vaccination clinics planned for April

Shipping containers are seen at the Fairview Cove Container Terminal in Halifax on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Canadian economy contracted 5.4 per cent in 2020, worst year on record

Drop was largely due to shutdowns in the spring as COVID began to spread

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Most Read