City officials concerned over Horseshoe Bay terminal assessment

Board rules ferry terminal and property virtually worthless, West Vancouver could have to return $750,000 in taxes.

A decision by the provincial Property Assessment Appeal Board to significantly reduce the assessed value of B.C. Ferries’ Horseshoe Bay terminal and property has Nanaimo city officials concerned.

In late October, the board ruled to decrease the assessed value of the upland property of the terminal from $47 million to just $20. Since the appeal was launched in 2010, the new assessment means the City of West Vancouver may have to pay back B.C. Ferries more than $750,000 in taxes – $250,000 for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 taxation years.

The portion of the property in question includes everything but the maritime berths.

The board ruled that because the land lease requires the property to be a ferry terminal, and that B.C. Ferries is losing money, a market-based approach suggests the land is virtually worthless.

The Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay route on its own, however, is profitable.

Brian Clemens, Nanaimo’s director of finance, said the city has, along with the North Saanich District Council, requested to participate in an appeal of the assessment because the decision could affect Nanaimo.

“We have similar fact patterns here in Nanaimo so it is reasonable to assume that B.C. Ferries would extend that logic to Nanaimo if it can,” said Clemens.

In 2012, B.C. Ferries paid approximately $1.1 million in property taxes to the City of Nanaimo for three terminals — Departure Bay, Gabriola and Duke Point.

There are currently no appeals by B.C. Ferries regarding its Nanaimo properties.

The appeal is of immediate concern to North Saanich, however, given it is already under appeal from B.C. Ferries.

Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan said participating in the appeal is the best way for Nanaimo to protect its interests.

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

Nanaimo’s request to participate could still be rejected.

Deborah Marshall, spokeswoman for B.C. Ferries, said because case is under appeal the corporation is not in a position to comment.

Clemens said it is an unusual step for the city to become involved in assessment appeals.

“It rarely happens in our own community never mind another community,” he said. “But this has such a potential impact  on the City of Nanaimo we wanted to become as involved as we could to protect our taxpayers’ interests.”

Just Posted

New Vancouver Island University chancellor Judith Sayers was sworn in at a virtual ceremony June 17. (Submitted photo)
VIU’s new chancellor seeks innovation and equality in post-secondary education

Judith Sayers officially sworn in as Vancouver Island University chancellor

Letter writer suggests ways residents and the municipality can address the problem of litter along the highway. (Stock photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Don’t add to litter problem

Letter writer who picks up litter along Parkway Trail implores Nanaimo to be tidier

Janice Coady, left, Aimee Chalifoux and Linda Milford at a vigil for Amy Watts on Wednesday, June 16, outside Nanaimo city hall. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

The B.C. Ministry of Education has announced close to $44 million for the province’s schools for COVID-19 recovery. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school stakeholders say COVID-19 recovery funding can make a difference

B.C. Ministry of Education announces it expects a ‘near-normal’ return to class in September

Nanaimo artist Melissa Anderson has paintings on display at White Rabbit Coffee Co. for the next month. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo painter showcases coastal Island views in first exhibit in two years

Melissa Anderson presents ‘Seascapes’ oil painting exhibit at White Rabbit Coffee Co.

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Seth Rogen’s vibrant orange sculpture was sold for $7,000 above Vancouver Art Gallery’s initial estimation at auction Tuesday. June 15. (Heffel Fine Arts)
Vase made by Seth Rogen sells for $12,000 at Vancouver auction

The B.C.-born comedian has a new pot habit and it’s paying off

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Camper van explosion burns Vancouver Island gas station to the ground

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

John Furlong told the Vancouver Board of Trade on Feb. 20, 2020 that he thinks the city could and should bid for the 2030 Winter Games. (CP photo)
PODCAST: John Furlong lays out a ‘provincial’ B.C. plan to host the 2030 Winter Olympics

Podcast: Chat includes potential role for Vancouver Island communities

The BC Ferries’ website is down for the second time in one week from what they say is likely an overwhelming increase in web traffic. (Black Press Media file photo)
Surging web traffic crashes BC Ferries’ site again

Website down for second time this week

Most Read