B.C. Ferries is appealing its 2012 property assessment for portions of the Langdale terminal that are worth about $26,000 in tax revenue for the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD).
The appeal is one of several that B.C. Ferries has filed on terminal properties this year and comes after the B.C. property assessment appeal board's ruling Nov. 2 in favour of dropping the Horseshoe Bay terminal's assessment from almost $48 million to $20, retroactive to 2010.
The combined assessment for all B.C. Ferries properties in the SCRD is $6.4 million; the Earls Cove terminal property is assessed at just over $1 million and the Langdale terminal properties make up the balance.
The total 2012 taxes on all the properties comes to $96,000, and of that amount, the SCRD receives about $34,000, staff told the SCRD's corporate and administrative services committee on Nov. 22.
The portion of the Langdale property under appeal is the parking lot on the waterfront and the loading area and docks. B.C. Ferries did not appeal the assessment on the upper-level parking lot and ticket kiosks at Langdale, nor the Earls Cove property, treasurer Tina Perreault told the committee.
"We have had no indication of why they selected the Langdale terminal," Perreault said.
The committee voted to send a letter to the B.C. Assessment Authority, opposing a reduction in the Langdale assessment and detailing the services provided by the SCRD.
"Almost an impact statement," said Roberts Creek director Donna Shugar, "because it does have an impact and we do provide services to ferry terminal properties."
Answering concerns about the retroactive terms of the Horseshoe Bay ruling, Perreault said that appeal had originally been launched in 2010, while the appeal on the Langdale terminal was filed only this year.
The Horseshoe Bay ruling -which is under appeal by the District of West Vancouver - represents a $1-million hit to the municipality in current and back taxes that would have to be repaid.
"We are appealing this unfair decision, which essentially means West Vancouver taxpayers will now bear the cost of fire, police, parks and road services at the terminal," West Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith said in a media release after the Nov. 2 ruling. "This is another example of costs being downloaded to a municipality, and this decision sets a precedent for assessment reviews for ferry terminals in the entire province," Smith said in the release. "Every city and town in B.C. that has a ferry terminal should be worried about this outrageous decision."
The appeal board based its decision, said the release, "on the grounds that the properties have no market value because they have no purpose other than as a ferry terminal, and there is no potential for profit under this use."
No date has been set for the Langdale assessment appeal.
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