An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
TRUST OUR B.C. NDP GOVERNMENT to turn the annual property assessment lottery into a political issue.
And trust them to make it all about the Lower Mainland.
Most of us have received our assessment notices by now, and those who haven’t can go on the B.C. Assessment Authority website to find out. We should, according to Selina Robinson, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, be pleased.
This year’s assessments represent a “moderating trend” in housing properties, especially in regions hardest hit by sky-high property-value increases, she says, especially in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
Robinson calls it “a positive sign that our government’s efforts to make housing more affordable for more British Columbians are having a real impact.
“For too long, the previous government sat back and watched housing prices climb well out of the reach of average people.”
By that logic, the government’s housing strategy is a total failure in the Interior, since double-digit increases in assessments seem to be pretty common. Mine, for example, took a 15-per-cent jump this year after several stable years.
Changes in assessments of single detached homes in the Thompson area range between minus five per cent to more than 20 per cent, while condos are up as much as 15 per cent or more.
Total assessed value of homes in Kamloops is up seven percent, Ashcroft and Lytton are up a whopping 17 per cent, Lillooet 20 per cent and Clinton 25 per cent.
None of that represents moderation or stability. As we all know, higher assessments don’t automatically mean higher taxes but for those whose assessments have gone up disproportionately in their own communities, it does.
That’s something Robinson could at least have acknowledged in her tribute to the Big Smoke.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org