Board Rules Airport Control Sites Worth $20

The Property Assessment Appeal Board has ruled that assessments at four air traffic control facilities in British Columbia will be reduced to just $20. The ruling affects properties in North Saanich, Castlegar, Penticton and Pitt Meadows. Responding to media questions, UBCM President Mary Sjostrom said the ruling demonstrates the need for changes in how assessments are determined.

“The recent assessment rulings on ferry terminals and air control towers point to a gap in criteria for evaluating these properties,” said Mayor Sjostrom. “The practical effect of these decisions is that they are shifting taxes onto residents and businesses.”

The rulings impact the 2011, 2012 and 2013 property assessments for the sites, which are privately owned by Nav Canada.  Victoria International Airport in North Saanich saw its assessment reduced from $1.43 million to $20.  Nav Canada is also seeking to reduce the $9.9 million assessment for the Vancouver International Airport. Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie called the situation ridiculous, adding that he had not been informed of Nav Canada's appeal.

“Just because you have a unique use for a building or some property and its zoned accordingly, to say it has no value is just fiction,” Brodie said.

In its ruling, the Appeal Board based its decision on its finding that the properties in question have “no identifiable market value” and are “used by a monopoly for a restricted use.” The Appeal Board decision also referenced “the need for a legislated solution that does not require forcing appraisal principles and market concepts on properties that do not trade in the market.”

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