Delta to lose $133K in BC Ferries terminal land reassessment

A ferry approaches the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal off Point Roberts. - Adrian MacNair photo
A ferry approaches the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal off Point Roberts.
— image credit: Adrian MacNair photo

BC Ferries will not be living rent free in Tsawwassen after Community, Sport and Cultural Development minister Bill Bennett stepped in to resolve a dispute between West Vancouver and the transportation authority.

However, the Corporation of Delta will be out more than $130,000 in tax revenues due to a lower assesment of the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.

Delta became involved as an official intervenor in the assessment dispute after the province’s Property Assessment Appeal Board devalued the lands around the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal from $47 million to just $20, arguing the land has no value because its sole function is a ferry terminal.

The District of West Vancouver launched a court challenge since the valuation essentially eliminated $250,000 from the district’s tax revenue stream.

Delta was concerned BC Ferries would make similar appeals at the Tsawwassen Ferry terminal, which provided $688,000 in tax revenue to the municipality in 2012.

The new five-year settlement will see the assessed value of the Tsawwassen ferry terminal drop by nearly 20 per cent, resulting in a tax loss of $133,426.

But Mayor Lois Jackson called the settlement fair and praised Bennett for taking on the problem “by the horns.”

“When the story came out about West Vancouver and they were downgrading the assessed value to $20 it was totally unreasonable, totally unfair to the local taxpayers and it was really quite a mess, causing a lot of work for our staff,” said Jackson, adding Delta was willing to go “to the wall” to prevent BC Ferries from making a similar move here.

Despite the fact Delta will take a financial hit, Jackson said a portion is better than none at all.

Delta’s manager of budgeting and taxation, Vivian Koo, said the Corporation has already adopted a draft budget based on the known expenditures planned for 2013.

“What is unknown at this time is we always estimate a value for new growth and new property taxes and that we won’t finalize until closer to April,” she said. “So hopefully there’s some room there to make up the difference.”

Tsawwassen’s ferry terminal is the most valuable property in BC Ferries with a reassessed value of $51.7 million, down 19.4 per cent from the $64.1 million pre-settlement value.

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