On Monday October 29, 2012 the B.C. Property Assessment Appeal Board released an important decision reducing the assessed value for property tax of the upland land and improvements at the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal to a nominal value. BC Ferries occupies the Province-owned property both under a long-term lease restricting the property use to ferry terminal, and under a contract imposing service requirements for the three routes to and from Nanaimo, Langdale and Bowen Island. If not used this way, the terminal reverts to the Crown. In determining the assessed value of the property, the Board is required to take into consideration the impact of the lease use restriction and contractual service requirements on value. The Board determined that the operation of the ferry terminal is uneconomic, and as a result, there is no market beyond BC Ferries for the property. In light of this, the Board ruled that the property has nominal value for property taxes, reducing taxes for the terminal by roughly $1.5 million over the three years under appeal. The decision may have broad implications to the assessed value of other terminals in the ferry system.
Jim Fraser of Lawson Lundell represented BC Ferries before the Board.