Shelley Robinson feels she’s being bullied by BC Assessment.
Robinson is a senior with limited income who owns waterfront property in Honeymoon Bay where she grew up.
The home on the half-acre property, which was built in 1948, has seen better days after a quarry was constructed on higher ground behind it almost 30 years ago ago that has caused constant flooding on the property for years.
This has left the house heavily water damaged and dilapidated, and much of the property washed out.
Robinson said a family member still lives in the house, but it’s technically a tear-down now and a section of floor in the home separated from the house just last week.
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But Robinson said BC Assessment, an independent body that provides annual value assessments on all properties in B.C., has assessed the home at $296,000 and the property at $1.94 million in 2022, and her property tax bill was an astonishing $12,000 for the year.
“It’s a joke, and I feel like I’m being forced off my land,” she said.
“I haven’t been able to do anything with the house for more than 20 years because it has been designated as being in a riparian zone, so the Cowichan Valley Regional District won’t let me do anything with it. This has been very difficult for me and it’s taking everything I have to cover the tax bills. The assessment of the property keeps going up year after year but the home and the property are falling apart. It’s frustrating and heartbreaking and I don’t want to lose my house and property.”
Robinson is one of up to 30 property owners in the Youbou/Honeymoon Bay who are being assisted with their appeals of their property assessments in 2022 by Jason Anson, with eXp Realty which operates in the Cowichan Lake area.
They are frustrated because many of their appeals of BC Assessment’s latest evaluation of their properties, which they consider much too high, were being dismissed without, they consider, due process.
Due to the high number of appeals and concerns being raised in the area, BC Assessment announced in May that they intended to physically inspect every property in the area that is under appeal, as well as an additional 100 properties which are not under appeal, to reassess their values.
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But Anson said that the inspector who was responsible for inspecting Robinson’s property stated that Robinson refused them access, which she vehemently denies, so BC Assessment is using photos and information on the house and property from 1997, before the quarry was established, and are basing much of their assessment on that.
Anson said that of all the appeal cases he’s involved with, Robinson’s case concerns him the most.
He said it’s all so very deceptive.
“They are saying that they attempted to inspect the property on June 27 and was declined by the owner, but we know none of that is true,” Anson said.
“Shelley just wasn’t there at the time, but they said that she didn’t allow them on the property and the inspector has since acknowledged that. But BC Assessment is saying that a picture dated March 21, 1997, is the best representation of the house they have, however much of the property has been washed out due to flooding since the picture was taken. This is totally deceitful and doesn’t represent the actual condition of the house and property.”
Anson said that, based on the false and dated information they have, BC Assessment compared Robinson’s property to three others in area, which are much newer and much more maintained, that range in value between $2.1 million and $2.45 million to determine the value of Robinson’s property.
“These comparable properties that are being used are not accurate at all,” he said.
“This is beyond hoodwinking and bamboozling.”
In a statement, BC Assessment said it does not comment on specific property assessments and/or appeals of specific properties.