Another jump in the assessed value of the 93-year-old Masonic Hall in Langley City could mean another tax hike that would force the sale of the building at 20701 Fraser Hwy., according to Warren Stuart, a director of the non-profit Eureka Society that operates the hall. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Higher property assessment could mean closure of Langley City Masonic hall, director warns

Valuation has quadrupled since 2017, raising the tax bill for 93-year-old building

Yet another sharp rise in the assessed value of the Masonic Hall in Langley City could force the sale of the 93-year-old building at at 20701 Fraser Hwy., according to a director of the non-profit Eureka Society that operates the hall.

Warren Stuart said the $4,835,500 assessment, a 101 per cent jump from the previous year, came as a shock to the society.

“Everybody [on the board] was just aghast,” Stuart told the Langley Advance Times.

BC Assessment Authority figures show the assessed value has quadrupled since 2017, when the estimated value was $1,223,000.

Because municipal taxes are based on the assessments, the amount the hall has had to pay has also gone up, rising to $26,000 last year.

Stuart said the society was barely able to cover their tax bill last year, and if the latest jump in the assessed value translates into another sizable tax increase, it could force the sale of the building.

“It’s entirely quite possible,” Stuart cautioned.

“It would drain us of everything we have and then some.”

He said the society is looking into appealing the assessment and has sought legal advice.

“We can’t wait around to see what the taxes are going to be.”

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Assessments may be going down generally, but not in one Langley neighbourhood

Proximity to for-profit properties appears to have contributed to the hike, Stuart added.

When the society spoke to an appraisal officer in Abbotsford, he maintains they were told the increase was because they were next to three commercial properties.

“To us it appears that we are being assessed, and therefore taxed, on the potential of the property, and not the present use,” Stuart observed.

“Nowhere are we listed as commercial, and yet we are assessed as such.”

On the top floor of the hall is the meeting space used by local Freemasons, while the main hall on the ground floor is rented out for a wide variety of events ranging from artists, to holiday markets, memorial services, and banquets.

READ ALSO: Port Kells Arts Club open to new members

Stuart provided a copy of the BC Assessment report that shows that the “Eureka Temple Society” property tax assessed value went up 101 per cent, compared to the average Langley City increase of 37 per cent.

For 2020, it has been valued at $4,835,500, up from 2019, when it was $2,405,500 (an increase of 82 per cent from 2018).

Built in 1927 in what was then Langley Prairie, before Langley City split from the Township, the hall ended up on the wrong side of the boundaries between the two Langleys, so far as potential tax breaks are concerned, Stuart believes.

“It has been brought to the attention of the directors that if, during the division of the City and Township boundaries, our property had been placed in the Township that we would, as a community hall, qualify for a property tax exemption,” Stuart recounted.

“The City, in their infinite wisdom, does not allow for this reality.”

In the past, the society has considered against seeking a heritage site designation for the building, but the idea has been voted down every time it was proposed because it would mean restrictions on the type and extent of renovations, such as the re-do of the exterior facade last year.

Stuart said they may take another look at the idea, given the assessment situation.

Langley City mayor Val van den Broek said the City has invited the hall to apply for a tax exemption.

”City Council considers permissive tax exemptions for not-for-profit property owners in the fall each year and the City has to advise the BC Assessment Authority by October 31 of any exemption for the following taxation year,” the mayor explained.

“Unfortunately, it is too late for 2020 to consider including the Masonic Hall for a property tax exemption for 2020. Our staff have told a Masonic Hall representative to write a letter in August 2020 to request an exemption for 2021 for Council’s consideration.”

www.facebook.com

Langley Citytaxes

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Warren Stuart, a director of the non-profit Eureka Society that operates the Masonic Hall in Langley City, stands in the second-floor meeting room used by the Langley Freemasons. Another jump in the assessed value of the 93-year-old building in Langley City could mean a tax hike that would force the society to sell the property at 20701 Fraser Hwy., Stuart warned. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

A photo shows the Masonic Hall in January, 1927, shortly after it opened in what was then known as Langley Prairie. (Freemasons archive photo)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Scavenger hunt sends residents around Langley City to locate landmarks

Family-friendly activity held throughout July instead of Community Day due to COVID-19 precautions

LETTER: Langley man concerned about cross-border ditch meetings

A local resident says he sees people not social distancing along Zero Avenue

Popular Thanksgiving festival cancelled by COVID

Fort Langley’s 25th annual October street festivities are put off until 2021 to avoid spread of virus

Drive-in theatre inspires Langley pastor to create similar church service

Jericho Ridge Community Church tried out the concept Sunday, and will do it again Aug. 2

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Abbotsford school vice-principal accused of getting Instagram ‘confessions’ page shut down

@A.S.S.S.Confessions page claims school officials contacted families to find out person behind page

Recreational chinook openings leave First Nations frustrated on the Lower Fraser

Limited recreational openings for chinook on the Chehalis and Chilliwack rivers being questioned

Most Read