Fred and Ursula Kramer were shocked to find out their property had lost farm status and their taxes went up nearly 1300 per cent. Miranda Gathercole Langley Times

Langley senior faces 1,300% property tax hike

Fred Kramer was shocked to see his taxes skyrocket after farm status was removed from his property

A disabled Langley senior is facing a 1,300 per cent tax increase after his property was denied farm status for the first time in 35 years.

Fred Kramer, 84, has lived at the rural Glen Valley property with his wife, Ursula, since 1981. His daughter, Carmen, raises horses and provides horseback riding lessons there.

Despite nothing having changed with the land over the years, in 2017, BC Assessment revoked his farm status, and he’s faced a massive tax bill for the last two years, he said.

Although he is able to defer his taxes, due to his age, he is still upset.

He attempted to contact a superintendent at the ALC office in Abbotsford to ask why the status was removed, and was told by an inspector that he had missed a hearing.

He went a second time and asked to speak with a superintendent, and again, was served by an inspector instead.

“When he was finished and he went through it, I said, ‘Well, what do you want me to do now? Why don’t you inspect it?’ They haven’t inspected it for years. When I asked him what we should do now, he said ‘start farming’ and left,” Kramer said.

Kramer said that he is physically unable to farm — he is on heavy medication following heart surgery and a colostomy — and he and his wife believe the land is not suitable for it.

“It’s impossible to do farming here, there’s a big ravine back there, there is a big swamp,” Ursula said.

The property is located beside The Bluff subdivision of estate homes that was built in the mid 1990s. While homes in The Bluff have been excluded from the ALR, Kramer’s land has not.

Between the property taxes and the relentless calls from realtors asking if he’s selling his property, Kramer feels he is being pushed out.

“We kind of got used to this place, and I’d hate to be forced out of it, but I can’t pay the taxes. The 1,300 per cent increase is quite a shock. And they don’t give us water, we have no sewer and we have no public transportation, but we pay taxes. That’s what I thought wasn’t quite right.”

A representative at BC Assessment confirmed that the farm status has been removed, but for privacy reasons, could not release details.

“His property used to have farm class and no longer has farm class because it does not meet the requirements to permit it to go into farm class,” said Laura Schwagele, assessor with BC Assessment.

“There’s certain things that you have to do to be able to get into farm class, and the requirements were not met.”

Schwagele said that Kramer could get the status back if he “applies for farm status and meets the requirements.”

“Obviously, you have to actually be farming to get farm class, so that means you have to be selling farm products. Anybody who wants farm class, you don’t just apply because you have acreage, you actually have to be farming the property in order to get farm class.

“It’s quite complicated, and that’s why our staff have taken the time to help him understand the requirements for his property.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Vancouver Giant named to Western Conference first-tier all-star team

Young hockey defenceman Bowen Byram is once again lauded for his outstanding efforts on the ice

Giants begin playoff run in Langley tonight

With one win and a loss last weekend, the G-Men now top the Western Conference

UFV introduces first mindfulness graduate program in Canada

Most of the University of the Fraser Valley program is offered online

Punching Parkinson’s in the Fraser Valley

Rock Steady Boxing program, designed to help battle symptoms of Parkinson’s, coming to Abbotsford in April

WATCH: Langley Glow events denied permission to run

Darvonda Nurseries received a notice from the ALC on March 5.

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Baby left alone in vehicle in B.C. Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

B.C. public insurance includes funding enforcement, driver licensing

Most Read