Residential property assessments soar in smaller North Island communities

WatchSmaller northern Vancouver Island communities see residential property assessments increase. Dean Stoltz has more.

It wasn’t that long ago that people were leaving the small Vancouver Island town of Gold River.

That is until recently.

“People are selling out in the city and getting out of the city and retiring out of the city. They move out here, buy a house for cash, you buy toys and retire. That’s the lifestyle,” said Steve Radley, who retired in Gold River five years ago.

Decisions like the one Radley made are likely a part of why property assessments are up 17 per cent in Gold River this year.

The increase is no surprise to local realtor Rachel Stratton.

“I wasn’t surprised. Prices this year have gone up I would say $40-$60,000 and that’s the biggest jump I’ve seen,” she said.

According to BC Assessment, the average assessed value of a home in the Village of Gold River rose from $182,000 in 2019 to $212,000 in 2020 — more than almost anywhere else on Vancouver Island.

Only the Villages of Tahsis and Zeballos had higher increases.

“So we had more sales in some of our more rural communities on the Island such as Port Hardy or Tahsis,” said Tina Ireland of BC Assessments. “In Gold River, we’ve seen a record amount of sales there this year and so the sales and increased value is reflected in the assessed value.”

Nearby Tahsis recorded a 36 per cent increase, with the average single-family residential property now assessed at $135,000, up from $99,000 the previous year.

Zeballos saw an 18 per cent increase, Port Alice saw a 12 per cent increase and assessments increased by 10 per cent in both Port Hardy and Alert Bay.

Village of Gold River Mayor Brad Unger says after a 7 per cent increase in residential taxes last year, the higher assessments this year will lead to a “real juggling act” especially in a place where people are not used to paying high property taxes.

“You know our parks and recreation department consumes about 93 per cent of our tax base so we want to keep those facilities running as full as we can but we need to keep taxes down too and it’s a hard mix,” he said. “But it’s tough right now to find a house available to buy.”

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Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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