BC Assessment taking photos

A Crofton resident saw a curious sight Wednesday morning

A Crofton resident saw a curious sight Wednesday morning — a little white BC Assessment van driving around photographing homes. That in itself wasn’t odd, noted the gentleman, who declined to be named, but the licence plate on the van most certainly was.

The van had Missouri tags.

“I’m not complaining, I’m just saying, gee that’s odd. Is that somebody out here doing something illegal or what?” he wondered.

Or was it really a BC Assessment vehicle with weird plates?

“We live in an age where all sorts of weird stuff goes on.”

The man heard the truck had also been in Ladysmith the other day as well, so was making the rounds.

It turns out that a Texas-based company called Tyler Technologies has been contracted to do the work on behalf of BC Assessment.

“It went out to contract for an open bid process and unfortunately we didn’t get anybody local,” confirmed spokesman Christopher Whyte, a deputy appraiser based in BC Assessment’s Courtenay office.

“We did try. This company has the technology we need and then met all of the Freedom and Privacy Act requirements. It is an American company. It is what it is and in this case they were able to meet our needs.”

The company has done the work for BC Assessment in the past as well.

“They have the technology that allows us to do it in the most efficient way possible,” Whyte said, noting the cameras produce images “somewhat like a Google Street View image” but in a higher resolution.

If faces or personal information such as business names are captured in the images, those are blurred for privacy, he added.

Whyte said he’s not directly involved in the bidding process but he believes the contract is bid on annually.