Klaus Kuhn, the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s director for Youbou/Meade Creek, says soaring house prices in his electoral area is the main reason why property owners are facing a huge increase in taxes this year. (File photo)

Klaus Kuhn, the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s director for Youbou/Meade Creek, says soaring house prices in his electoral area is the main reason why property owners are facing a huge increase in taxes this year. (File photo)

Skyrocketing house prices cited as reason for big tax increase in Youbou/Meade Creek

Electoral Area I director Klaus Kuhn says tax increase can’t be avoided

The dramatic rise in property values is the main reason why Electoral Area I (Youbou/Meade Creek) has the highest tax increase in the Cowichan Valley Regional District this year, according to Klaus Kuhn.

Kuhn, the CVRD’s director for the area, said the price of an average home in Youbou/Meade Creek is now assessed at $975,011, the highest in the CVRD, and that is playing a big part in why homeowners in the electoral area are facing a tax increase of approximately $370 this year, if their home falls near that average.

That’s significantly more than in Shawnigan Lake, which has the next highest tax increase in the CVRD this year.

That electoral area is facing an increase of approximately $174 on an average home, which BC Assessment has assessed at $919,070 this year.

RELATED STORY: PROPERTY ASSESSMENTS IN COWICHAN SKYROCKET IN 2022

As well as house prices, the differences in tax rates across the CVRD stems from the amount and types of services each region in the district has agreed to participate in and pay for.

Kuhn said this is the first year that the price of a home in Youbou/Meade Creek, which saw the average house increase in value 59 per cent from last year, the largest increase in the CVRD, is higher than in Shawnigan Lake.

“It’s mostly the lakeshore properties that saw the largest increase in value, but even ones away from the lake also had significant increases,” he said.

“I bought my property in 1994 and then the house prices in the electoral area began to decrease in value for awhile, but over the last three years, a lot of people began looking to Youbou to buy homes. That’s justified because it’s a beautiful place to live and it’s catching on with a lot of home buyers.”

RELATED STORY: PROPERTY VALUES JUMP SIGNIFICANTLY FOR LAKE COWICHAN AREA

Kuhn said most of the lakefront property in the poplar Shawnigan Lake area has been sold out, so a lot of demand for properties has switched to the Youbou area.

He said he has yet to receive any feedback or complaints from property owners in Youbou/Meade Creek over the high tax rates they are expected to pay this year.

“That surprises me because I thought a lot of people would complain, but all people have to do is look at their property assessments this year and it’s clear that a big tax increase couldn’t be avoided,” Kuhn said.

“The increase in property values in this area has been steady for the last three years, and it’s hard to say just how long that will continue.”

Ian Morrison, CVRD director for Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls, where the average home is $791,384 this year and the tax increase is approximately $123 per home, said it has been an incredibly complex and challenging year tax wise.

He also said a large part of the tax increase is related to high housing evaluations, but he has managed to reduce his electoral area’s tax requisition this year by 10.6 per cent to keep the tax increase as low as possible for property owners.

“I’ve made some decisions over the last couple of years to help reduce the tax increase in 2022, while maintaining services and projects that are in the pipeline,” Morrison said.

“I’ve done that by effecting the use of reserves and surpluses and having modest expectations after a tough pandemic for taxpayers.”

But, Morrison said despite his efforts to keep the tax increase as modest as possible, there is still an increase, and he points to policies by BC Assessment and the province that have given a tax break to forest companies as one of the main reasons.

He said last year, B.C.’s forest companies’ share of the overall provincial tax bill was 45 per cent, but this year it’s 35 per cent, with residential householders making up the difference.

Morrison said the CVRD has submitted a resolution to the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities, of which he is the president, for the province and BC Assessment to reevaluate the issue.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Property taxes