Pitt airport control tower drops in value
The value of a control tower at Pitt Meadows airport has dropped from half a million dollars to $10 following a successful appeal of a property assessment by Canada’s air traffic authority.
B.C.’s Property Assessment Appeal Board agreed with Nav Canada’s argument ruling last month there was no “market value” for the property.
The federal agency asked for a re-evaluation of control towers at four B.C. airports, arguing the structures occupied space that could only be used for air traffic control.
As a result, Pitt Meadows assessed value was reduced to $10, while three other control towers in Castlegar, Penticton and Victoria dropped to $20 each.
All the municipalities could lose tax revenue as a result of the re-evaluations, with some losses more significant than others.
Pitt Meadows estimates its loss at $5,000 – much lower than the District of North Saanich or Richmond, which could lose a reported $72,000 and $800,000, respectively, in annual property tax revenue.
B.C. Assessment is appealing the re-evaluations to the B.C. Supreme Court. Pitt Meadows is not planning to launch its own appeal, given the costs of taking a federal agency to court.
“While the city is not pleased with the taxation implications, it is mindful of the resources it might require to achieve a relatively modest return on that investment,” said Chief Administrative Officer Jake Rudolph.
“It is my understanding this is a more significant monetary issue for larger airports, which might warrant a more aggressive response.”
Nav Canada confirmed plans to appeal the assessments of its properties across Canada.
Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters worries the Nav Canada’s re-evaluations will trigger appeals by other agencies, such as the port authority or Canadian Pacific Rail.
“We are going to keep an eye on it, for sure,” said Walters. “We depend on that taxation.”
Walters noted following an appeal last year, B.C. Ferries saw the value of its Horseshoe Bay terminal in West Vancouver drop from $49 million to $20.
The province intervened and the Crown corporation agreed to a property value of $47 million.
The Pitt Meadows Regional Airport Society took over the airport from the federal government in 1997.
The not-for-profit society is currently run by a board of nine directors appointed by Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows municipal councils.
The airport property was assessed at $39.4 million in 2011, $40.9 million in 2012, but dropped in 2013 to $28.1 million because a large portion of the property was reclassified to “farm-class.”
– with files from Black Press and CBC