British Columbia

BC Ferries tax rebate could hit Delta next

The mayor of Delta is worried the municipality could be facing the same fate as West Vancouver, which recently got stung with news it must refund about $750,000 in property taxes to B.C. Ferries.

West Vancouver already ordered to repay $750K after re-assessment

BC Ferries could be steering a steadier financial course and save millions of dollars if it wins more property tax assessment appeals, like it has in West Vancouver. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

The municipality of Delta is worried it could be facing the same fate as West Vancouver, which recently learned it has to refund BC Ferries hundreds of thousands of dollars in municipal taxes it’s paid for the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal.

The Property Assessment Appeal Board last week slashed the West Vancouver terminal's assessed value from more than $47 million to just $20 dollars.

That means the regional district must repay the ferry corporation $750,000 it had paid in property taxes retroactive to 2010.

Delta Mayor, Lois Jackson, is concerned a cash-strapped BC Ferries will look their way for tax refunds for the Tsawwassen ferry terminal.

"It means to Delta municipality about $668,000 a year. To our school board it’s about $400,000 a year," Jackson said.

"I really cannot fathom a property being downgraded from millions of dollars to simply $20 dollars. What is that all about?"

The board decided the Horseshoe Bay terminal is basically worthless because it is a one-use facility operated by a company that can’t make legally a profit.

Jackson says Delta gives BC Ferries water, sewer, power, and emergency services and the corporation might reasonably be expected to pay its way.

BC Ferries is currently looking for ways to cut millions from its operating costs to cover a growing budget deficit. 

With files from the CBC's Terry Donnelly