New Brunswick

Campground tied to Victor Boudreau bucks property-tax trend with lower assessment

Land at the centre of a proposed Shediac campground connected to Health Minister Victor Boudreau received one of the area's few property assessment reductions and the second-largest property tax cut in the town this year, records show.

Service New Brunswick says classification changed and assessment lowered because land is undeveloped

The proposed campground in Shediac that Health Minister and local MLA Victor Boudreau is associated with was one of the few properties in town to see their property tax assessments reduced in 2017. (CBC)

Land at the centre of a proposed Shediac campground that is connected to Health Minister Victor Boudreau received one of the area's few property assessment reductions and the second-largest property tax cut in the town this year, records show.

Rival campground owner Marie-Paule Martin, whose assessment and taxes both went up for 2017, said she does not understand how any campground-related property in the area could have gotten a reduction.

"When I found that out I couldn't believe it," said Martin, who has been a staunch critic of the Boudreau development.

I guess there's tax for certain people, and there's tax for other people.- Marie-Paule Martin, Shediac campground owner

"I guess there's tax for certain people and there's tax for other people."

Boudreau is one of seven investors trying to develop a 700-site campground in Shediac on prime undeveloped land just one kilometre from Parlee Beach.

The property is owned by the Anglican Parish of Shediac and got a tax bill of $5,430 this year, 46.9  per cent lower than last year. That's the second-largest tax cut in Shediac for 2017, marginally less than the building housing the former Super Body Fitness Centre, which suddenly closed its doors last summer and saw a property tax reduction of 47 per cent.

Shediac is one of New Brunswick's most prosperous communities and as a result few landowners in the town received reductions in either their assessments or tax bills this year.

Only 144 assessments lowered

Shediac campground owner Marie-Paule Martin says she was baffled to see the tax reduction on a proposed campground associated with Health Minister Victor Boudreau. (Submitted)
According to a CBC News review of all property tax bills that went out to town residents and businesses this year and compiled by the website propertize.ca, only 144 properties in the entire town (4.9 per cent) got an assessment reduction. By contrast 2,265 properties (77.3 per cent) received an assessment increase.

Among those increases, Shediac's five existing campgrounds received some of the largest, with provincial assessors valuing their properties at $5.6 million for 2017, up 76 per cent from last year.

Martin said that is why she was baffled after learning the land associated with Boudreau got the second-largest tax reduction this year because of assessment and tax changes made by the province.

                                                                       
Both the assessment and tax on land proposed for a new Shediac campground were lowered by the province this year.
20162017Change
Assessment$231,300$200,000-13.5%
Property tax$10,230$5,430-46.9%

"I couldn't believe it went down," Martin said.  "It's the only [campground] that went down." 

The tax reduction on the proposed campground land was caused by two events. There was a drop in the market valuation of the property as calculated by provincial assessors that cut last year's tax bill by $1,384. More significantly there was a province-wide change in the tax rate applied to all campgrounds — from commercial to residential —  that dropped the tax bill another $3,416.

Both changes were made by the province's tax assessment branch inside Service New Brunswick.

Service New Brunswick changes

In an email, department spokeswoman Judy Cole said that because the Shediac property has been zoned for a campground by the town it was entitled to benefit from the province's change to taxing campgrounds as residential property.

She also said because residential property generates lower valuations than commercial property it can cause a drop in assessed value.

A campground that is under development and not in full operation does not have the same market value as a campground that is in full use.- Judy Cole, Service New Brunswick spokeswoman

Other campgrounds would have gotten similar reductions in the assessed value of the land they sit on, but got overall assessment increases because of new valuations of buildings and other improvements on that land.

"A campground that is under development and not in full operation does not have the same market value as a campground that is in full use," wrote Cole.

"As part of a provincial campground re-inspection in 2016, SNB changed the classification on all campgrounds in the province from non-residential to residential which also impacted the land valuation rates."

The land administrator for the Anglican Parish, William Murray, did not return a request for comment on the property tax reduction.

Victor Boudreau placed his interest in the campground development in a blind trust in 2014.

Shediac town council approved the development of the proposed campground in 2014 but the project has been slow to proceed for legal and other issues.

Developers have until 2019 to proceed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert Jones

Reporter

Robert Jones has been a reporter and producer with CBC New Brunswick since 1990. His investigative reports on petroleum pricing in New Brunswick won several regional and national awards and led to the adoption of price regulation in 2006.

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