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Since my letter of a couple of weeks ago, a caller wondered about grounds for appeal. Let me offer some free advice, which can be taken for what it is worth. An appeal to the "review process" is laid out on the back of the assessment notice and it costs nothing to appeal. You do not need any grounds for appeal, other than stating the assessment is too high. If you are the beneficiary of a low assessment, just thank your lucky stars and do nothing. If you appeal, you don't even have to appear at the hearing. If you have a location or feature that may possibly detract from a possible sales price, then you may want to make that clear at the hearing. If you are one of the 20 as mentioned above that are assessed higher than the sales price paid, that is persuasive evidence. Similarly, an appraisal, in the absence of a sale, that shows your house value lower than the assessment may be persuasive. Otherwise, you should do some homework and obtain comparative assessments to determine whether similar houses to yours in your area are assessed lower than yours.
In any event, you should contact the assessors as soon as possible, whether or not you appeal, and get them to justify their assessment of your house. Find out what sales they are using and what houses they are comparing with yours. Remember that the assessors do not like appeals and they will try to discourage you some may threaten to raise your assessment, as suggested by Mr. Eldridge. That is objectionable extortion, known as "dirty pool", and any honourable assessor will not carry out that threat. Don't be discouraged.
The deadline to file your appeal is Saturday, Jan. 31 but according to the notes which accompany the assessment notice under "Please Note: Key Points", it is extended to Monday, Feb. 2, 2004.
Finally, it costs nothing to appeal the more the merrier. Make them work for it!
Clive V. Nylander
While the community of Whistler is making great strides in environmental awareness and sustainable thought, there are a number of areas of opportunity that I see could be improved upon:
1. Energy Conservation: How many stores in Whistler actually find that sales increase substantially when their doors are left open on frigid days? Even if this might be the case, surely the municipality can establish a bylaw to prohibit this trend in the interest of reducing our energy consumption.
2. Fossil Fuel Consumption: Whistler-Blackcomb has adopted the Natural Step framework to guide them in their management decisions, and yet they continue to flaunt inefficient vehicle use, by supplying all "higher-ups" with luxurious GMC SUVs. Imagine if Whistler-Blackcomb VPs all drove smaller hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius or Honda Insight. Wouldn't that be a better example to set?