Figures show the Victoria Airport Authority won $622,000 in following tax assessment appeals. (Black Press Media File)

Figures show the Victoria Airport Authority won $622,000 in following tax assessment appeals. (Black Press Media File)

Victoria Airport Authority awarded $622,000 in tax appeals

Authority contested value of land and airport terminal in 2018, 2019 and 2020

A spokesperson for the Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) running Victoria International Airport welcomes a tax refund of $622,000.

“It helps with our operating budget that we have to deal with with the downturn in travel,” said Rod Hunchak, community relations director, business development at Victoria International Airport, in pointing to the significant revenues losses caused by COVID-19. He made those comments after the authority had won two appeals in front of the property assessment appeal board. The first appeal challenged the assessment of the airport lands and terminal for the years of 2018 and 2019, the second for 2020.

North Saanich’s original assessment would have yielded $709,700 for 2018, $766,330 for 2019 and $804,500 for 2020. In the end, the authority ended up paying $548,800, $531,900 and $577,350 for those respective years.

“We are glad that the effort that we put into making the appeal with BC Assessment resulted in that credit,” said Hunchak. “It’s a negotiation. It’s a compromise. Our calculations would have resulted in a higher refund, but this is a compromise based on input from both sides. We are happy that we came to a resolution that resulted in that refund.”

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Hunchak said he could not comment on the specific reasons that led VAA to challenge its assessment.

VAA has filed a total of six appeals over the last decade, according to North Saanich staff.

When pressed about any lasting political ramifications in the airport’s relationship with North Saanich stemming from these appeals, Hunchak said that the authority has always had a very good working relationship with the municipality. “We are just pleased that the work that we put into, the efforts that we spent in trying to come to a conclusion with BC Assessment…has resulted positively, at least from our perspective.”

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Rebecca Penz, North Saanich’s manager of communication, said this issue is not about the district’s relationship with the authority. “It’s about VAA contesting the assessment from BC Assessment,” she said. “The district maintains a good working relationship with VAA and we have accepted the Property Assessment Appeal Board Decision.”

Looking at the impact of the appeal on North Saanich’s municipal finances, Penz said the municipality had anticipated a reduction in VAA’s assessments in 2018, upon being notified of the first appeal.

“In response, council resolved to place a portion of tax dollars budgeted each year into the Contingency Reserve Fund to ensure any loss in property tax revenue resulting from the appeals would have minimal impact on future budgets,” she said.

The appeal figures appeared publicly in the agenda of North Saanich council.


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