Petition to cap waterfront property assessments

By Penny Caldwell »Penny Caldwell

April 16th, 2008

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Escalating waterfront property assessments (and taxes) was the subject of a press conference at Queen’s Park yesterday. Blair Eveleigh, associate editor of Cottage Life, was there and brings back this report:

Those people in McKellar who are agitating to take away the voting rights of seasonal residents in local elections should consider a recent report by Cushman & Wakefield LePage of resale prices and property tax assessments. It was commissioned by CAPTR (Coalition After Property Tax Reform) and presented at a press conference yesterday at Queen’s Park by that group’s chair, Bob Topp, and two representatives from WRAFT (Waterfront Ratepayers After Fair Taxation), Terry Rees (executive director of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations) and Cliff Hatch. For Muskoka and Haliburton, the sample cottage-country region studied, the report concludes that “median waterfront property values have increased at a substantially higher rate compared to residential values,”  up 47 per cent for cottages compared to 18 per cent for residential properties from third quarter of 2004 to the same period in 2007. That means a substantial shift in the tax load from properties off water to those on water.

The study’s results also point to potentially huge increases in property assessments coming out this fall for cottages across the province. The last time the value of Ontario properties was assessed was in 2005. The news conference was part of continued efforts by CAPTR and WRAFT to get the government to rein in a property-assessment system they believe is unfair and unpredictable and that results in unjustly high taxes for many cottage owners. The groups are calling on the government to cap assessment increases at five per cent annually and have launched an online petition to gather support for their proposal. To add your name to the petition, visit CAPTR or WRAFT.

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Penny Caldwell