REPORTING · 5th January 2011
Kitimat, which saw the loss of their second largest industrial employer, the West Fraser Eurocan Pulp and Paper Mill, suffered the largest drop in assessed residential prices this year. BC Assessment recorded an over 19% drop from last year’s average figures. On the opposite side of the graph, still in the North, Mackenzie along with the bedroom community to Mackenzie, Chetwynd, which saw the restart of their Mill, had a 21% and 19% increase in housing values.
These were the two extremes, the highest and lowest changes in housing values in the Province of BC, which demonstrates just how important a single industrial employer is to the financial health of any community in the North.
Up until very recently, 2003, a term called ‘appurtenancy’ was used to describe how any industrial resource extraction enterprise required the refining of the raw resource to be performed in the local region. In simple terms this meant logs taken from the forest were required to be milled in the towns close to where they were cut down. The BC Liberal government removed all of the appurtenancy clauses to industrial and resource extraction.
All provinces in Canada, except BC, have appurtenancy requirements. Some provinces restrict this requirement to only their largest forest tenures while others including Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland have appurtenancy requirements for medium-sized tenures, and in some cases for even smaller tenures.
The BC Forest Minister Pat Bell has consistently argued how this would hurt the economy rather then help it. He has made many international trips, specifically China, to market the logs whole and raw from the forest tenures of BC. This recent release of housing values from the BC Assessment Authority demonstrates how this policy negatively affects the property values of small town, Northern BC.