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Posts tagged ‘juan de fuca’

New Sombrio Bridge is Now Open – Watch Its Construction [Video]

Image Courtesy of Ministry of Transport

In 2009 the Provincial Ministry of Transport announced an improvement project on Highway 14 between Jordan River and Port Renfrew. Since then, there has been about 22 km of new roads, bridges, and other improvements on the Pacific Marine Circle Route. The Route, which allows motorists to travel between Sooke, Port Renfrew, Lake Cowichan, Duncan, and Victoria in either direction, is a major driver of tourism and local economic growth. It is one of the reasons Port Renfrew is quickly developing as a getaway destination similar to other West Coast ports like Tofino and Ucluelet. Read more

Sooke Parks in Profile: China Beach (Juan De Fuca Provincial Park)

At low tide there is plenty of sand to play on.

It’s been way too long since I posted about parks in Sooke. My wife’s sister is in town for a few day and we took advantage of the great weather we’ve been having lately for an excursion out to China Beach. Located at the trailhead of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail just a few kilometres west of Jordan River, China beach is a bit of a hike from the parking lot, but is well worth it! Read more

How Do Property Taxes Work, And When Are They Due In 2011?

First, the easy part: your 2011 property taxes are due July 4, 2011. If your property is in the District of Sooke, you can pay in myriad different ways. There is a drop box for your cheque at municipal hall, or you can visit and pay in person. You can pay in person or online with most banks, or you can mail a cheque. If your property is in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area (Otter Point, Shirley, Jordan River, Port Renfrew, or parts of East Sooke), your taxes are payable to the provincial Minister of Finance and can be paid in person at a Service BC office, dropped off at the Surveyor of Taxes in Victoria, or online or in person at most financial institutions.

Many home owners will have their taxes paid automatically by their mortgage lender. Lenders will estimate your taxes owing and you’ll pay, along with your mortgage payment, into a side account from which the taxes are paid every year. Lenders do this because they want to be sure the taxes are paid – property tax debt takes priority before mortgages should the borrower default!

However, even if your lender pays the taxes, you’ll want to apply for the Home Owner Grant. The Home Owner Grant is a yearly grant from the provincial government to help offset your property taxes. If you qualify, that’s $570 off your property taxes! You’re eligible for the grant if :

  • you are the owner (or spouse/relative of the deceased owner) of the property;
  • you are a permanent resident of British Columbia
  • you occupy the building on the tax notice as your principal residence
  • you have not applied for or received a home owner grant on any other property in the Province during the calendar year; and
  • no other person can have received a home owner grant on the property for the calendar year.

Most property owners in Sooke will qualify as long as it is their principal residence. The grant is less for properties over $1.15M in assessed value. There is also an additional grant for seniors and other groups.

The thing that confuses people the most is the timing of your taxes. Even though you pay your taxes on or about July 2 of every year, you’re paying for that whole calendar year (ie, January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011, not July 2, 2011 to July 2, 2012). Where this can come up is when you sell your house. People sometimes assume that if they sell their home in the spring, they’ve already paid their property taxes. Not true, because they haven’t been levied yet. When you sell your home, no matter what time of year, your lawyer or notary will have to adjust for the taxes on the statement of adjustments at closing.

For example, If you sold your home and it closed on March 31, 2011, the adjustment would be negative (a debit) to compensate the buyer for the time you occupied the house in 2011 (90 days) – since they will be responsible for paying the property taxes in July. If you sold your home and it closed on August 1, 2011, you would have already paid the taxes, so the adjustment would be positive (a credit) with the buyer compensating you for the time the buyer enjoys the house in 2011 (152 days).

Where does your tax money go? In the District of Sooke, it is interesting to note that only 42% of your tax bill funds municipal services directly. The rest is paid on your behalf to other taxing authorities, including BC Transit, Vancouver Island Health Authority, the Capital Regional District, schools, hospitals, and fire and police service. In the Juan de Fuca Electoral area, it depends on which unincorporated community you live in.

Some other Sooke property tax tidbits:

  • Sewer parcel tax is $515, included in the total payable taxes on your property tax notice, if you live within the sewer specified area.
  • Taxes in Sooke remain among the lowest in the Capital Regional District
  • The District of Sooke has a 5-year financial plan which it updates yearly

 

 

 

Ocean, Lake, and Other View Properties in Sooke and Victoria – Something to Keep In Mind [Video]

If you’re reading this in a feed reader, you may have to click through to the post to view the video below:

I was out for a run the other day in a 15-or-20 year old subdivision in Sooke. Running up Henlyn Road in the John Muir neighbourhood of Sooke which has amazing, sweeping views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, it occurred to me that as the landscaping around the subdivision has grown up over the years, some of the commanding views that the property owners have enjoyed are now partially or completely obscured by trees and other vegetation. This is an important consideration, as it directly affects your property value.

When shopping for view homes in Sooke or Victoria, keep this in mind – look for stands of trees in the distance that could block your view, or trees on neighbouring properties that could become a bone of contention between you and the other property owner. Most people aren’t so keen to cut down trees to improve another’s view.

If you have any questions or comments about Sooke or Victoria, BC real estate, or suggestions for future posts, please call me at 250-885-0512, email Tim@TimAyres.ca or fill in my contact form. Thanks for reading/watching!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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BC Election: Sooke All Candidates Meeting – May 4th, 2009

bc-flag

I received an e-mail from BC Liberal candidate Jody Twa‘s campaign office informing me of an all candidate’s meeting here in Sooke. The meeting will take place at Edward Milne Community School on Monday, May 4th, at 7:00pm.

The panel will consist of Jody Twa of the BC Liberals, John Horgan (incumbent) of the BC NDP, and James Powell of the Green Party of BC. The moderator will be local Sooke lawyer Peter Faulkner.

Jody Twa, James Powell, and John Horgan

Jody Twa, James Powell, and John Horgan

I’d encourage all Sooke residents to attend and hear what the candidates have in mind for our region. The Juan de Fuca riding is very diverse, stretching from the urban centres of Langford and Colwood all the way out to the sparsely populated areas of Port Renfrew and Jordan River (map). The needs of our residents are as diverse as their communities, and you should be asking the candidates what their plans and vision are locally if they are lucky enough to be elected, instead of giving too much thought to the spectacle that is the leaders’ campaign provincially.

In my view, the party vs party, leader vs leader portion of the campaign has thus far been an unmitigated disaster. It’s been a boring, childish, name-calling affair, with no real issues. Both major parties seem more content to sling mud and dig up dirt on each other’s candidates on Facebook and the Provincial Court Registry than talk about real issues. It’s painful and it doesn’t do us, the electorate, any good.

Hopefully, voters will get involved at the local level and give their candidates some issues to take to Victoria. This is the way our system is supposed to work – regional representatives actually representing their constituents instead of spewing party gibberish.

How do Juan De Fuca constituents feel about the campaign? Care to share who you’ll be supporting? Both Langford and Sooke mayors have endorsed Jody Twa – do you agree?

What about BC-STV? Do you think this is a solution to our voting system’s flaws?

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Sooke 2008 Municipal Election Results

First of all, thanks to all Sooke voters who came out to vote this past Saturday, and at advance polls earlier this month. This important vote for your civic leaders should have the highest turnout of all levels of government, but usually doesn’t. According to CivicInfoBC, 43.71% of eligible voters turned out to vote, but at first glance that might be based on total number of votes counted, and not total number of ballots. I will try and find out. UPDATE: A reply from CivicInfoBC confirms that their numbers were based on ballots, not votes. Hence, nearly 44% of eligible Sooke voters turned out to the polls! Good work!

Congratulations to Mayor Janet Evans, who was re-elected in a fairly close battle with Rick Kasper. Only two incumbent councillors were re-elected, Ron Dumont and Sheila Beech. Newcomers Dave Bennett, Maja Tait, Herb Haldane, and Bev Berger will join them in Sooke’s new municipal council.

Overall, I don’t think the vote could have gone much better. Political newcomer Dave Bennett got nearly 600 well-deserved votes more than his closest competitor. I’m expecting good things from him in the council chamber. I won’t go into detail on my personal opinions, bu, I believe the right people got elected and will be able to move forward with Sooke business over the next three years.

Also, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area residents have elected Mike Hicks over Ute Schnarr to the CRD board.

Here are the Sooke voting results from the CivicInfoBC Elections Site:

Mayor Candidate(s):

First Name

Last Name

Initial

Sex

Acclaimed

Votes

Elected

1. Janet Evans F 1597 YES
2. Rick Kasper M 1284
3. Randy Welters M 413
Councillor Candidate(s):
First Name
Last Name
Initial
Sex
Acclaimed
Votes
Elected
1. David Bennett M 2559 YES
2. Maja Tait F 1980 YES
3. Sheila Beech F 1835 YES
4. Herb Haldane M 1648 YES
5. Ron Dumont M 1586 YES
6. Bev Berger F 1532 YES
7. Brenda Parkinson F 1523
8. Rick Armour M 1464
9. Gail Hall F 1271
10. Carmen Montgomery-Gray F 573

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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