Province may end floathouse leases

  • Jun. 18, 2007 8:00 a.m.

By Heather Ramsay–Residents of Hooterville and Frog Flats, both in the west end of Queen Charlotte, have been in limbo for a year after their landlord, the Province of BC, let their licences to occupy lapse in June 2006.
Now provincial officials are assessing the situation and may decide not to reissue any licences at all, says Ian Smythe, section head with the Integrated Land and Management Bureau based in Smithers.
He was on the islands June 5 to do an inventory of what he called “float homes at Bearskin Bay.”
He says that when the licences were first issued, the original intention was to phase them out over time.
Many of the float homes were moved from the Queen Charlotte dock area to the west end of the tidal flats about 20 years ago. Then in the early 1990s, these float home residents entered into licence to occupy arrangements with the province. Mr. Smythe said the idea was that people would remove their improvements when the meager accommodations were not needed anymore. Since then, the properties have changed hands and other improvements have been built.
The province also intended to offer the float home residents other lots when they became available. A number of years ago, a development started across the road, but shell middens were uncovered and the Haida Nation put a stop to construction. Later, other lots were offered farther back from the waterfront.
“No one took us up on them,” said Mr. Smythe.
Mr. Smythe says he intends to have a meeting with residents within the month to figure out where to go from here, but added that the long term plan hasn’t changed.
He added there are social issues ILMB must be sensitive to, such as residents’ potential inability to pay along with health issues.
From the Village of Queen Charlotte’s perspective, Mayor Carol Kulesha would like the landlord to take responsibility for taxes owing from licence holders.
She says people with licences on Crown land pay property tax like home owners, which includes a share to the school, regional district, and regional hospital taxes.
The village is given an amount to collect for these public bodies and they must do so in full, but has no recourse when people on Crown land don’t pay. When municipal property owners are in arrears, the village can recoup lost funds through tax sales.
“We can’t do this with crown lease property. The province owns it,” said Mayor Kulesha.
“When someone doesn’t pay, we all pay,” she said.
She said when the village was incorporated, a large debt for these unpaid taxes was passed on to the new municipality. Thankfully, the province forgave it, she says.
This issue prompted the village to submit a resolution to the North Central Municipal Association calling for the province to review its buildings within municipalities and discharge their responsibilities as a landlord including duly enforcing their lease agreements.
Mr. Smythe says he knows this is an issue. He can’t say where the province will go on this matter, but he wants to hear from residents first.

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii sportfishing lodges set to shut down

Tourism company wants to enact experiences more in line with Haida values

Immediate deal to reinstate AMHS in Prince Rupert not out of the question: Mayor Brain

B.C., Alaska officials fail to sign ferry deal in Juneau to reinstate service from Ketchikan

‘It affects everybody:’ Trudeau’s brownface photos worry Wet’suwet’en chief

Skeena-Bulkley Valley Liberal candidate declines to comment on prime minister’s indiscretion

Haida Gwaii art gala seeks submissions

Annual fundraiser supports local artists and programs

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Most Read