A home in Canal Flats now comes in at $2,525,000 and is the 34th most-valuable property in the Kootenay Columbia region according to BC Assessment’s 2019 valuations. Property values for single-family homes sky rocketed by 30 per cent in Canal Flats, jumped by 10 per cent in Invermere and inched up two per cent in Radium Hot Springs.

Deputy assessor Ramaish Shah gave a presentation before Invermere council members where he said the increase Invermere is seeing is “fairly stable” and “isn’t that dramatic.”

It’s a different story in Canal Flats, where he said it’s a case of one business – the new Columbia Lake Technology Centre – starting up and “making the market.”

“Wild swings like that are just not good for anybody,” he said. “There’s no getting around some shocks.”

Karl Sterzer, the mayor of Canal Flats, said the 30 per cent jump “should not be a frightening thing for our constituents.”

Just because the assessed value went up doesn’t mean there will be a corresponding tax increase, he said, adding that Council is currently working on budgeting and is proceeding with caution.

“Our goals are to maintain, you know, a tax base that is fair for everybody,” he said. “We are not out for a tax grab. We are out to grow a solid, long-term sustainable community and that doesn’t come with a whole bunch of crazy expenditures.”

Mr. Sterzer said the new assessment can be seen as an indication of the community’s progress and may be less drastic than it initially appears since it compensates for decreased values when the Canfor mill closed.

“I think there’s reason for cautious optimism,” he said. “There’s a bit of a success story to celebrate with Canal Flats and where we’ve been and where we’re going.”

Over in Invermere, realtor and councillor Gerry Taft said the new assessment numbers seem consistent with purchase prices.

“Slow steady increases in prices indicate a stable and sustainable market,” he said. “In the short term it might not help with affordability, but it does help with predictability and confidence. And in the long term this might help with the development of more affordable options and rental units.”

Anyone who disagrees with their assessed value can reach out to BC Assessment to request an appeal. Mr. Taft previously appealed an assessment on a rental property and said the appeal process was relatively straightforward. Property owners can contact BC Assessment at 1-866-825-8322 or visit www.bcassessment.ca.