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After prolonged questioning, all the gentleman had to say was, "He shouldnta said that about my dawg," referring affectionately to a blue tick hound sleeping peacefully on the porch.
You never know which straw is going to be the final straw.
The final straw for the Greater Fool condo owners was when the B.C. tax assessment authorities decided theyd play along with the Real Hotel owners complaint about an unlevel playing field and tax condo hotels at commercial rates. What were already marginal investments suddenly got worse when the tax bill doubled.
The Greater Fools were able to tolerate indifferent and sometimes questionable tactics employed by the property management companies. They gritted their teeth and swallowed hard when they paid their quarterly "fees" to the WRA, in reality a second level of tax. They suffered the indignity of often negative cashflows, remembering with bitter irony the glowing projections theyd been shown before they signed on the dotted line.
But the tax man shoulda let their dawg alone.
They banded together, overcoming one of their inherent weaknesses: isolation. They appealed the assessment. They lost. But in losing, language was employed suggesting the concept of "commercial" rested on the fact that one management company "ran" the property like a hotel and if a certain percentage of the Greater Fools condos werent managed by that company, the whole commercial tax classification fell apart.
Thus begat the proliferation of equally over-priced property management companies. Thus begat the guests confusion at check-in time. Thus begat the onerous bylaw mandating a monopoly position for property management companies on any new condo projects a bylaw Im certain the muni will live to regret.
The muni has moaned about "losing" millions of dollars of tax base. While technically true, this complaint is disingenuous. Six or seven years ago, when the assessment on condos was changed from residential to commercial, the muni received an enormous windfall of tax base they never expected to have. I dont remember them moaning about that. Rubbing their hands with greed, yes. But windfalls quickly become entitlements, so the muni has been in the forefront of fighting the Greater Fools quest for fairness.
The problem is condo hotels, which underpin the success of Whistler nearly as much as the mountains themselves, are neither fish nor fowl. They arent really residential, although their value is most definitely determined more like a house than a business. And they certainly arent commercial. Commercial property value is determined by the propertys cashflow after expenses but before financing and taxes. Using a commercial valuation technique, condos would be nearly worthless. So that technique isnt used. Thus, theyre valued like houses and taxed like businesses.
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