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LETTER: Dialogue on rights and title lands a good starting point

I am happy to see that there is dialogue going on between the Tsilhqot’in Nation and settlers

Editor:

I am happy to see that there is dialogue going on between the Tsilhqot’in Nation and settlers in the rights and titles lands.

As a Sylix woman from the Similkameen and property owner in Alexis Creek, B.C., I appreciate how difficult it is for someone who has had their home over 21 years. I also understand rights and titles as we put our support behind the Tsilhqot’in Nation as it affected our people and in my mind the treaty process clearly did not work for me and this is my opinion.

As a Canadian, I also understand that these negotiations are long overdue and everything needs to move forward. These things do and will take time as Indigenous people expand our capacity and take on our responsibilities.

What I noticed as a property buyer in this area is that everyone states they want a “fair” price, however, their notices of assessment for property taxes are unusually low.

We had BC Assessment Services come and reassess our property because we did not believe that we were paying the right amount of taxes given the services that were being provided and the renovations we had completed.

Read More: Lodge owner in Tsilhqot’in declared title area wants to be bought out for fair price

For example, municipal water and sewer, road maintenance, police, education and medical services in our community.

I wonder what “fair” means and how it is defined. If Canadians negligently kept their taxes low by not requesting the BC Assessment authority come out and reassess for building and expansions and improvements, have they not already been compensated for any “hardship” or “fair” price as they have had to pay taxes that do not necessarily reflect the “fair” value of the property.

In other words, tax savings due to lower than normal assessments. It is not fair that the Tsilhqot’in people should compensate land owners that have already been compensated via tax savings.

I am not saying that this is the case with the Chilko River Lodge, but believe that this needs to be included in the equation when calculating what is “fair” and maybe the place to start is sending a government assessor out as a starting point.

Shelley Bevz

Alexis Creek


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