Strong home sales in the Cowichan Lake area have helped drive up assessments in the region. (Citizen file)

Editorial: Assessment jump underlines feeling of optimism

In the Town of Lake Cowichan assessments have gone up an average of 22 per cent this year

Virtually everyone’s property assessments went up this year, but nowhere in the Cowichan Valley had as much of a hike as Lake Cowichan.

With the housing market as hot as it’s been over the past year, the assessment rise shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Home sales in a particular area do play a part in determining assessment value.

In the Town of Lake Cowichan assessments have gone up an average of 22 per cent this year, while Lake Cowichan Rural assessments have jumped an average of 18 per cent.

Don’t panic. That doesn’t mean your taxes are automatically going up by that amount. That’s not how municipal taxation works.

But the big jump does have implications for the area. Clearly, the Town of Lake Cowichan and its environs are an increasingly desirable place to live. This is good news.

Once booming, the Cowichan Lake area was severely impacted by huge changes to the forest industry that saw the closure of area mills and massive job losses. In turn, other area businesses were unable to keep their doors open as people migrated out of the area, and those that remained often had less disposable income. Schools closed.

The Lake has, until now, boasted significantly cheaper real estate than other areas of the Cowichan Valley. Average home prices are still less than other communities, but are quickly beginning to catch up. Lakefront, of course, is going at a premium these days. Those that are moving to Cowichan Lake area communities are spreading the word about the charms of living in the mostly rural area, with all of the benefits of a more urban environment a short drive away — from a hospital to shopping.

The momentum has clearly shifted from the days when the trend leaned more towards moving away.

The Town of Lake Cowichan has made a concerted effort in recent years to beautify, and now offers a welcoming and bright face to visitors and residents alike.

There have been some new additions to the business community, while other established businesses have either expanded or held strong.

All in all there’s a feeling of revitalization, of looking to the future as we head into 2018.

The provincial property assessments reinforce this atmosphere of growth and optimism.

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