My Take On Property Assessments

The privilege of being a property owner is the right to do with it as you wish within reason. As a landlord, there are huge benefits, and responsibilities. However, as land is a “fixed” product, meaning that there is, and always will be, the surface area of the Earth to own and live on (in this context), so the value will hinge greatly location. When one area of the plant becomes desirable to live on, then so to does its value. With value, comes taxes, as land can’t move, or be relocated. Hand in hand, when its value goes up, so to does its taxes as most countries’ governments are depended on land taxes. Here is my take on Property Assessments, as my region undertakes what it calls Property Assessment Season, the time of year when British Columbia does it property assessments evaluations.

On one side of the table you have the land owners, who are loving the growing rates of real estate values in many regions, so their potential investments are, in some cases, beyond their wildest expectations. Where I use to live, the Lower Mainland near Vancouver, property values have sky rocketed, so many there are enjoying their investments grow over the couple of decades to the point that they are, in some cases, worth millions. Almost everyone has enjoyed this increase. Not too many property owners are complaining about their investments today, only those who wish to buy.

On this other side of the table, are the Governments, who all are enjoying this boom in property value as well becuase their cut of the pie is in the form of taxes. It goes hand in hand that both sides should prosper. Simple, eh? But here is where fun starts, in my opinion.

So the BC Government has just released their Property Assessments, and mailed them out to the property owners, plus you can go on-line and see them too. And so the grumbling starts. Many are not happy, and see this as a huge burden, especially those who have huge mortgages against their properties. Maybe many of those who are in this huge state of debt should think twice about being property owners in their desired area to live? But nevertheless, as a property owner, very few reasons can be given to kick you off of it, unlike a tenant in a rental situation. But back to the point, and I call this greed–plain and simple. Your investment has grown beyond your expectation, yet you see many parasites nibbling way at it. Sure, taxes can be seen to be that way, but when your bottom line is just barely able to keep up, any parasitic increases are seen as critical. Perhaps some land owners have forgotten what taxes do, and why inflation in land reflects in costs of services? It is called “inflation.”

One of the criteria built into the assessment is the land’s market value. But Property Taxes reflect more than just market value, they also reflect the community that you live in, such as what utilities you have servicing your community, and future developments. Sadly, I see land owners refusing to see this, but rather looking into their pockets and seeing the gouging by taxes taking place.

Mom Says Don’t Eat Yellow Snow. But Multi Coloured Ice?

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR! This is technically the first true post of 2018. So as always, in keeping with my Blog format, I just skip all the 2017 reflections and 2018 resolutions. So, with that, let me jump into this post, on multi coloured ice. I first saw this last year, just before New Year’s in fact. It was a no-brainer to wait a bit and get a photo of this. Regrettably, the Sun was blocked from the low overcast sky, but I still think the defuse light made the shots just as good.

 I laughed when I first seen the painted icicles on the rock faces of Terrace Mountain. Obviously, another artist was busy at work creating this. I sort of felt like I was steeling the artist’s work, but this is after all this is in the public domain, so it is fair game for photographers. For the record, I did not add the painted colours on the ice. Please do not accuse me of public vandalism or causing harm to the environment–assuming this is some form of lead based paint, or something toxic–this is someone else’s doing. I am just a bystander with a camera who happened to drive by, and stop, to admire it.

I also took some other shots of the non-coloured ice on the same stretch of road. I am surprised the people, or person, did not squirt paint on all the other ice chunks along this road. Anyway, I hope you like it; I thought it was neat.

Yay, it is 2018: What We Did On The Last Day of 2017

It is fun to mark events in our daily lives, and New Year’s Day, and Eve, are probably the biggest in my calender year. So what better way to celebrate it, than being with family and friends, and heading out to lake. Yup, that is what we did, we spent the last day of 2017 on the lake, just walking…. on it. Of course, I could not leave my camera at home when there was such a beautiful day calling out to me, saying, “take my photo.” And that is exactly what I did–over four gigabytes worth of them.

To our surprise, there were a lot of people at the lake. Me and Suzette went out to Lakelse Lake, near Terrace, BC, about a ten minute drive from town. When we got to the lake, there were already about fifty people on it, doing everything from basking in the sunlight, skating, walking and some were even ice fishing on it. So we were not along by any stretch. The above photo was the very first photo I shot when we got there. As you can see, lots of people on the lake, enjoying a nice crispy cold winter day, albeit a chilly one at -11C, with a light breeze coming from the North.

We decided to walk as far as we could on the ice. We were kind of amazed that we were walking the lake, as opposed to driving around it, or swimming in it. The time that we decided to return was almost at Furlong Beach, walking from the Lakelse Lake Park, at the North end of the lake. In all, the round trip was about one hour from the time we got the on ice, to when we left back to the car. A good walk to burn off the holiday turkey dinners with. In the above photo, a shot looking North towards the mouth of Williams Creek.

So here is the last shot of the year I want to leave you with on my Blog: The setting Sun over the ice and snow of Lakelse Lake. On such an awesome day, it was almost magical as we headed back to the comfy warm car. We were seeing the orange and yellow light on the mountains in the Skeena Valley around us as we drove away. As great way to end the year with: sitting in the car at the lake, warm coffee in hand, and the beautiful Suzette with her pink and purple toque on, sipping on her Latte, beside me. Magical.

Wish You All A Happy New Year 2018!

Once again we have come to the end of another year, yet ready to embark on a fresh new one. Although 2017 was awesome for me, there is always hope that 2018 will be even better. My plans for New Year’s are a bit up in the air, as I never really committed to any, but I am sure I will have fun, and bring in the new year with fun and excitement.

This will be my first New Year’s up in the North in nearly thirty years, so I am kind of interested at what will happen. There are a few events in town planned, but nothing to exciting that I can see. Me and Suzette have left tonight wide open, as far as what we might do. Anything is better than what I did last year–I slept through it all.

Roundabouts and Terrace, BC

OK, we have all heard the news by now about the main highway from Smithers, and Kitimat, BC, going into Terrace, being changed from a four-way stop to a roundabout. And we all seem to have an opinion on this. So I did an unscientific pole at my work, just to see what everyone there felt about it. The comments were both interesting and entertaining, and full of myths and lore, of what will happen once the roundabout is in operation. But first, please have a look at the link from the British Columbia’s Government website, before I move on in this post.

Highway 16 and 37 Intersection (BC GOV CA, as of December 28, 2017)

So, the number one reason for not having a roundabout in Terrace, BC, is: No one will know how to use it, and there will be accidents galore as everyone tries to figure it out.

Number two: People from out of town will never figure it out.

And three: It will be a complete disaster during rush hour, as driver’s compete with the transport trucks motoring through the intersection.

When I first heard about the idea of replacing the intersection with a roundabout, I was a bit in awe. Having come from the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, I have driven over a few roundabouts in my time. The most frequent roundabout I used was at McCallum Road and Highway 1 in Abbotsford, BC. To see this roundabout, please go to the BC Highway WEB-CAM link.  I was actually quite amazed at well it worked. When I seen it for the first time, I had no troubles navigating over it, as long as I knew which lane to be in. The marking on the road were quite clear about that. So, the one  about to be built in Terrace, should be the same.

The BC Government made this nice animation about how the traffic should flow while using the roundabout versus the existing four-way stop we have now.

Next is a propaganda video about the myths of roundabouts, and why they are better than four-way stops.

Anyway, my personal thoughts about having this intersection changed is a positive one. I see it as something that is badly needed, and was happy to hear that it will be built, starting in spring of 2019. I think this will be a boon for any highway traveller going through Terrace, BC.

Some Say It Is Cold, While Some Say It is Not: You Choose

Our week long deep-freeze is still with us, and although I seem to be coping with it, there are some who are not. I can only imagine what the homeless are going through around here, let along the low income households that can barely afford the extra heating bills. Fortunately, there are the homes with wood stoves, fireplaces and wood-pellet stoves, that you can see their chimneys puffing out silver smoke that run along the skyline, and down the valley here. Either way, people seems to be dealing with it. But no doubt it is cold.

My car seems to be handling the -15C temperatures with no troubles. Each morning, it starts right away, and driving on the icy roads, it handles it with not a care in the world. Having good tires, and making sure it is properly winterized, seems to be the way to go, living up here. I thought having a small car was going to be nothing but trouble for me, living way up here on the North Coast of British Columbia, but the car surprises me every day. Tomorrow should be a low of -15C again, and I am fully confident that car will start without a block heater in it.

My work was another matter, as the cold gave me some troubles. I had to move some heavy reels of wire around, and they were frozen to the ground. I tried using some pry bars to force them loose, but they were stuck good. So out came the forklift, on to the ice and snow, to move them. I had to put the chains on the tires to get traction on the ice. Even the forklift struggled to get the reels loose without breaking them apart. I am glad that the forklift has a closed in cab; at least I was toasty warm while drive it.

Now that the days are getting longer, I feel great knowing that very soon we will have our mild weather back. With the clear nights, the sunrises and sunsets have been nothing but totally awesome. Even the stars shine extra bright in the evening sky. All we need now are some Northern Lights to add that extra bit of winter bonus I so crave on a Moonless night.

What to Do On a Nice Sunny Day In Terrace, BC

Well, what do you do on a nice sunny day in Terrace, BC? Simple, if you are like me, you go on a drive, and take your camera along becuase days like this, when you have it off from work, you go out and enjoy it. Off I went, camera in hand, stopping at very rest area I could, and start shooting. When I was done, and feeling the cold, I headed back home, and started going through them all. I picked these three becuase they best represent the view of the landscape along the highway I saw.

I guess I should point out that for the last week, the North Coast has been under an Arctic Outflow Alert, which is weather speak for, “You will freeze your begonias’ off if you are not dressed for it.” We are hovering around the -10C to -9C mark getting down to -15C during the night. But the days have been nothing but sunshine, so “ya”. OK, the above photo is a classic shot of Thornhill, BC, or as the locals like to call it, “Lower Thornhill.” This is looking North, at the Northern Motor Inn, and the Copper Mountain, that big piece of rock sticking out in the back ground.

This next shot is along the Old Skeena River Bridge, but on the Terrace, BC side, right along Terrace Mountain. These are the little water falls that trickle down the rock faces, but being that it is so cold, they turn into icicles, or just blobs of ice. These ones are small, but the good ones to photograph require me getting out of my car, and hiking up trails to get pass the trees. I stayed very near my car becuase of the cold, so shooting only the small ones near the road was as far as I wanted to go. Nonetheless, they look neat, especially when they are clean, white, rather than full of dirt and yellow.

At the end of my drive, I went back towards the Copper River Subdivision, and took this shot. This is looking North, along the Skeena River, just passed Thornhill. By this time the clouds started to move in, so I headed back home.

In all, I took about seventy shots. Later on I will post some more from this batch because there are some really good shots along the highway going towards Prince Rupert, BC. So the whole trip was, starting in Thornhill, then the Rupert Highway, then back to Thornhill towards the Copper River.

With what little time I have left of this looong weekend, I have to cut it short, and call it a day–it’s late. Sadly, I must head in to work for Wednesday, so tomorrow is the last day off freedom. It has been a wonderful, awesome weekend; a must needed time off–I must enjoy these last twenty-four hours of it, right down to the second.

I had x-mass dinner over at Suzette’s folks’ place, where we had the feast, and then watched a movie. It was really nice. A very action packed day.

A Nice Day for Drive

Another awesome day, minus the cold. Suzette wanted to head up town, so we went in her vehicle. I had the camera in hand, and a small list of shopping that I wanted, so it was perfect. During our time in town I met with an old friend from my younger days went I last lived in Terrace, and then we spent the last light driving up to Rosswood, BC. I wanted to get some mountain shots, as the Sun was setting, but there were some clouds, so it did not go as planned. I got some shots anyway.

The above photo is taken along Curtis Road, in Rosswood, BC, about 2km past the Rosswood General Store. Back in the day, this is where you lived if you wanted to go off the grid, yet you were able to commute into town for work. The grid caught up a few years, and so have the hippies. LOL

Meeting old friends can be a awesome experience, especially if you have not seen them for a very long time. Flip-side to that is change, and with change means someone has passed on, so you will meet them again. I had one such meeting like that in the old mall. I had known about my friend from high school, and his struggle with a disease that eventuality robbed him of his life far to early. So talking to his younger sister was all to unreal. She was awesome too talk to in her own right becuase she knows about half of the people I grew up with. But the one thing we cannot stop is time, and with it, attrition of friends from the old neighbourhood. Since my departure from high school, and a brief stint back in the early ’90s, more names have been added to that list of friends who we have lost. But there was a extremely bright side to all of this: some have multiple like rabbits before they left their mortal lives on this planet. My friends maybe gone, but their children live on.

As for Rosswood, the place looked awesome in the snowy landscape. Even on the coldest day of the year, there is plenty to see and photograph. They had some fresh snow, so the trees looked like someone sprinkled icing sugar on them, and with the cold, the snow is here to stay until the thaw. There was no wind, just calm and silence. It is an eerie feeling if you are not use to it.

As for my place, the wind was horrible. More hissing and rumbling, as the wind kept on with its relentless fury. Lower Thornhill, the land of the wind.

No Doubt it is Winter

Day one of the looong weekend, and already, only twenty-four hours into winter the air tingles with frost, and the wind hisses outside. Ice is forming on my bathroom window, as that is the only single pane window in the apartment–yes I have thermal plastic covering it. Everywhere else in the apartment seems to be holding out well from the deep-freeze. Actually, I cannot complain as it could be much worse than it really is. As the “old timers” say, this cold only lasts for a couple of weeks, then it all thaws again. Great news to hear, but I am dealing with it in good spirits.

The car runs excellent in this cold, and no issues with my apartment either, so I am happy. It looks like the apartment was built very well to handle the arctic out flow weather like this. Actually, as I type this out, I can hear the wind blasting away, making that hissing sound, as it passes through the trees near by. I almost forgot what winter was like, living down South for so long. Oh, we will have a white holiday that is guaranteed.

I did some shopping today. Bought some neat stuff. One of the items I bought was a clay “Sleeping Mermaid” on a water lilly-pad figurine. Very cute. I will post a photo of it in a couple of days.

Well, time to rest and get ready for day number two of my four day weekend. Despite the cold, I can say, “this is the life.” I just hope I do not gain too much weight from lazing around for to long.

Entering the Looong Weekend

After celebrating the Solstice, the welcomed time off is now upon us. Not complaining one bit, the joy of a four day long weekend is wonderful, as the calendar lines up perfect this year, but would it not be nice if it was like this all of the time–like every year? Heck, make it a week long holiday, from the 22 to the 29th of December, or right up until January 1st. Maybe make December 21st the New Year’s, and just take a full week, minus actual weekends, so you can maximise the Holiday Season. Make this as part of, getting rid of the Daylight Savings, too, while we hack up the out-dated calendar.

Anyway, it is so nice to have the time off. Whether they leave it, or change it, having the time off is great–period. Looking at last year’s calendar, once New Years is finished, we will not see any more long weekends until next March here in Canada, so you kind of want to get as much as you can this week. So be marry and be sensible, as we enjoy the time off from work, and time with our families and friends.