January 7, 2015 1:03 am
Updated: January 7, 2015 5:10 am

Gulf Islands homeowners blame BC Ferries for declining property values

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WATCH: Homeowners on two Gulf Islands say BC Ferries cutbacks are killing their property values. Kylie Stanton reports.

While most people are finding that their latest property assessments are either stable or up slightly, homeowners on two Gulf Islands are taking a beating.

Property values on Mayne Island and Saturna Island have dropped substantially over the past few years and are down again this year.

Local residents believe BC Ferries has something to do with it.

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“Ferry fares are the major component to this whole thing with our economy,” says Mildred Leathers, president of the Mayne Island Chamber of Commerce.

READ MORE: Report says BC Ferries service cuts has cost tourism industry millions
READ MORE: Island man’s Facebook rant about BC Ferries goes viral

It costs around $125 for a vehicle and driver to make a return trip from Tsawwassen and Mayne Island. Service levels are also being scaled back, with some midweek trips being eliminated during the winter months.

Leathers has seen the assessed value of her 1,600-square-foot home drop substantially, from $452,000 in 2011 to a little more than $351,000 today.

The owners of the Blue Vista Resort say they’ve had 40 per cent fewer visitors this year, forcing them to let go of staff and close the office during the offseason.

“I actually think it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” saysBlue Vista’s Carmen Pearson.

Realtors are a bit more optimistic. Glen McLeod says sales were up last year, but those sales may have come from bargain hunters.

The owner of one waterfront home sold his property for half the price of what was expected.

Critics say the 90 listings currently available on the island may not fare much better, unless something changes.

-with files from Kylie Stanton

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