B.C.’s fishing, hunting and ecotourism operations are mainly on Crown land, and have been shut down or struggling due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C.’s fishing, hunting and ecotourism operations are mainly on Crown land, and have been shut down or struggling due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. reviews Crown land residential rent after hikes of up to 300%

Rent relief for fishing, hunting lodges hanging on in COVID-19

The B.C. government has come up with an additional $1.87 million to cover big rent increases for seasonal campgrounds, guest ranches and lodges that lease provincial Crown land to operate and are trying to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

People who reside on Crown land without a business haven’t been so lucky, and some of them are looking at rent increases as high as 300 per cent as the rents are tied to the value of the land. That is soaring in some locations, where private property assessments are rising quickly

Opposition MLAs raised the issue in the B.C. legislature March 24. The NDP government was recently criticized for extending its COVID-19 rent freeze on private properties to the end of 2021, and tightening rules for renovation of urban rental properties. The current policy is to set rent at five per cent of the property value for residential tenures, and three per cent for seasonal or recreational purposes.

B.C. Liberal MLA Jordan Sturdy said he has been corresponding with the forests and lands ministry for two years on the residential rent issue. He cited the case of a constituent whose Crown land rent jumped from $5,650 last year to as much as $19,650 this year.

RELATED: B.C. extends rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

RELATED: B.C. forests, lands ministry ‘unwieldy,’ Horgan says

Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad cited another case in Sturdy’s constituency of West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, where a single mother in the Cheakamus Valley has been billed for an 86 per cent increase for rent on property her family has lived on for generations.

Forests Minister Katrine Conroy said the rent is tied to land value assessment, which is jumping up in some areas based on private property sales, and the ministry is looking into it. “The ministry is commissioning an appraisal to determine the market rent for their tenures and advise that the ministry is working with other agencies to resolve other issues raised,” the ministry said in a statement to Black Press April 1.

Meanwhile, this week some of the seasonal and recreational users got a break.

Conroy announced March 30: “Our government has identified another 438 commercial recreational operators that are eligible for rent forgiveness as part of this initiative,” she said, identifying hunting and fishing lodges, seasonal campgrounds and other commercial recreation operators.

Some of the leases are through the environment and parks ministry, which overlaps with forests and lands in wildlife management and other functions. Premier John Horgan has ordered ministers to create a new ministry of lands to sort out the situation.

The total rent forgiveness program now amounts to $3.23 million for 1,473 tenures and permits, 990 of which are Land Act tenures. The other 483 are Park Act permits to operate on Crown land.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Melissa Milligan is working to build a disc golf course in Port Hardy. (Submitted photo)
Port Hardy’s disc golf survey results are in

138 people in total took the survey, with 94 per cent voting yes.

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations in Gold River area

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Mya Servatius and Marilyn May handing out gift baskets to seniors. (Michelle Tremblay photo)
NISS students practice kindness by giving gifts to seniors

This project wasn’t part of a class at NISS, or for any extra credit.

Port Hardy Fire Rescue map of controlled burning.
Controlled burn happening this weekend on Highland Drive

No unauthorized persons, including media, will be permitted within the “Hot Zone”.

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

A 41-person air task force, including 12 members from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, seized more than $3 million CND worth of cocaine as part of Op Caribbe. Photo by Canadian Armed Forces Operations/Facebook
Vancouver Island team helps make $368 million three-tonne cocaine seizure

12 members from 19 Wing Comox involved in Op Caribbe

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photos courtesy Ella Smiley)
Chainsaw and friends near the beach thrill orca watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

Nootka Sound RCMP and DFO Conservation and Protection Officers seized this 30 foot vessel, fishing gear and equipment as well as Chinook salmon, salmon roe, rock fish and ling cod after an investigation on Sept. 11. A judge in Campbell River on February hit the owner and his accomplices with significant fines, a ban on holding fishing licences and loss of equpment, including the boat’s motor and trolling motor. RCMP photo
Washington State trio’s fisheries violations the worst veteran officer has seen in 20 years

Judge bans three men from fishing or holding a fishing licence anywhere in Canada

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read