School District #59 is the registered owner of Claude Galibois School, and as such are the only ones who have any authority over this property.
Taxes for the property are assessed as part of the region, however tax payers in Tumbler Ridge do pay school taxes on this school as well as Tumbler Ridge Elementary and Tumbler Ridge Senior Secondary. Those taxes are expressed in the local property owner?s mill rate.
Under the School Act if the property is used for purposes other than what it is designated for (i.e. a school) it may be taxable, or a portion of it may be taxable. Determination of what may or may not be taxable on a building that is allegedly assessed at $5 million plus is the determination of the BC Assessment Authority. It would seem clear however that the taxes on this property if it were put to private use would be substantial. In the interim the residents will continue to pay a school tax on a property that has not seen a student enter its doors for years since it was already closed prior to the mine shutdowns in 2000.
The issues of what use the school is put to has not only social ramifications, but legal and financial ones as well.
BC Assessment Authority was not available for comment at press time.