Assessment van to snap shots of New West houses
Over the next few weeks a van will be cruising the streets of New Westminster taking pictures of homes.
Its purpose, however, is not to surreptitiously scope out houses for possible break and enters. This van is one that has been contracted by BC Assessment to take digital photos of approximately 7,500 homes in New West. The pictures, taken from the van, will immediately be uploaded to the organization’s databank.
Zina Weston, deputy assessor for the North Fraser region, said historically BC Assessment has photographed homes for its files. They help agents in developing comparables when an owner challenges the annual assessment that is released every Jan. 2.
Previously those photos were taken by staff. The digital database will allow them to do the same work without leaving the office providing more timely, accurate, equitable and fair assessments, Weston said.
The organization is winding up taking pictures of 32,000 homes in Burnaby and will move into New Westminster starting on Monday (Nov. 5). The plan is to be completed by Nov. 23.
Weston said they frequently get calls when the van comes through a municipality from residents wanting to verify it is legit. BC Assessment also lets municipal officials and local police know before starting.
According to BC Assessment, the photos will only show the front of the home, including the address. Images of people on the property, signs (including those with names of people living at the property) and anything else that may relate to the identity of a person such as vehicle licence plates will not be retained. Any images showing the inside of a home or garage will also be eliminated.