Property Photo Update Initiative – Port Coquitlam

Property Photo Update Initiative – Port Coquitlam
Frequently Asked Questions for Property Owners
Q. Why is it necessary for BC Assessment to take photos of properties?
BC Assessment’s mandate is to ensure that all properties in B.C. are accurately, fairly
and equitably assessed for property tax purposes. To keep our information up to date,
we periodically take street front and aerial photographs, visit property owners or mail
questionnaires to property owners asking a number of questions about their property,
such as number of bedrooms and bathrooms and building dimensions.
Q. What’s so different about this photo update initiative?
Instead of appraisers walking slowly from house to house to inspect and photograph
properties from the street, we have contracted a private company, Facet Technology, to
update street front property photos quickly using digital camera equipment mounted on
a mobile van.
Q. What’s the purpose of this initiative?
BC Assessment is using this method to more efficiently and cost effectively update our
ever-increasing inventory of properties (BC Assessment currently values almost two
million properties throughout the province). This technology has already been
successfully used throughout Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, the Okanagan,
Kamloops and Nanaimo.
Q. Under what authority does BC Assessment have to do this project?
BCA’s Property Photo Update Initiative, and its collection of information, is authorized
under sections 14 and 16 of the Assessment Act.
Q. How many properties in Port Coquitlam will be photographed?
There are approximately 11,100 properties in Port Coquitlam that will be photographed.
Q: How often will BC Assessment do this in my neighbourhood?
We Value BC
This is the only residential property photo update initiative currently planned for Port
Coquitlam in 2014.
Q: How are the pictures taken?
A van using state-of-the-art digital camera equipment will retain a photo of each
residence. Photos will only be taken from the street (public right of way).
Q: Will the mobile photo van be marked with any kind of identifying signage?
Magnetic signs on both sides of the van will read: BC Assessment, Property Photo
Update Initiative. The van driver will provide information upon request.
Q. How will you ensure that the pictures don’t include any personal information
related to the property?
BC Assessment’s contractor, Facet Technology, is under a contractual obligation not to
retain any personal information related to:
Images of people on the property, including partial images comprised of parts of
faces and/or bodies.
Visible signage on a residence (excluding civic street number), including political
signage, business signs, signs with the names of the people living at that property,
plaques and any other type of signage that may relate to the identity of a person.
Views of the interior of the residential improvements which are normally enclosed
(eg., images that show the inside of a home via a window or open doorway, or the
interior of an enclosed vehicle shelter such as a garage).
While Facet Technology will try to avoid taking photos which contain personal
information, there will be cases where photos will have to be scrubbed of personal
information. The personal information will not be retained by Facet or publicly
disclosed. Once the photos have been scrubbed, the photos will not contain any
personal information.
Q. What are the pictures used for?
We Value BC
The pictures will be used by BC Assessment in its day-to-day business to provide more
accurate residential property assessments. The photos will also be included with
publicly available property information through BC Assessment’s online e-valueBC
system at As well, property owners who appeal their
assessment can request information on comparable sales which would include the new
pictures. Comparable sales information has often included photos.
Q. Will my property taxes change as a result of this initiative?
Not necessarily. The municipality where your property is located (which is your taxation
jurisdiction) sets the property tax rates, not BC Assessment. BC Assessment
determines the market value of properties and it is these assessments that then form
the basis of an equitable tax distribution amongst properties. If the photograph of your
property shows improvements that increase your property’s value for the 2015
Assessment Roll and your property’s assessment increase is above the average for
your community’s residential properties, then your tax dollar amounts might be
Q. Will I face repercussions from the municipality if I have made changes to my
home without a permit and you record it in a photograph?
BC Assessment has no information about actions that these jurisdictions may take, but
please be assured that the image in the photograph is taken from the public street. If
the changes to your home are visible from the street, the local government may already
be aware of them. If the changes are not visible from the street, then the photograph
will not show the changes.
Q. Who is Facet Technology?
Facet Technology is a leading major and highly reputable provider of public sector
technology and assessment services. Although Facet Technology is headquartered in
Minnesota, all of the work is being performed in Canada with an office located in
Vancouver. Facet will not transmit photographs outside of Canada nor make them
accessible from outside of Canada.” More information about Facet Technology is
available at:
Q. Who can I contact if I have any other questions about this?
Property owners can contact BC Assessment at 1-866-valueBC (1-866-825-8322)
or, go online at:
If you have any questions about the collection, use or disclosure of the photographs,
you may contact BCA’s Manager of Information Access & Privacy at:
Tel. 250-595-6211 ext 00282.
We Value BC