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BC Assessment updating property records with camera-equipped van

Image Credit: (BC Assessment)
August 13, 2013 - 12:15 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Don't be alarmed by that van taking photos of your house from the street.

B.C. Assessment is coming to Kamloops beginning Monday to update records with an initiative that has already kicked off in the Okanagan. A marked van is driving around communities in the Thompson-Okanagan with a digital camera taking photos of properties. Communities of Kamloops, Vernon, Kelowna, West Kelowna and Westbank are being targeted for property assessment purposes.

"It started already in the Central Okanagan," said BC Assesment communications advisor, Tim Morrison. "It's starting next monday in Kamloops."

Morrison said the concept isn't much different from what the Crown corporation is already doing, it's just more efficient.

"This is just basically instead of having appraisers walk slowly from house to house," he said.

The public street views of homes, including the address number, are being taken. However, images of people, visible signage, license plates and the interiors of homes, vehicles or garages are being excluded.

"Personal privacy is completely protected," Morrison said, adding identifiers are edited out of images. "We do not record any information that could violate peoples personal privacy."

He said about two million properties, spread throughout the province are assessed by B.C. Assessment. The new innitative targets about 28,750 single family homes in Kelowna; 9,800 properties in the District of West Kelowna; 2,000 properties in Westbank First Nation; 10,500 single family homes in Vernon; 24,900 single family homes in Kamloops and 550 properties for the Kamloops Indian Band.

"This makes our work a lot more efficient," he said.

The technology is already being used in Nanaimo, the District and City of North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Surrey, White Rock, Squamish, Maple Ridge, Abbotsford, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam and Langley.

Once the photos are updated, they are sent directly to the desktop of an appraiser who makes updates regarding the property's current status. Some examples of what they're looking for in the photos are home renovations, new buildings, subdivided properties, etc.

To contact a reporter for this story, email: jwallace@infotelnews.ca, call: (250) 319-7494 or tweet: @jess__wallace.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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