MPAC Assessment of Cottage Valuations

I wish I knew.  I really wish I knew.  RCA Secretary Dr Mike Newell & I met with MPAC’s Customer Service Manager Jeff Jenkins at my cottage on October 25th.  That was the same week the MPAC Assessors were scurrying all around the park, clipboards in hand.  The overwhelming sense of the meeting was that their orders were very “rushed”.  They hadn’t been told about Rondeau’s “unique circumstances”;  they were told to treat our cottages like any other cottage on privately-owned land.  They had absolutely no precedent for our situation.

MPAC people are bean-counters.  They analyze local sale price patterns to estimate general property values.  They didn’t care about 2017 or beach access rights or work permits or gate passes, all they cared about was what other nearby cottages have recently sold for.  Very few cottagers were around that week and I’d be surprised if they were allowed in more than a couple of cottages.  In my opinion the four little MPAC cars buzzing around the park that week were strictly for “shock & awe”.

Following extensive discussion and a legal opinion, the last we heard about MPAC was on November 3rd when I advised Mr Jenkins via email of the following…

Hi Jeff,

As you know, Rondeau’s cottage owners all have valid Crown Leases thru December 31, 2017.  Our leases define our annual rent payments very clearly.  It is the position of the legal counsel of the RCA that nothing in our leases compels us to remit municipal property taxes or any other fees not expressly stated on our lease.

The RCA sees no reason to seek to determine the “fair market value” of our cottages as it is not relevant to our situation.  Therefore we are unable to assist with the assessment process.  We will likewise advise our members to discard any paperwork they receive from MPAC and to not allow your inspectors access to their cottages.

If the Province of Ontario wishes to discuss a reasonable lease extension proposal that we can present to our members we will consider all options at that time.  However no such proposal has yet been received from the government.  Thus the terms of our 2017 lease remain legally binding and “fair market value” is meaningless.

 

No response has been received.  I’m sure this is not over yet, but for now we’ll wait and see — this process was expected to take several years to implement.  Has anybody been contacted by MPAC yet?  Did you let them in your cottage?  If so please let us know.  And if you or a family member work for MPAC or knows a lot about how they do business please give us a shout as well.

(Oh and by the way, I surprised Mr Jenkins when I informed him that the total area of the public campgrounds in the park is substantially larger than all the cottage lots combined — and as the campgrounds are considered revenue-producing property, the MNR should have to pay a much higher tax rate on it than we pay on our cottages…  the MNR hadn’t mentioned that.)

– Submitted By Brian French, RCA Vice-President