If you spot an unusual vehicle taking pictures in your neighbourhood in the coming weeks, don't worry, you're not on candid camera and hopefully you won't have to call the police.
Instead, it's a company hired by BC Assessment to take digital pictures of the more than 25,000 single-family homes in Coquitlam for assessment purposes.
The residential photo update initiative, which is being handled by a company called Tyler Technologies, will take street-front digital photos of homes throughout Coquitlam, with a target start date of Dec. 5.
The work is expected to take about three to four weeks to complete.
BC Assessment deputy assessor Zina Weston said that previously, junior staff were responsible for the duty, but she suggested the agency has found it to be more economical to hire an outside company to do the work.
She noted the photographs would only be used by BC Assessment for assessment purposes.
They might also be used during the assessment appeal process with a homeowner.
To allay privacy concerns, BC Assessment said it would photograph only the public street front of a home including the home address number.
That also means no visible signage on a residence, including business signs, signs with the names of the people living at that property and any other type of signage that may relate to the identity of a person. This includes vehicle licence plates.
"We're not after any open garage doors or visible people, just the house number . and the property itself," Weston told The NOW, adding the images are just one more way of keeping the data current.
BC Assessment has employed the technology in a handful of other municipalities over the last few years.
This year, the agency is taking the initiative to New Westminster and Coquitlam in December, while work was just completed in Burnaby.
It's expected to cost BC Assessment about $66,000, or $2.60 per folio, to complete the task in Coquitlam.
Weston said she expects Port Moody and Port Coquitlam to be added in the future.
She said her office has received about a dozen calls from curious homeowners since launching the initiative in Burnaby in September, noting the majority of people are asking if the van taking the picture does in fact belong to BC Assessment.
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