Kelowna’s mayor says he plans to take the city’s concerns about the province’s new speculation tax right to the top.
After first saying last week the unintended consequences of the new tax on his city could be “disastrous,” Basran told his council Monday he plans to talk with Premier John Horgan about the tax. Basran said he has already spoken to B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver about it and plans to talk with B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson as well.
“We know it will impact our community, potentially, in a number of ways,” said Basran Monday, reiterating the city is working on a report looking at how exactly the tax will impact the city and what “tweaks” could be made.
In the B.C. budget two weeks ago, the province introduced the new tax which only affects Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, the Victoria and Nanaimo areas on Vancouver Island, Kelowna and West Kelowna in the Interior.
West Kelowna council has also spoken out against the tax and is currently also putting together a report about its potential impact there. The City of West Kelowna is also asking its residents for their comments.
The NDP government wants to use the speculation tax to help housing affordability and increase the supply of housing in the province’s hottest markets. It levies a $5 tax for every $1,000 of assessed value on property in the affected areas owned by anyone living outside of the province. Principle residences and long-term rentals are exempt.
Basran said the tax could have an adverse affect on construction in his city and that could affect jobs.
The mayor and several of his councillors have said they have heard plenty of concerns from the public about the tax since it was announced.
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