Carole James unmoved by B.C. speculation tax concerns

Speculation tax triggered local ‘recession,’ B.C. mayors say

Mayors of B.C. communities affected by the NDP government’s pending “speculation tax” on second homes got the support of delegates of their counterparts province-wide Wednesday, and urged Premier John Horgan to make affordable housing measures a local decision.

Mayors of Langford, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Radium Hot Springs and Parksville held a news conference outside the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler to drive home the point that they are seeing unintended and negative consequences from the tax, due to take effect next year.

West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater said the prospect of the tax has caused “a bit of a recession” in his community. Single-family home starts are down 40 per cent since the tax was announced in February, and multi-family development proposals are off 45 per cent since the tax targeted vacant properties, he said.

Radium Hot Springs Mayor Clara Reinhardt said the announcement had an immediate effect on her resort community near the Alberta border, with housing developments cancelled.

Finance Minister Carole James confirmed after the vote that the speculation tax is going ahead in its amended form.

James rolled back the extent of the tax in March after protests from vacation homeowners, exempting the Gulf Islands, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, the Juan de Fuca region in Premier John Horgan’s constituency and rural areas of the Fraser Valley and Central Okanagan.

It applies to Metro Vancouver, Greater Victoria and the municipalities of Nanaimo, Lantzville, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Kelowna and West Kelowna. It is to take effect based on 2018 assessed property values, at 0.5 per cent for B.C. residents and two per cent for foreign owners and “satellite families” who don’t pay income tax in B.C.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson noted that the resolution to dump the tax had overwhelming support from local politicians at the UBCM convention. Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran endorsed Wilkinson’s argument that the tax doesn’t target speculation.

In May, Wilkinson proposed his own version of the tax, targeting capital gains of people who flip condominiums for a quick profit.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureUBCM

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Woman refused entry after refusing to wear mask at store in Kelowna mall

The woman filmed the encounter at LUSH Cosmetics, where wearing a mask in-store is company policy

Smoky skies clearing throughout B.C. Interior

Environment Canada expects “widespread” improvement for all affected areas by Sunday

Stranger in truck grabs boy walking home from school in Kelowna

The 11-year-old boy escaped the incident, RCMP are investigating

Okanagan group calls for inclusive COVID-19 recovery plan

RAMA Okanagan wants full immigration status as part of COVID-19 recovery

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

‘This is a very difficult sentencing’; Judge delays Okanagan manslaughter trial to next week

The courts heard Friday that Bourque “did not intend to cause harm” but that her actions were “reckless”

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Most Read