Nanaimo riding byelection candidate Sheila Malcolmson and B.C. Premier John Horgan address party members at a party provincial council meeting in Nanaimo Saturday. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

The speculation tax is intended to address housing affordability and not hamper the real estate market, say the B.C. NDP.

Nanaimo byelection candidate Sheila Malcolmson and B.C. Premier John Horgan spoke at a provincial NDP council meeting in Nanaimo (on Vancouver Island) on Saturday and with a byelection set for Jan. 30, discussed issues including the vacant home tax. Nanaimo is subject to the tax, while Kamloops, an area with similar population, is not. Lantzville, on Vancouver Island, is also subject and Parksville and Qualicum (also on the Island) while originally set to be taxed, were eventually exempted.

Horgan said the vacancy rate and homeless problems were why Nanaimo was included.

“We don’t want to see vacant houses when we have people that can’t find a place to rent,” Horgan told the News Bulletin. “If you want to avoid the speculation tax and you have a vacant home, you can rent it and you don’t have to pay any tax. It was directed at making sure we’re dealing with housing affordability. It wasn’t exclusively about restricting those coming in and buying more properties. You can buy all the properties you want, but fill them with people. Houses are supposed to be for people. You shouldn’t be investing in the housing market as part of your real estate speculation … that’s the message we’re sending.”

View this post on Instagram

#bcndp speaking in #Nanaimo.

A post shared by Karl Yu (@karlyubulletin) on

Malcolmson has been hearing about homelessness and housing affordability while campaigning and said she will push for change.

“I’m getting feedback from people that they want to see all tools employed to make up for the last 16 years of B.C. Liberal inaction … I’m also reminded by the finance minister (Carole James) that if this isn’t working for Nanaimo, or if Nanaimo’s conditions change fast enough, then when the annual review comes up, if I’m honoured to be the MLA, then I’ll be advocating for changes to the program to make sure it achieves the goal of affordability,” said Malcolmson.

British Columbians will be required to fill out a form in relation to the tax and Malcolmson addressed the notion that the province should go after speculators and not all people.

“As was the experience in Vancouver, for you to find the speculators, you do need to do the paperwork and it was implemented without a great deal of controversy in Vancouver,” said Malcolmson. “They had 96 per cent compliance with people filling out the forms. B.C. Liberals didn’t raise the issue in the legislature when they had the opportunity and the program that’s in place right now is modelled on what worked well in Vancouver and so that’s what I’m talking with people when they say they’re concerned, I let them know this is the best way for us to achieve the objective.”

Historically, governing parties haven’t fared well in byelections and Horgan said he would take it step by step when asked about what would happen if his party loses.

“What if? What if? If horses had horns they’d be unicorns,” said Horgan. “They don’t, so I’m going to take it one day at a time as I’ve been doing since I was sworn in … We haven’t had a byelection that’s been so important as this one, but we have a spectacular candidate, in a spectacular community, so the ‘What if?’ is how quickly can we get Sheila Malcolmson to work to help fix some of the problems here in Nanaimo.”



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Supportive housing first step to healing: BC Housing CEO

Shayne Ramsay explains changes to Rutland’s McCurdy development

West Kelowna motorcycle crash causes two impaired driving investigations

The driver’s injuries, although serious, are not believed to be life-threatening in nature

Kelowna baby snatcher pleads guilty

Harold Giffen Clarkson Nyren is sentenced to two years probation

Big Wreck announces two Okanagan shows

The American-Canadian band will be playing in Vernon and Kelowna on Oct. 29 and Nov. 3

Kelowna fastpitch player en route to national championships

15 year-old Ryley Binne joins her White Rock team every weekend for tournaments

Okanagan-based pop star Andrew Allen is back with a new band

Singer-songwriter Andrew Allen is bringing his new band home for a concert this Friday

B.C. wine industry legend Harry McWatters dies

Among his accomplishments, McWatters founded the province’s first estate winery, Sumac Ridge Estate

Okanagan man grows tomato with an… unusual shape

The man could only conclude that it was a decidedly “male” tomato.

Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

$250,000 worth of property stolen from Okanagan storage

Police are investigating after a possible theft on the weekend

B.C. rail crossing death highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: watchdog

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

Vehicle collides into Okanagan home and drives away

Fencing, landscaping suffer significant damage and minor injury to house on Vernon’s Okanagan Avenue

Most Read