West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater has expressed his concern about the potential impact on his city of the province’s new speculation tax in a four-page letter to B.C. Premier John Horgan. —Image: contributed

Editorial: Spec tax—Is anybody listening?

West Kelowna mayor’s latest bid to oppose B.C.’s specualtion tax falling on deaf ears

First he met with the finance minister. And his protests fell on deaf ears.

Then it was the premier—and it appears to have resulted in the same outcome.

So now West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater is reiterating his opposition to the province’s planned speculation tax by putting pen to paper—or keystroke to screen if you will—in an open letter outlining why his city’s inclusion in the tax plan is bad not only for West Kelowna’s residents, but also his city’s economic bottom line.

For anyone who has followed along as Findlater has lead the local charge against the tax, the reasons are not new.

The city’s argument is the tax will result in less development and that means fewer homes, less revenue for the city, the potential loss of jobs, impacts on other sectors such as tourism, higher taxes to pay for future city infrastructure and a myriad of other problems that stem from turning developers away.

The ill-thought out tax, which will hit B.C. owners of secondary property, a s well as out-of-province owners, with additional tax levies, is not the panacea the province thinks it will be when it comes to trying to create more affordable housing in the handful of municipalities where it’s slated take affect in the fall.

The provincial government appears to have cherry-picked cities to include in the controversial tax plan and, as Findlater makes clear in his four-page letter to Premier John Horgan, the criteria used to include West Kelowna seems faulty at best.

But the reality is Findlater can yell until he’s blue in the face—Horgan has no intention of budging on this one.

In politics the key is being seen to be doing something and this is the NDP government’s response to the growing lament of British Columbians who say it’s too expensive to get into the property market in this province.

There’s no doubt prices are way higher than most of us can remember in the cities and towns where we live. But recent statistics from the provincial real estate association shed some interesting light on the measures that have already been taken to try to cool B.C.’s red hot property market.

The report says recent changes in rules have resulted in a drop of about 36 per cent in sales in B.C., but at the same time, prices have only gone down 1.7 per cent. The bottom line is there are fewer homes available and prices are not coming down by much.

So, how is this all making more property available and affordable ?

Findlater makes a good case for West Kelowna, but all the yelling in the world does no good if the person you are yelling at is not listening to you.

For more on this story and the text of Findlater’s letter, see kelownacapnews.com

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
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@KelownaCapNews
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