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.

Just Posted

‘Serious incident’ sends Abbotsford area worker to hospital

Few details are currently available, but WorkSafeBC says it is investigating

Raj Patara looks to bring ‘positive change’ to Abbotsford school board

Patara says focus should be on transparency, communication and accountability in school district

WATCH: A final salute for outgoing Abbotsford police chief Bob Rich

Changing of the guard ceremony held in Thunderbird Memorial Square Thursday morning

Abbotsford Panthers leap into AAA

Abby senior varsity football team ready for new challenge

House arrest for man who abused disabled Abbotsford woman, then blamed her

‘Groomed complainant’ and ‘violated position of trust,’ judge says

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Extradition hearing set for Lower Mainland developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

B.C. man who left hospice to run in upcoming election dies

A week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Most Read