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

Mixed bag of weather ahead for Chilliwack

Week starts off with rain before clearing for sunnier days midweek

Watercolours by late Chilliwack artist to be unveiled at Yarrow Library

The public is invited to a special unveiling of three of Heinz Klassen’s watercolour paintings

Yarrow Library one of the stops on Cubetto’s grand tour

FVRL’s friendly wooden robot, Cubetto, travels throughout Fraser Valley to teach programming basics

No home for Agassiz Community Garden on school district land

The garden is still homeless after SD78 said no to the society using the McCaffrey School property

Chilliwack PEO: ‘We who are sisters’

International oganization celebrating 150 years of service

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

Police say ‘no major incidents’ at 4/20, Vancouver Park Board assessing

The first smoke-out held since legalization saw 60,000 people at Vancouver’s Sunset Beach

VIDEO: Langley firefighters spend hours battling blaze in vacant home

Cause of the late-night fire in Willoughby is still under investigation

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

RCMP looking for witnesses to four-vehicle crash in Burnaby

Police suspect impaired driving was a contributing factor

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Most Read