Housing construction set to boom in West Kelowna despite the speculation tax - InfoNews

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Housing construction set to boom in West Kelowna despite the speculation tax

Kelowna West MLA Ben Stewart (left) and West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater stand in front of the Goat's Peak site, West Kelowna, May11, 2018.
June 28, 2019 - 5:00 PM

WEST KELOWNA - Doug Findlater fought long and hard against the province’s speculation tax before stepping down last fall as West Kelowna’s mayor.

He said it would stop developers from starting projects in the city, and potentially curtail growth.

Earlier this week, sitting as a city councillor, he helped approve 300 new housing units in three projects. He argued that doesn’t mean that the tax had no impact.

“We will see long term effects show up in our budget over time,” he told iNFOnews.ca today, June 28.

He pointed to the Goats Peak proposal for 1,000 homes that was cancelled last fall because developers had concerns about the tax.

“I’m aware of others that have backed off and one that’s in place that is having a great bit of difficulty selling their units,” he said “They’re facing some financial hardship.”

One of the newly approved projects is Highstreet, with a 186-unit apartment complex near Westbank Centre

“Others, like Highstreet, that are building to a different point in the market, don’t feel their sales are being affected,” he said.

Many of the people and customers involved in the Goats Peak project were from Alberta. Findlater described them as middle-income people who may only spend four months in their West Kelowna homes.

In order to be exempt from the tax, the home has to be occupied for six months and short-term rentals don’t count.

The tax is 0.5 per cent of the property’s assessed value.

The new projects, therefore, seem targeted at people who will live in them full-time.



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