Speculation tax may change but not likely to go away: Kelowna Mayor | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Speculation tax may change but not likely to go away: Kelowna Mayor

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/B.C. Assessment
September 12, 2019 - 2:59 PM

KELOWNA - Despite strong opposition, the province’s speculation tax doesn't look like it's going away, although changes may be on the way.

That’s the assessment of Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran who, along with mayors of other affected B.C. cities, met with Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance Carol James in Vancouver today, Sept. 12.

“The majority of the comments made were of concern about how this tax is affecting the municipalities involved,” Basran told iNFOnews.ca in a phone interview from Vancouver. “However, there were a few municipalities who welcome it and believe it’s making housing more affordable and more available for residents in their community.”

Basran presented James with figures compiled by the Canadian Home Builders Association that show jobs related to residential construction dropped 22 per cent in Kelowna and 17 per cent in West Kelowna since the tax was introduced earlier this year.

At the same time, those types of jobs grew by 30 per cent in Kamloops, the association reported.

“Certainly, part of the Kelowna story is that, yes it’s impacting jobs and it’s hurting our economy,” Basran said.

He was pleased that James listened and noted their concerns and there is some chance changes in the tax will be made before the end of the year but he doesn’t expect it to be removed.

The tax targets absentee homeowners in much of the Lower Mainland and Victoria, along with Nanaimo, Kelowna and West Kelowna.

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