An Arizona family in Sidney, B.C., says they might have to sell their beloved vacation home if the speculation tax rolls out as promised. (Peninsula News Review files)

Sidney to ask the province to rethink speculation tax

Town wants an exemption of its own, too

Sidney is wondering why towns like Parksville and Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island received an exemption from B.C.’s proposed new speculation tax and they did not.

So, Sidney is going to ask the Premier and provincial finance minster why not.

In a unanimous vote Monday night, Sidney council voted to ask not only for an exemption of their own, but also ask the B.C. NDP to reconsider the tax outright. The tax was introduced as a measure to help get vacant homes into the rental market and to stem speculation on properties, driving prices up.

RELATED: ‘Not well thought-out’.

Councillor Tim Chad raised the subject, noting that local business owners are worried about a drop off in their winter business, as out-of-province property owners face paying the new tax or selling their vacation homes.

“I believe this is an unfair tax,” Chad said, adding he thinks the tax treats the province as a separate country within Canada and treats Canadians different than in other provinces.

The B.C. NDP government proposed the tax, which would start later this year at 0.5 per cent of the value of a home this fall for B.C. residents. For other Canadians, the tax rises to two per cent in 2019. Foreign property owners would pay the full two per cent tax starting in February, 2019. The tax would hit everyone who owns property — but doesn’t pay provincial income tax — in the lower mainland, Capital Regional District (including Sidney), Nanaimo Regional District, Kelowna and West Kelowna.

Exemptions announced by B.C. Finance Minster Carole James this week include the Gulf Islands, Parksville and Qualicum Beach and the Juan de Fuca region.

RELATED: Rural cabins, cottages exempted from speculation tax.

Coun. Peter Wainwright suggested taking the issue further with the province.

“Even if they exclude Sidney from the tax,” he said, there are Sidney residents who own vacation properties elsewhere, whose jurisdiction may not be excluded.

Wainwright said he wants the province to reconsider the tax and its unintended consequences.

“We’re hearing stories of people trying to dump their properties so they don’t get caught up in the tax,” he said.

Coun. Erin Bremner-Mitchell reminded council that the intent of the speculation tax does support Sidney’s own goal of trying to add more homes to the local market and driving prices down. She said Sidney’s goal is to reach a population density of 15,000 by 2025.

She said, while she agrees with Wainwright’s call for a review of the tax, it’s proposed implementation means those units Sidney is seeing built here are not filling the gap that the Town has intended them for.

Wainwright added he feels the tax is too heavy-handed and should not come into effect until next year. And even then, he would like to see the tax applied only to new home sales — essentially grandfathering in existing properties against having to pay a new tax.



editor@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Iconic Mount Douglas beach rock vandalized with graffiti image

Saanich Parks staff will try to remove at low tide

Victoria-area orthotist giving dogs a new leash on life

Since he started 10 months ago, Tim Witoski has supplied orthotics for some 25 dogs

2 people injured after assault in Centennial Square

Victoria Police have not said how the two are related, or if any other suspects are involved

North Saanich roundabouts get new landscaping

McTavish Interchange landscaping cheaper, still safe

Complaint filed against B.C. naturopath who treated boy with rabid dog saliva

BC Naturopathic Association questions Dr. Anke Zimmermann’s conduct on recent treatments

Manak calls Const. Ian Jordan fallen hero

Late Victoria cop mourned at funeral by officers from numerous local, out-of-town jurisdictions

Spring Home Show this weekend in Colwood

West Shore Parks and Recreation will be transformed to showcase everything home related

Camosun launches cannabis training courses

Growing Cannabis for Professionals is available online through continuing education

Cars lined up around the block as gas hits 109.9 in B.C. city

The gas wars continue in Vernon, B.C. with prices as low as $109.9 in North Okanagan

Trudeau ends 3-country tour with global reputation, alliances intact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finds footing on the world stage after China and India controversies

Province’s $6.5M will help women escape violence, Public Safety Minister announces

Mike Farnworth made the funding announcement in Surrey Friday morning

Trial for gangland slaying of Jonathan Bacon takes a turn

Charges for three men charged in the 2011 murder of B.C. gangster Jonathan Bacon have changed

Leafs’ Matthews has top-selling jersey, edging Crosby, McDavid: NHL

Austin Matthews jersey sales top Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby, Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid

Victims grant may miss needy parents due to eligibility rules: report

Only 29 of 50 applicants between 2013 and 2017 received the grant across Canada, a federal report says

Most Read