Vernon isn’t on the list to get the proposed speculation tax — but the city’s mayor is convinced it will happen by next year.
Akbal Mund is among several BC mayors calling on the province to halt the tax.
“People who want to invest in the province, people who want to build in the province, will no longer build, so the speculation tax was brought in to increase affordable-attainable housing. It’s not doing that, it’s having the reverse effect. There is less (housing) starts,” Mund told Beach Radio News while attending the Union of BC Municipalities convention in Whistler.
Mund says with Kelowna and West Kelowna on the list, it’s already impacting development in Vernon.
“What happens is, anybody in their right mind would think, ‘Okay, West Kelowna and Kelowna have it. When is Vernon going to get it?’ Next year, the following year? Probably,” says Mund.
He thinks the government’s plan is to impose the tax province-wide in a couple of years.
“If they bring it out in certain segments, chances are it’s probably going to be province-wide. Any tax is. I can’t think of any tax that just charges one segment of the population for something,” adds Mund.
Kelowna’s Colin Basran and other mayors told the UBCM convention, the tax fails to address housing affordability and unfairly punishes British Columbians.
The government is expected to introduce legislation for the tax this fall.
People living outside of Canada, and not paying taxes here, would pay two per cent on the assessed value of their home starting in 2019 if the property remains empty.
Canadians that do not live in BC will pay a tax of one per cent, and British Columbians who own multiple homes, and keep them empty, will pay 0.5 per cent tax.