Finance Minister Carole James explains her budget measures in Victoria, Feb. 20, 2018. (Black Press files)

Parksville Qualicum Beach officials applaud exemption from speculation tax

Details on tax released by Ministry of Finance Monday, March 26

Local politicians and developers expressed relief and appreciation Monday afternoon after the B.C. government announced that Parksville and Qualicum Beach would be exempted from the NDP’s proposed speculation tax on properties owned by non-B.C. taxpayers.

“I can’t tell you what a relief that is,” Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre told The NEWS. “I was terribly concerned about the impact it was going to have on the tourism industry, on the construction industry, on the real estate industry and overall business in Parksville in general.”

B.C.’s speculation tax on vacant homes is being restricted to urban areas, with vacation homes valued at under $400,000 in rural areas exempted, Finance Minister Carole James said Monday, March 26.

The Gulf Islands, the Juan de Fuca region in Premier John Horgan’s constituency, Parksville and Qualicum Beach are being exempted, James said.

“That’s really good news,” Regional District of Nanaimo board chair Bill Veenhof said. “It’s outstanding news; I’m a little disappointed that the City of Nanaimo is still in.”

James said she has heard many calls for change or repeal of the tax she announced in February, but it is needed in large urban areas to give people incentive to rent out vacant homes. Those that are rented monthly for six months a year will also be exempted.

The change is designed to exempt “cottages and cabins on the lake,” James told reporters in a conference call from Vancouver.

“I want to thank the provincial government for listening,” said Lefebvre. “I believe we made our case; the city wrote a letter to the government and I’ve been continuing to send emails.

“Those people coming from Alberta and Manitoba and Saskatchewan and other provinces are not speculators. They’ve had homes here a long time and they spend money here, supporting local businesses and contribute to the community. They’re valued as residents of Parksville.”

Veenhof agreed with Lefebvre that the efforts of local residents and civic leaders paid off with the speculation tax reversal.

“This is a clear indication that the provincial government listened to what the community was saying, to what I was saying, to what other directors were saying,” Veenhof said. “It’s really positive.”

The RDN board of directors voted March 13 to request the province scrap the speculation tax. At that meeting, Lefebvre cited the example of a $30 million expansion project at Parksville’s Sunrise Ridge Waterfront Resort that had been put on hold after a number of pre-sale customers backed out due to uncertainty over the speculation tax.

Monday’s annoucement by James may lead to restoration of the project, said Randy Trapp, president of Luxury Resorts West Development Corp.

“The only thing holding us back was the announcement of this (speculation) tax and the instant negative impact it had on our presales,” he said. “I’m optimistic that we can recover those pre-sales and begin construction as scheduled later this summer.

“I think it was prudent of the government to take into consideration the feedback they received.”

Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek told The NEWS Tuesday that he understood the need to help curb speculation in area, but he didn’t like the idea of taxing specific areas.

“When you do a taxation it should apply across the province. I didn’t understand why areas regional districts to the south or the west or the north were not included.”

As originally announced in the B.C. budget Feb. 20, the speculation tax would be charged to out-of-province residents who inherited a family summer or ski cabin, if it is in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Nanaimo or Capital Regional District, or the municipalities of Kelowna and West Kelowna.

Nanaimo-Lantzville is still within the range of municipalities subject to the speculation tax, thought the RDN’s outlying electoral areas in District 69 are included in the exemption.

Check www.pqbnews for updates and more info.

— With files from Lauren Collins and Tom Fletcher

Send story tips to:

Just Posted

Parksville council, staff debate homeless camping in public spaces

‘We are in a fine balancing act right now’

Offenders work to repair harm through restorative justice process

The Arrowsmith Community Justice Society says process is alternative to court system

‘Dramatic undersupply’ of workers in Parksville Qualicum Beach: new labour report

Analysis supports what many already know, reinforces need for action: Burden

Outreach group ordered to stop feeding homeless on City of Parksville property

City issued Manna Homeless Society cease and desist order after complaints from public

VIDEO: E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickens 18 people in Ontario, Quebec

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it’s working with U.S. authorities to determine the source of the romaine lettuce those who got ill were exposed to.

Lower Mainland suspect identified in fatal northern B.C. hit and run

Suspect and seven other individuals believed involved located on Haida Gwaii

‘Bait and switch’ warning ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Competition Bureau of Canada is warning shoppers of illegal sale tactics

Mount Washington Alpine Resort targeting Dec. 7 opening date

Major snowfall in the forecast for this week

Legal battle ahead for suspended B.C. legislature executives

Public removal ‘very unfair,’ says veteran clerk Craig James

B.C. sees biggest spike in homicides across Canada, at 34%

Much of the killing was attributed to gang violence, according to Statistics Canada

Sea lion tangled in rope on Vancouver Island

Marine debris is a ‘significant problem’ for marine wildlife

Postal strike affects charities at critical fundraising time

Canadian fundraising professionals and charities join call for fast resolution

$90,000 pen from space created by B.C man

The Space pen is made from a meteorite

Most Read