The government’s proposed property speculation tax on Canadians who are not permanent residents of B.C. is tantamount to an eviction notice to any who are not speculators but who have long lived here simply because we love it.
We bought a modest strata home in 2005, not for speculation but to be nearer to B.C. grandchildren and to escape Ontario’s winters. We spend five months here each winter and spring and a few weeks in the summer. We are actively involved in community life and support local businesses. For over 10 years one of us has enthusiastically volunteered at the S.O.S Thrift Shop and the other has been a member of community choirs. We even pay a premium for a B.C. Parks car licence plate. Our only “speculation” has been sponsoring two dairy cows at Little Qualicum Cheeseworks!
Becoming a permanent B.C. resident is problematic because of the difficulty of obtaining local medical services. Declaring Ontario as our principal residence gives us Ontario medical insurance and a 25-minute walk to my family physician and cancer specialist in a university teaching hospital network. Here, the nearest university teaching hospital is in Victoria.
It is not clear that speculation is rife in Parksville. Four times since 2005, assessed values have decreased! Only since 2017 has there been a noticeable increase. We gladly pay our municipal taxes. But the proposed speculation tax on a non-resident’s $450,000 home would be an additional $9,000 (in 2019), which is definitely not possible on a fixed-income, government pension.
We implore the government to exempt non-residents who have been long-term (5 or even 10 years) non-speculating property owners. Otherwise we will be driven from B.C. and the home we love.
Allan Q. Shipley