When did local homeowners become the enemy?

We are retired Albertans who have owned a condominium in Quail’s Landing in Parksville since 2007. We bought because we liked the area and thought we might retire here. We still own a home in Edmonton as my 91-year-old mother lives there. Our children and grandchildren live in Edmonton and Calgary. We spend about five months in Parksville throughout the year and the rest of the time in Alberta helping our family. We kept our Alberta Health Care (we are not eligible for MSP) and our cars are registered and insured in Alberta (we are not eligible for ICBC coverage) as we go back and forth. We pay Alberta and federal income tax.

Over the 11 years we have owned the Parksville property we have done our best to support all local businesses. We rarely go into Nanaimo and shop locally whenever possible. We tip well in restaurants, shop in local stores, buy from local artists, hire local contractors, have a golf membership and support local charities. We pay a “sunshine tax” on our property tax which is about 50 per cent more than a regular resident would pay even though we are only here less than half of the year.

Imagine our surprise when we learned that, as we are non residents, we are going to be hit with another two per cent “speculation tax” (in our case, $10,000) to help the NDP government deal with the lack of affordable housing in this province. When did we become the enemy? What about all the money we have poured into this community over the last 11 years? Is there any real plan to ensure that any of these extra taxes are going to be put toward affordable housing here? Is there any accounting for the amount of extra tax we have paid since 2007?

The tax amounts to about $10,000 more than we already pay in property taxes ( 2017 we paid $ 2233). If we sell our 2 bedroom unit, it will most likely be bought by another retired couple from elsewhere who will pay even less in property taxes as they will apply for the seniors grant etc. At present there are age restrictions on these units and they are not suitable for families with children. They have never been part of the “long term rental pool”.

We are pensioners who have worked our whole lives in Alberta and consider ourselves Canadians first. We pay our own way and don’t have an oil well in our backyard in Edmonton.

We are assessing our options but feel like we are being held hostage over an issue that is not of our making. While it is convenient for the government to blame someone else for this mess and reach into our pockets, the real issue that needs to be addressed is creating well-paying jobs for young families in this community so they can live above the poverty line.

If we do sell, we will take our cash elsewhere and never darken B.C.’s doorstep again. The only advantage we can see if we become B.C. residents is that we can VOTE in the next election.

Norma Mitchell

Edmonton

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