Tents where approximately 150 people were camped at a parking lot on Port of Vancouver property adjacent to Crab Park, in Vancouver, B.C., Wednesday, June 10, 2020. The encampment was set up after a tent city at Oppenheimer Park was shut down due to concerns about COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. VOTES 2020: Speculation tax misses speculators, B.C. Liberals say

Andrew Wilkinson, John Horgan clash over housing costs, solutions

NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson staged campaign events to illustrate their housing and homelessness plans Friday, with Wilkinson confirming he would replace the NDP’s speculation and vacancy tax if he forms a government after Oct. 24.

Wilkinson travelled to Vancouver’s Yaletown condo towers, where investment properties were sitting vacant as prices soared in recent years. The B.C. Liberal government put on a 15-per-cent foreign buyer tax on Metro Vancouver property purchases in 2016, and then the NDP government imposed a “speculation tax” on vacant homes that extended to Victoria, Nanaimo and the Central Okanagan as well.

Wilkinson renewed his commitment that he intends to replace the speculation tax with one on pre-sale condo contracts being sold and resold before the project is built.

“What we need in the Lower Mainland is a tax on people who flip paper condo contracts before the building has even gone up,” Wilkinson told reporters Sept. 25. He called the NDP plan, which was cut back sharply after the B.C. Green party objected to it covering rural vacation homes, “a phoney speculation tax that doesn’t reflect speculation at all.”

2016: Foreign buyers tax shows results in Metro Vancouver

2018: Mayors say speculation tax causing local ‘recession’

Horgan said the speculation tax has seen 11,000 vacant homes rented out, to escape the tax by having a property occupied at least six months of the year. He spoke in front of a United Church low-income housing project in Coquitlam, promising the $110 million raised by the vacant home tax is going to government-supported housing projects like that one.

Wilkinson said the NDP government’s decision to buy run-down hotels and “warehouse” people in tent camps is directly responsible for big spikes in crime in Victoria and Vancouver.

“We need to have a full spectrum approach to housing, just like we did in the Liberal era when we put together housing projects that were supportive of people who needed help,” Wilkinson said. “Another housing project was simply providing people with a subsidy to their rent, so they could get on with their lives.”

Horgan acknowledged that housing prices are still rising in major urban centres, saying the Lower Mainland is still a desirable place to live and more supply is coming.

“There were complaints that there weren’t enough housing starts, and now there are too many housing starts,” Horgan said.

Wilkinson has argued that local government building regulations are too slow and need to be reformed.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Just Posted

A picture of John taken at Children's Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River grocery store parking lot

The seven-year-old Campbell River resident has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

Candice Woloshyn prepares her flower beds for the next season at her ‘Dirty Girl Flowers’ farm in Merville. Despite the pandemic, Woloshyn was able to sustain her homegrown business as community members opted for regular deliveries of fresh cut flowers. Photo by Binny Paul/ Campbell River Mirror.
Vancouver Island flower farmers were blooming as the pandemic wilted everything else

Floriculturists saw increased subscriptions as fresh flowers became a ‘sight for sore eyes’ during isolation

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

View Royal Coun. John Rogers stands next to an unearthed home heating oil tank. As a way to prevent environmental disasters, he is lobbying for a provincial registration system and mandatory inspection for all above-ground tanks, as well as a requirement to remove any underground tanks not used for a prescribed period of time. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Efforts to regulate Greater Victoria home heating oil tanks continues

View Royal councillor part of movement to identify old tanks, prevent catastrophic leaks

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

Nanaimo RCMP are investigating two fires set in the stairwell of an apartment building after they were deemed suspicious by Nanaimo Fire Rescue. (Photo submitted)
Fires set in apartment building under investigation in Nanaimo

Paper set alight in apartment building stairwells being investigated as arson

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

Ucluelet RCMP detachment. (Westerly file photo)
Driver facing charges after crashing into pedestrian at Ucluelet crosswalk

“It’s a reminder to slow down and pay attention,” said Sgt. Steve Mancini.

In a statement, BC RCMP’s media relations officer Cpl.Chris Manseau said that even an amount as small as grain of sand could be fatal. (File photo)
Sayward RCMP alerts residents after highly toxic carfentanil found in village

The opioid’s toxicity levels is 100 times more than that of fentanyl

Father Charles Brandt, a hermit priest. File Photo
Island environmentalist and Catholic priest-hermit Father Charles Brandt passes away

He devoted his life to protecting and preserving the Comox Valley’s natural habitats

Most Read