Invermere’s mayor hopes changes to BC’s new speculation tax will alleviate the fears of Albertan landowners in the Columbia Valley.
The Province announced earlier this week the tax won’t apply to vacation properties in rural areas and will focus on vacant homes in large urban centres like Vancouver and Kelowna.
Taft says this is good news for the entire region.
“There was a lot of fear that the tax might expand into our area next or in the future,” Taft says. “I think the focus to change the geographic areas, shrink them down to urban areas only and areas that have some real issues with rental vacations and escalating real estate prices really narrows the focus of this tax.”
Taft says numerous Alberta residents live in Invermere part-time and were concerned the tax would affect their properties.
The tax was also affecting potential development in the Columbia Valley.
“I think it sends a strong message that the resort communities in our Province are not included,” Taft says. “This isn’t meant to try and tax areas that depend very heavily on tourism and second homeowners recreational real estate.”
The levy was introduced last month to address rapidly rising housing prices across British Columbia and only applies to eight urban centres, including Metro Vancouver, the Nanaimo Regional District and Kelowna.
Less than one per cent of property owners in British Columbia are expected to pay the speculation tax.
– Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft