FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2018
West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater and Chief Administrative Officer Jim Zaffino met with BC Finance Minister Carole James and ministry staff March 21 to discuss West Kelowna’s concerns with the Province’s proposed Speculation Tax. View the presentation.
The half-hour meeting allowed Mayor Findlater and Mr. Zaffino to elaborate on concerns that West Kelowna Council and many residents and homeowners of West Kelowna have about the proposed tax. Announced in February, the Speculation Tax is intended to target vacant or seasonally vacant homes in certain areas of BC. The City prepared a booklet outlining the negative impacts to West Kelowna that are expected if this tax is implemented and provided it to ministry staff.
“We knew we weren’t going to receive a definitive answer during this meeting to our request to be excluded from this tax, and they said they are receiving a lot of input from other mayors that they will take into consideration,” says Mayor Findlater. “They will announce what their plan is sometime in the spring with the legislation expected in the fall.”
Having said that, Mayor Findlater said Minister James appreciated the prepared information and presentation by West Kelowna.
“We made the case that we would be uniquely hurt in the pocketbook by it,” said Mayor Findlater. “We are a sizeable, 10-year-old city that inherited a huge infrastructure deficit with almost no reserves. This tax would set our infrastructure program back significantly with the loss of taxes through growth and Development Cost Charges.”
On March 13, West Kelowna Council directed that City representatives meet with Premier John Horgan and MLA Andrew Weaver requesting that the Speculation Tax not include West Kelowna. To date West Kelowna has been unsuccessful in securing meetings with Premier Horgan or MLA Weaver.