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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The bobsled race has traditionally been a staple event at the carnival. File photo
Upcoming Rossland Winter Carnival cancelled due to COVID-19 crisis

This is the first time the carnival won’t be held in decades

A tender for the project will be sent out on BC Bid. Photo: B.C. Government
Nakusp Elementary School child care centre set to open in May 2022

Conceptual drawings and project timelines for centre have already been complete

People participating at a Remembrance Day event in Nakusp in 2016. Photo: Jillian Trainor
Scaled-down Remembrance Day event to take place in Nakusp

People are asked to physically distance and wear masks if they attend the event

A view of proposed seniors housing on Vernon St. Illustration: City of Nelson/ Vendure Retirement Communities
Nelson seniors housing project to start construction in the spring

Private development on Vernon Street will provide assisted living services as well as housing

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Blue Sky Kingdom.
Kimberley’s Bruce Kirkby publishes “Blue Sky Kingdom” documenting family adventure to Zanskar

Kirkby third book explores spirituality, mental health, modernity and tradition

Most Read