Council taking heat over tax
Wayne Moore - Mar 13, 2018 - Biz Releases

Image: Wayne Moore

Comments Kelowna’s mayor made last week opposing the provincial government’s proposed new speculation tax has drawn the ire of some of his constituents.

Colin Basran says some on social media are portraying him and council as caring only about developers and people who own properties outside the community.

Now, he wants to set the record straight.

“I think the (Healthy Housing Strategy) that has come forward today is just one of the many things that, if you are paying attention, we as a council are doing because we believe everybody deserves to find a home in our community,” said Basran during Monday’s meeting.

“The Journey Home, the Way Home for youth, our Healthy Housing Strategy, our BC Housing partnerships, our rental housing incentives. There are a lot of things we are doing to make sure this community is for everybody, and we are very recognizing of the fact that the low and moderate income earners in our community are being squeezed out.”

He commended the current council on its housing initiatives, saying it has approved “more purpose-built rental housing,” than any council in our city’s history.

The speculation tax is designed to slow down the rising cost of housing and, while Basran agreed something needs to be done, because “the status quo clearly is not working for a lot of people in our community,” there are better alternatives than what is being proposed.

He pointed to a UBCM resolution presented to the government in the fall which recommended an incremental tax when speculators would be taxed on a sliding scale based on how long they owned the property.

“Council doesn’t dispute the fact we need housing and people are being squeezed out of our city.

“We just think, there are multiple bottom lines that can be achieved here. So, we think what is being put forward will have a negative impact on other parts of our community that we think are important as well, like tourism and the development industry.”

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