West Kelowna  

Findlater, James talk tax

The City of West Kelowna got the face-to-face meeting it wanted with provincial Finance Minister Carole James, Wednesday.

Mayor Doug Findlater and CAO Jim Zaffino met the minister and her staff to discuss implications of the proposed speculation tax in the municipality.

The meeting lasted half an hour and allowed the city to elaborate on its concerns about the tax that will target vacant or seasonally-vacant homes.

A booklet outlining expected negative impacts if the tax is enacted, was handed over 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 Findlater.

“They will announce what their plan is sometime in the spring, with the legislation expected in the fall."

Findlater said the city made a case it would be uniquely hurt in the pocketbook by the tax.

“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.”

Attempts to sit down with both Premier John Horgan and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver have been unsuccessful to date.

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