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Letters  

Absurd tax will affect all

It is unimaginable that Canadian non-resident property owners in British Columbia are being put in a position of defending against the virtual confiscation of their property by government. These thousands of Canadians face stressful uncertainty because the BC government is proposing an exorbitant tax on their property.

These Canadians visited, supported businesses and invested in British Columbia, because of its beautiful geographic environment and because they were welcomed by the tremendous people of BC, who became their friends. Now the government intends to punish non-resident Canadian friends and neighbours, and treat them as second-class citizens. This proposed Speculation Tax is not only blatantly unfair and callus, but it will be an economic disaster; doing great harm to businesses, all property owners, Municipal governments and
result in a loss of jobs.

Please consider the following points: Virtually no non-resident owners of vacation homes are speculators. After decades of visiting British Columbia (summer and winter) our family purchased a lakefront vacation home in West Kelowna in 2004. We love it there and feel part of the community when
able to visit. Considering our initial investment and improvements made, is doubtful we will ever recover this investment. Non-resident owners are not all wealthy people. Many are ordinary working people who have bought modest properties for their enjoyment and possible retirement. These ordinary working Canadian’s cannot afford this proposed tax penalty. These people are now totally threatened. Non-resident owners pay property taxes and generally use very little publicly tax supported services. They are financial contributors to the system and not users of public services. Non-residents are generally good supporters of restaurants, market gardens, wineries and local businesses and the hospitality industry depends on them. They employ
gardeners, housekeepers, various home service providers and purchase major items such as boats, appliances and home furnishings. These businesses would greatly suffer and there would be a loss of jobs if the BC Speculation Tax is implemented. Our family has personally put on hold any decision to rebuild our dock or buy a new boat (from local businesses) until this matter is resolved.

If this proposed tax is implemented many people will be forced to sell their property. As the value of more expensive residential properties decline the tax load will be disproportionately shifted to the lower valued properties. The local residents who least can afford it will be faced with tax increases. A very large percentage of lakefront properties in the Okanagan Valley are owned by non-residents. Should the Speculation Tax be approved many of these properties will go up for sale resulting in huge declining property values. Value of lakefront properties will collapse. Property taxes to these municipalities will plummet. The “airline industry” will be adversely affected, and jobs will be lost in the aviation sector should this proposed tax be implemented. Thousands of vacation home owners commute back-and- forth from other provinces. Tourism, the hospitality industry, restaurants, golf courses, ski resort industry and service industries will be adversely affected. The house builders, general construction, paving, underground and all the sub trade contractors will lose business and their employees will lose jobs.  Hence another loss of income tax for the government. Without outside investment no economy can survive.

We hope “common sense, fairness and sanity will prevail” and that the provincial government withdraws this ill-conceived proposed Speculation Tax. It is terrible that governments put forth absurd policies that leave people in such threatening predicaments.

Tim Melton



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