West Kelowna  

Premier agrees to meeting

Premier John Horgan has agreed to a meeting with West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater about the proposed speculation tax.

Just when that meeting will take place is anybody's guess.

The city has made it clear it wants to be removed from the list of municipalities being stung by the new tax. Findlater made those feelings known to the premier when he and other politicians dropped in unannounced to a meet-and-greet with Horgan when he was in Penticton last week.

The premier suggested West Kelowna has a negative rental rate, to which the mayor responded West Kelowna numbers are lumped in with Kelowna's. He said the city is preparing a separate set of figures he hopes will show West Kelowna is better off than current numbers show.

"He said yes to the meeting, so we have finalized a letter reminding him of the meeting and commitment," said Findlater.

He reiterated West Kelowna is unique among B.C. municipalities.

"We are a 10-year-old city with rural infrastructure that needs to go to urban standards. If this suppresses and scares off new development, and there are signs that is already happening, it costs us big bucks," said Findlater. "We are using new development, which is an increased tax base and DDCs to fund our infrastructure upgrades.

"If we want to stick to our infrastructure plan and development is depressed, we would have to increase our property taxes about two per cent a year over what we already are. We would be going into the five per cent range."

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