SilverStar petitions RDNO to help receive exemption from federal foreign property purchase ban

SilverStar wants exemption

SilverStar Mountain Resort is hoping to change the federal government's mind after recently extended legislation banning foreign nationals from buying residential property includes SilverStar.

The North Okanagan ski hill is one of only three mountain resort communities in all of Canada not exempt from the legislation, and now it’s looking to RDNO to support its bid to be included in the exemption.

At Wednesday’s Regional District of North Okanagan Board of Directors meeting, directors will have the chance to discuss SilverStars predicament. Herwig Demschar, SilverStar general manager, submitted a letter to the board outlining the need for “urgent action” from local government.

“SilverStar is one of only three ski areas in Canada that are included in the ban by virtue of SilverStar’s inclusion in the Stats Canada Census Agglomeration of Vernon,” reads Demschar’s letter.

“It is evident that addressing this issue is important for the continued development and growth of SilverStar and I respectfully urge the city council to consider passing a resolution to support the exemption of the resort area from the ban.”

The federal government recently announced it was extending the foreign homebuyer ban – which prevents foreign nationals from buying homes in Canada until 2027. The ban initially came into effect Jan 1, 2023 and was set to expire in 2025.

Demschar pointed to the Thompson-Nicola Regional District supporting Sun Peaks challenge to the legislation, the ski resort was included as a part of Kamloops as SilverStar has been included in Vernon. Demschar included a copy of the letter TNRD sent on Sun Peaks behalf.

The meeting agenda also includes a copy of a letter sent by Lana Popham, BC’s minister of tourism, to Sean Fraser, the federal minister of housing. The letter urges Fraser to allow both SilverStar and Sun Peaks (and Apex Mountain Resort) to be exempt from the legislation as other mountain communities are.

“The federal regulations clearly state that the prohibition will not apply to recreational properties,” reads the letter dated March 12, 2024. “Undoubtedly, properties within these mountain resort communities are recreational in nature, have been purpose-built, and are dependent on international tourism markets.”

Pophams letter says the BC ski industry attracts 7.4 million skier visits, generates $2 billion in expenditures and employs over 20,000 people. Demschars letter did not go into detail about SilverStar specific stats.

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