Tents where approximately 150 people were camped at a parking lot on Port of Vancouver property adjacent to Crab Park, in Vancouver, B.C., Wednesday, June 10, 2020. The encampment was set up after a tent city at Oppenheimer Park was shut down due to concerns about COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. VOTES 2020: Speculation tax misses speculators, B.C. Liberals say

Andrew Wilkinson, John Horgan clash over housing costs, solutions

NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson staged campaign events to illustrate their housing and homelessness plans Friday, with Wilkinson confirming he would replace the NDP’s speculation and vacancy tax if he forms a government after Oct. 24.

Wilkinson travelled to Vancouver’s Yaletown condo towers, where investment properties were sitting vacant as prices soared in recent years. The B.C. Liberal government put on a 15-per-cent foreign buyer tax on Metro Vancouver property purchases in 2016, and then the NDP government imposed a “speculation tax” on vacant homes that extended to Victoria, Nanaimo and the Central Okanagan as well.

Wilkinson renewed his commitment that he intends to replace the speculation tax with one on pre-sale condo contracts being sold and resold before the project is built.

“What we need in the Lower Mainland is a tax on people who flip paper condo contracts before the building has even gone up,” Wilkinson told reporters Sept. 25. He called the NDP plan, which was cut back sharply after the B.C. Green party objected to it covering rural vacation homes, “a phoney speculation tax that doesn’t reflect speculation at all.”

2016: Foreign buyers tax shows results in Metro Vancouver

2018: Mayors say speculation tax causing local ‘recession’

Horgan said the speculation tax has seen 11,000 vacant homes rented out, to escape the tax by having a property occupied at least six months of the year. He spoke in front of a United Church low-income housing project in Coquitlam, promising the $110 million raised by the vacant home tax is going to government-supported housing projects like that one.

Wilkinson said the NDP government’s decision to buy run-down hotels and “warehouse” people in tent camps is directly responsible for big spikes in crime in Victoria and Vancouver.

“We need to have a full spectrum approach to housing, just like we did in the Liberal era when we put together housing projects that were supportive of people who needed help,” Wilkinson said. “Another housing project was simply providing people with a subsidy to their rent, so they could get on with their lives.”

Horgan acknowledged that housing prices are still rising in major urban centres, saying the Lower Mainland is still a desirable place to live and more supply is coming.

“There were complaints that there weren’t enough housing starts, and now there are too many housing starts,” Horgan said.

Wilkinson has argued that local government building regulations are too slow and need to be reformed.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan (left) and Kierry Bui. The family says they are relieved the trial process has come to close Monday morning with Tenessa Nikirk found guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sentencing begins for Peninsula woman convicted of hitting Saanich girl

Leila Bui has been in a non-responsive state since she was hit in 2017

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Victoria police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

Victoria police are looking for high-risk offender Douglas McPherson. (Courtesy of VicPD)
High-risk parolee with history of bank robbery believed to be in Victoria

Police ask for public’s help locating 64-year-old parolee

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest suspect in Saanich liquor store break and enters

Windowpane removal key component in string of thefts

A development proposed for Victoria’s Old Town would include 274 rental units. (Rendering by Integra Architecture)
274-unit rental development proposed for Victoria’s Old Town

Project would take take over block with tire shop, parking lots

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

A view from the deck of a home in SookePoint. The property is a prize in the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation Millionaire Lottery. Tickets are on sale now. (Contributed photo)
Millionaire Lottery home up for grabs in Sooke

Sooke prize home part of latest VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation Millionaire Lottery

FILE – B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts owner, Senator David Braley speaks after the CFL announced Vancouver will host the 2014 Grey Cup championship football game during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday March 8, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Lions owner David Braley dead at 79

Braley had bought the CFL team prior to 1997 season

Wind and waves were part of the reason why the Sail Canada High Performance Team selected HMCS Quadra as the winter training base for Tokyo 2021. Photo by Ken Dool
National sailing team prepares for Olympics at Vancouver Island location

HMCS Quadra is serving as the winter training base for the Canadian… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan speaks with the owner of a barber shop while campaigning in Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Campaigning was restricted by the coronavirus pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s B.C. majority came with historically low voter turnout

Barely half of eligible voters cast ballots in snap election

Most Read