More than a dozen businesses along Marine Drive have permanently closed over the past few years. White Rock council wants the Community Charter amended to give cities authority to tax commercial and residential properties that sit vacant long-term. (File photo)

B.C. city’s quest to tax vacant homes going to UBCM

Resolution asking for Community Charter amendment to be considered at September convention

White Rock council’s quest for authority to impose an annual vacancy tax on residential and commercial properties is among resolutions to be considered at the next Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.

UBCM president Arjun Singh confirmed in a June 27 letter to council that the resolution will be presented to the membership at the September 2019 convention. The letter was to be received for information during council’s July 8 meeting, after Peace Arch News’ press deadline.

PAN reported in January that council and staff were taking a first look at possible legislation to tax vacant property that is allowed to sit dormant for long periods of time.

Proposed by Coun. Anthony Manning, the idea is modelled on the measure used in Vancouver, which taxes vacant residential properties at one per cent of assessed value – and raised $8 million in 2017.

READ MORE: Five per cent ‘vacancy tax’ proposed for White Rock

READ MORE: Vancouver expects $30 million in first year of empty homes tax

Manning’s proposal – which was unanimously endorsed by council – suggested a tax of five per cent on assessed value on both residential and business properties.

Manning told PAN in January that one aim of the tax is to provide incentive to owners, particularly absentee owners, to lease empty commercial properties that are robbing both the Marine Drive waterfront and the uptown area of vibrancy.

The resolution to be considered at the UBCM notes that White Rock is governed through the Community Charter, “where there is no current authority to implement a Vacancy Tax.”

The city asks that UBCM work with provincial government to amend that authority, “permitting municipalities the authority to impose, by bylaw, an annual vacancy tax on taxable residential and commercial properties, and that the criteria and administrative requirements be similar to those of the Vancouver Charter.”

The UBCM convention is set for Sept. 23-27 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Homes fit for royals for sale in North Saanich

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have returned to Greater Victoria

Gold Rush star dons Lucky Lager shirt in latest episode

Brennan Ruault, originally from Invermere, joined the show in the sixth season

VIDEO: Dashcam records near-miss by bad driver near Sooke

Driver crossed four lanes of traffic and back over again, barely missing three other vehicles

VIDEO: Protesters block entrance to Victoria government building to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

Activists want Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs demands to be upheld, observed and respected

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Police suspect foul play in Cowichan Tribes death

Police are looking at foul play in relation to a death on… Continue reading

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

Most Read