West Kelowna passes resolution to opt out of speculation tax

The City of West Kelowna continues its efforts to have the city removed from the speculation and vacancy tax.

It passed a resolution on Tuesday requesting the provincial government permit the municipality to opt out of the tax. It plans to send it to the finance ministry.

In the fall of 2019, council met with the finance minister and staff provided facts that demonstrated the municipality does not fit the criteria and objectives of the tax, according to a news release.

The city said that that vacancy rate in the Kelowna census metropolitan area recently increased from 1.9 per cent in 2018 to 2.7 per cent last year, largely because of hundreds of new rental housing units in West Kelowna.

“Further, the significant funds collected from those subjected to the speculation and vacancy tax in West Kelowna have not yet been received or reinvested into the West Kelowna housing market,” spokesperson Jason Luciw said.

Mayor Gord Milsom said the tax is damaging to the community.

“We are awaiting justification from the Ministry of Finance as to why West Kelowna remains mandated into this tax,” he said. “We are also requesting a meeting with the Minster this spring as we continue to seek an opt-out option from the speculation and vacancy tax.”

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