Letters: The proposed new BC speculation property tax

Tuesday, March 6 2018

I am very concerned this proposed speculation tax does not seem well-thought through, as it appears to capture and adversely affect a whole lot of British Columbians who are probably not the intended targets. It would really hurt people like me and my husband, and our fellow neighbours/property owners on Mudge Island (and in the DeCourcy chain), yet not address the real issues the government is trying to fix. 

I now live (principal residence at this time) on one of the remote Gulf Islands not accessible by ferry - Mudge Island is part of the Regional District of Nanaimo. This proposed speculation tax includes us (unless the exemptions yet to be developed address our issue); this would kill both our property value and resale value. Based on the $20 per $1,000 of assessed value by 2019, anyone to whom I try to sell our 1/2 acre with house (who did not use it as their principal residence) could be looking at paying something in the range of $10,000 a year under this tax scheme (in addition to regular property taxes) for very remote (mostly recreational) property you can only access by private boat, that has no paved roads, no water/sewer, no garbage service, no fire protection, or any other services you would expect for those kinds of exorbitant taxes.   

Our area/real estate market is not one of the highly speculative ones contributing to driving up the real estate prices in certain BC cities that government is trying to cool down through this measure. We are not a viable rental market and comprise no reasonable long-term rental stock. Further, Islands Trust legislation is actually what currently governs us and sets all the rules around rentals and what is and is not allowed.  

It seems crazy to us to think that, should we move off Mudge Island (as we age) to a different principal residence but want to keep our Mudge Island place as a seasonal family cottage, that we would then become “speculators” who have to pay this incredibly high tax.   

We have communicated our concerns to our MLA Doug Routley (as will all our Mudge friends/neighbours and many concerned others) and will do everything we can to make our situation and concerns clear, re: these dreadful potential consequences and the ruinous collateral damage this tax would create for some British Columbians.  

Sincerely, 

Lisa Mallett

Mudge Island, BC