Letters: With regards to the proposed Speculation tax

Tuesday, March 6 2018

My wife and I are US citizens with our primary home in Seattle. We own a home on Gabriola Island and have had it since 2001. It is more than a vacation/recreational house. We use it year round. We are spending about 20 per cent of our time there and I am hoping when I retire in the next couple of years to be able spend consecutive months up there in the summers.

 We have been active participants in the community and our neighbours view us as contributors and stakeholders. We volunteer for community activities, have done beach access maintenance and invited our neighbours to use our home when they have “over flow” guests. For years we have celebrated the American Thanksgiving on the island, inviting our neighbours to the celebration. This year we had 24 people at the table.

 Both of my daughters grew up thinking of Gabriola as their home. My youngest daughter is now a student at UVic and she uses the house on the weekends in order to study, get away from campus life and relax.

 So - we are invested in the community and have great interest in maintaining that commitment for many years to come. We did not buy the house as a speculative purchase but rather as someplace we would grow to love.

 With the proposed “speculation tax,” as described in newspapers, it would be very, very hard for us to keep the house. If what is reported is true, a two per cent tax on the house would price us out of the community and we would have to sell it. Even a one per cent tax would be unrealistic for us. This would break our hearts but there would not be a choice. We certainly could not afford it as part of our retirement plan. Certainly anyone who has owned a home for 10+ years has not purchased it speculating on its appreciation in value.  

 We deeply value our Canadian experience and it would sadden the entire family to have to sell the house.

~ Gerry Esterbrook