Speculation tax speculation

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

I was reading a conversation on a Vancouver forum yesterday praising the NDP on everything they’d done so far from bridge tolls to standing up to Kinder Morgan.

One of the frequent complaints or Liberal party lines (take your pick) is that the NDP only cares about the Lower Mainland.

Most recently, the speculation tax announced in the budget has provided plenty of fuel with cities such as Kelowna and Nanaimo voicing strong opposition.

Sure enough, for any area of B.C. where housing prices aren’t out of control, the speculation tax seems like it has the potential to be a drain on the local economy without offering something useful.

The details on the tax are still a little vague but the one thing that is clear is that currently, the South Cariboo doesn’t fall within the proposed borders of the speculation tax.

If we were, I’d be inclined to believe we’d see opposition similar to what’s going on in Nanaimo and Kelowna. I’m sure there would be concerns about how it would affect cabin owners and snowbirds (until the rules are clarified further).

Additionally, with the South Cariboo, at least traditionally having relied heavily on people from countries like Germany immigrating here, there would be further concerns of economic growth.

The South Cariboo might actually unexpectedly benefit.

If the speculation tax makes having a cabin or second home in the more populated areas of B.C. unappealing, it’s feasible that people will look to own a cabin or second house in one of the areas of B.C. where the tax doesn’t exist. They would also be bringing along valuable tourism dollars to restaurants, local stores and more.

As far as potential candidates go, the South Cariboo would be an excellent candidate for picking up the extra traffic with plenty of lakes, relatively speaking affordable housing, a few golf courses, provincial parks and other recreational activities.

If it were to play out like that, I’m fairly confident in saying that that wasn’t the NDP’s goal when introducing the speculation tax (although if rural B.C.’s economy gets a boost for any reason, intentionally or unintentionally, I’m sure they’d be looking to take credit).

On the other hand, maybe it’ll just mean fewer people with cabins or vacation homes.

Obviously, all of this is just speculation (pun intended) as with the opposition of local councils it’s hard to see the NDP push the tax through in the form that seems to be feared. Right now we’re best off waiting for the details.

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