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West Van wants to impose its own vacancy tax

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Feb 26, 2020 at 4:08 pm PDT

West Vancouver is experiencing a housing crisis thanks to money laundering, speculation, and foreign investment, said Mayor Mary-Ann Booth. (Photo courtesy District of West Vancouver)
Summary

District is experiencing a housing crisis due to money laundering, speculation, and foreign investment: mayor

Booth says West Vancouver Police supports a local speculation tax

1,700 empty homes are targets for crime

WEST VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The mayor of West Vancouver is asking the province for the right to impose a local speculation and vacancy tax on homes.

West Vancouver is experiencing a housing crisis thanks to money laundering, speculation, and foreign investment, said Mayor Mary-Ann Booth.

She wants her district to have the right to impose its own speculation and vacancy tax, pointing out Vancouver has its own empty homes tax.

Booth said West Vancouver Police supports a local speculation tax and is raising the issue with the federal association of police boards.
She added the district has 1,700 empty homes, which are targets for crime.

Booth has met with B.C. Finance Minister Carole James and believes the province is receptive.

The province introduced a speculation tax in December 2018, and money collected from it is returned to the Metro Vancouver region for housing purposes.

But West Vancouver hasn’t qualified to receive any of that money, said Coun. Craig Cameron.

“None of it has come back so far.”

Cameron thinks the number of empty homes in the area is 10 per cent higher than those on record. The district wants to impose different tax rates on residential properties, he said, such as a higher one for empty homes.

“We’ve got severe housing issues, even for middle-class and lower earning residents, it’s very difficult for them to find housing in West Vancouver,” Cameron added.

“We seem to have a disproportionate amount of speculation in our real estate, particularly the upper-end real estate. But, of course, it trickles down because it raises the whole market.”