Basran: City assembling plan for speculation tax

Kelowna's mayor says the city is still drawing up a game plan when it comes to the newly announced speculation tax.

Colin Basran says city staff are still getting all the details from provincial officials, and will plan next steps once that's obtained.

He says from the outset, it doesn't appear to be fully thought through.

"We recognize, of course as a council, that any new well intentioned legislation could have negative unintended consequences that must be fully considered. And certainly, early indications from many in our community are that this could very well be the case, perhaps well-intentioned in terms of trying to find people homes, but could have some very disastrous potential impacts on other parts of our economy."

He says he's already spoken with Green leader Andrew Weaver, and has plans for a chat with Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson and Premier John Horgan.

"We as a council all know that we do have a housing availability and affordability challenge in our community, which we must also address in order to insure safe, affordable housing for our citizens," he said.

"We certainly look forward to working with all parties on appropriate solutions to our current housing challenges, and certainly we will be doing so quickly."

West Kelowna council will hear a staff report on the issue at its March 13 meeting, though a timeline for a similar discussion in Kelowna hasn't been confirmed yet.

The speculation tax would be applied on property owners who live in other provinces, with plans to quadruple the rate next year.

Basran says council won't sit back and watch it get implemented.

"Council is concerned. We hear those concerns. And we are certainly working to make sure your best interests, the community's best interests are kept in mind, and that we want a win-win solution here," he said.

"It's a multiple bottom line solution that we're looking for, and not just perhaps something that could have disastrous impacts on one part of our community, while helping another."