Basran: Speculation tax will kill jobs in Kelowna

BC's proposed speculation tax for properties in Kelowna will have a laundry list of unintended consequences.

Mayor Colin Basran spoke about some of those this week, as the city continues to react to the announcement made in last month's budget.

Basran says this is putting even more tension on the province's already strained relationship with Albertans.

"I had an actual call from a tech company founder here in Kelowna, (who) currently employs 30 people. He gets a large portion of his investment dollars from investors in Alberta," he said.

"Do you know what his investors in Alberta told him this week? 'Son, it's time you pulled up stakes and you came to Alberta. Because we do not want to see any more of our money going to the provincial government in British Columbia.' So we're going to potentially lose, in this particular instance, 30 jobs. Because of the ridiculous goings on right now between the Alberta and BC provincial governments."

Basran says he'll be raising the issue with mayors of affected municipalities in Squamish next week, at a province-wide caucus meeting.

Closer to home, Basran says the province is continuing to work on bringing in supportive housing that was announced last year.

Council is awaiting the plans, which will still add 55 affordable housing units to the site on Commerce Avenue, just off of Enterprise Way.

"I don't have a definitive date when it is coming back (to council), but it is coming back for that same site," he said.

"What we heard from the owners in the area was that they weren't necessarily opposed to the use, but how it looked or how BC Housing was proposing it look was not sitting well with them. So BC Housing pulled that application and has gone to work to make it more aesthetically pleasing."

Last December, BC Housing announced that project along with another 20 units, that would occupy the old Good Night Inn - down the street on Highway 97.

In other development news, Basran was also taking part in the groundbreaking ceremony for Mission Group's Ella development at Ellis and Lawrence on Tuesday.

He says it'll be the first highrise in a long time for that part of downtown.

"It is a big deal, especially when you consider on this part of the city, this part of the downtown, we haven't seen a highrise tower like that constructed in three decades," he said.

"It was Executive House, that was the last time in 1981, where we've seen a project of this magnitude be constructed in our downtown on this south side of Bernard Avenue. Three decades."

Executive House is the white apartment tower on Leon Avenue, just east of Richter.

The Ella project will be 20 storeys, and include 116 condo units.