West Kelowna project on hold as spec tax looms

A major project in West Kelowna has been put on hold indefinitely over fears that the province’s speculation tax could have negative effects.

Goat’s Peak near Gellatly Road was set to have 1,000 affordable housing units, as well as a new elementary school, but the impending tax now has investors pulling out.

Developers are saying that all planning processes will remain on standby until West Kelowna becomes exempt, or until there is a change in government.

Mayor Doug Findlater has been asking for a meeting with Premier John Horgan to try and prevent the tax from coming to West Kelowna.

“He committed to meet with me and get back to me,” says Findlater. “We haven’t heard, and maybe he’s been busy with other things – we’re all busy too. This is a significant issue in British Columbia, and we would still like to make our case directly to the Premier.”

 Findlater has even offered to fly out to Victoria with City Council speak with Horgan, but they have heard nothing back yet on that offer.

B.C. Liberal MLA Ben Stewart says that, should the B.C. Liberals take over from the NDP at any point, getting rid of the speculation tax would be a top priority, all in hopes of building more affordable housing across the province.

“This (speculation tax) is the type of thing that I know our party is totally against,” says Stewart. “This is not getting to the root of the issue.”

The tax would target home owners who have more than one residence, with higher rates for out-of-province home owners. It's mainly reserved for medium and large sized markets in B.C.