Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott has written to the Minister of Finance asking for the district to be included in the Provincial Speculation & Vacancy Tax and Foreign Buyers Tax.
At a regular council meeting on June 21, council also approved a resolution that Mayor writes a letter to the Minister of Finance requesting that Squamish be included in the Speculation and Vacancy Tax and the Foreign Buyers Tax.
Elliott, who also spoke on the phone with the minister, said real estate agents are marketing the fact that the District of Squamish is outside the applicable region for these taxes.
“It is important for our residents to see that we are participating in the demand-side policy tools that are working to address the housing challenges in our province,” she wrote to the minister. Six years ago, a similar letter was written by the then-Mayor Patricia Heintzman, who urged the province to implement the foreign buyer’s tax in Squamish.
“Our fear, and one that is very probable, if not inevitable, is that Squamish will become even more desirable to foreign homebuyers looking to avoid the tax and further compound the issue of affordable housing in Squamish,” Heintzman had written in her letter. “The district of Squamish would like to be included in the foreign buyer’s tax. This request is an effort to help ensure affordability in the Sea to Sky Corridor for average families and the preservation of our labour force that drives our business community.”
The speculation and vacancy tax was designed to turn empty homes into housing for British Columbians, and ensure foreign owners and those with primarily foreign income contribute fairly to B.C.’s tax system, the province says. The tax ranges from .05 per cent to 2 per cent depending on property assessments and citizenship status. Last month, the Minister of Finance said the government would consider expanding the tax to other regions.