More than a dozen businesses along Marine Drive have permanently closed over the past few years. White Rock council wants the Community Charter amended to give cities authority to tax commercial and residential properties that sit vacant long-term. (File photo)

B.C. city’s quest to tax vacant homes going to UBCM

Resolution asking for Community Charter amendment to be considered at September convention

White Rock council’s quest for authority to impose an annual vacancy tax on residential and commercial properties is among resolutions to be considered at the next Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.

UBCM president Arjun Singh confirmed in a June 27 letter to council that the resolution will be presented to the membership at the September 2019 convention. The letter was to be received for information during council’s July 8 meeting, after Peace Arch News’ press deadline.

PAN reported in January that council and staff were taking a first look at possible legislation to tax vacant property that is allowed to sit dormant for long periods of time.

Proposed by Coun. Anthony Manning, the idea is modelled on the measure used in Vancouver, which taxes vacant residential properties at one per cent of assessed value – and raised $8 million in 2017.

READ MORE: Five per cent ‘vacancy tax’ proposed for White Rock

READ MORE: Vancouver expects $30 million in first year of empty homes tax

Manning’s proposal – which was unanimously endorsed by council – suggested a tax of five per cent on assessed value on both residential and business properties.

Manning told PAN in January that one aim of the tax is to provide incentive to owners, particularly absentee owners, to lease empty commercial properties that are robbing both the Marine Drive waterfront and the uptown area of vibrancy.

The resolution to be considered at the UBCM notes that White Rock is governed through the Community Charter, “where there is no current authority to implement a Vacancy Tax.”

The city asks that UBCM work with provincial government to amend that authority, “permitting municipalities the authority to impose, by bylaw, an annual vacancy tax on taxable residential and commercial properties, and that the criteria and administrative requirements be similar to those of the Vancouver Charter.”

The UBCM convention is set for Sept. 23-27 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Last stop: The inside story of Queen City Shuttle and Charters’ closure

Former employees open up about the Nelson company’s final days

How the Queen City Shuttle and Charters’ closure affected you

Here’s what readers had to say about the company’s shutdown

LETTER: Clearing up men’s conference confusion

From conference organizer Jeff Zak

IODE and Kootenay Emergency Response celebrate partnership

IODE has pledged $30,000 to KERPA over the next three years

Andrew Bellerby out as RDCK’s regional fire chief

Bellerby held the job since January 2016

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

Justin Trudeau’s carbon footprint revealed in ranking of world leaders

Travel company ranks 15 world leaders’ foreign flight CO2 emissions

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read