(From left to right) Rebecca, Alex, Sophie, Baxter, Max, Debra and Mark Hunter are Red Deer residents. The couple, Debra and Mark, own a secondary home in B.C.’s Pender Island. Photo supplied by Debra Hunter

Red Deer couple may pay close to $9K if B.C’s speculation tax passes

Vacation home owners in B.C. will pay additional tax

A Red Deer couple is denouncing B.C’s proposed speculation tax aimed towards home owners who don’t reside in the province.

Debra and Mark Hunter have owned a 1,400 square feet, one-bedroom-one-loft house on Pender Island since 2012, which they bought for $211,000. The couple and their five children ages seven to 19 visit the secondary family home several times a year.

Currently the Hunters pay about $1,800 in taxes for the house, which will increase to more than $9,000 in 2019, if the B.C. government’s imposed tax hike moves forward.

The speculation tax, introduced as part of NDP’s 2018 budget to stabilize the province’s housing market, will be on top of the property taxes home owners already pay.

The proposed tax will apply to non-residents, both foreign and domestic home owners in Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Capital and Nanaimo Regional Districts and in the municipalities of Kelowna and West Kelowna.

Debra Hunter, an artist and photographer in Red Deer, said the speculation tax, on top of the current tax, is unfair.

She said the tax says all Canadians aren’t equal, which goes against the Canadian Human Rights Act.

“It’s saying that we can pick on you if you’re from a different province and that really bothers me,” she said.

Hunter added that if the budget passes then the speculative tax sets a precedent in Canada.

“If it goes through it’s going to affect Canadian unity,” she said.

“It’s B.C. saying we are separate to you. We are our own little kingdom and we will do what we like, and that’s a problem because we’re one big country.”

She wrote about her story in a blog post on Monday morning.

The Red Deerian is asking those who will be paying additional thousands of dollars in taxes to write letters to their local MLAs. She said since the blog went live, she has received a couple hundred views and close to 60 e-mails.


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