Cabin owners in Metro Vancouver village upset over speculation tax bills
Published Tuesday, March 5, 2019 3:55PM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, March 5, 2019 6:49PM PST
Owners of small, rustic cabins in a small village in Metro Vancouver are asking the province to step back from the speculation tax plan they say could cost them thousands of dollars.
For retired teacher Charline Robson, a $15,000 cabin built in the 1950s and gifted to her from an aunt could cost $6,000 in taxes.
"I was frightened to death," said Robson, "I still am."
While the value of the cabin may not seem enough to warrant that kind of tax bill, the land underneath is worth more than a million dollars.
Belcarra is not far from some of the more expensive properties in Metro Vancouver, but is in a more rural part of the region.
Neil Belenkie, Belcarra's mayor, says most of the cabins are simply not meant to be used year-round.
"We don't have roads, we don't have street lights," Belenkie said, "It's not even safe for wildlife to travel."
That keeps Robson from renting the cabin, and thus her property was targeted by the province's speculation tax.
"I hope they'll just drop that tax and let us go on using it as a family," said Robson.
Belenkie said the village should have the same kind of exemption as Lions Bay, where he claims the vast majority of second homes are cabins.
"They are land beautiful, but income poor," the mayor said.
BC Liberal party leader Andrew Wilkinson criticized the tax, saying it targeted the wrong people.
However, provincial finance minister Carole James fired back during Question Period, saying the speculation tax was implemented to fix the affordability crisis left behind when the Liberals lost the last election.
"Individual British Columbians receive the $400,000 credits on the first amount of the value of their house that they don't have to pay this speculation tax on, to ensure that we exempt those truly rural cabins," said James.
With files from CTV's Bhinder Sajan and The Canadian Press.