VICTORIA — B.C. Finance Minister Carole James will exempt the Gulf Islands and cottages in rural areas from the government’s new speculation tax, part of a suite of reforms she unveiled Monday to respond to weeks of criticism that the new tax unfairly penalized British Columbians.
The changes include limiting the geographic areas of the tax to Nanaimo and Greater Victoria, exempting Parksville, Qualicum Beach, the Gulf Islands and Juan de Fuca areas that had originally fallen under the regional districts in both areas that were to be subject to the new tax.
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Metro Vancouver’s scope is tightened too, with the original Fraser Valley location being reduced to Mission, Abbotsford and Chilliwack, meaning Kent, Hope and Harrison Hot Springs are now exempt. Bowen Island is also exempt. Whistler, which is suffering a rental crisis, was not included in the tax. However, the municipalities of Kelowna and West Kelowna remain part of the tax, despite a request to government to be exempted.