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Kootenays not included in speculation and vacancy tax expansion

The B.C. government is expanding speculation and vacancy tax to 13 new municipalities, but there are still no Kootenay communities that have made the list.

The tax is designed to turn vacant homes into housing for people in British Columbia by taxing people who own the home but don’t live in it year-round.

“There is a housing crisis across the country and it is creating economic challenges, including people feeling pushed out of their communities and labour shortages,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Finance in a release.

“With so many people struggling to find secure housing, we have to keep taking action – we can’t afford to pull back. The speculation tax is one of the ways we can help increase affordable housing options for people and communities.”

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Provincial officials said over $313 million has been raised since 2018 through the tax. That money has gone back into affordable housing projects.

According to the government, over 20,000 homes have been opened up in just Metro Vancouver alone, due to the tax.

The province is expanding to Vernon, Coldstream, Penticton, Summerland, Lake Country, Peachland, Courtney, Comox, Cumberland, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Salmon Arm and Kamloops.

There are still plans to expand into some other smaller cities across the province, but for the time being no Kootenay communities will be included.

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