A home in Belcarra, B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-John Lehmann)

Seniors with unrentable homes in Belcarra, B.C., face huge speculation tax bills

Mayor says Finance Minister Carole James has rejected his community’s attempts to be exempt

Seniors who own rustic cabins in a remote area near Vancouver say they face thousands of dollars in speculation taxes even though their properties are not suitable rental homes.

Retired school teacher Charline Robson says she lives in a basement suite in Burnaby but now faces a $6,000 speculation tax bill this year because the rustic cabin she inherited in the village of Belcarra is empty much of the year and not up for rent.

READ MORE: Letters on way to all homeowners in B.C. speculation tax communities

Robson, who says she already pays annual property taxes for the cabin of about $12,000, was at the legislature on Tuesday, calling the tax ridiculous because her cabin is not insulated and does not have water, sewer or street service.

Opposition Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson says the Belcarra seniors are not property speculators, but they face the tax because their roughly finished cabins are not on the rental market.

Belcarra Mayor Neil Belenkie says efforts to exempt his community from the tax have been rejected by Finance Minister Carole James.

The NDP government introduced the speculation and vacancy tax to reduce the number of empty homes in most B.C. urban areas.

The Canadian Press

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