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CRD lobbies province to extend HST rebate program

Mar 19 2012

The Capital Regional District is lobbying the province to include three local electoral areas in the provincial HST rebate program.

The board wants the program to extend to the three electoral areas that are part of the CRD - Juan de Fuca, Saltspring Island and the southern Gulf Islands.

It relates to a new policy set out in the provincial budget. Finance minister Kevin Falcon said that for the first time, purchasers of new secondary vacation or recreational properties built outside the CRD and the Greater Vancouver Regional District that cost up to $850,000 will be eligible to claim a provincial grant of up to $42,500. This is effective on April 1.

Juan de Fuca regional director Mike Hicks said the new policy will have an “immediate and devastating” impact on the sale and development of recreation lots on the CRD’s three electoral areas.

Port Renfrew is a village within the Juan de Fuca electoral area that has had a boom in the sale of recreational lots, after years of economic hardship, Hicks said.

In 2012 alone, there’s been a 25 per cent increase in taxes, almost all related to the sale of recreation lots, he said.

The three electoral areas should be given the same opportunity the rest of rural B.C. will have with the provincial grant on vacation properties.

“Allow us to compete on a level playing field in the recreational property market,” Hicks said.

The board voted unanimously in favour and will send a letter to the province.