In my final week as VRBA President, I want to thank T-C readers for reading this regular column.

VRBA is the leading industry voice for safe, healthy, energy efficient, affordable housing. Our advocacy includes:

  • Renovation Tax Credit

A renovation tax credit would address seismic safety, asbestos mitigation, energy efficiency and more in the majority of older housing stock.

  • Amalgamation

The CRD has 13 mayors and almost 100 councilors in a region of 360,000 people. The BC govt’s policy of municipal self-determination undermines responsible planning and housing affordability.

  • Single Property Transfer Tax

BC often charges the PTT three times on the development of a single home, all paid by new homebuyers. If a tax must be paid, fairness dictates the tax should be transparent and paid once.

  • Building Permits as Fee for Service

Many municipalities charge building permits as a tax based on the home’s market value, similar to the Property Transfer Tax. Permits should be charged as a fee for service such as providing inspections.

  • Housing Affordability 

Affordability is BC’s #1 challenge. Rising fees and new regulations, including BC’s Energy Step Code, will drive up new housing prices. The impact can be reduced by suspending the Step Code which provides negligible benefit at significant cost.

We will continue to advocate sensible, affordable solutions on behalf of consumers and our members.

Thank you all for your support. I have enjoyed my year as President and offer best wishes to my successor, President-Elect Todd Halaburda.

This column is available Wednesday in the Times Colonist.

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