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Reno Tax Credit Needed for Seismic Safety

Last week, was the annual Great BC Shakeout Day teaching residents to Drop, Cover and Hold On!

These annual reminders are important, especially for school children that must become accustomed to living in an earthquake zone, despite the appearance of little seismic activity.

There are hundreds of tremors and small earthquakes annually in our region that usually go unnoticed.

They are constant reminders we live in a subduction zone where large earthquakes can happen any time.

Experts say there is a 10% – 15% chance of a massive earthquake in the next 50 years. During that same period there is a 30% chance of a significant, damaging earthquake.

The Great BC Shakeout Day is a good start to raise awareness, but we can do much more.

Our association has long advocated a renovation tax credit to improve seismic safety.

Thousands of older homes in our community require anchor bolts and other measures for protection against an inevitable large earthquake.

The provincial and federal govts already generate billions of dollars annually from Property Transfer Tax and GST from the sale of homes.

A renovation tax credit or rebate would be a responsible investment in public safety.

We would also include mitigation of asbestos, a toxic product approved years ago by govt and now costing thousands of dollars to remove.

Renovation tax credits also create tax revenue by requiring receipts, helping to battle the underground economy. In addition, they generate skilled jobs in every BC community.

It’s time for the province to step up, especially considering the certainty of a major seismic event in our region.

And always remember to Drop, Cover and Hold On!

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist.

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