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Reno Tax Credit Needed for Seismic Safety

Recently there has been significant seismic activity along BC’s west coast.

Three earthquakes registering between 4.5 and 5.6 magnitude were detected, in addition to a 6.2 earthquake the day before.

A series of large earthquakes in Southern California also resulted in some injuries, damaged buildings and caused fires.

On February 22, 2011, a 6.3 earthquake caused severe damage at Christchurch, New Zealand killing 185 people and injuring several thousand.

There are hundreds of tremors and small earthquakes annually in our region. They are a constant reminder 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.

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.

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist.

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