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Sicamous pursuing option for municipalities to add vacant land tax

Coun. Colleen Anderson said focus is downtown commercial property not being developed
Sicamous council wants an update from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs on municipalities’ authority to add a vacant land tax. (File photo)

Sicamous council is requesting an update on B.C.’s progress towards allowing municipalities to impose a vacant land tax.

At council’s Feb. 9 meeting, Coun. Colleen Anderson brought forward a motion to compose a letter to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs requesting an update on the province’s action towards amending the Community Charter to grant all municipal councils the authority to add a vacant land property tax.

The motion was passed unanimously.

In 2021, the Union of BC Municipalities endorsed a request from Lillooet’s municipal government to “request the Province of British Columbia conduct a review of the Community Charter to amend the legislation to grant municipal councils authority to add a ‘vacant land’ property tax.”

Anderson said Sicamous doesn’t have a lot of commercial property downtown and what is there seems to be being held onto and not developed. She said she’s looking for a way to motivate those property owners to sell or develop their land.

She emphasized she’s not looking to make a speculation tax that would impact people who have a residence in Sicamous that isn’t their primary residence; rather, she wants to grow the district’s downtown core.

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