Sicamous’ seasonal homeowners deserve better

Second homeowners treated like second-class citizens.

There is no question that this year’s flood has caused widespread damage, disruption and inconvenience to the residents of our town.

I find it disgusting that our provincial government has discriminatory practices when they determine that some Sicamous property owners are more deserving of help than others.

A homeowner is considered to be a non-resident if they have a primary residence somewhere else in Canada. These so-called non-residents do not receive B.C.’s  home-owner grant, and therefore pay substantially more taxes for their property than do their resident neighbours.

It is important to note that if they did not pay this higher rate, taxes would have to be higher to compensate for the shortfall.  It is also important to note that those who spend their summers here and winter in the States are considered residents.  This alone, smells to me of discrimination.

Many here expect these “non-residents” to contribute to the community, spend their money here and, in some cases, tolerate being bad-mouthed by their neighbours, and still be silent about the fact that they have no say in the community or how it’s run.

This too seems to have a bad odour.

To add insult to injury, they are now being told that any losses they suffered in the flood are not B.C.’s problem and they are not entitled to the assistance and compensation being offered to others. This is discrimination pure and simple which, as far as I know, is still illegal in this country.

Comments were made in last week’s paper that Alberta has the same policy. How other provinces treat taxpayers is not the issue: how we treat them is. Many of us should remember that we did not always live here full-time either.

Many of these so-called non-residents will be this town’s future electorate –  something politicians should ponder.

Reading about this deplorable situation I am overcome with one feeling – shame.  I intend to make that feeling known to those elected to serve. If you feel the same please say so too.

 

 

Terry Sinton