B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson stopped in Parksville Monday to meet with members of the Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce at Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort and Conference Centre. Wilkinson was making a small tour of the mid-Island with Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell, including a stop in Comox earlier in the morning.
Wilkinson, Vancouver-Quilchena MLA, spoke to a number of different topics such as the NDP’s 2018 budget, specifically the speculation tax and the employer’s health tax, and the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
“Parksville, as we all know, had a near-miss with it (the speculation tax). Initially, it was going to apply here. Then when there was enough noise made, suddenly, it didn’t apply here. Does that make any sense?” Wilkinson told the room of about 35 people.
“It never did apply to Whistler. It applies to west Kelowna, but not to Summerland or Penticton. It applies to Kelowna but not to the next municipality known as Lake Country. It applies to Victoria and it was taken off the Gulf Islands.”
Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre, along with Regional District of Nanaimo chair Bill Veenhof, both thanked Wilkinson and Stilwell for their efforts in getting the speculation tax exempted in certain regions.
The City of Nanaimo and District of Lantzville are still included in the tax.
However, Lefebvre said the tax, while exempted in Parksville, has left a negative impact in the community.
“I can tell you that the after effects are still there, even though we’ve been exempted,” said Lefebvre.
He added that while some developments are back on track, the developers are having some troubles getting some of the previous potential buyers to return.
“The bad news has travelled so fast and so far that we may not recover from that sort of thing,” Lefebvre said.
Wilkinson said after speaking to Parksville Qualicum Beach Realtors, he was told, “There’s already a bit of a chill going on in terms of the real estate industry.”