August 2011
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Connections (August 2011)
Connections: Advocacy News from the British Columbia Real Estate Association – August 2011 
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 Properties Used in Drug Operations

Access to information is critical to British Columbians when choosing property to buy or rent, so they can make the best decisions for their families and businesses. Unfortunately, potential property buyers and renters—and the REALTORS® who assist them—currently have no consistent method of learning whether a building has been identified as having been used in drug operations, or whether it has been remediated to a standard that will ensure health and safety risks have been eradicated.

BCREA, building on a significant body of work created by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, recommends the following actions, designed to remove the stigma of properties used in drug production, ensure housing stock integrity and provide British Columbians with certainty and peace of mind when choosing properties to buy or rent.

  • Develop a centralized, consistent process for disclosure of property history information.
  • Develop a centralized, consistent process for remediation of buildings used in drug operations.
  • Implement these disclosure and remediation processes through existing BC provincial legislation.
 Species at Risk Task Force Report and Consultation

Until August 31, 2011, the provincial government invites public comments on a report that recommends short- and long-term actions to protect BC’s species at risk. The report was developed by an independent task force earlier this year, and puts forward 16 recommendations addressing legislation, environmental management, and engagement with First Nations and the public.

“We were asked to develop practical and fiscally responsible recommendations,” said task force chair Bruce Fraser. “Accordingly, we have elected to build on the many conservation initiatives that have already been accomplished. Our report is aimed at making early gains on both public and private land while proposing direction for the long term that will help to address the continuing pressures of development and climate change.”

The provincial government will study the report in detail over the next several months before delivering a formal response. In the meantime, British Columbians are encouraged to read and comment on the task force report through the Ministry of Environment website: www.env.gov.bc.ca/sartaskforce.

 Speaking About Shelter Taxes

Throughout the spring and into the summer, in communities across the province, representatives from BCREA’s member boards met with their local MLAs to discuss restoring tax fairness for BC homebuyers. Specifically, MLAs were presented with the following recommendations:

  • Increase the 1% Property Transfer Tax (PTT) threshold from $200,000 to $525,000, with 2% applying to the remainder of the fair market value.
  • Index the 1% PTT threshold of $525,000 using Statistics Canada’s New Housing Price Index, and make adjustments annually.
  • Index the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) new home rebate threshold—currently set at $525,000—using the New Housing Price Index, and make adjustments annually.

Member boards reported that meetings were positive and MLAs seemed engaged in the issue of shelter taxes. Of the 43 MLAs that members met with, most expressed support for the concept of indexing shelter taxes. Several MLAs stressed the importance of the results of the HST referendum.

BCREA looks forward to the results of the HST referendum, and the certainty those results will provide to the provincial government and individual British Columbians.

For BCREA’s latest shelter taxes submission, click here.

 Flood Protection: Planning to Avoid Disaster

Flooding poses catastrophic risks to BC’s economic vitality, safety, environment, property owners and communities. With increasing occurrences of extreme weather events, expected to result from climate change, BCREA believes advance planning and preparation is the most cost-effective and efficient approach to flood protection in BC.

To that end, the Association is developing recommendations that are intended to help the province, local governments and individual British Columbians make knowledge-based decisions to help avoid the disaster caused by flood events. Recommendations will focus on floodplain mapping, a strong provincial role and communication.

 Contact Us

What are your organization’s positions on the public policy issues addressed in this issue of Connections? Contact us at [email protected] with your comments about these issues, or to update BCREA on your organization’s successes.

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