November 2013
Connections (November 2013)
Connections: Advocacy News from the British Columbia Real Estate Association – November 2013 
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  2014 Budget Recommendations

BCREA was pleased to see its top two public priority issues reflected in the report of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, published on November 14.

Following several weeks of consultations, including hearings in 17 communities around the province, the committee has made a total of 73 recommendations for government to consider for Budget 2014—though the Minister of Finance is under no obligation to act on those recommendations.

Property Transfer Tax
Throughout the consultation period, BCREA, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board, Victoria Real Estate Board and the Urban Development Institute recommended the provincial government:

  • index the 1% PTT threshold of $525,000 using Statistics Canada's New Housing Price Index, and make adjustments annually, and
  • increase the 1% PTT threshold from $200,000 to $525,000, with 2% applying to the remainder of the fair market value.

While the report acknowledges those suggestions, the committee only went so far as to recommend the government review the impact of the Property Transfer Tax on first-time homebuyers. BCREA looks forward to future opportunities to inform elected officials about the PTT and suggest ways to minimize its negative impact.

BCREA’s submission is available online at www.bcrea.bc.ca/government-relations/shelter-taxes.

Floodplain maps
In response to suggestions made by the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services recommends the provincial government continue investing in severe weather adaptation and protection measures, such as BC flood maps and municipal sewer and storm water infrastructure.

This recommendation aligns beautifully with BCREA’s Floodplain Maps Action Plan, created in consultation with stakeholders from all over BC. The Floodplain Maps Action Plan and quarterly progress reports are available at www.bcrea.bc.ca/government-relations/flood-protection.

The complete report of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services is available online at www.leg.bc.ca/cmt/40thParl/session-1/fgs/reports/PDF/Rpt-FGS-40-1-1stRpt-Budget2014Consultations-2013-NOV-14.pdf.

 Land Achievements Celebrated

Real Estate Foundation of British ColumbiaOn October 25, the Real Estate Foundation of BC’s Land Awards honoured the actions of individuals and organizations that demonstrate leadership, innovation and collaboration in sustainable land use in BC. BCREA has been a sponsor of the Land Awards since their inception in 2010.

Here’s a very brief introduction to the winners:

  • Land Champion—Carol Newell has strategically invested her wealth to conserve millions of hectares of land. On Cortes Island, she worked with the local community to make land available for housing, parks and trails and conservation.
  • Private Sector Winner—Lanefab Design/Build for its Net Positive Housing Project.
  • Non-profit Sector Winner—Atira Women’s Resource Society for its Recycled Shipping Container Housing Project.
  • Public Sector Winner—City of Colwood for its Solar Colwood initiative.
BCREA congratulates all of the recipients! For more information, visit www.refbc.com/landawards.
 Water Sustainability Act Legislative Proposal

For four weeks this fall, the BC Ministry of Environment sought feedback on its legislative proposal to replace the Water Act. This was the most recent activity in a modernization project that began in 2009, and provided the most information to date about what the new legislation would include.

It seems that most of the existing Water Act will be retained, with some significant additions, including:

  • licensing of groundwater for large users,
  • a standardized process for determining in-stream flows that ensure stream health,
  • mandatory measurement and reporting from large users, and
  • provisions for a range of governance approaches.

While the lengthy proposal contains much more information than offered here, it’s short on details. The Water Sustainability Act is expected to be tabled in the legislature in spring 2014, and BCREA looks forward to further opportunities to provide input as the regulations and phased implementation plan are developed.

The proposal is available online at http://engage.gov.bc.ca/watersustainabilityact/the-proposal.
 Contact Us

Where do you stand on the public policy issues addressed in this issue of Connections? Contact BCREA at [email protected] with your comments about these issues, or to provide an update on your organization’s successes. For more information about BCREA’s public policy positions, visit www.bcrea.bc.ca.

To subscribe to receive BCREA publications such as this one, or to update your email address or current subscriptions, click here.

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