99% won’t pay spec tax – BC News – Castanet.net

Written by on 17/05/2019

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Speed blitz for long wkend

May 17, 2019 / 4:40 pm | Story:

Photo: Google Street View

As drivers hit the road this Victoria Day long weekend, police will be conducting a province-wide enforcement blitz to target speeders as part of a month-long campaign.

Over the Victoria Day long weekend, 540 people were injured in 2,300 crashes in B.C. in 2017.

In a recent survey conducted by Ipsos for ICBC, almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of respondents said they’ve been concerned for their safety as a passenger in a vehicle they considered to be speeding.

And as drivers, 46 per cent said their top concern of possible consequences from speeding was injuring a passenger.

With speed the number one cause of car crash fatalities in B.C., it’s no wonder people are concerned.

As you’re traveling with family and friends this long weekend, remember to slow down and speak up if you feel uncomfortable.

Regional statistics over the Victoria Day long weekend:

  • 390 people were injured in 1,500 crashes throughout the Lower Mainland in 2017.
  • 61 people were injured in 352 crashes on Vancouver Island in 2017.
  • 69 people were injured in 350 crashes throughout the Southern Interior in 2017.
  • 16 people were injured in 120 crashes throughout the North Central region in 2017.

Richmond News


99% won’t pay spec tax

| Story:

Photo: Castanet webcam

The Ministry of Finance says more than 97 per cent of people in British Columbia who received speculation and vacancy tax notices have filed their declaration forms.

The ministry says about 1.6 million property owners received the tax declaration forms, and as of Friday it estimates more than 99 per cent of the owners do not have to pay the tax.

The ministry says property owners who didn’t file the declaration by the March 31 deadline will receive a tax assessment notice by the end of May reminding them to complete the declaration to claim an exemption or determine eligibility for a tax credit.

Owners not exempt from the tax must pay their assessed amount by July 2.

The ministry says foreign property owners, Canadians living outside of B.C. and satellite families — those who live in B.C., but pay income taxes elsewhere — make up more than 80 per cent of people who will pay the tax.

For 2018, the tax rate is 0.5 per cent of the assessed value for all properties subject to the tax and next year it increases to two per cent for foreign owners and satellite families.

The speculation and vacancy tax is part of the government’s plan to improve housing affordability and increase the availability of rental properties.

$7M win, still plans to work

Photo: BCLC

A Surrey janitor is a lottery millionaire, but has no plans to leave his job.

But he might scale back his hours.

Vito Halasan matched all six numbers in the April 27 Lotto 649 draw to win $7 million, just a few days after celebrating his 58th birthday.

“I remember scanning my ticket and seeing all these numbers,” says Halasan. “I have really blurry vision, so I had to hold the ticket right up to my face. I couldn’t believe it.”

He called his daughter in a panic after realizing his big win.

“He sat me down at the table,” his daughter describes. “And then he whispered really quietly to me that he won $7 million. I didn’t believe him. We had to check online several times.”

With three kids and four grandchildren, he plans to give his family the life they had dreamed of since moving to Canada from the Philippines in 2009.

“I dream of being able to take care of my kids and make their future better. Now we’ll be able to buy a nice house for my children and grandchildren.”


Good Samaritan hit, killed

Photo: Twitter – Joshua Knaak

A man was killed in a “chain-reaction” crash on the Coquihalla Thursday.

The man who was killed in a multi-vehicle crash on the Coquihalla Highway Thursday was struck by a vehicle after he had stopped to offer assistance.

The series of crashes occurred about 5:30 p.m. near the Coldwater Road interchange, and forced the closure of the highway for more than seven hours.

Merritt RCMP say a small car initially collided with a northbound commercial truck, but no one was injured.

Those involved were exchanging information on the side of the road, and a 47-year-old Salmon Arm man had stopped to help, when two additional vehicles crashed into them.

The Good Samaritan was killed, while two of the people exchanging information were critically injured. They were flown to hospital by air ambulance.

BC Emergency Health Services says four others were also taken to hospital in stable condition.

The crash closed the highway until 1 a.m., leaving motorists looking to get an early jump on the long weekend stuck for hours.

The tragic crash is reminiscent of a similar fatal collision in 2017, when UBC Okanagan student Melissa Mimura was killed after she exited her car on the Coquihalla. She had just crashed on the slippery road, and was hit by a Jeep that also lost control.

The driver of the Jeep was recently fined $1,500 after pleading guilty to driving without due care.

Police continue to investigate Thursday’s fatal crash.

Better beware on the water

May 17, 2019 / 12:22 pm | Story:

Photo: Richard Hollington

The May long weekend is the beginning of National Safe Boating Awareness Week.

Last weekend saw a pleasure boat wind up on a log boom right in front of the Kelowna Yacht Club – and Boating BC hopes to prevent a repeat performance.

While cruising Okanagan Lake and many of the other lakes in the province is one of the best ways to explore, doing it safely is Boating BC’s main goal.

And that doesn’t matter if you’re on a power boat, kayak, sailboat or standup paddle board.


Here are some guidelines to help you stay safe this boating season:

  • First and foremost, always wear a properly fitted personal flotation device.
  • Ensure your boat or watercraft has all required safety gear.
  • Never boat while under the influence of alcohol or recreational drugs.
  • Check weather conditions and patterns before leaving and during your trip.
  • Create a float plan before you leave so friends or family know where you’re going.
  • Take a course – there is one available for every skill level and type of boating.

There can also be plenty of objects floating in the water at this time of year due to spring runoff.

Boaters are also advised to watch for floating logs and other obstacles that may have wound up in the lake.

Photo: Denise Egan

Going electric a big saver

Photo: Nissan

BC Hydro says switching from a gas-powered car to an electric vehicle could save the average commuter thousands per year.

A recent survey for the Crown utility found the average B.C. commuter drives about 20 kilometres each day.

Making the trip in a Honda Civic – Canada’s top-selling sedan – would cost six times more than in the top-selling electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf.

Hydro says “fuelling” an electric vehicle costs the equivalent of 25 cents per litre in gas – about 80 per cent less than a gas-powered vehicle.

That 20-km commute in the electric Nissan Leaf would cost about $2 a week, less than a cup of coffee.  

Comparing the cost of a round-trip 18-km commute in Kamloops, from the Brocklehurst area to downtown, shows the costs add up over the course of year: 

  • A Honda Civic driver would pay about $330 more per year.
  • A Toyota Rav4 about $400 more per year.
  • A Ford F-150 about $670 more per year.

In addition to saving money, the utility notes about 98% of its electricity comes from hydro-electric dams, further reducing emissions.

There are currently more than 18,000 electric vehicles on the roads in B.C. – with 350,000 expected by 2030.

Guilty in child bride case

May 17, 2019 / 11:12 am | Story:

Photo: The Canadian Press

James Oler returns to court after a lunch break in Cranbrook in 2017. 

A former leader in a fundamentalist Christian sect that practises polygamy in Bountiful, B.C., has been found guilty of removing an underage girl from Canada to be married in the United States.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Martha Devlin says it is reasonable to believe that James Oler knew the 15-year-old girl would be subject to sexual activity when he arranged her marriage to an older member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Oler was acquitted in 2017 by a judge who was not convinced Oler did anything within Canada’s borders to arrange the girl’s transfer to the U.S., but the B.C. Court of Appeal overturned the decision, saying that proof of wrongdoing in Canada was not necessary and ordered a new trial.

Oler was self-represented and did not call any witnesses or make a case in his defence during the retrial.

Lawyer Joe Doyle, who is serving as a friend of the court to ensure a fair trial, argued that a four-day gap in the whereabouts of the 15-year-old girl is enough to dispute whether she was removed from Canada in 2004.

A special prosecutor argued Oler should have known the girl would be subject to sexual activity following her marriage based on the nature of church doctrine and the disempowered role of women in the faith.

Mountain face gone in slide

May 17, 2019 / 11:10 am | Story:

Photo: Nicholas Zichy

For the second time in a week, a major rock slide has occurred on Joffre Peak, just east of Pemberton.

Earthquake seismologist John Cassidy says the latest slide happened at 9:03 a.m. on Thursday.

In a social media post, he says it was significant enough to register on seismometers as far as 300 kilometres away on Vancouver Island and was even larger than one picked up by seismometers early Monday from the same peak.

Hydrologist and geoscientist Drew Brayshaw, who has climbed extensively in the area, says it appears the first slide sent a flow of debris more than four kilometres down Cerise Creek, east of Joffre Lakes Provincial Park.

He says both slides occurred on the north face of Joffre Peak, which faces away from the provincial park and that neither slide would threaten the park or its well-known turquoise-coloured lakes.

The ministries of highways, environment and forests, as well as Emergency Management BC have not yet commented and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District says it is up to the provincial government to order a geotechnical assessment of the area.

Eyes on rising river levels

Photo: Friends of Kettle River

Officials with the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Emergency Program are closely watching river levels forecast to rise quickly in the region.

Up to 30 millimetres of rain is expected in the region today and Saturday. 

“After such a long stretch of sunny weather, we just want residents to be aware that there may be a rapid rise in stream and river levels and muddy water that contains debris lifted from banks and channels,” says spokesman Mark Stephens.

“We ask that residents exercise an abundance of caution around watercourses because riverbanks that may have been stable in the past could now be unstable after damage from 2018 flooding, and may give way.” 

Current river levels are below a two-year return level, or average, the RDKB says.

The BC River Forecast Centre indicates the snowpack in the Boundary is almost gone, and that which remains is about one-third the amount at this time last year. The expected rise in river levels will occur due to rain rather than melting snow.

Play safe this weekend

Photo: BC Wildfire Service

Richter Creek wildfire near Osoyoos

As British Columbians get ready to enjoy the first long weekend of spring, they are being urged to play safe.

“We are urging people to take precautions to be fire and emergency safe,” says Premier John Horgan. “The province has taken significant steps to make sure that we’re ready for the 2019 fire season, including new investments in fire prevention and fire response, but we all have a part to play to protect our communities and province.”

Spending on wildfire prevention, response and recovery has been increased by 58% to $101 million per year, and a wildfire prevention campaign has been launched to encourage safe campfire, cigarette and off-road vehicle use.

Rain has dampened the fire threat across much of the Interior, but recent above-average temperatures had dried out forest fuels more than usual for this time of yerar.

The B.C. Wildfire Service has already responded to 176 fires since April 1.

In Kelowna, no open burning is allowed within city limits. Campfires and outdoor wood burning appliances, including wood-fueled fire pits, are not permitted at any time. Briquette barbecues are not allowed in city or Regional District of Central Okanagan parks, however, barbecues are allowed on beaches. 

Smoking, including e-cigarettes and cannabis, is banned in all city and regional parks and beaches.

To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on your cellphone. 

Trash coming home to BC?

May 17, 2019 / 10:05 am | Story:

Photo: Delta Optimist

It’s been baking under the hot Philippines sun for the past six years – and is now destined to come back, but no one is saying where the repatriated garbage is headed.

It’s been recently reported the Canadian government has agreed to pay the full cost of bringing 69 garbage-laden shipping containers back to this country, containers that were originally shipped by a private company to a port near Manila in 2013 and 2014 and were improperly labelled as plastics for recycling. They instead contained household trash and sat in limbo while a diplomatic spat ensued between the two countries.

Now, it appears the trash, which reportedly contained such unpleasant items as used adult diapers, will finally be coming back to Canada, but no one at this point is saying if the ripened waste could be going straight to the Vancouver Landfill at Delta’s Burns Bog.

Delta city manager Sean McGill says the city has made inquiries, but hasn’t got any answers.

“Delta has never been asked and never been told it’s going there. I don’t think it would be the logical choice,” said McGill.

“We have a tripartite agreement with the Vancouver Landfill, so we’d have to be informed or asked about it. We’ve been told it’s a Government of Canada issue and not been asked at any level about it going to the Vancouver Landfill,” he said.

Metro Vancouver would not comment on the issue, only saying it’s a diplomatic matter between the Philippines and Canada.

“This matter is being handled through the diplomatic channels of the two countries, so it is not within our purview to comment in any form. Any questions related to this waste material and how it might be handled should be referred to Environment Canada,” the regional district stated.

The provincial Ministry of Environment had a similar response.

“This is still a matter between the governments of Canada and the Philippines. Any questions about that diplomatic process are best sent to Global Affairs Canada,” the ministry stated.

Sandor Gyarmati / Delta Optimist

Fire burns month+ later

May 17, 2019 / 9:57 am | Story:

Photo: BC Wildfire Service

A wildfire started April 1 near Squamish is still not officially out.

The blaze, at approximately the 17.5-mile mark of Squamish Valley Road, was reportedly started when a homeowner’s backyard slash fire got out of control.

Though not extinguished, the fire remains under control, according to Dorthe Jakobsen of the Coastal Fire Centre.

“Last week, during the warm and dry weather we picked up a hot spot, which has been put out,” she says. 

Jakobsen said there is no danger of the fire spreading, and the BC Wildfire Service continues to monitor the area.

Another scan of the fire area by air will be done next week to determine if the fire continues to burn.

Jennifer Thuncher / Squamish Chief

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