Friday September 15, 2023 | VIEW ROYAL, BC [Updated 7:50 am]
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
Drop into the Serious Coffee outlet in View Royal for a beverage or snack, and also available there is a petition that can be signed to support the viewpoint of a now Permanent Resident who has had to pay his way into Canada.
As an economic immigrant to BC he was required to have significant assets to arrive in this country (this is standard BC immigration policy). He and his wife also bought a property so he would have somewhere to live. The purchase was a pre-sale of a house in Coquitlam prior to construction or completion, before Eric Chang moved to what is now the fast-growing Royal Bay area of Colwood.
It just so happens that the timing of Chang’s pre-sale purchase was only slightly (four months) ahead of the BC foreign buyer’s tax that was announced July 25, 2016 and which became effective shortly after that on August 2, 2016.
As a result, he had to pay a significant amount more on his taxes, in order to complete his house purchase.
He’s been working hard ever since, running his coffee shop and getting to know the local community.
Chang has many friends and supporters in the west shore and many customers from ‘everywhere’ who come into his coffee shop on their way in or out of the View Royal location at 1703 Island Highway. This week, after just three days, he already had 71 signatures on his petition to the BC government that asks for anyone who was caught up in that sort of pre-sale situation in 2016 to be exempted from the additional foreign buyer’s tax.
The formal petition will be submitted to the BC Legislative Assembly by an MLA.
And while this is seven years after the fact, it’s not the first time Chang has tried to discuss his situation with his local MLA as well as the Ministry of Finance. His legal efforts to achieve an exemption have failed. Now, with the formal petition, he is taking his case directly to the lawmakers of British Columbia.
People may not take time to wrap their heads around the details of the tax situation. But Chang is hoping to appeal to people’s sense of fairness that his situation seems to highlight — i.e. the costs that some people coming to this country area required to pay, and in this case extra due to some unforeseeable bad timing around government legislation.
Serious Coffee View Royal is open daily: Monday to Friday 6 am to 5 pm, and on weekends (Saturday/Sunday) 7 am to 4 pm.