NS: NSHBA calls for tax moratorium as new housing starts crumble in Halifax

By Desiree Finhert, For Metro
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Nova Scotia Home Builders' Association CEO Paul Pettipas is calling for a six-to-12-month moratorium on any additional housing tax in an effort to remain competitive and retain the city’s population.

A file photo of new homes being built in the Armdale area.

[HALIFAX, NS] - The Nova Scotia Home Builders' Association is calling for a moratorium on a proposed tax on rural and suburban homeowners.

Halifax regional council has asked staff to consult with the housing development industry before implementing a Capital Cost Contribution (CCC) fee on homes in outlying areas of the municipality.

The fee would be used to pay for improving services such as transit and roads.

“We’re going to suggest a moratorium,” said NSHBA’s Paul Pettipas following Tuesday’s committee meeting. “Let’s just look at it and not just further push the problem by adding more costs.”

Pettipas is calling for a six-to-12-month moratorium on any additional housing tax in an effort to remain competitive and retain the city’s population.

The tax talk comes at a time when the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported a 65 per cent decrease in new housing construction in Halifax from January through June of this year compared to last. Meanwhile, housing starts are booming in the neighbouring municipalities of Chester, East Hants and Truro.

“Somewhere along the line it’s catching up,” said Pettipas. “People are saying, ‘Why should I live in Halifax? I’ve got 100-series highways, I can live in the beautiful area of Chester.’”

Some councillors raised their own concerns about the tax money being paid in one area and spent in another, while staff argued that road and transit improvements benefit everyone.

“When you pay a certain fee to move into a certain area that fee should be used to improve services in that area,” said councillor Tim Outhit.

Councillor David Hendsbee said he would only support the motion if it meant revisiting the transit strategy, and specifically bring Metro-X, Metro-Link and Park and Ride services to specific areas.

“I think that we failed our rural and suburban residents when we cut back on the transit strategy and held back the on the MetroX and MetroLink services,” said Hendsbee.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Home Builders, Halifax regional council, Canadian Mortgage and Housing

Geographic location: Halifax, Chester

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