The mayor of Anmore is blaming the B.C. government’s speculation and vacancy tax for a lavish weekend party at a local mansion that featured helicopters and supercars.
John McEwan suggested the provincial tax — which adds a 0.5 per cent levy on the value of secondary homes that aren’t rented out for more than six months of the year — may be putting pressure on owners to rent out their properties any way they can.
He says stricter rules need to be put in place to ensure vacant properties are rented out properly and for residential use only, rather than for events that disrupt the community.
WATCH: (Aired March 12, 2018) Girl uses parents’ credit card, rents house for wild party
“We’re going to be monitoring sites like VRBO, Airbnb, Craigslist and so on as to what the intended use is, and the restrictions that come with those uses and make sure people are very aware,” he said on Wednesday.
The mayor made the comments a day after news spread about the lavish party, which was held Saturday on Birch Wynde and hosted by Justin Plosz, who describes himself as the owner of networking and advertising company Public Relations Canada.
According to Plosz’s social media posts, the party featured 1,700 cans of booze, 526 ounces of whiskey, 333 attendees, seven supercars, six police cars, five hypercars, three helicopters, two ambulances and one fire truck.
McEwan said the municipality has reached out to the owner of the property, who does not live in Canada, and determined the home was rented out through a rental company.
McEwan said he hopes to put more bylaws in place that will make it harder for those owners to rent to whomever they want, and will put limits on rental companies themselves.
“The rental company, let’s face it, they only get paid when they rent the properties out,” he said. “They’re not doing a good enough job of vetting the clients.”
Global News has reached out to the Ministry of Finance, which oversees the speculation tax, for reaction to McEwan’s comments.
WATCH: Anmore party raises questions about vacant homes
The mayor said he hopes to co-ordinate city staff with RCMP to enforce any potential bylaws that come from their efforts.
“Unfortunately, we’re a small village and we don’t have bylaw people working 24/7, so we’re quite limited there,” he said. “We just want to make sure this never happens again.”
As for Plosz, he says whatever restrictions come into place in Anmore will just send him to the next town with a property that suits his needs.
“We’ll just go to another place that wants the publicity,” he said. “It’s going to be bigger, better, badder and next time, we’re going to charge money.”
— With files from Simon Little and John Hua