Vancouver Council “Screws” Low and Middle Income Home Owners and Renters

You can ignore all the platitudes and phony pronouncements from members of Vancouver City Council about the need to assist, protect and preserve homes and housing for hard-working low and middle income residents.

Their actions … including solid support from the supposedly working and middle-class simpatico Greens and COPE representatives on Council … have piled a HUGE 2020 property tax increase on Vancouver ratepayers.

The approved SEVEN PER CENT property tax increase for 2020 … the highest property tax hike in at least a decade … will push the annual operating budget to $1.6 BILLION.

And that’s ON TOP OF all the well-above inflationary increases piled on Vancouver taxpayers in the past four years: 3.9% in 2017; 4.24% in 2018; 4.5% in 2019 .. and now, a whopping 7% for 2020.

Nor does that include all the increases as well in charges for Metro regional services … such as water, waste etc.

Is there ANYONE reading this whose pay/pension/income rose 3.9% in 2017; 4.24% in 2018; 4.5% in 2019 .. and now, a whopping 7% for 2020 ????

The clear result of these City of Vancouver property tax increases … and the subsequent incremental piling on of inflation and other ripoffs they impose each year forward … will be to further push out of the city seniors, pensioners, low and middle income residents and aspiring young families, home/condo owners and buyers … making Vancouver an even more expensive place to live … just for rich professionals, corporate executives and offshore millionaire and billionaire investors.

And make no mistake about it … renters will feel the hurt as much as low and middle-income owners just trying to hang on to their homes/condos.

A big change this year results from a decision by Council last April, as readers of the Vancouver Sun were reminded recently by writer Dan Fumano:

“In April 2019 council approved a “tax shift,” from business properties to residential, of one per cent for 2019 and 0.5 per cent in 2020 and 2021. The stated purpose at the time was to provide relief to Vancouver’s independent businesses struggling with soaring property taxes. But that will also mean higher tax increases for residential properties.”

You can read his full article here: https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/dan-fumano-why-falling-property-assessments-wont-mean-lower-property-taxes

I could understand the more business-friendly for NPA Council members going along with that.

And yet, the left-leaning Greens, COPE and even Mayor Kennedy Stewart (a former NDP MP) also supported the biggest operating budget increase in at least a decade piled on the backs of residential home owners and subsequently, renters as well.

Why?

Well, I believe it happened because they ALL get to enjoy/spend on their pet causes/projects the benefits from this “rape” of taxpayers.

Council agreed to spend $6.8 MILLION more in 2020 alone “to accelerate the city’s action on climate change and $4.1 MILLION (my CAPS) to address affordability and the housing crisis,” reported Mike Howell in the Vancouver Courier.

Read his full article here: https://www.vancourier.com/news/new-vancouver-firefighters-cops-to-be-hired-under-7-per-cent-tax-hike-1.24037418

They want to address affordability? Why don’t they all look in the mirror!

Another $7.2 million for 25 more police officers and 30 new fire safety hires… bringing the total force to 1,352 police and 775 fire fighters … eating up 30 per cent of the total budget.

Surely, the added taxes paid by the increase in Vancouver’s population (reportedly 200,000 over the past 30 years) and the thousands of homes and condo units added in the city should have covered any added police/fire costs ????

But no … just keep building the “Empire”, adding spending, approving wasteful and frivolous projects (seen the Granville Bridge lately?) … and just taking more and more from struggling home/condo owners and renters.

And by the way, to squeeze every last quarter they literally can from Vancouver residents, Council also approved adding MORE parking meters to city streets (are there any non-residential streets left without them?) … and, of course, INCREASE the parking rates yet again.

It’s RAPE … and part of the way they get away with it, each year now, is that, most of the time, Vancouver Council operates in obscurity: very few of the media even cover City Hall on a regular basis anymore … and Council meetings are no longer broadcast as a community service.

Out of sight government is out of control government.

NPA Councillor Lisa Dominato reportedly wanted the budget approval delayed until April for further discussion/consideration/debate and NPA Councillor Colleen Hardwick warned against the years of budget increases … including $700 MILLION ($500 MILLION for 2020 alone) in capital projects.

But to no avail … the biggest screwing of Vancouver ‘s low and middle class home/condo owners and renters in a decade was approved … by the Green/NDP-leaning and COPE dominated Council.

Think about that next time you hear/see any of them wringing their mouths … and decrying the lack of affordability for those struggling to live/stay in Vancouver.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: You can get First Alerts of all new postings on this BC-based blog by following @harveyoberfeld on Twitter. No spam ..just Alerts to new postings.)

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40 Responses to Vancouver Council “Screws” Low and Middle Income Home Owners and Renters

  1. D. M. Johnston says:

    As I have said before, our politicians live in a bubble and a well paid bubble at that! They also believe that the ordinary taxpayer has deep pockets like their money laundering friends.

    Tax and spend is the mantra, but it gets worse.

    Most politicians in power are to weak to stand up to bureaucrats who try every trick in the book to get the politico’s to spend more money. The actual taxpayers and voters have been left out of the equation.

    This is why we have a 4 year cycle for civic elections, to keep the status quo and to let over spending hush, hush.

    In South Delta, we have a waterworks (make work) project replacing about 10 km of piping that has gone on now for over 3 years! It has become a local joke how incompetent Metro Vancouver has become, but we are not even allowed to question it nor can we vote for people who would be responsible for it.

    Transit is another tax and spend joke. currently we are spending $4.6 billion to extend our SkyTrain light metro network 12.8 km. Meanwhile, in Caen France, they just opened a 16 km LRT/tramway which cost $373 million!

    No LRT for us because the City of Vancouver’s Engineering Dept. doesn’t want it and has advised city Council not to build it, so the taxpayer (there is only one) has top ante up over 10 times more cash to build essentially 2 small extensions that will not take a car off the road.

    The has been mayor of Surrey told big porkies that he could build the Expo line to Langley for the cost of the formerly planned LRT, well Surrey is getting an extension to Fleetwood and no more.

    There has been no meaningful public input into transit planning, nor will TransLink, Metro Vancouver and the provincial NDP tolerate it. Tax and spend, tax and spend.

    ICBC, another Liberal inspired fiasco, so expensive is insurance I cannot afford to insure the car for my son with a Learner’s license.

    There is only one course for our housing crisis and that is federally/provincially funded social housing and it ain’t going to happen in our neoliberal world.

    Vancouver is a city where the media and most politicians glad-hand a tacky “Chandelier of Tiers” because it is free (well not really), and let people freeze in foul tents on soaked grounds and huddling under cardboard on city streets.

    Tut, tut so unseemly.

    The current NDP/Vision Lite Mayor of Vancouver has turned me off the NDP completely, the Greens have shown that they are not Green, but political carpetbaggers running under a popular theme, completely devoid of any Green credentials.

    It is not just disappointing because through their actions, the utter disreputable Liberals and their equally disreputable friends will win the next election and by the time they are through, this province will be toast.

    (Response: In 38 years of covering government at all levels, I often used to wonder if bureaucrats “played” elected officials for stooges: by proposing budgets much higher than they really wanted and then arguing/coaxing and convincing them to cut down to less … but still more than the bureaucrats knew they really could make do with or needed. And of course, spend EVERY PENNY before fiscal year-end …to justify asking for MORE next year. Like a lifelong “Yes Minister” comedy series … except Vancouver taxpayers shouldn’t be laughing. h.o)

  2. 13 says:

    My brother owns two condos in Vancouver. We were chatting a week or so ago and I was good naturally ribbing him about be such a good decent green environmentally worried about housing every homeless person that arrives from every part of Canada for never ending his war on the car building bike lanes (this one really struck home as he owns an auto repair shop in Vancouver) kind of guy. He listened to my babbling , and when I was done he informed me that he was about to sell the 2 condos and buy in N Burnaby. Its close to the shop and its not living in a social engineering failed experiment. Come to think of it I should tell him POCO has a tax increase this year of less than .5%.
    BTW Harvey if you look at what is happening to stratas insurance rates they had better get ready for many more homeless across the country. Condosare supposedly the answer to the housing shortage. If your monthly maintenance payment has to double or triple to cover an insurance increase that might go up 10Xs your done. Between the gov drive home values down and condo insurance driving people away or out of condos a tent at Oppenheimer Park is looking pretty good.

    (Response: I get it … Vancouver may soon be a city where only the wealthiest can afford to own … or even pay rents: the rest commuting in from or working in the suburbs and beyond. Remember, it’s not just property taxes, but all the other ever- rising municipal fees and regional increases simultaneously that REALLY add up for many. And to have a Green/COPE/NDP-type dominated Council inflict such suffering on what supposedly THEIR base boggles the mind. h.o)

  3. Rainclouds says:

    So true. One would suppose that the replacement of many single level buildings and empty lots by multi level multi tenanted condo buildings (1 taxpayer VS 200 in a 22 story Condo Development) would provide enough tax revenues AND development fees to forestall increases of any kind.

    Introduce clueless elected representatives who have never run a company or worked in the private sector but now have oodles of others peoples money to spend.

    Elected they were, and spend they will. nothing to see here folks, move along.
    Lot of fat to cut at City Hall, commencing with the “communications department” Saw a COV van with “we pay a living wage” banner on the side. Uhhh no, not for the people driving it at 25 per hour who can’t afford to buy OR rent in Van.

    Hopefully this prompts residents to pay attention during the next election cycle. I’m not holding my breath. Laughable if it wasn’t so serious. There will be a price for profligacy. A lesson none of the COPE/greens/Mayor/seem interested in learning. Surprising as none of them are 20 somethings anymore, maturity and leadership isn’t about age apparently.

    (Response: I find it most curious…and even appalling ..that the Greens and COPE especially (those who voice such concern about homelessness and those struggling to buy/keep a roof over their heads) would approve project after project (many of them questionable and/or wasteful) and hire more and more staff, keep raising taxes well beyond inflation (for four years now …and this year is the worst!). h.o)

  4. Leila Paul says:

    Does Vancouver have some firm numbers, such as population and overly burdened taxpayers?

    In the city where I chose to live to avoid the problems associated with being a tourist destination, city hall is obsessed with creating tourism when there is absolutely no natural attraction to make this a destination city for vacations.

    Budget numbers cannot be determined with certainty in some cities because city halls will break down their operating budgets with vague labels.

    I won’t even discuss the competence of city councilors who rely on city department managers to “advise” them and perform what councilors need done to appease their ward voters to get re-elected.

    First the population numbers:

    Vancouver’s population (source Wikipedia) approx 2,5MillionLondon, Ont. population (2016 census from wikipedia) 383,822

    Here are a few numbers for buget comparison:

    I don’t know if the overall operating budget is know in Vancouver, but London’s 6-figure bloated department managers ensure taxes pay them their increases and to muddle the figures to make it hard for taxpayers to know what the actual costs are:

    Sources of Revenues
    $4.1 Billion Revenues

    http://www.london.ca/city-hall/budget-business/budget/Documents/Multi_Year_2020_to%202023_Property_Tax_Document_Budget_in_Brief.pdf

    It seems realistic to question if city hall has used the excuse of federal and provincial downloading to become the new overlords with taxpayers becoming similar to the serfs in feudal times. We no longer are told what is on the property we’re buying and what services are imposed on us to perform while we pay for those very same services in our taxes.

    I’m in London Ontario where city hall has become increasingly corrupt and incompetent. Councilors here are manipulated by city hall department managers.

    You can’t fight city hall? That was the old saying that existed under the times of recognize city graft and corruption, most notable is the Tammany Society which gained political control through a veneer of charity while it was actually patronage.

    City Hall – in most cities – have become the new robber barons and monopoly capitalists. Add to that mix, the role of the United Nations inserting itself in both municipal and provincial politics, and that gives greater confusion or a smoke screen behind which city hall can rob its taxpayers and NEVER be held accountable.

    If the UN governs so many of our affairs, why do we have growing bureaucracies at all three levels of possibly obsolete governments?

    Forgive my intrusion into the Vancouver city’s debate but taxpayers all over must start demanding city hall transparency and humility Iin all their functions city hall workers who hide behind privacy issues and whose salaries and possibly obscured benefits packages need to be reminded each of them WORKS FOR US AND NOT THE REVERSE!

    The question is: do we have an avenue of asserting our rights are the EMPLOYERS of these modern day robber barons? Most lawyers are appointed by the ruling party of the province or the feds and judges are appointed from among servile lawyers who will claim conflicts of interest when attempting to find a competent lawyer.

    How did we allow ourselves to devolve into such a state of servitude to those who have created barriers to being held accountable. Elections? The days of scrutineers investigating each hard copy vote are long past. Computer programs run by city hall means they count the votes and could determine the outcomes.

    I believe it was Stalin who said something to the effect that he doesn’t HOW people vote as long as he determines who the candidates are and he determines how votes are counted.

  5. Leila Paul says:

    I stated that lawyers are “appointed” and judges ARE openly appointed from the crop of lawyers in a provincially and federally.

    If one wishes to legally challenge city hall actions, the need for a lawyer with no conflict of interest is essential, as well as an impartial judge.

    Yes, lawyers do have to pass bar admission tests. But I was present when the life-long Liberal high level party executive boasted to a group of us he’d just been appointed at the University to conduct bar admission exams. From this crop, I know of many lawyers who were subjected to being recruited as Liberal loyalists. This man was within a few years to become the Nation Liberal Party President.

    Without an accountable city hall, provincial government that has integrity and is honest and responsive to legitimate taxpayer concerns, and a federal government who oversees that all fulfill their jurisdictional obligations, we cannot call ourselves a true democracy.

    And it all starts at the local level. All politics really is local.

    p.s. please excuse the jumbled sequence of the previous post. It’s hard typing on a mobile device.

  6. Harry Lawson says:

    Harvey where to start?

    where is the leadership of the provincial government? i forgot key visionites are working for the provincial goverment .

    Vancouver is becoming a white elephant, empty storefronts, parking meters so costly it is cheaper to drive to other municipalities for shopping and entertainment .

    The effects of poor and bad social and economic policy and planning is consuming Vancouver like a terminal cancer .

    taxing properties on potential use versus actual use is driving affordabike housing and jobs out of Vancouver .

    the more we are taxed the less discretionary spending we have thus the economy shrinks

    there is only one taxpayer.

    (Response: Interesting thing about parking meters: I rarely shop/dine on the downtown peninsula anymore … except for medical appointments. And judging by the empty stores and rapid turnover of some locations in the West End etc , I am not alone in that. We now shop/dine outside the downtown/West End area at places that have free parking …or free parking on residential streets nearby. Shhh! The Greens/COPE councillors may get the idea of meters for residential street parking soon too! h.o)

  7. e.a.f. says:

    Affordability went out the window over 20 years ago and every one was good with that because they were selling their homes and moving on with their newly acquired loot.

    I don’t feel all that “sorry” about any of it, they’re the authors of their own misfortune. They voted for these politicians and now they can learn to live with it or move because of it. For seniors, get over it. They don’t have to pay for the increases, they can postpone it until they’re dead or sell the pile. They don’t want to pay the taxes because they want to leave a larger estate. there are those in Vancouver who will never have an “estate” to leave. They lived pay cheque to pay cheque their whole lives and in retirement had to make do with what little government pension offered.

    the increase in property taxes is a tad much. Businesses are taxed at the rate of not what the real value is, but at the value the property would be if the air were built into. That has dealt a blow to small investors and small business owners. Many can not sell their businesses, because no one can afford the property taxes. But this is also part of a problem we will see in all of the lower mainland in the years to come because the law was changed to permit this taxing of air over buildings. It has led to many properties being sold and large buildings being developed all over Vancouver. Think its an accident we see houses disappearing on major arterirs in Vancouver.

    as to residential taxes. Many are going to be hurt, but those who set this in motion over 20 yrs ago didn’t care and neither did the polititicans and bureaucrats. they had a “world class” vision of the city. No one stopped them. Every one was making money

    My line has always been: the politicians come and go the bureaucracy endures forever.

    There needs to be a very close look taken at what is driving some of these “changes” which are costing as much as they do. Who or what is driving them. Is it a bureaucratic culture which wants what it wants. Is it politicians who are supported by developers who in the end come out on top, etc. politicians need to “grow a set” and get with the voter needs. Not those who fund their runs of office, but the real voters who live in the city.

    OMG, the Granville St. bridge. I don’t know who came up with that idea or which idiot politicians went for it. Its a waste of taxpayers money. Might look cute on some tourist brouchre, but as my sibling told me, we remember the bridge when it was built. We laughed and decided, we won’t live long enough, but they will be taking out that “expensive shit” one of these days for real traffic. If some one is young enough, ……….I’d sure like to see how that one end.

    How many cops does the city need? Well if they’re staffing for a riot, a lot. However, riots don’t happen every day or even every decade. I’ve been around for most of the riots except the race riots in China town. Fire fighters, well that department might need a few more not because of the increase in population but the different style of buildings we have. Perhaps its time a specialist was brought in to have a look at the expanding bureaucracies. Consult with other cities in the world to see how they do things, no not a tour for the politicians or department execs, but you know, have a look on line, have them come here. Its so much cheaper.

    the bike lanes, omg, get rid of them, they’re costing a fortune to build and they cost small business money–lack of parking is a real problem. I have no problem paying for parking, to keep people moving their cars along, but some of the fees are a tad high. We are a car society and that isn’t going to change. None of what is being done is really for the real future, its all sort of for the here and now, or the next decade or so, but little for a hundred years or so.

    The other problem the city has is the lack of city housing. Not the usual shelters, social housing for people with “issues/health” problem, but housing where people making less than $150K a year can live in decent family housing. Where the rents are based on gross income up to what ever max. is established. GVRD housing is fine as far as it goes, but what we really need to do is develop housing which doesn’t become a slum and is very mixed. that great tract of land sitting around little mountain might be a good place to start–expropriate it and build housing for the people who work in the city, have lived in the city, etc

    this gets me to my other peeve. Politicians are so on about “green, green, green”, the environment. but they all turned a blind eye to tearing down decent housing to make way for mansions. now that wasn’t environmental. They could have passed bylaws, but failed to do so because all those mansions were making money for their developer and associated trades. it also drove up property prices and taxes. Tax incentives to have them “renovate” was nice but it cost the taxpayers money. Just pass a law which says, you don’t tear down buildings under a certain age, regardless of how you let it deteroriate.

    Taxes on the other hand, “buy us civilization”. But what we see as projects in the city of Vancouver, isn’t “civilization”, in my opinion, but a bunch of idiots run amuk. I could understand money spent on community centers, schools, parks, but what passes these days for parks, omg, Granville st. bridge. We wouldn’t need so many police officers if the city parks board got with the agenda and moved the drug dealers and their customers out of Oppenheimer park. Its places such as this that require a larger than normal police force.

    I must admit my prejudice for a large fire department stems from the 1990s hockey riots and our complex having a fire and we were the fourth call of their evening and they had to call in the Richmond Fire Dept. to take over their Marpole Fire Hall. Then they got the call for the fifth fire while fighting ours. On the other hand if there were a more unified agreement of assistance between cities, which then simply billed each other, we might not need such a large fire dept.

    Some times we need to work smarter. We’ve had those 12 hr. shifts for a few decades now, but are they really better. Do they lead to more sick leave or less or has it remained the same. Cities liked them because they needed fewer workers, but does it truly work at the Police Dept. Some staffing we may see as “extra’ is to take care of those who are on sick leave due to PTSD, etc. We may have over 1,400 cops, but how many are on sick leave as the result of their work? they stay on the books while on D.I. but they’re not working.

    I don’t know the answer to the high tax rates in Vancouver, but they do need to get a grip and stop the social engineering. A city needs to ensure the water pipes remain in first rate order; that main streets stay clear of snow, but those side streets–really the residents need to get over themselves. Purchasing land for real parks makes sense, especially when we look towards the future, in the mean time stop the Granville St. bridge destruction.

    While we are speaking of taxes. One thing I really always liked in Vancouver, was the Sanitation Dept. the garbage dept. is the best in the area. no contracting that out, because in the end, it always winds up costing more.

    I have gone on for a while, ………omg, its snowing outside, in Nanaimo and its windy. Do hope the city plows will be out shortly–

    (Response: Yes…maybe the voters … or actually the NON-VOTERS … are getting what they deserve; spending extremists who show little spine in saying NO to bureaucrats who seem to always propose raising taxes well beyond inflation. Turnout in Vancouver in 2018 was 39.43% …down from 42.32 in 2014. And I suspect it’s those who WANT, WANT, WANT but don’t own who turn out in greatest numbers … while those who own and whose taxes will be affected most can’t be bothered to vote …and fail to realize how they will PAY, PAY, PAY for staying away. h.o)

  8. Leila Paul says:

    When people proudly say we’re a democracy, they rarely are able to define that concept beyond saying we have the right to vote.

    In ancient Athens, where democracy lasted the longest in the old Greek confederation of states, only free men were allowed to vote. Male slaves were prohibited; women were prohibited and only free men who owned land were permitted to vote for they had “skin in the game”.

    Some have said allowing just anybody and everybody to vote – with no long term understanding of how western civilizations evolved their democratic systems – is similar to this scenario: the person in a household comes home and before making spending decisions or setting behavior rules, asks everyone in the household to vote on how the money is spent and which behaviors are acceptable. Even the smallest child would be able to vote whether he/she understood the language in which the voting debates occurred.

    I don’t now how many people are aware of the changes over the years in citizen – legal voting – eligibility but it used to be many years more than it now is. Now, many incoming migrants are granted immediate rights to vote. Perhaps that’s not too different than handing a loaded gun to someone at a shooting range and suggesting they exercise responsible thinking in how they pull the trigger.

    We’ve long asked for a number of measures of accountability, such as:

    The power to hold recall referenda;
    shorter terms for elected officials;
    public availability of verifiable CVs or resumes of those who are hired in public administration jobs that seem to have lifetime tenure;
    as well as verification of the qualifications of the elected councilors.

    It is councilors (in municipal politics) who are supposed to be able to call for the termination of department managers if they’re not exercising maximum control on expenditures or conduct that may be harmful to taxpayers and other residents who rely on taxpayers funds.

    But that requires that coucilors themselves demonstrate a real world knowledge of large budgetary management and personnel hiring and firing.

    When did it occur in our recent history that city hall managers had jobs for life?

    If any city hall employee is accused of misconduct, the investigations or analysis of that individual are conducted in private to assure their privacy. But who conducts their job performance reviews? Others who are their peers and colleagues and who are NOT their true supervisors or employers.

    WE ARE THEIR EMPLOYERS. It is we who should be able to attend reviews of department manager’s job performance reviews.

    Instead, we’re prevented from monitoring how OUR EMPLOYEES perform and how many complaints may have been lodged against them.

    And when they spend like profligate culprits while councilors are the ones who vote on raising their own salaries and also vote on spending more of our money on what they believe will get them most votes in the next election.

    Who was it that said “people get the government they deserve”? I believe it was the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville who wrote “Democracy in America” and he lived in the 1800s.

    It’s a cute saying “the more things change the more they stay the same”. Yet, I’m tempted to say lately that if things change, they tend to revert to more primitive behaviors.

    Are we the deciding factors in our fates or are we the passive and compliant subjects of whoever gains control of decision-making?

    It seems in all western democracies, we’re all in the same boat.And we may be approaching the time when we will find it’s too late.

    No matter which concept may guide the undercurrents of the powers and fates that carry us along we’re in the middle of troubled waters and cannot jump ship.

    If we’re going to act, at least those of us in Canada who suffer the same fate as all city governments have their associations and meet regularly and appear to be making similar decisions in their own interests. Taxpayers be damned.

  9. Harry Lawson says:

    Harvey,

    we really need provincial leadership, Vancouver operates under the authority of the Vancouver charter proclaimed in to law 1953 . this charter gives Vancouver special authority that other municipalities do not have. we have a municipal act in BC that hasn’t had any significant changes for decades . this might have been good public policy 70 years ago , however is it good public policy now?

    should we be looking at regional goverments merging municipal goverments and services thru out BC ? leglistating tax hikes and fees . recall and term limits , think of the savings .

    (Response: The problem is not the municipal electoral system: it’s the people Vancouver elected … too many of them radical left crusaders (An former NDP MP Mayor, Four Green and one COPE councillors) with COSTLY political and social agendas and quite apparently with little or no concern for pulling more and more money out of low income and middle class residents (despite their hollow rhetoric) … to build their Big Brother Empire and finance and pursue frivolous and wasteful projects. Seven per cent increase in one year! On top of FOUR per cent increases each year for the previous three years! And remember, each increase is based on the previous year’s higher amount …so the SEVEN per cent in 2020 is ON TOP OF the well over 12 per cent cumulative impact of the earlier increases! Outrageous! That’s a HUGE increase in residential taxes over four years and just look around you at where millions and millions of bucks are going and are NOT going! It’s appalling. h.o)

  10. e.a.f. says:

    Leila I don’t know where you got the information regarding who gets to vote or not, but the law is still you have to be a Canadian citizen to vote in civic elections. You must have resided in Canada a specific number of years to become a Canadian citizen. that is governed by the federal government. It maybe many homes in Vancouver are owned by not only non residents but non citizens, so that leaves fewer people voting. It also leaves a lot of renters voting and they may not see property taxes as something which impact them.

    Hiring is the perview of City Council and from there it goes to Dept. heads etc. once people are hired in the executive range, they have contracts which are negotiated between the city and person being hired. Now if the city can’t do the job, the taxpayers need to “hire” better politicians to guard the bank account.

    to fire a person you need cause or you have a very large law suit. Again its up to managers, executive and city council to do their jobs as employer/managers and if they don’t the voters can do their jobs.

    We used to have 2 year civic election terms, then some provincial government changed that to 4 years. I don’t remember which. Might even have been a B.C. Lieberal or NDP government.

    City hall employees like any other worker has the right to privacy and its the law in this country. Just because some one works for the city, doesn’t mean they have to give up their rights as citizens. Remember, no one is guilty until its proven to be so. Releasing information prior to a final decision is not cool and it could be very expensive when it comes to law suites.

    Your line about monitoring “our employees” give it a rest. they are not “our employees” but rather the employees of the City of Vancouver, there is a difference. No you should not be permitted to attend performance reviews of city managers. You aren’t part of the chain of command so to speak. Like what do you want a mass meeting? how real is that and more to the point, who do you think would hire on for those types of working conditions. it could also result in it becoming a popularity contest, not to mention a political game with hires only from the prevailing party because that is who has the most support and voters. the system currently in place is fine. Its just some don’t do their jobs. That starts with the voters, who don’t go out and vote. the politicians don’t do their jobs because they may not over see how the City manager is doing their job and from their it works on down. what we do not want is a change to each dept. each time there is a change in politicians. Of course it could also be that politicians are very clear with City department heads and those department heads deliver to city council what they want.

    In the past, Vancouver has had a few City Managers who were too closely affiliated with the city mayor. We have one city hall manager at a time and from my recollection none of them had the job “for life”. The one (Penny) which was there when Robertson was mayor, left, the next one left and is with the provincial government. we currently have one who came from another city, I think. If some one is good at their job, why fire them? It costs money if there is not just cause.

    Recall referedums are costly and frequently don’t go anywhere. when we had civic elections once every two years, it wasn’t necessary. Now we have elections every 4 years to save money. Recall mid way would be very expensive. Remember we’re trying to save money not spend it. We have recall at the provincial level and its never gotten anywhere. It is doubtful it would go anywhere if it were at a civic level.

    Verification of the qualification of elected councillors? why in god’s name would we do that after they’ve been elected. elections are the time to do that and you can be sure the opposition does its research on the other candidates. I don’t recall many councillors giving invalid qualifications such as they weren’t a university grad when they said they were, etc. if its not a big problem, why start a new complicated process. Most of those running for office in the city of Vancouver, are “known factors”. Like which election would have turned out differently had we “know more” about the candidate. Its part of the electorate’s job to know who they’re voting for.

    Leila I don’t get what you’re referring to about firing dept. managers if they’re not exercising “max. control” over expenditures. Like are they to be fired for pens and pencils disappearing/ budgets are drawn up and when it comes to such important things as sanitation and maintenance of city streets, infrastructure I have yet to hear in all my years that there was theft or mis use of the funds.

    I agree you with regarding councillors voting on their own salary increases. that is a conflict of interest. it ought to be sent to binding arbitration, the same way the unionized workers salary agreements have been reached when a strike isn’t going to end.

    Spending on what will get them the most votes, don’t know if that really works anymore because, it raises taxes. Of course politics being politics that is the way of the world, so lets keep it real. Again it comes down to people need to get out and vote. if they don’t they get what they deserve and in this case its much higher taxes.

    Most of the people who work for the City of Vancouver do a good job and yes that includes Dept. heads. If city councillors want things, that raise taxes, then it is up to the citizens to let them know its too much, but I haven’t seen a storming of city hall yet. I’ve seen this blog, some other things, but its not what I’d call an over whelming opposition. Now that may be because the MSM isn’t doing their job reporting on it, but I’d have to agree the increase might be a tad high this time around, but again, what do people want to cut. any one want to list that or is that a topic for another post by Harvey: what can we cut and what can we do without.

  11. DBW says:

    I would like to make a couple of comments about this paragraph.

    It’s RAPE … and part of the way they get away with it, each year now, is that, most of the time, Vancouver Council operates in obscurity: very few of the media even cover City Hall on a regular basis anymore … and Council meetings are no longer broadcast as a community service.

    1. One of the advantages of living in a small town is this. We know our politicians especially our civic ones. We see them on the street. We can talk to them at shared community events or in line at Safeway. As a former teacher I am even luckier as I know them as colleagues or former students or the parents of kids. So we have no problem sharing complaints and they hear us. And some of us, like myself, have no problem speaking at council meetings and asking about cuts to the library or taxes going up (done both). These are my neighbours so I don’t see them as the out of touch villains that you and others view the big city councillors, even when I disagree with their decisions.

    2. Word choice, Harvey. It’s not that I am offended by words. I rarely am. But to compare an extra on average $180/year in property tax to the horror and life long trauma suffered by sexual assault victims is a bit excessive.

    (Response: I agree on the hyperbole: excessive but it’s not just $180/year … it’s $180 MORE THIS year …ADDED ON to the higher figure we all paid last year after they raised taxes more than FOUR per cent in 2019 …and THAT was also on TOP OF Four per cent they added on the year before … etc. so it really has added up to a lot more than $180. In fact, added together, it’s a LOT more than most seniors’ Canada Pension or OAS or even company pensions went up. Without asking … or even telling us that was what they planned to do to us if elected. It sure feels like fiscal rape. As for the small town benefits, I agree … elected politicians are much closer to the people in smaller communities. The problem in larger areas is involvement/turnout … 39.4% in Vancouver is a shame … and now, those who stayed home will pay dearly for their failure to get involved … or just vote. h.o)

  12. Leila Paul says:

    @eaf

    The citizenship law in principle and the citizenship awarded to many people who come here do not have the same waiting period.

    (Edited..the topic is Vancouver City Council/taxes.)

    In practice, however, since NO PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP such as a passport or Certificate of Citizenship is not required when one goes to a polling station, anyone with an envelope mailed to them at a particular address CAN VOTE.

    (Edited…off topic)

  13. Leila Paul says:

    @eaf

    I do not want to get into a person back and forth and I’d like to maintain a respectful dialogue. However, many statements you make are so extreme and challenge one’s ability to accept if actually read and analyzed.

    For now I’ll start with the citizenship issue as in the previous post and now I’ll discuss this. You say city administration works for the municipal corporation. Corporations normally have owners. Sometimes it’s a family ownership if a commercial enterprise or groups or multiple shareholders or stakeholders.

    Who do you think are the shareholders or stakeholders of a city corporation? Who owns that corporation? Taxpayers.

    The citizens or legal residents and those who finance it are those who pay taxes for their own personal incomes or investments as well as those who receive welfare or benefits from the taxes paid and then they also pay taxes on the funds they’ve received from the (by all appearances) previously taxes revenue that came to those who collect the taxes from the initial taxpayer who did not get it from a provincial or federal welfare organization.

    Now we have municipalities performing functions with property tax funds that are within the jurisdiction of provincial or federal legislation.

    Example: in the city of London, ON, we have a huge department of social workers and (last time I counted) there were approx 120 names in the department that performs social work. That does not even count all the other community groups who get grants regularly or those who apply for one time grants which makes it easier to get another grant subsequent years.

    Then there are people employed to advertise and recruit new residents to London to increase its revenue. Even refugees or migrants temporarily increase city revenue because they get “benefits” to assist them. So the city actively recruits to bring refugees or migrants here.

    Then that means they need help so the city has staff to assist them in locating residences and other living tools. Have Municipal Acts in Ontario or other provinces been altered to include the requirement that taxpayers fund those kinds of expenses? It’s more likely that cities have employees who need to have increased revenue and that’s one way to do it.

    While we all feel sympathy for those who claim they are fleeing threats of death and need to seek refuge here, none of that is often verifiable.

    (Edited…off topic)

    Have the feds or province returned to taxpayers the funds allocated for social work or other case workers items.

  14. BMCQ says:

    A great analysis and essay Harvey, I am really happy to see you back on track again after being somewhat misguided on the last one . ?

    In a Prosperous Free World Country like Canada living next to the USA we do not need to worry much about anything other than the odd natural disaster and of course the various diseases we can suffer from, but over all we are blessed to live in Canada .

    It is rather unfortunate that we do however need to be concerned with the power of Special Interest Groups, irresponsible incompetent pandering Politicians, Government waste and Bloat at all three levels, and a Media that “Whistle Past the Graveyard” not paying attention to the biggest dangers unwilling, too lazy, or not trained well enough to ask the tough questions of those Politicians .

    If Media did their job Politicians would be exposed for what they are, a group of people wholly out to improve their own lot in life without caring about the Great Unwashed .

    We as Overtaxed and disrespected citizens should do everything we can to support the Canadian Tax Payers Association and it’s affiliated bodies and people like CHRIS Simms, they are a most important asset of Tax Payers and Hard Working People of all income levels . It is the Tax Payers Associations that hold wasteful irresponsible politicians to account and all media need to report more on what people like Simms are talking about .

    All Three Levels of Government are wasteful, bloated, and uncaring of the Tax Payer but the biggest offender by far is the Municipal Politicians, they are a Clear and Present Danger to all citizens unless you are a Special Interest Group .

    As has been pointed out Property Taxes affect all of us and regardless of income level Property Taxes affect everything from Health Care, Education, Employment, Housing, and services of all kinds including restaurants, transportation, shopping, and so many other things we were once able to take for granted, unfortunately that is no longer the case because out of control now affect the ability to access all of those in too many different neighborhoods .

    Leftist Activist Politicians and Special Interests try to blame Business, the Wealthy, and Landlords for the problems of increasing rents but that is a Blatant Lie, I am a Landlord and far too often it is the out of control Property Tax and other Government
    Fees and Services that force Landlords to either increase rents or in fact sell their property because the income from rents or their business income cannot sustain the ever Property Tax increases.

    Take a walk along Denman St. from DAVIE St., then up Robson St. to Burrard and you will now see over 60 empty Store Fronts, think about that, can a city sustain that ?

    It is all because of out of control Property Tax . Of course the city still gets the income from the Property Tax from the owner of those now empty stotefrom]nys so they care not . This all in turn affects employment, where do people work if there are no employers ?

    Keep in mind that each housing unit built costs the builder developer about $ 80 K in development fees, permits, engineering fees, taxes and a few others which are ALL passed on to the Purchaser and then the Property Tax Dance begins, it is a vicious circle .

    Then to top it all off we all get poorer and less service than we did 10, 20, or moreyears ago .

    Who wins in all of this ? It certainly for sure is not the Hard Working, Contributing, Tax Payer .

    Time for Media to step up .

  15. Rainclouds says:

    Some savings here:
    Time to Gas the Park Board. Every other city on the planet incorporated Parks in the general responsibility of aldermen/councillors. Look to Oppenheimer Park as the most recent example of sclerosis. Pathetic. Apparently the residents of Vancouver have oodles of money to spend on multi levels of redundant bureaucrats who apparently cant make a decision on a squalid illegal encampment endangering lives and preventing fore mentioned taxpayers from enjoying the neighbourhood in peace.

    (Response: I tend to agree: the Park Board USED TO make it easy/enjoyable to visit places like Stanley Park … now they seem to want to preserve it for the elite. How/why did it change? It’s hard enough these days to get people to pay attention to who’s running for Council; almost no one really knows MOST of those running for Park Board …so with a low voter turnout, several get elected by default or party affiliation … activists do vote … and that’s why I believe we’ve ended up in recent years with the same thing at the Park Board we now have at City Hall … a takeover by the radical left with extreme Big Brother agendas: who will over time reduce or eliminate local community controls; cripple or get rid of the Aquarium; raise parking to such exorbitant rates, only rich locals or well-heeled tourists will be able to afford a day there (KEEPING OUT low income families, individuals, pensioners too); and, I’ve heard some want to eventually get rid of cars entirely in Stanley Park (making it practically inaccessible without special efforts for physically challenged or seniors, families with kids and all kinds of picnic food/gear). Looks to me like the time has come to move beyond the current Park Board setup … and probably save millions as well. h.o)

  16. Leila Paul says:

    I’ve just tried to find the Act that governs BC municipalities and it’s an enormously lengthy and complex document. It even starts out with requiring a person to refer to another Act in order to define the meaning of something in the Municipal Act. Ontario’s Municipal Act, from what I recall, is somewhat less extensive.

    However, jurisdiction and mandate are two important issues of any municipal functions. Yes there is only one taxpayer. But in order to cut back on the costs of duplication of bureaucratic employee numbers and and functions it helps to ensure the same services are not provided by more than one jurisdiction. That would save taxpayers from having to pay for multiple employees to perform functions that are within the purview of other jurisdictions.

    What is clear is that the complexity of how legislation is written often puts it outside accessibility to the taxpayers. Legal language is necessarily detailed but when it comes to the authorization that enables providers of services to taxpayers, these should be elucidated in ways that are simple enough to read quickly for those with limited time or limited abilities.

    Municipal administrations meet together for “consultations”.

    (Edited…off topic.)

    In the age of virtual meetings – it may be worthwhile to ask why these meeting of city administrations from various cities in all the provinces do not do so by virtual meetings.

    Numerous online apps and software make that easily possible and then all business is recorded for taxpayers to review. That also saves the costs of travel, hotel, meals and other incidental expenses. But gathering in one place, municipal administrations can act like an association in their own interests and much of the dialogue or strategizing remains undisclosed.

    Nonetheless, it seems many municipalities have adopted the same strategies as is evidenced by recent increases and the justifications used for those increases.

    It may be worthwhile for people in each province to try to find time to review their municipalities mandate by the relevant provincial legislation. Then perhaps taxpayers ought to consult with one another over various provinces to see what can or might be done to ensure accountability and transparency.

    There are limited numbers of functions that can be justified by using PROPERTY TAXES and these relate to infrastructure primarily. Functions such as job creation are outside the scope of a city’s ability in a global economy.

    Safety (police) and fire are obviously a necessary function of city governments and tax funds but even these must be kept within reasonable boundaries.

    Items relating to housing should be competent building inspection, approval of development plans and follow-up to ensure developers and builders meet the registered development plans. Hygiene, such as garbage collection, is sometimes compromised to cut back on costs in some cities and garbage is often on a quirky schedule to cut back on that.

    Keeping water pipes clean and in top functional conditions are a mandatory requirement. Yet municipalities have had old pipes leak and cause sink holes. As our climate changes, these things become more important.

    Animal control is a safety feature as well as a humanitarian one to ensure feral animals and pets are treated responsibly.

    I could enumerate a whole bunch of items that, in my experience and observations, appear to be neglected in cities. Instead they pursue things that are not – or were not – recognized as being within the obligations of cities to perform.

    By adding more services to city hall functions, there are claims made of more and more needs of hiring staff in various areas and therefore the claim that PROPERTY taxes must be increased.

    Once again, we’re back to the issue of what correctly falls within the purview and jurisdiction of PROPERTY taxes and what is outside that scope but have incrementally been added.

    Always patronage grants are made to appear to be charitable and humanitarian even if they cover expenses that are not within the logical scope of PROPERTY taxes.

    One more addition to what I posted previously to eaf – I used to volunteer to staff vote polling stations.

    I was told I COULD NOT ASK FOR PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP. We were told we were only permitted to ask for some kind of i.d., preferably a government issued i.d. with a photo but a photo was not always necessary. Then they had to provide proof of residency in a ward (if it was a municipal) election or a riding if it was a provincial or federal election.

    When we raised the issue that non-citizens and even illegal residents could provide those items, it was acknowledged that YES that meant NON CITIZENS COULD VOTE AND THERE WAS NOTHING WE COULD DO ABOUT IT. We had no right to request proof of citizenship.

    (Response: Again, although the municipal electoral/governance system maybe could be improved/updated, it’s only as good …or as bad …as the PEOPLE who get elected. Other municipalities all around the Lower Mainland and the rest of the province are able to operate and govern without such a HUGE 2020 tax increase of SEVEN per cent, on top of a FOUR per cent boost last year, another FOUR per cent hike the year before that and a THREE POINT NINE per cent rise the year before that. In Vancouver, the Council is out of control in strangling more and more dollars each year out of taxpayers …and let’s keep it real: seniors, low and middle income home owners and even renters will all feel the HURT a lot more than the very rich. And that’s why I find it so ironic … and disgusting …that it’s not some Liberal or Conservative-dominated Council … but an NDP/Green/COPE dominated Council that has inflicted this on people … who believed and trusted them. h.o)

  17. 13 says:

    Harvey Ive been following your blog since 2010 or maybe even 2009, ive gone back a few times and should make a note to myself. The point I want to make is seldom do all of the posters agree to the extent they do on this topic. Probably because when it comes to municipal government the waste is harder to hide. The waste is not as abstract. The waste hurts sooner and the pain is harsher as municipal government has a much harder time running deficits. When it comes to people being given huge sums of money withoiut proper oversight municipal councilors and mayors lead the pack. They seldom have skill sets that go beyond the “Im interested in public service” or “its my way of giving back”
    Strata councils suffer the same problem. People spending money without any real training. BUT they have clear government imposed guidelines and 99% of the time they hire a Strata Management Company to guide them and help with legalities. The 1% of stratas that go it alone usually wind up in financial trouble and just like municipal councils they rely on paying for their errors with other peoples money.
    We need a municipal management company (the Provincial Government).
    Just the thought makes me feel queazy .
    Oh well buck up folks the Mensa crowd at city hall know whats best for all of us.
    Think about the duplication of mayors, police, fire depts Port Moody, Coquitlam, PoCo. They even refer to them as the TRI CITIES. The ultimate insult NorthVan and North Van District. Tax payers are idiots.

  18. e.a.f. says:

    Harvey, I do like your response regarding Stanley Park and where the parks board is going with this, thinking this was only my thought on the subject. Stanley Park is the crown jewel of the Parks’ dept. and known all over the world. My take, they want it for tourists and that is about it, not for the locals and especially not those who live close to it and may not have a lot of money to spend.

    I can recall as a child going there on a Saturday or Sunday, with my parents, on the bus to spend a day as Second Beach. Eventually the parental units acquired a car and off we went, parking the Austin Westminster at Second Beach for the day and swimming and having picnics. Lots of other immigrants would also be at the beach for the day. When we used to go to Second Beach on the bus, the parents were saving for their first piece of land. the parking fees of any sort would not have worked for us at that time. Stanley Park is a cash cow for the Park’s Board. It needs to stop. It simply another form of taxation. All those parking fees, etc. are all a form of taxation and when you add in the increase in taxes year over year, it mounts up. I’m usually in favour of taxes, but there has to be an end to what goes on in the City of Vancouver, especially as how it applies to parks. Parks need to be for those living in the city, not for tourists and those who can afford it. People ought to be encouraged to go to the parks and beaches in the city, not discouraged by high parking fees. Many who live close to the poverty line or under it, can’t afford those parking fees, if they own a car. (yes they need cars to get to work)

    (Response: I believe many of the Park Board activists/elitists are totally out of touch with reality: and again, take note: of the Seven commissioners … THREE are Greens, TWO are COPE, and TWO NPA. And once more low income and working and middle class Vancouver area residents take the hit!!! The current Board apparently sees see nothing wrong with charging $13 a day to park during the nice Spring/Summer/Fall seasons. But for a lot of families, and seniors, that’s a LOT of money! And only elitist FOOLS should dare to suggest those who CANNOT or don’t want to pay $13 a day to park should instead take public transit. Imagine expecting a handicapped person, a senior or, say, family of four, from Vancouver South or Mount Pleasant, with all their picnic baskets, food, drinks, blankets, toys, balls etc pile onto transit (and make transfers too) to get to Stanley Park. (After all, THEY …not just West Enders, pay taxes for that park too!). And what would the return transit cost be for a family of four? Again, voters at some point have going to have to return Stanley Park (and the Park Board) to all the “people” …not just the radical activists, the rich, tourists and West Enders within walking distance … and I blame the elitist Greens and COPE activists whose actions show, despite their hollow rhetoric, they couldn’t really care less about making things easier, more affordable for those with limited income, handicapped, seniors or just plain working people/families. h.o)

  19. 13 says:

    BTW I just remembered a recent municipal horror story. Seems a woman was upset with her next door neighbor keeping pigeons. She got herself elected to council and managed to enact a new bylaw making keeping pigeons illegal. If my memory serves me this happened in one of the two North Vancouver cities. Since then I believe the city had to back down. This will free up council to deal with other important issues like making people buy licenses for cats.
    I wonder what the good councilor thinks about Vancouver and its livestock bylaws

  20. Harry Lawson says:

    Harvey,

    Regarding your response to Leila Paul,

    many of us were around when, Cope ,the Greens , and other political parties parties were in their infancy . We have watched over the decades political movements lose their vision { no pun intended} change their values and principles for a chance at the throne. Cope, Green, and others have been heavily influenced , by what we used to call cadillac socialist , hence the majority of problems we have in vancouver. they view the tax payer as a endless trust account sugar daddy .however they do get the vote out and that is why we have them power.

    (Response: Yes..as I said in my response to BCMQ … activists and lobbyists are keen to get out and vote; ordinary working residents maybe not so much … and that’s why and how we end up with Councils/Parks Boards etc that can inflict radical ideologies/policies on us. Maybe the voters …or non-voters …get what they deserve? But that doesn’t stop me from ranting about the result! h.o)

  21. BMCQ says:

    Sometimes some here including myself might use the odd word to describe something or strongly emphasize an act that others do not agree with .

    I do not see where or Harvey did anything offensive or out of line in his description of how municipal Politicians treat the Tax Paying Public .

    One of the biggest failings society has in today’s “WOKE” is we are all far too sensitive and we sweat the Small Stuff or run to “Safe Spaces”, enough .

    With the silly over sensitivity in Society today it is no wonder others in other places and those that come here are positioning themselves to take it all .

    Contrary to popular believe the World and Canada is going to be a much more competitive place than ever before and we should not be so quick to something that is said just because it might be a little too descriptive for us .

    This Topic of Harveys could very well be the most important thing facing Canada, the UK, the EU and many other countries for Generations, we need to pay attention and we need to challenge politicians, we need to stop Waste, Bloat, and we need to do exactly what the Mayor and Council of Port Coquitlam did, They were able to find enough Efficiencies to maintain Property Tax for Residential and actually reduce PT for Business . What a Novel Idea,.13 mentioned this up the page yet no one here or in Media is discussing it, again, why have Media not had the Mayor of Port Coquitlam and the mayor of Vancouver on back to back segments or even together to air the differences between the two City Counsels .

    Should we even consider an Amalgamation of certain Cities or ALL of the Cities in Metro Vancouver, do we really need all 23 Mayors, Councils, Police Chiefs and Police Depts, Fire Chiefs and Depts, Road Maintenance, Garbage, Parks, and all of the rest ?

    I know most here would not be in favour and I might not be but it did come to mind.

    How many Hundreds of Millions could we save if we Amalgamated ?

    Harvey just brought up the Vancouver Parks Board, I think we should look at everything we can, the Tax Payer cannot go on like this for any longer .

    There should be NO Sacred Cows .

    (Response: I’m not sure about amalgamation. As mentioned earlier, sometimes it’s better to have communities where politicians (and civic officials) are closer to the “people” on a daily basis …not sequestered in some giant HQ miles and miles away. What we do need though is better voter turnout: As stated, in Vancouver it was 39.4% in the last civic election,2018; in New Westminster, it was 27.5%; Delta 42.7%; West Vancouver 38.2%; and in Langley City, a dismal 25.2%. I believe the higher the turnout, the better the Council: low turnouts run the danger that “activists” and “lobbyists” will wield more power/influence than they really represent. h.o)

  22. BMCQ says:

    BTW

    Vancouver might be much better off if the NPA Mayoral Candidate and the Conservative Leaning Independent Candidates did not both run and split the Free Enterprise Vote thus allowing the Bumbling, Incoherent, Leftist, Kennedy Stewart to sneak up through the middle to win the Mayoral Race .

    There was already more than enough damage done to Vancouver under former Mayor Mumbles Robertson, his Brain Geoff Meggs and the Visionite City Ccouncil, but now with Stewart taking Vancouver further down the “Rabbit Hole” of Financial Disaster the City of Vancouver and even the Region may never recover .

  23. Leila Paul says:

    I strongly agree with Harvey that amalgamation is NOT the answer. When PC Mike Harris was premier in Ontario he amalgamated many smaller municipalities to save money – but the opposite happened.

    As Harvey said, that just made city hall bigger – too big for its britches, as the old saying goes – and when they’re that big they have the power to dictate even more closely resembling an authoritarian attitude.

    I chose a small community with a distinctive character on the west side of London, Ont. I did not realize it had already been amalgamated about 40 years earlier but it had remained small and relatively distinct. However, with the growth providing the excuse for developers to build up areas that before were small and community oriented, Byron has lost its identity. We now have traffic jams and a rush hour – all things that did not exist until the past 5 years or so.

    Local libraries no longer have meeting spaces but we have to go through a central authority to reserve rooms and have to pay rent and buy insurance!

    BCMQ’s suggestion comes from a logical concept of eliminating duplication, but what happens is that the motives of politicians and city hall administrators is what really matters.

    If they choose to find new revenue streams they get around anything they want. Police budgets keep growing because the Police Board had a “community leader” on it who rubber stamped every new tech toy London police wanted.

    Harvey you do a great job of editing, but please allow me to point out that many appointees to Boards or other city committees are patronage appointments.

    (Edited…sorry, you’ve already had a LOT of space on this topic … and I have enough to deal with here in BC without getting into discussions of the politics or accusations re hiring practices in London, Ontario. h.o)

    This is one of many reasons why city hall budgets have begun to skyrocket in recent years. Cities are using city hall PROPERTY taxes to appeal to blocs of voters whereas this was so rare in the recent past (prior to approx the past 5 years) that it was not noticed if it did occur. Now it happens so often that the cost of buying new voter blocs is costing the long time residents of cities.

    I do not blame the new residents of our cities. They do not initiate this abuse but unless the knowledgeable voters begin to exercise more oversight and work together to keep city hall accountable to its TRUE OBLIGATIONS AND DUTIES, then there’s no end in sight to what will happen to those who are on tight budgets. I’m lucky I have a more than adequate income and I have no dependents.

    But I know of many families who are worried they cannot keep up with the rising pace of increases of Property taxes, hydro, gas, water and all the other escalating costs of essentials.

  24. 13 says:

    Stanley Park is actually Federal but they allow Van Parks Board to run it. The rip off parking rates are patrolled by a contractor as the cities parking enforcement have no jurisdiction in the park.
    All of this talk of park usage might be a place for disgruntled Vancouver tax payers to make a stand. There are a few tiny parks along the Point Grey road that could be used for
    a family getaway in the spring and summer. Much like Oppenheimer a tent a bbq and a couple of lawn chairs . What an excellent and economical weekend getaway.

    (Response: EVERYBODY deserves to be able to access and equally enjoy Stanley Park … not just the rich or those who live close enough to stroll over. However, there is no doubt in my mind that charging $13 a day to park in a taxpayer-financed park keeps many lower and middle income individuals, seniors and families people away from enjoying it … and I believe that violates Lord Stanley’s original intention. What really surprises me though …it’s the politicians on LEFT … you know, those who claim to represent “the people” who at City Hall and the Park Board are overtaxing/overcharging oppressing/excluding de facto so many of those who are struggling to pay their rents, mortgages, living expenses. Apparently, only if they become homeless will there be any sympathy or action or demands …. for other governments, of course … to help them! h.o)

  25. 13 says:

    Harveys response to BMCQ re amalgamation. “some giant HQ mile…..”
    Agreed Harvey. Baby steps and I chose the two North Vans or the three tri cities because they make sense.
    God knows Vancouver and Surrey should never be allowed to amalgamate with anything. I cant imagine anyone that doesnt live in Van or Surrey wanting anything to do with either of those gong shows

  26. e.a.f. says:

    some of those elitist COPE and Greens are what we used to call “Cadillac socialists”. they talk a lot but know nothing about living around the poverty line. Many have never had to deal with poverty. they think they’re going to “save the world” but all they’re trying to do is either put a salve on their conscious or the type who “know better’, they’re more educated, etc.

    $13 a day for parking. the parks board just implemented another tax. If a family went one day a week for a month that is at least $40 a month and for some that is the electricity bill, the milk bill or even the grocery bill for almost a week. at one time people in the city of Vancouver went to the beach because they couldn’t afford to go on vacation and that was for most of the 50s and early 60s. $13 an hr? if I’m not mistaken, that’s more than an hr.’s work at min. wage. Any one who is a resident of the city of Vancouver ought to be able to park for free in Stanley Park and any other park in the city.

    amalgamation isn’t going to work. it might save money at some levels but you can bet the inequities would start to appear quickly. You don’t need mega cities or councils like Toronto or N.Y. City. Each section of the lower mainland is quite different, have different needs, wants, geography, social structure, etc. the 3 separate entities on the other side of the Lions Gate bridge are each very different, forcing them to amalgamate is going to be a gong show and worse than a really, really, really bad marriage. Do not force them to amalgamate. if the new mayor comes from the larger former city you can bet which area will get more services, benefits, etc.

    Surrey at one time was the largest municipality in Canada, on a land basis. Now you’d want to add to that. New West and Burnaby, very different. Not even tiny white rock wants to join Surrey or Delta. If citizens in an area come to the conclusion it might work for them, but if not, don’t force it because it won’t just be city hall, but parks, community centers, schools, yikes. a gong show in the supreme. on the upside, given t.v. is so bad these days, going to a council meeting might be entertaining. not productive, but entertaining. some cities won’t want to amalgamate because they have lower tax rates than the city they’re joining. I believe the last time two entities amalgamated it was Abbostford and Matsqui. It worked, but at the time, they wanted to join.

    The city of Vancouver just needs to have a look at what services they need to provide to their citizens and not the whole world. The maintenance and garbage department work well. they do what they’re supposed to do, but other things, like get real. community centers are important for all citizens in the city and they need to be maintained, but some of the other places the city and parks board have wondered into, just cost money and what ever its costing taxpayers for that little experiement in supporting drug dealers in Oppenheimer park needs to end. Most of the people weren’t from the city of Vancouver. The Park needs to go back to being a real park for those who live in the area, so they can sit on a bench and look at the grass and trees and perhaps play catch. Its going to cost millions to repair that park and yes that is going to come out of citizens’ tax dollars. Just the policing is costing a fortune, I know I’ve wandered of topic. I’ll stop now.

    (Response: The Park Board armchair socialists will only act when people start taking up residence in parks close to their own homes. Again, notice it’s the Green/COPE dominated Board that is forcing seniors, pensioners, low income and working people in the downtown eastside to pay the heavy price … typical of the uncaring elitist attitudes towards those groups we now see at City Council too. I believe we DO have a responsibility to aid/assist in finding places for Vancouver residents who have fallen on hard times. But by what reasoning do Vancouver taxpayers have a duty to provide free housing to anyone and everyone who arrives here from other places … like up north, the interior or back East? And yet, I’ve never yet seen a Park Board member, a City Councillor or a media story where Oppenheimer squatters have been asked three simple questions: WHERE are you from? And, if they name somewhere outside Vancouver, the follow up should be: WHY are you here looking for FREE housing in the province’s most expensive city? Shouldn’t communities where you come from take care of you? Would make really interesting story if those questions were asked. And if the Park Board continues to refuses to act …. and the City is forced to give free (or heavily subsidized) housing to all those here now from elsewhere …the floodgates will open. h.o)

  27. e.a.f. says:

    if you started to ask some of those in Oppenheimer Park you’d most likely find they’re from B.C. but other cities. those left in the park are there for the drug trade. that is why, in my opinion, there has been shootings and violence. they’re fighting over market share. It is not cool to provide a market place to sell and buy illegal drugs. We have safe injection sights, which I’m O.K. with, but Oppenheimer park, not so much.
    People come to Vancouver, if they’re addicts because drugs are easily obtained. they also come from other parts of the province and Canada because its warmer here and therefore easier to live outside. I understand the part about it being warmer and easier to live outside, but if they want to live outside, go live in the wilderness as some other people do. Of course they usually aren’t drug addicts.

    Many were offered housing and accepted. those who refused, need to move on. it has now become a question of whose rights are to be given priority and I for one say the taxpayers and citizens of Vancouver. if shelter has been offered and they don’t want it, that is their problem. People in the area want their park back. there are people with kids who live in the area who would love a park. this is also costing the tax payers of Vancouver a bundle in police services. our tax dollars aren’t meant to provide drug dealers with an outdoor market place. if they want to be free enterprises, get with the agenda and develop your own “place of business” Not in a city park funded by tax payers.

    (Response: The problem is we have what I would call “Nouveau Elitist” GREEN/COPE/NDP type Park Board and a City Council who indulge those at the extremes … the down and out, the drug users/pushers, the activists/lobbyists and the very rich professionals, developers and investors … but don’t seem to care about the vast majority in the middle. Look at the impact on seniors, working singles, young families … low and middle income Vancouverites… of the tax increases … property, utilities, regional costs etc … year after year, well beyond inflation; look at the massively expanding number of parking meters and hikes in both meter fees and residential permit charges; look at how they’ve even added parking fees at/beside parks/beaches, look at the increases in permit/renovation fees: rich local professionals, offshore investors and land developers just absorb them … but those in the middle are being hit hardest, to the point of being squeezed out of the city. h.o)

  28. Leila Paul says:

    From what I’m reading here, what’s been going on in Ontario and specifically London is common to all municipalities where councilors and administrators have ad hoc or scheduled meetings. They coordinate and do the same in all municipalities.

    What I’ve observed in London is not unique here and, in fact, is a reversion to what I mentioned in the earlier post – Tammany Hall patronage disguised as inclusive and giving appointments and grants to voting blocs that help the elite exploit those less attuned to what democracy really was intended in modern western societies.

    That’s especially true when political parties – which are a rule unto themselves – begin to invade the municipal administration and councils. That’s why it happens less in small communities where residents tend to be more homogeneous and no groups vying for power could be played so they were not yet incorporated into a metropolitan region.

    The intention of amalgamation was uniformity of services and elimination of duplicate costs. Instead, city halls have become like miniature upper level governments.

  29. BMCQ says:

    Those in the Legal Industry are continually telling us we need more Police, Legal Aid Lawyers, more Sheriffs, Court Staff, Judges, and so much more . Yes most of these are Provincial Functions but the Police not so much and they cost a lot . To add insult to injury the existing numbers of Police and the other thousands Municipalities are calling for simply continue to re arrest all of the Repeat Prolific Offenders that get re arrested every week or so, how much sense does that make ?

    (Edited…this is getting into federal jurisdiction … WAY off topic, which is Vancouver City taxes)

    I do not have this exactly correct but VPD tell us that it is approximately the same 350 or so people that commit about 80 % of the crime in the city .

    Out of that close to 50% are from other jurisdictions like Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and so on while at the same time there are here on Non Returnable Warrants .

    1.
    When arrested for crimes here on NRW those from other jurisdictions should be sent home to ace the courts there, that would get them off our streets, cut down on crime and free up Courts, Housing, and all other services they seem to get .

    2.
    once the rest of the Repeat Prolific Offenders are sentenced to more realistic sentences with Detox and Rehab, Crime will also go down, not saying 80 % between the two but it would be a dramatic drop in crime .

    3.
    With Crime dropping dramatically we would then not need more Police, Sheriffs, Judges, Bigger court Houses, Court Staff, and Legal Aid Lawyers who do quite well thank you . Also keep in mind that we would not need more Fire, Ambulance, Paramedics, more in the Medical Field to treat Repeat Prolific Drug Addled Offenders,
    Province wide this adds up o over $ 1 Billion Dollars, think about it . In just Vancouver proper it amounts to $ hundreds of thousands of Dollars . How much does that contribute to your Property Tax or Rent ?

    4.
    Our streets would be safer, fewer drugs, fewer people living in Parks, our Health care would be much better as our ER Wards would not be full of Drug Addicts 24 hours a day and Hard Working Tax Payers might get looked after in quicker time .

    By doing the job they are hired to do the Judiciary could save the tax Payer $ Billions right across this country .

    We DO NOT need more Police costing Municipalities Millions and Millions more each year, we need common sense to come back to the courts .

    Please do not mumble on about the poor downtrodden Drug Addict, they have received everything more than what they deserve and it has NOT worked, is now time to look after the Tax Payer who is drowning in Property Tax and other Taxes that they can no longer afford .

    And as to the excuse ” OMG, what will we do, we will then need more Prisons” ?

    Most Tax Payers I know would be in favour of more Prisons, especially when the streets are safer and we might cut down on crime by putting Drug Addicts through Detox, Rehab, and Education .

    I can guarantee you the crime Rate would drop . Think of the money we could save by not requiring more Police, Fire, Ambulance, and Paramedics and the rest .

    We the Tax Payer now “WASTE” more than $ 1 Million Dollars a Day on the Downtown East Side and it only gets worse, don’t you think it might be advisable to try something else ?

    (Edited…off topic)

    Please do not let those Poverty Pimps in the Poverty Industry convince you they are making progress, it is just like everything else they ell you a LIE .

    he Public has listened to Poverty Pimps far too long, time to take action and time to Elect Municipal Politicians that work for the Tax Payer, not the Poverty Industry .

    Swanson, former Mayor Mumbles Robertson, Meggs, Kennedy Stewart, the rest of COPE and Greens are very quickly turning Vancouver into a Sh*t Hole and we must change things before it is too late .

    over the past while I have been to Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and several others with Leftist PC SJW Cities and they are all “Circling the drain” and it needs to stop, we cannot keep allowing Poverty Pimps and their policies to continue to ruin the cities and the biggest assets of those cities, it’s People .

    How much do we need to see ?

  30. Leila Paul says:

    @BCMQ – Your insight and straight talking is fantastic. You help in “keeping it real”. Your critiques are applicable throughout most of Canada and the U.S.

    Harv – no blog like yours anywhere else! Thank you for the time and effort you put into it. You’re performing a great public service.

  31. RIsaak says:

    The bureaucratic tail is wagging the elected dog, while the taxpayers (residential, commercial & industrial) are guaranteed to see less accountability (Metro, Translink,et al) while budgets spiral towards seemingly loftier plateaus.

    Nothing new about this disturbing trend, it’s very evident in Federal, Provincial & civic politics as it has been for many decades recently.

    (Response: I’d like to see a few aspiring community leaders run or office on a platform of cutting waste and stopping the spiralling tax increases … but the problem with that is many voters LOVE promises of big projects, spending, goodies and social activism … thinking it’s not THEM who will pay for any or most of it. And in many cases, that’s true: the bulk of the burden is borne by small business and low and middle class working residents, seniors who still own homes, and tenants who get the tax increases passed on to them too. h.o)

  32. DBW says:

    OK Harvey, according to this article

    https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/real-estate/vancouver-lowest-property-tax-rates-canada-1938932

    and this one

    https://www.thestar.com/opinion/2019/12/03/vancouver-has-canadas-lowest-property-tax-rate-and-a-housing-crisis-something-has-to-give.html

    Vancouver has the lowest tax rate in the country. Not sure if that fact can be explained away, but I will leave that aside anyway.

    For fun though, let’s use the $2500 taxes paid on a million dollar house just as an example.

    Using an inflation rate of 2% compounded over four years, the tax bill jumps to $2706. Using the Vancouver increases over the past four years (3.9, 4.24, 4.5, and 7%) compounded, the tax bill jumps to $3027. That means the taxpayer is paying an additional $321 over the inflation rate from just four years ago. That is a fair chunk of change.

    But what is it worth? Well at $20 an hour that is 15 hours of labour. So how much time and effort is a person willing to put in to fight for $321. With no guarantee of making a difference are people willing to put in the hour it takes to write a letter; the couple of hours to go to one council meeting; the several hours it takes to campaign for a candidate; the hours and hours it takes to be that candidate. Don’t forget, 60%+ aren’t even willing to take the time to vote in civic elections.

    And, we also can’t forget that saving money might mean cutting programs that we support so the fight for savings is further minimized.

    To be absolutely clear, I am not suggesting that you and others on here don’t have a point. I wish you guys well. After years of people complaining about tax hikes in our town, last year we actually got a reduction. So good luck with the fight.

    But just saying “I HOPE some aspiring community leaders run for office” isn’t enough. If people want change they have to become activists. And sadly, most people don’t see it worth the effort, especially for a payout of $321.

    One last thing. Thank you for this topic. It has re-emphasized how lucky and happy I am to be living in a small town with a sense of community. Reading the posts here I can feel your frustrations at being nothing more than a speck of anonymity to the monolith of big city bureaucracy. Nothing wrong with venting on Harvey’s blog but it is so much easier for me to go find a councillor/mayor/school trustee etc than it is for you.

    (Response: Hope you noticed the first article you cite was from 2018 … in 2018 they raised the property taxes more than 4%, last year another 4% …and now, for 2020, another 75 ON TOP OF the cumulative affect of the previous years. That’s outrageous and unjustifiable …esp in view of the SUPER high costs of housing Vancouver residents face, compared to many other Canadian cities. And there’s something else that bothers me when people (usually politicians) point out it’s “ONLY” $100 or $200 etc in property taxes for example…. because that’s just for that particular cost …and ignores all the other rising costs struggling taxpayers face: Hydro, Water, ICBC, Transit, gasoline, rent, cable, groceries, etc etc. It all adds up …and the city makes it worse by setting the example of so many above inflation rate increases so many years in a row. h.o)

  33. Harry Lawson says:

    Harvey,

    My wife and i were fortunate enough to be priced out of Vancouver, we have lived in various parts of the valley for about 12 years with only a few concerns . the biggest being more people are finding out how affordable it is, and the rents are starting to go up lol,

    Harvey i disagree with the term arm chair socialist regarding Vancouver, these are tufted leather recliner socialist. the reality is they aren’t socialist they are just opportunist,

    We are suffering the worst failure of a social experiment gone wrong , that is the unintended consequences to the tax payer of enabling the poverty industry. we have disabled by enabling ,

    BCMQ is so right on the money as to how we got here. how to fix is for another post

    my wife wa in mission hospital for 9 weeks this summer . i did not have to pay parking, this summer at Mission hospital i visited a different parks on a daily basis watched families and people enjoy the parks no parking fee no user fee except for fishing licences i park to shop no meter just a time restriction . this is how Vancouver used to be . and it can be again

    If one is lost sometimes you have to go back to where you made the wrong turn

    (Response: Actually you make a good point: the New Left Big Brother (and Sister) politicos are NOT Socialist; they’re ELITISTS …who do more for the rich and minority activist class than they do for the majority, the workers, seniors, singles and young families struggling to pay rents or mortgages. Take a look at the projects Council funds and ask … Which ones will serve/benefit the MAJORITY of Vancouver residents?? I’d surmise most would answer VERY FEW! The only time they think of the MAJORITY is when the Elitists on the Green/COPE/NDP-dominated Council need MONEY to pay for their minority-focussed projects! h.o)

  34. BMCQ says:

    Leila

    Thank you for the kind words, I only wish I could write as well as you and Harvey .

    Politicians have never been perfect but over the past 2o years or so Leftist PC SJW Politicians who have been elected to especially Municipal Government have done a great disservice to the Contributing, Hard Working, Tex Paying, Citizens and Seniors .

    Yes, society needs to ensure that all citizens needs are addressed but the SJW elected to Gov over these past many years have tipped the scales and we need to fight back before it is too late .

    Harvey and others have made perhaps the most important point when he says the turn outs for Municipal Elections can have a very detrimental effect on the outcome .

    As has been stated the Left have always been able to get the vote out and I would not be surprised that the Leftists probably have a turn out of close of at least 70 % when in total they might only have 40% of the potential vote which in turn is enough to create a “Tail Wagging the Dog” scenario and the rest is History .

    In far too many Municipal Elections we elect those that have really not accomplished much in their life other than being SJW Activist and Poverty Pimps who know nothing about Fiscal Management in their own lives let alone running Government . Most on this Blog would not want to admit it but without sound Fiscal Management at all three levels of government we cannot fund all of the programs citizens demand, especially with the mind set of todays citizens who demands are in so many cases unreasonable .

    I would like to see Media ask the Mayor of Vancouver how many more Civil Servants are on the job now as opposed to the year before Gregor Robertson was elected, I was on air with CKNW discussing this very subject a few weeks ago and said I understood that when Robertson became Mayor there was perhaps one employee in Communications and now I am told there are around thirty, LINDA Steele then stated she thought there were now about fourty, how can that be ? I am sure most Van City Depts are much the same .

    A few years ago I managed to get Robertson on NW and have this conversation, “You tell us we should be walking, cycling, running, car pooling, transiting, to and from work to be more environmentally friendly, is that true” ? To which he mumbled, “Yes, we need to do everything we can etc etc etc to be good for the environment” . I then said, “Then why is it the city of Van provides at a huge cost to the Tax Payer 350 Free Parking Stalls to Civic Employees who drive in from Squamish, Abbotsford, White Rock, and other far off areas, what about the Environment “ ?

    Nothing but dead air space, he then mumbled it was part of their contract and Counsel would review . I was later told that with some creative changes the mentioned employees received enough extra Tax Payer Money in their Pay Packet to cover the Parking Cost . Are you surprised ? There is more Manipulation and Untruths with Municipal Politicians
    Than the number of times poor Liz WARREN has changed Ethnicities .

    CKNW and the rest of all Media spent very little time on the issue of Property Tax and there has been no traction whatsoever, it is just not Vancouver that suffers from Mismanagement from poor leadership yet Crickets everywhere, why is it only PoCo Mayor Brad West and his Council willing to tackle this Clear and Present Danger ?

    Yes there are more than likely other Canadian Cities close to London and other locations in the country like PoCo but we need to hear more from them, how can Vancouver increase PT what amounts to 8% and PoCo hold the line on Residential PT and actually reduce Business PT ?

  35. 13 says:

    Hi Harvey due to the NDP failing to keep Hwy 1 open and safe Ive had time to Google Vancouver small business and taxation. Its not abedtime story its more of a Stephen King story. A pair of women operating a small business on Robson St. Their share of the property tax bill has gone from 60 k per year to 130k per year. The value of the building a few years back was 17 million . Last year it was 52 million next year its projected to be 129 million.
    I then Googled Vancouvers West End. It described the West End as a place to go to see how Vancouverites really live.
    My parents lived on Harwood St in the West End when I was born. Iived in the West End until 1970 when my parents moved to kits.
    The Google entry re the West End will need an edit. It should read “Used to live” until Social Engineers at City hall destroyed a gem of a city and turned it into an urban ghetto, devoid of any character . The promise to end homelessness is coming to pass. Maybe not as the do gooders planned but it appears that unless you are a multi millionaire you will not call Vancouver your home.

    (Response: I hope the chaos …and TERRIBLE job of street clearing this week in Vancouver will lead to many taxpayers take a HARD look at WHERE City Council’s spending priorities are. The basics seem to have been set aside … in favor of frivolous projects …like, for example, the very costly millions and millions to be spent on silliness planned for the Granville Street Bridge. Or the Point Grey Road closures to serve the millionaires who live there. And too bad the media don’t add them all up … and remind everyone some of the kookiest projects where taxpayers money has gone in the last five or ten years. They could even then have readers/listeners/viewers vote on which project is the SILLIEST or BIGGEST waste of the decade. Just think if all that money could have been used to deal with the reality of climate change …more and longer snow squalls and storms in the city every winter. h.o)

  36. e.a.f. says:

    BMCQ, if you think people will be in favour of more prisons and willing to pay for them if the streets are safer, think again. From my experience, people will not be happy to pay higher taxes to make the streets safer. They don’t think they’ll be a “victim” of crime.

    (Edited…getting way off topic, which is Vancouver municipal taxes)

    the laws in our country are established to protect all of us and thus that includes people who might need another form of protection which isn’t there. My solution, severe drug addicts, provide them housing and drugs and be done with it. Its cheaper, its more human, less costly, Portugal has a great program, costs less also.

    You can’t just lock people up because they’re prolific offenders. there needs to be laws which conform to our Constitution. Its the cost we pay for living in a civilized society. A lot of problems in B.C. stem from the Socreds, provincial government, opening the doors of Riverview back in the day and not having anything in place. People didnt’ want higher taxes. (and yes the NDP has been office during this time also, so both parties in the past were guilty of not dealing with it) when you’re living on the streets Vancouver is better than Ft. St. John, P.G., Kelowna and back in the day, its where people came because Vancouver had programs. Now its an industry.

    (Edited…off topic)

    We need to look at how things are done in some European countries and not the U.S.A. it sure hasn’t worked for them, with the highest incarceration rate in the world.

    So when it comes to taxes, and yes a big part of Vancouver taxes are spent on police and fire dept. because the fire dept. frequnently are the first at an over dose sign.

    Also if you advocate longer sentences there may be some who applaud it until its one of them who gets the longer sentence. Its always o.k. to send “that bum” to jail, but when its their kids, not so much.

    (Edited…off topic)

    I’ve seen the stats on repeat offenders and how a few cost most of the money. If they went on vacation at a decent resort, we’d save a lot of money. Because much of what is done, is done by “private” contractors, they all have different systems, treatment, etc. We need to figure out what works, whats cost effective, etc. I’ve always been interested at looking at people. You can see those who are drug addicts and who are simply homeless. what does happen is, living on the streets is so difficult, people turn to substance abuse to get through it. Back in the 1980s a homeless person said, if you weren’t crazy when you hit the streets you would be within a year. Perhaps that is where the money needs to be spent, up front because there are a lot of people who we can not “save”. they’re too far gone. they are human however and ought to be treated as such. Some times I look around and people are more willing to spend money on keeping animals well than humans.

    The provincial government has just announced they’re doubling the seats for “speciailty” nurses. Lets home some of them will be directed to the areas we need people to work in now. Early identification of people with “issues’ will save tax dollars in the end.

    Having watch a lot of kids over the years, once case, if the system had deal with a kid when they were 9, all could have been well. Now its costing the system at least that $100k a yr. government wasn’t going to pay for anything.

    some families can’t afford medication to for people with mental illness or can’t deal with it. there isn’t any support and then we wonder why we have to spend all those tax dollars when things go side ways.

  37. Harry Lawson says:

    Harvey,

    I find this post and the responses fascinating , We all agree Vancouver is broken, We all agree taxes and user fees are too high . The city of Vancouver more than any other city in the province has been affected by cost and service downloads from senior levels of goverment . Yet the politicians want more goodies for the poverty industry by accepting more service downloads. . just like the downsizing of mental health services fro the ministry of health to the health authorities then contracted to non profits with funding in place then budgets change ,programs cut . then the taxpayer in Vancouver has to deal with the expensive ramifications . we need a reset across the board .the gigs up

    (Response: The key in Vancouver (and other municipalities) is turnout and involvement: when many more residents WAKE UP and become interested in what is really happening and start to get involved, they can effect massive change and improvement; but, when few care enough to pay attention or even vote, then the elitists, the lobbyists, the activist minorities take control of Council and set the agenda … pushing their pet projects and catering to their own base ..while hitting up the vast uninvolved majority to pay for it all. h.O)

  38. BMCQ says:

    Hard working Tax Payers would not see Property Tax or other Tax increases for better Prisons and Drug Treatment, that would be funded through savings from less costs for fighting Crime, less Government Waste, less Government Bloat, no requirement for more Police, Ambulance Paramedics, Legal Aid Lawyers, Sheriffs, Court Staff, no need for Larger Court Houses, no need for more Judges, along with Government efficiencies especially at the Municipal Level .

    The 2020 Vancouver Operating Budget will be about $ 1.7 Billion Dollars while only about five years ago it was barely over $ 1.1 Billion Dollars, Property Taxes have increased about 2 – 4 % each and every year until this year about 8% after the inclusion of all components, thst is unsustainable and Municipal Politicians need to be held to account .

    There are literally thousands of new Residential Apartments, Town Houses, Houses much larger than the Houses they replaced, more Retail and so many more buildings providing $ Hundreds of Millions more in Property Taxes to Vancouver, where is it ?

    The City of Vancouver has NO Development for new construction, that is paid by the Developer and then the Purchaser in turn pays when they buy the Home .

    Tax Payers need an Investigative Reporter like Sam Cooper of Global News to take this whole question of Unnecessary Property Tax Increases investigate and expose Municipal Governments and Politicians for what most of them are, Grifters, Cons, and Incompetent Imbeciles who nothing about running a City .

    Again, how can Port Coquitlam manage to hold Residential Property Tax and actually reduce Business Property Tax when Vancouver needs over 8% in PT and attached Fees ?

    Think about this . Good friends are in the Night Club, Bar, Liquor Store, and Restaurant in Vancouver . Three years ago they were forced to close what was the longest operating Neighbourhood Pub in Vancouver because their Monthly Triple Net went from about $ 35 K to $ 39 K each and every month . That is MONTHLY, think about it . They said to me, “Bobby, we can only sell so much Beer “ ! About 15 hard working people out of work and the City of Vancouver do not care because they still get the Property Tax from the Owner of the Building even though the Store Front remains Empty three years later .

    This needs to be addressed and it needs to be addressed now .

    (Response: As I mentioned before, part of the problem is the Vancouver media … esp radio, television … have such thin resources now and fewer serious journalist types to even be able to spend enough time/effort covering/investigating and exposing the behind the scenes decision-making/manipulations at City Hall. So they just report the decisions to hoist taxes when it happens ..and move on. And that not only allows …it encourages activists, lobbyists, developers and their elected puppets to approve well-beyond-inflation spending and projects with little or no advance reporting, discussion or pushback … until it’s too late …and already approved. h.o)

  39. Harry Lawson says:

    Harvey,

    i truly believe the majority of Vancouver residents are working so many extra hours to pay for their Vancouver lifestyle . i think they do care however their energy gas tanks are empty. i just wish we all had the energy and the passion of the french protesters no matter how misguided they may be.

    (Response: I understand. Have friends who are still working … and are exhausted after trekking to their jobs each day and also dealing with personal, family and financial matters. But by not voting, they hand over inordinate power over their own financial burden to those who are really activist, with definite Big Brother agendas … who demand more social programs, financial subsidies and assistance, expensive capital spending on self-serving projects and yet, often don’t work themselves …so they have LOTS of time to “get involved” … and control politics. We really do need …everywhere … a much more concerted effort by middle of the road political parties, taxpayer groups, business organizations, advertisers and the media to INCREASE voter turnout in elections. At least then, whoever wins, will be able to legitimately claim support from the majority for their plans/actions. h.o)

  40. 13 says:

    Harvey if I may two examples of why municipal governments shouldnt be allowed to buy toilet paper without a watchdog signing off on every dime
    Chilliwack
    Chilliwack is exploding in growth. I am part of the explosion . We sold in Coquitlam and bought in Chilliwack. We erased our mortgage and the home in the whack has appreciated over 100k since we bought it. Many people have made the move and many first time buyers look at the valley as affordable Chilliwack is boasting about 6,000 more homes in Sardis South side of the whack
    The main drag is called Vedder Road It runs North of Hwy 1 to the Fraser River. It runs South to Cultus Lake and on to Yarrow and Abbotsford. At the South end of town was the Vedder bridge. Old , rusting , narrow. They replaced that two lane bridge last year. A brand new shiny TWO lane bridge. The people on council that planned that fiasco should be ridiculed by every tax payer in Chilliwack and made to leave town
    NOW we have the idiot anti everything mayor of New West demanding that the replacement for the 4 lane Pattullo be another 4 lane Pattullo. BS. The South end of that Bridge is the fastest growing city in Canada
    Build an 8 lane bridge and close the two outer lanes on either side of the bridge. That way when needed (likely already needed) New West and Surrey wont look as STUPID as Chilliwack

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