What Does Redevelopment Really Cost Us?

Don Cayo, of the Vancouver Sun, wrote an interesting article in the June 19th, 2010 edition of the Vancouver Sun. He posits that, “If Cambie Street grows as hoped, City of Vancouver will lose big bucks.” In the article Cayo states that, “The proposed rezoning of Cambie Street properties served by the new Canada Line may cause economic hardship that erodes or outweighs any potential benefits.” He goes on to state:

To understand why, consider how differently business and residential properties affect the city’s financial health.
About 92 per cent of assessed properties in Vancouver are residential, leaving just eight per cent commercial — a number that is steadily declining as the city increasingly becomes a place to live but not to work.
This relative handful of business properties pays half of the city’s total property taxes. Yet the cost of services they use — streets, police, fire protection and such — adds up to only a quarter of City Hall spending.
Thus for every $2 businesses pay in property tax, the city spends just $1 in return, leaving a 50-per-cent “profit” the city can use to subsidize homeowners. And subsidize they do, spending about $1.50 on residential services for every $1 in residential property tax.

A number of points within this article could just as easily be written about New Westminster. The comment, “as the city increasingly becomes a place to live but not to work,” certainly sounds like our City.

Recently Mayor Wright called himself a “development mayor“. As our taxes continue to rise and our City’s budget increases (by approx. 45% over the last 7 years) one has to wonder how much
New Westminster’s development is costing residents and businesses. Is our current mayor’s vision driving away the few remaining businesses and making our City less and less
affordable for young families and our seniors?

2 thoughts on “What Does Redevelopment Really Cost Us?

  1. Great post.
    There is, as you suggest, a real parallel here, between the two cities.
    In New West, thousands of jobs have been lost(St Mary’s, call centres, Zellers, Agriculture Canada, Labatt’s, 3 mills, several financial institutions, Buy and Sell.
    It all spells a giant contraction of industrial and commercial land.
    It also spells disaster for the city’s financial position.
    That is why you see skyrocketing budgets for the city, crumbling infrastructure and a rapidly rising debt-load. The Urban Development Institute has been trumpeting the dangers of this for years, but it is all a little too complicated for the Mayor and several of the Councillors.
    In your last paregraph you refer to the Mayor’s vision.
    I have yet to see anything even remotely close to a vision. I see a commitment to development – this is no surprise, after all, look where his campaign money comes from.
    During the time of this Mayor, the city has missed a golden opportunity to properly harvest the bounties from a huge boom period in this entire province. Look at our neighboring cities, you will see a massive infrastructure expansion.
    What a waste, what a terrible financial position we have created in New Westminster.

  2. This topic needs a lot of discussion.
    It needs to be a much better informed discussion. “Forrest Gump” Wright, Miss Cats, Dogs and Rain barrels, Johnie Coat-tails, and Mr. Fair Wage, simply are not capable of dealing with the kind of complexity required here.
    Build, build, build, increase taxes.
    There is one problem. Multi-family units do not pay enough taxes for the services they consume. The problem compounds.
    Forrest Gump says “I’ve cut this piece of wood four times now, and it’s still too short.”
    And you want this guy to solve the tax problem?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>