City gives tax exemptions to billionaires and threatens to cut social housing above the new DTES library due to lack of funds
“Engineered hardwood floors & Stainless appliances. Woodward’s owners are exempt from property tax for 3 years!!! GST is paid!!!” –Lindsay Stefanko, Rennie & Associates Realty, April 30, 2010
“Last week, two major retail anchors opened for business [in Woodward’s]. One, the latest addition to Vancouver billionaire Jimmy Pattison’s stable, is [Nesters]. The second is a London Drugs supermarket…Both stores were enticed by subsidies; they won’t pay municipal taxes at Woodward’s for the next 10 years and their rental rates are rock bottom.” –“Vancouver Downtown Eastside slowly crawls toward gentrification,” National Post, December 17, 2009
“We have the advantage of an extremely competitive tax regime here. Within a few years we’ll be the lowest corporate tax rate combined in the G8.” –Mayor Gregor Robertson, 2009
Of 41 major international cities, Vancouver ranks number one for having the lowest combined tax rate for businesses. –Competitive Alternatives 2010 Special Report: Focus on Tax (KPMG, 2010)
The Keefer is a “four-unit boutique hotel where rooms cost $700 a night…The entire project would not have been possible were it not for financial incentives offered by the City of Vancouver. A 10-year property tax exemption.” – “Lush Life,” Canadian Architect (Vol. 55 No. 9, September 2010). The Keefer is located at 133 Keefer Street (between Main and Columbia). The owner is millionaire Cam Watt, who made his fortune selling bottled water as the owner of Canadian Springs.
“The new Gastown Terminus condo homes on offer have to be seen to be believed. Act quickly [on] property tax exemptions for new home purchasers.” –“FINAL OPPORTUNITY at the Downtown Vancouver Terminus Gastown Condos for Sale,” Vancouver Pre-Construction Real Estate Condos, April 2009
“We don’t have the money in the drawers…we have nowhere near what we need for housing…We have real limitations and uncertainty in the economy and city books in terms of what we can do…we can’t make a commitment.” –Mayor Gregor Robertson, on justifying city council’s threat to exclude social housing from the new Strathcona Library, October 7, 2010. After being shown 1,500 signatures on a petition calling for housing on the city-owned library site, City Council passed a motion saying they would “investigate” the need for housing on the library. Unfortunately, at a meeting on October 7, 2010, City Council voted to deprioritize housing and prioritize a “stand-alone” library, citing financial limitations.