B.C. taxes need a ‘second look’ (Opinion: Elizabeth Murphy, in Vancouver Sun): Analysis of tax proposals and tax situation

Property taxes Pavlov Beedie School 2018Intro: This op ed is in the Saturday’s print edition of the Vancouver Sun – May 26, 2018 – page H3. Some food for thought in the current public dialogue about housing and taxes. Two important public meetings are coming up on these topics – one on Sunday, May 27 (West Point Grey Residents Association) and one on Monday, June 4 (MLA David Eby’s office, tickets on waitlist, but also to be live streamed).


B.C. taxes need a ‘second look’
By Elizabeth Murphy (see original article in the Vancouver Sun or on the author’s website)

Property taxes in the City of Vancouver are the highest in Canada, and if the proposed school-tax surcharge is added, it increases the amount substantially more, says Elizabeth Murphy, former property development officer for the city.


Vancouver has the highest property taxes in Canada. The B.C. property-tax surcharge would further increase this burden and substantially encroach onto the municipal tax base. This regressive provincial tax grab will make life less affordable for everyone, both owners and renters. To understand this requires looking past ideological bias and considering the facts.

In the 1990s, a luxury tax was proposed on properties above $500,000. If that hadn’t been withdrawn by then-Premier Mike Harcourt, it would have eventually applied to all properties across the city and region, including most condos.

The proposed surtax is strategically tied to the $3-million mark to minimize initial impact of this precedent that, if implemented, will eventually be broadly expanded to capture all properties just like the 1990s’ version would have.

Everyone should be concerned.

The calculation of property taxes is very specific to each municipality. Property taxes are based on a mill rate. This is calculated by taking the total municipal budget and dividing it by the total assessed value of all properties in the class (such as residential). Continue reading

Property Tax Town Hall Meeting: 27-May-2018 (Sun) on “school tax” surcharge, with MLA David Eby + more

WPGRA tax town hall 27-may-2018

Event notice

Property Tax Town Hall Meeting
Sunday, May 27, 2018, starting 2 pm
Jericho Hill Gym, 4196 West 4th Avenue

Concerning the proposed “school tax” surcharge on Vancouver property
With MLA David Eby (pro-tax) and Elizabeth Murphy (anti-tax)

Audience will be able to asks questions

Also expected to be present: BC Liberal opposition leader Andrew Wilkinson, Vancouver Neighbourhood Liaison Councillor Adriane Carr, UBC (Sauder) Professor Tom Davidoff, and SFU Beedie School of Business Professor Andrey Pavlov.

Organized by the West Point Grey Residents Association:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wpgresidents

Web: www.wpgra.ca

Twitter: @WPGResidents



Housing Townhall 2.0 hosted by MLA David Eby on 4-June-2018 (Mon): Housing policy, money laundering, budget, legislation

MLA David Eby Community Office 2018MLA David Eby’s Housing Townhall 2.0
4-June-2018 (Monday)
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Hellenic Hall, 4500 Arbutus Street, Vancouver, BC V6J 4A2

This meeting is for you if you are interested in discussing the overall topic of housing and the housing crisis. “It’s your chance to hear about government’s progress to date, provide feedback about what you’re seeing in the community, ask questions about policy, and make suggestions about where we should be going. We’re inviting experts to provide insights on money laundering, the budget as it relates to housing initiatives, and changes to the law around housing. There will be an extended open mic for community member questions and comments, and David will be providing a full update of what he’s been working on as well.”

All tickets have already sold out (as of May 26), but please register if you would like to be added to the waitlist and be notified as spaces become available.

Anyone can also watch the live stream at facebook.com/dave.eby

Waitlist: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/mla-david-ebys-housing-townhall-20-waitlist-tickets-46241648014 Continue reading

Heads up: Car Free Day events in Vancouver, June 2018 – Commercial, Main, West End, Kitsilano

Car Free Day Vancouver 2018 logoCar Free Day (carfreevancouver.org) is an enormously popular event in several Vancouver neighbourhoods each year.

“Car Free Day celebrates the vibrancy of Vancouver’s diverse neighbourhoods by organizing a multi-site annual arts and culture festival that reclaims traffic thoroughfares as community focused public spaces. This allows artists, local residents, performers, artisans, non-profits, and businesses to interact, engage, and re-imagine spaces normally reserved for vehicle traffic. We continue to be a green and grassroots effort, directed and organized by the local residents in each Car Free Day neighbourhood.”

Mark your calendars for these dates and check the official website for details (and volunteering). On Twitter: @CarFreeYVR

Commercial Drive
Sunday, July 8th 2018 / Noon to 7pm / Venables to N. Grandview on Commercial Drive

Main Street
Sunday, June 17th 2018 / Noon to 7pm / Broadway to 30th on Main Street

West End
Saturday, June 16th 2018 / Noon to 7pm / On Denman from Davie to Robson

Host a Kitsilano Block Party celebrating Car Free Vancouver on June 16 & 17 PLUS new this year June 30 – July 2


Modular Housing proposed at Larwill Park (688 Cambie): Open House May 15 (Tues). Some points to consider.

No notification signs have been posted regarding Open House (photo: Sunday May 13th, 2018)

The City of Vancouver is holding an Open House for a proposal to put approximately 100 units of modular housing on the Larwill Park site (688 Cambie Street). This site is identified as the future location of the new Vancouver Art Gallery.

Here’s the information from the City of Vancouver’s website:

Proposed Temporary Modular Housing – Open House
Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 4 – 7pm

Location        Vancouver Public Library – Alice MacKay Room
350 West Georgia Street (lower level), Vancouver BC, V6B6B1

Join us for a community information session on the proposed temporary modular housing project at 688 Cambie Street to learn more about the project and share your feedback.




On Sunday, May 13th, there appeared to be no signs posted anywhere around the site about the upcoming Open House at the Vancouver Public Library. That is not acceptable — a lack of public notification.

The current EasyPark parking lot is also used for cultural events as well as normal parking for large events at BC Place and Rogers Arena (concerts, plus Canucks and Whitecaps games).

The lot is also a key staging ground for film crews, as it is one of the few sites left in the downtown core where large vehicles can park (unlike underground parking or parking garages, film productions need open space for big trucks and tents). The loss of Larwill Park for film production use could have negative impacts on hundreds or thousands of jobs, by making filming in downtown Vancouver even more difficult. Film making is an important industry in the region.

There is a strong general public acknowledgement that housing solutions are needed. But our policy makers need to juggle many tradeoffs.

What options are there for other large lots for modular housing downtown? There could be a number of suitable alternatives worth considering, such as the former site of the Continental Hotel (Granville Loops, City-owned land), as well as 601 Beach Crescent (also City-owned land). Continue reading

City of Vancouver Rezoning Applications snapshot, 3-May-2018


As a free public service we take a monthly snapshot of the City of Vancouver’s Rezoning Applications listed on the City of Vancouver website. The City does not provide this kind of archived “snapshot” to the public, and as far as we know, a monthly snapshot like this is not available anywhere else.

Open houses and public hearings deserve special attention. They are key chances for the public to obtain information and give feedback. If you have concerns or questions, we encourage you to contact the applicant and/or the City’s project facilitator indicated for each case. If you feel it is important, you might also contact your neighbours, and the media.

This list below is simply copied from the City’s Rezoning Centre website. Download any links that might be important for you. For the current official list, click vancouver.ca/rezapps. Note that the Archives link carries links to past rezonings from 2011 onward (though we are not really sure it is up to date).

Download this list we saved in PDF format:
CoV Rezoning Applications snapshot 3-May-2018 Continue reading

City of Vancouver Development Applications snapshot, 3-May-2018

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs a free public service CityHallWatch takes a monthly snapshot of the Development Applications listed on the City of Vancouver website.

A tech-savvy citizen is voluntarily producing two handy online maps (click bottom right to switch between rezoning and development applications): https://vancouverapps-fa328.firebaseapp.com/

Anyone interested in these projects is also encouraged to periodically check the Urban Design Panel (UDP) and Development Permit Board (DPB) schedules, as many projects appear before them as part of the approval pipeline. Check often, as sometimes their agendas appear publicly online as little as one hour before the meeting.

For reference, download the full list of development applications we saved on this date:
CoV Development Applications snapshot, 3-May-2018

Consider writing Mayor and Council asking them to make Development Applications archives available online. The City website provides a list of archived Rezoning Applications (here), so why not full information on past Development Applications too?

For current (at time of viewing) full list of applications online, click: vancouver.ca/devapps/.

Below is the list as of May 3, 2018. Continue reading