The success of every community is driven by the health of its business residents. In the case of North Vancouver City, the businesses pay a disproportionate share of the City’s tax burden. The reasons for this are in part the result of decisions made by the provincial government years ago, long before the current council came to power.
Historically, City councils pursued a taxation philosophy where the tax burden was shared equally by the residents (1/3rd), the commercial businesses (1/3rd) and the industrial businesses (1/3rd). Subsequently the province decided the provincial economy could potentially suffer irreparably damage at the hands of an out-of-control municipal taxation regime. So the province put in place a tax ceiling for all industrial businesses situated on Port lands. This compelled City council to revisit the historical taxation allocation. Since residential consumers had the right to vote, and commercial businesses did not, council choose to raise taxes on commercial businesses to recover the revenue loss caused by the provincial cap. Residential addresses were not asked to cover the shortfall, but the commercial businesses were.
Fast forward to today, the City’s commercial businesses suffer under a taxation burden which is disproportionately high versus the benefits they receive from the City. As a result commercial businesses are being driven from the City’s commercial precincts by an unfair taxation burden. This problem is made even worse by rising property values and the steady decline of older eclectic commercial rental stock, caused by the redevelopment of all new mixed use (commercial, office, residential) real estate, which buildings all appear to look the same to the untrained eye. Entirely lacking of character, as if they were all stamped out by the same “cookie-cutter” architect, with very few notable exceptions. Lower Lonsdale (“LoLo”) and Marine Drive are both fine examples of this new reality. A large percentage of these new commercial units lay vacant, with little demand. At a recent Council meeting a well known realtor opined that there was currently over 5 years of vacant / spare commercial real estate space available in todays market, urging the City not to worsen conditions by approving more.
To address these issues which are constraining and damaging the ongoing viability of the City’s commercial business operators, I propose to pursue and implement a series of strategies all of which are set out in detail under the various website heading which are listed below:
- Impact of Development On Business
- Business Taxes Versus Residential Taxes
- Parking (Availability and Type)
- Business Improvement Area’s (“BIA’s”)
- Industrial & Vancouver Port Businesses
If I am elected, I will pursue and support the objectives which are set out in each of the named subsections as listed above.