Working with Metro Vancouverhttp://www.localgovernmentmatters.com/Lists/Banners/DispForm.aspx?ID=4Working with Metro Vancouverhttp://www.localgovernmentmatters.com/PublishingImages/handshake.jpg, Working Together

Working with Metro Vancouver

The citizens and businesses of the Metro Vancouver region benefit greatly when the Province of BC and Metro Vancouver maintain an effective working relationship that is based on mutual respect, identification of common objectives, and fair and equitable treatment.

Questions

 

The development and preservation of such a relationship would be greatly enhanced if regular meetings could be scheduled between the Province (the Premier and key Cabinet Ministers including Environment, Finance, Transportation and Infrastructure, Health, and Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation) and elected officials from the Metro Vancouver Board of Directors (Board Chair, Vice-Chair, and Chairs of key Committees including Climate Action, Housing, Regional Planning, Utilities and Zero Waste) that would facilitate an open and direct dialogue on the issues that impact the region and its citizens.

If elected, will your party be willing to strike an ad-hoc Committee comprising members of Cabinet and elected officials from Metro Vancouver that would meet regularly to discuss issues of common concern?

 

Metro Vancouver is responsible for providing services that help keep half the province of British Columbia people healthy and safe and that enhance the prosperity of the region, including clean water and air, comprehensive liquid and solid waste management, transportation, parks and recreation. However, the ability to do so – which is regulated by the provincial government – is often severely constrained by limited sources of revenue, which forces Metro Vancouver and other local governments in the region to rely primarily on property taxes, user fees, and transfers from other orders of government to provide these services.

If elected, how will your party commit to providing long-term, sustainable funding to Metro Vancouver for large capital projects such as upgrades to the Lions Gate and Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plants, which under federal regulation must be completed by 2020 and 2030 respectively and that combined will cost in excess of $1.7 billion?

 

Between January 2014 and December 2016, the composite home price index for the Metro Vancouver region increased by 48%, while during the same period, the provincial Home Owner Grant threshold value increased by a similar amount of 45%, from $1.1 million to $1.6 million. In the past decade, however – despite its population growth outstripping the rest of the province – Metro Vancouver's share of the total amount of grants issued declined from 53.0% to 46.8%, a reduction that was accelerated by the 2011 introduction of the Northern and Rural Home Owner Grant, which provides an additional $200 for eligible homes in northern and rural areas.

Since the Home Owner Grant is primarily deducted from the School Tax, Metro Vancouver's decreasing grant levels have caused net residential-class School Tax to increase faster than it would have otherwise; in Metro Vancouver, the 5-year average annual growth in net residential-class School Tax was 6%, compared to 0% for the rest of the Province.

If elected, will your party commit to supporting changes to the Home Owner Grant program that provide a fairer and more equitable property taxation system in BC, and if so, how?