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Return more tax revenue to municipalities: Vancouver mayor

Return more tax revenue to municipalities: Vancouver mayor

BC municipalities should get a larger share of the taxes taken by Victoria to deal with the increasing responsibility cities and towns must bear, the Vancouver mayor said Sept. 14.

Kennedy Stewart told the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) delegates that the provincial government should provide the local community with revenue from both speculation and vacancy tax and the property transfer tax.

UBCM’s 118th Annual Convention is being held for the second year in a row due to the pandemic.

Stewart called it a “reminder of the grim reality” of pandemic life, saying local governments have been at the forefront of keeping British Colombians safe while society continues to function as much as possible.

But, he said, it comes at a price. And it’s not just bigger cities.

“We want Victoria to provide more revenue opportunities,” he said. “Every society needs access to new sources of income.”

The mayor said revenue is needed to address issues from social housing to the opioid crisis.

In the latter situation, he said, the first respondents burn out. He said it could be remedied if measures were taken against safe drug supply and an increase in addiction treatment resources.

UBCM president Brian Frenkel, municipal councilor in Vanderhoof, agreed that municipalities need more resources, especially to help British Colombians in crisis.

He said local governments should also receive parts of the carbon tax to help municipalities deal with mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

Frenkel said the purpose of the convention is to set policy for the coming year for the umbrella group representing the province’s municipal level, including regional districts. Much of his work goes to lobbying for Victoria and Ottawa on issues affecting municipalities.

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