No one will deny that Vancouver has seen remarkable changes in the last 25 years.
Following a population decrease during the 1970′s, Vancouver has been growing steadily since the early 1980′s- particularly since we welcomed the world as hosts of Expo 86.
Consistently considered one of the best cities in the world to live in, Vancouver’s is now home to about 634,000 residents, and is currently averaging a population growth of 8,000 people every year. With this population growth has come the need for an increasing number of residential properties. The growth has been managed through deliberate policies established to encourage higher densities and residential growth throughout the city. In the downtown, over 40,000 residences have been added in the past 15 years alone.
In recent years, city council has recognized the downside of this focus on residential growth and in 2004, adopted interim policies that put a ‘hold’ on residential development under current zoning in the Central Business District extension areas.
Unfortunately, this does not change the reality that Vancouver’s strong residential growth has substantially outpaced the business sector in both the number of occurrences being built and assessed values.
Since 1984, the share of the assessment roll in the Residential class was 67% which, by 2011, had increased to 83%.
At the same time, the share of the assessment roll for the Business class properties dropped almost to 50% from 32%, down to 16%.
Number of New Properties
Regardless of the substantial decline in the share of the value of Business class properties in Vancouver, only a nominal adjustment to the amount of taxes allocated to this class was made. One of the outcomes of this lack of accountability is the previously discussed tax rate ratio which was as low as 2.6 to 1.0 in 1983 and is currently sitting at 4.5 to 1.0.
Clearly, there is a lack of fundamental tools to mechanically shift the distribution of taxes with the continuing physical change our the City.
Even more alarming, is what has apparently happened to employment opportunities in the City of Vancouver.