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Proposed $4 tax in Metro Vancouver could build 500 units of affordable housing: report

Last Updated Sep 5, 2019 at 2:46 pm PDT

FILE - Homes are pictured in Vancouver, Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Summary

With a tax of $4 a year for each household in the region, hundreds of affordable housing units could be built

If the committee accepts the recommendations, the tax would still need approval from the regional board

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Four dollars a year could help build 500 units of affordable housing over 10 years. That’s the idea behind a newly proposed tax for Metro Vancouver, currently before the region’s housing committee.

Jonathan Cote, the mayor of New Westminster, says the committee could be debating the tax for months and expects some blowback from the public.

With a tax of $4 a year for each household in the region, hundreds of affordable housing units could be built, the report says. And while the public may not like the idea of paying more money, Cote says it is a good one.

“Metro Vancouver does have tremendous ownership of some really strategic sites in the region. With funding partners and an ability to provide some funding to this, [we] would be in a better position to actually develop some new affordable housing units in the region,” he says.

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“I think Metro Vancouver would be hard-pressed to speak to anyone in the region and say that housing isn’t one of the most critical issues that we face here, and I think ultimately that’s going to be the political discussion that the region’s going to have to have.”

Cote says while British Columbians may complain about the tax, it’s for a good purpose.

“Metro Vancouver is always conscious in terms of the impact to taxpayers, but I think the region also recognizes the challenges we’re facing with affordable housing. To provide a lot more housing options in the region – is that a fair trade off?”

If the committee accepts the recommendations, which will be discussed at a meeting on Sept. 11, the tax would still need approval from the regional board.