Message from the President
by Aaron Marvin, A.C.T. Builders
Here we go again!
Should additional police for the City of Vancouver be funded partly with fees on multi-family housing? The City’s latest proposal does just that. As the City continues to grow, police and fire services need to keep pace and we applaud the City for recognizing this. But when the City and region face a housing affordability crisis, placing the burden on renters will only exacerbate one problem while trying to solve another. The City Council will vote on February 6th on a funding package that may include new fees that will be implemented on multifamily and business. We do applaud the City for the exclusion on low income housing from the proposed fee.
The rationale is that the fee will be covered by the sector of the community that demands the majority of its services. But the statistics do not support these conclusions. To borrow a phrase of our time, these appear to be alternative facts. Cities all over the country have experienced great success striking a balance between affordable housing and life safety services, but the City of Vancouver appears to have artificially limited themselves to other municipalities within the confines of the west coast.
What these fees do is raise the price of rent by about $90 per unit, per year, and will affect the cost of goods and services provided by affected businesses. Over the past year we have seen a rapid rise in fees associated with housing in the City, from school fees to park fees, and the affordable housing fee that all residents of Vancouver will feel.
Where all of these items are with good intentions there are unintended consequences that will come as a result. We agree that the police force is needed and valuable but funding its expansion through these actions is not in the best interest of those they will serve. We feel strongly that the police force is something that needs to be funded through the tax structure and the cost spread to all residents evenly who will benefit from a safer community.
P.S. For more details on the process the City of Vancouver undertook to reach this decision visit their Community Resource Team page.