As reported by Forbes Angus
$12 million bucks spent to turn a few blocks of perfectly usable street into a bike parkway in Pt Grey. $12 million. Tens of millions more spent on bike paths and endless traffic diversion projects and lane closures across the city, which have had the predictable effect of creating gridlock everywhere you look. Plenty more of these projects are already on the drawing board, planned and approved behind closed doors with only a bare pretence of public input. Millions on unnecessary suicide barriers on a city bridge (on top of millions more spent on the same bridge to rejig the sidewalks and repair preventable damage from a concrete bike lane barrier). Millions to set up a city-wide bike share program to provide 1,500 bikes, cheap, with infrastructure and free helmets, with guaranteed operating funding from the city's coffers for 5 years, to fill all those lovely bike lanes when the weather is nice.
Hundreds of millions added to the debt of the City of Vancouver (the only municipality in BC allowed to borrow without provincial approval) over Vision's tenure in office to fund its various vanity projects . . . during a historic real estate mania in which the city has collected a property tax revenue windfall, apparently insufficient to fund all this green, supposedly sustainable (note to Gregor: google the definition of "sustainable") social engineering we supposedly need.
What fiscal position would this city be without the property revenue windfall? We'd be in the toilet. We're close to it anyway, unable to fund current priorities even with all the added debt. Good thing interest rates are so low.
And now, in the midst of the fentanyl overdose crisis, in which ambulances and emergency wards are overwhelmed every day by the sheer volume of OD patients and bodies are literally piling up in the streets and SROs of the DTES, there is close to nothing left in the city's contingency fund to pay the added costs.
Note to Gregor: google the term "contingency fund". You seem not to understand the concept.
The solution, incredibly: a proposed increase in the property tax rate, on top of huge assessment increases in recent years as property values have more than doubled (with more yet to come, as assessments are adjusted upward yet again to reflect existing gains in real estate values). This in a city that already imposes higher sales and excise taxes on drivers than any other city in North America, where housing costs are already a severe deterrent to business growth and investment, where rents (if you can find a place to rent) are insane, where growth in real incomes has been static for 20 years, and where most homeowners, even the ones who are multimillionaires on paper thanks to the boom, are struggling to pay their current assessments.
Shouldn't "sustainability" also mean sustainability of the fiscal kind? How "sustainable" are policies and objectives that require ever higher debt, new taxes and higher property tax rates on top of the gusher of boom-driven tax revenue? What happens when the boom ends, taxpayers are tapped out and the city can no longer borrow to fund its castles in the sky?
Welcome to Vision Vancouver's vision fulfilled, 8 years later. A pretty picture, isn't it?