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City provides 2018 provincial budget submission

November 15 2017 Seeking investments in five-priority areas

"The new provincial government has taken immediate action on issues like the opioid crisis and homelessness, and I applaud them for their willingness to move quickly and work with municipalities across BC to tackle some of our toughest challenges."

Mother and daughter engaging with City staff using Lego

The City of Vancouver has submitted its 2018 budget priorities to the Provincial Government as part of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services' province-wide consultations  in advance of planning for the 2018 provincial budget. The City provided recommendations to this Committee to secure additional provincial partnership investments in affordable housing, the opioid crisis, poverty reduction, social, cultural, urban indigenous, green and transportation infrastructure.

View our full submission

"The new provincial government has taken immediate action on issues like the opioid crisis and homelessness, and I applaud them for their willingness to move quickly and work with municipalities across BC to tackle some of our toughest challenges," says Mayor Gregor Robertson.

"The 2018 provincial budget will be a critical opportunity to make our cities more livable and our economy more resilient. Whether it's on affordable housing, the economy, the overdose crisis or transportation, the City of Vancouver is willing to do far more than our share when it comes to offering up resources. The City and the provincial government have several shared priorities and I look forward to continuing to strengthen that partnership in the months ahead."

Funding priorities for the City

Topping the list of priorities for the City of Vancouver is funding investments both in the short and long-term from the Government of British Columbia in affordable housing and tackling the opioid crisis. This includes purchasing and renovating Single Room Occupancy Buildings to preserve low-income housing, partnering on City-led social housing to deepen affordability, as well as immediately scaling-up access to injectable opioid therapy to save lives during the opioid crisis.

The City also wants to work with the Province to design new tools to deal with surging real estate investment, such as creating a progressive property tax system or ensuring a higher rate of Property Transfer Tax is paid within a year of resale, to discourage speculation.

Stabilizing and renewing existing rental housing and building new temporary modular and permanent affordable housing are among the key funding priorities for housing; while prevention, treatment and harm reduction programs are the top priorities to address the opioid crisis, mental health and addiction.

Other priority areas highlighted by the City to guide investment from the Province include:

Community & Cultural Infrastructure and Services

  • Providing new childcare spaces; renewing and enhancing facilities serving Indigenous people; and renewing aging community and cultural facilities.

Rapid Transit and Transportation Infrastructure

  • Constructing the Millennium Line Broadway Extension and improving walking and cycling infrastructure.

Green Infrastructure

  • Reducing carbon pollution from buildings; separating combined sewers to reduce pollution in local water bodies; and creating resilient infrastructure to respond to sea level rise.

Investments will contribute to a livable and affordable city

All of these investments contribute to our goals of a livable and affordable city that is competitive and a leader among cities in meeting British Columbia's and Canada's greenhouse gas reduction targets.

As part of its submission to the Government of British Columbia, the City is proposing that the Provincial government invest 40% toward cost-sharing infrastructure projects, supplemented by a 40% Federal contribution and a 20% municipal contribution.

Working with the province to deliver public services

Vancouver is growing steadily, with 5,000 to 6,000 new residents each year. Over the past decade, City of Vancouver services have also grown significantly in importance and scale to match population growth and to maintain an acceptable level of service to citizens.

However, like many Canadian cities, the City of Vancouver is constrained by limited revenue sources which are proving to be restrictive and insufficient as City responsibilities continue to expand. The City is also facing substantial challenges including a near-zero vacancy rate and more than 280 suspected overdose deaths this year.

As part of its submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services for the 2018 Provincial Budget, the City is seeking greater collaboration with the Province to better define each level of government's role in service delivery. To that end, the City has submitted recommendations for new collaborative revenue tools with the Province that will help deliver on the growing demands for public services at the municipal level.