Following Vancouver City Council’s decision last month to introduce an Empty Homes Tax, property owners will start receiving notifications by email and mail this week, outlining details of the tax. The City of Vancouver has joined with LandlordBC to offer support and information to the owners of empty and underutilized homes who wish to become landlords.
On Wednesday night, Vancouver Fire and Rescue hosted me on a ride-along at Fire Hall 2 for a first-hand view of the horrific impacts of the fentanyl overdose crisis in the Downtown Eastside. Even after months of talking to firefighters, police, outreach workers, drug users and health providers on the frontlines of the overdose crisis, and reading countless reports and news stories, it was shocking to see the extreme impacts of fentanyl.
Council has approved two new rental buildings at 424-428 and 454 West Pender Street to deliver new, 11-storey mixed use buildings with 140 new rental homes. Made through two applications considered concurrently and proposed by Onni Development, it includes 25% (36) family homes and was considered under the Downtown Eastside Community Plan.
Vancouver will have an Empty Homes Tax effective January 1, 2017, with staff reporting on the Tax’s next steps to Council on Tuesday. Targeting the known 10,800 year-round empty and roughly 10,000 more under-occupied homes in Vancouver, staff are recommending that all non-principal residences (except those qualifying for an exemption) which are unoccupied for six full months of the year or more will be subject to a one (1) per cent Empty Homes Tax. Vacant residential land will also be subject to the Tax.
Minister Morneau’s announcement that the federal government will expand infrastructure funding to $186 billion over 11 years – a $66 billion increase over March’s budget - is a welcome one. The new $35 billion Infrastructure Development Bank, and more trade and transportation infrastructure funding to help cities maximize their borrowing capacity is good news for Metro Vancouver.
Council has approved rezonings to facilitate nearly 1000 new homes this week, includingmore than 200 new rental apartments, and a major project at South East Marine Drive and Fraser Street that will deliver 368 homes and 37 new childcare spaces. Also approved for rezoning was Japanese architecht Kengo Kuma’s 43 storey carved tower at Alberni and Cardero.