Tag-Archive for ◊ economic development ◊

The Mayor and City Council passed Vancouver’s 2014 budget today, delivering low taxes, even better City services, and investments in key programs.

“Vancouver is on the right track with a budget that keeps taxes low and offers better services and community programming than ever before, despite this being a difficult time for many local governments,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Our consistent commitment to strong business discipline at City Hall has saved taxpayers over $53 million over the last five years, allowing Vancouver to make unprecedented investments in priorities such as affordable housing, better transportation, and child care.”

With a property tax increase limited to just 1.9%, the City of Vancouver has the 2nd-lowest residential tax rate and the 4th-lowest business tax rate in the Metro Vancouver region. Vancouver’s total debt outstanding has declined by $191 million since 2009.

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In a keynote address to the Vancouver Board of Trade this afternoon, Mayor Gregor Robertson outlined next steps to enhance competitiveness and ensure Vancouver’s growing economy is driven by a focus on innovation.

“Vancouver has a lot to be proud of: When many other cities and towns are struggling with instability and uncertainty, our economy is vibrant, dynamic, and growing,” said Mayor Robertson. “We cannot afford to take it for granted. We have decisions to make in the coming months and years that will shape our economic future and the lives of Vancouver’s people for generations to come.”

The Mayor announced that a record amount of new office space is under construction in Vancouver, with the past three years seeing 2.5 million square feet approved or built in downtown Vancouver – more than the entire preceding decade combined.

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The City of Vancouver and the University of British Columbia today released a KPMG study that shows the employment and population of the UBC/Broadway corridor will grow by 150,000 in the next 30 years and a rail-based rapid transit system is needed to meet the corridor’s population growth and significant economic potential.

“The economic potential of the UBC/Broadway corridor is tremendous,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said. “The health care, technology and life science sectors, combined with UBC’s research enterprise, set the stage for significant growth. We need a subway rapid transit system that will allow us to compete with tech hubs like Toronto and New York City and unleash the additional economic and investment potential along the corridor.”

The UBC/Broadway corridor, which runs from Commercial Drive to UBC’s Point Grey campus, is B.C.’s second largest business and innovation area and North America’s busiest bus route. More than 200,000 people currently live and work in the area and 50 per cent of the corridor transit riders currently come from beyond Vancouver.

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Op-ed by Mayor Gregor Robertson, published in the Vancouver Sun

For most of us, housing is our biggest expense. One out of every five dollars we earn goes to build, buy, rent and run our homes. Facing high home prices, large personal debts, and an uncertain economy, fewer Canadians can buy a new home today than in the past, and they are choosing to rent instead.

Unfortunately, in many cities, finding an affordable place to rent is nearly impossible.

The most immediate problem is supply. Vacancy rates under three per cent push rents up; here in Vancouver it’s 1.4 per cent.

Vacancy rates this low force our young people to move out of the city, threaten seniors on fixed incomes, and have a negative impact on local businesses.

That’s why this spring’s federal budget must put Canada’s rental housing market on solid ground, by pursuing low-cost, high-leverage policies that get jobs on the ground and build housing Canadians can afford.

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Op-Ed as published in The Globe and Mail online

By Gregor Robertson and Naheed Nenshi

If you’re one of the 80 percent of Canadians who lives in one of our country’s cities, chances are you’re fiercely proud of it. Our cities can match anywhere in the world for vibrancy, quality of life, entrepreneurial spirit and creative and civic culture.

But there’s no guarantee that will last. Canada’s cities face big challenges in the next few decades: managing growth, improving liveability, becoming more sustainable, and making city living far more affordable.

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A big welcome to all of you for coming, business and community leaders, fellow elected officials. Greetings from the people of Vancouver.

Over the years it seems that half of Toronto has moved to Vancouver, so thanks for sharing your talent and hello from all your ex-pats on the west coast!

We have the good luck to live and work in two of the greatest cities in Canada – and not just Canada. Two of the world’s great cities.

We have cities with wonderful neighbourhoods to live in, neighbourhoods that inspire fierce pride.

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