Metro Vancouver approves 3.5% property tax hike next year

Metro Vancouver has passed a budget for 2022 that will see the average household pay an additional $ 21 for the regional portion of their property tax bill, but with much larger increases expected in the years to come.

“Residents of Metro Vancouver are unlikely to tolerate significant tax increases,” Metro Vancouver Vice President Linda Buchanan said.

“We just shifted those costs into the years to come.”

The budget will see the average bill for water, waste and other services provided by the regional government rise from $ 574 in 2021 to $ 595 next year, under an operating budget of $ 1.107 billion. .

The increase was $ 17 less than originally projected, but with major upgrades to wastewater treatment plants underway, that annual figure is expected to reach $ 952 by 2026.

“I think the staff have made progress in supporting our budget situation… but that progress needs to continue,” Buchanan said.

Metro Vancouver is overseen by mayors and councilors from across the region, and while many voiced concerns over the impending increases, the budget ended up being passed unanimously, with promises to find ways to lower the bill in the years to come.

“Metro is us, we are Metro,” said Mary-Ann Booth, Mayor of West Vancouver.

“Well, if that’s the case, we have to work together to resolve some of these issues.”

The industrial park proposal is moving forward

Much of the monthly Metro Vancouver board meeting was devoted to discussing a request from Surrey to change the region’s urban containment boundaries, with the goal of preserving agricultural and undeveloped areas. .

“For me, it comes down to a choice between employment and industrial land, and protecting natural areas,” Bowen Island City Councilor David Hocking said.

For many years, Surrey has expressed a desire to rezone land adjacent to the Campbell Heights Industrial Business Park on the Surrey-Langley border, to allow more employment opportunities in the area.

But the land is outside of urban containment limits, requiring a change approved by Metro Vancouver before any zoning changes.

Areas of the Campbell Heights land use plan that would change if approved by Metro Vancouver. (Courtesy of Metro Vancouver)

“I am truly concerned about the environment… but I have full confidence in the staff and the Surrey Council that they are doing their due diligence in their engagement,” said Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese.

A number of environmental groups and Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell spoke out at the meeting against the plan, but Metro Vancouver ultimately voted for the change, while demanding more comment from the share of local First Nations before a final vote and decision.

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