less money, more expense

Well, this was completely unexpected.  Just like the country and the province, lower mainland cities are looking at deficits and budget shortfalls.  It’s a total shocker, just like recent problems with the Canadian economy.  Vancouver is looking at ways to save money and hasn’t ruled out raising property tax rates.

So what do you think it will be – service cuts, property tax increases or both?

During the boom we had plenty of money coming in to city coffers thanks to all the new construction.  Unfortunately we were building condos, which pay lower taxes and use more city services than commercial property.  Businesses have been complaining for years about the disproportionate tax load they bear, does anyone think residential property tax will not be going up in the next couple of years?

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[…] live in Vancouver right?  Well apparently not so many of them are achieving that dream.  Crabman posted these numbers in a comment last week putting our population growth in perspective when compared to a few other […]


Ah. well, that's much more reasonable. Should've RTFL.

Tiny Brained Timmy

That is the change from 2001 to 2006. That is a 1.2% annual rate of growth.



Vancouver, BC 6.5%

6.5% growth means that the population will double in 10 years. That's… pretty fast still. Is Vancouver properly architected to accommodate this growth?



Exactly, comparing Vancouver to La Jolla or Beverly Hills is just stupid. Why not Vancouver to Paris or London, New York. The fact is that Vancouver is none of those things. "Seattle is a far better comparision in terms of location, industry, pop, etc etc….."

And, of course, there's the rain!


"@32 patriotz. What prices are coming down now? are your groceries cheaper, cars, clothing etc.? Not so sure where you are seeing the deflation. "

Well, my rent has gone down. Cars? Are you kidding me? Have you read the motoring section of the sun lately? Cars are way, way down in price! If car prices are an indicator of where we’re headed, gee wiz, fasten your seatbelt!

other ted

Thanks for the response guys. At first I saw prices dropping. Cars especially used. Flights, etc. But it seems I am starting to see prices go up again. Groceries. Gas has gone up, down again. And who knows next week. I have heard of good deals on new cars in the US but the Canadian consumer is stubborn. We really have a complex where we like to pay more. I am hoping for deflation. Not too sure.




October 1st, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Also from Garth’s blog:


NO – LYMPICS, thanks, but we can read Garth's blog if we want to.


@other ted:

My post #32 was about Japan.

But I think cars really are getting cheaper here. Can't say much about the rest, you might want to check out that statcan link in my post #33 to see where they get their information from. My point was not to make a claim that consumer prices were going up or down, but to point out that CPI really does include basic necessities.

read on

60 – ted, my holidays were cheaper this year. my flights to europe were cheaper. if i were to buy a new car, it would be cheaper (but i am happy with my current one). many things are, or are becoming cheaper. not everything, no, but some things.

read on

59 – "Gov’ts are ,in essence, a service provider , and shouldn’t go off on tangents with pet projects and agendas"


so say you. there are many different theories of what govt "should" be.

other ted

@32 patriotz. What prices are coming down now? are your groceries cheaper, cars, clothing etc.? Not so sure where you are seeing the deflation.


57 patriotzed : 58 Wishitwaswarmer: Sorry, but while no Gov't is perfect, I've noticed an increasing detest for the citizenry , and politicians increasingly assuming their elected mandate as a venue for a dictatorship. Referendums are in place for certain uses, and I can recall participating in them…if the capital project is placed on the civic election ballot, no extra cost. Civic elections are every 3 years, surely a Local Gov't can plan ahead and put them to a vote after making a good case why we need them, given the given project and its capital costs are often outside the normal civic budget. Gov'ts are ,in essence, a service provider , and shouldn't go off on tangents with pet projects and agendas to satisfy their egos. I see too much of this in the present, moreso than in the… Read more »


@NO – LYMPICS: But that's how democracy works. You vote for people to make decisions, if you don't like the choices they make, you vote them out. If you think government is expensive and wasteful now imagine if they spent money for a referendum for every single decision.



True re COV voters in THAT case, but by and large democracy, R.I.P.

In what respect is BC less democratic today than a generation ago under Bill Bennett or two generations ago under WAC Bennett? Or under the NDP?

Most people would say that Canada is more democratic now under a minority government than under Cretien's or Mulroney's or Trudeau's majorities.

So if democracy is dead, just when did it die?


Also from Garth's blog: Tourism in Manitoba’s in the crapper. Visits from Americans have plunged, hotel vacancy rates are up and business in poor Churchill is off 30%. The giant government fund standing behind US banks is empty. Goose eggs. Starkers. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has burned through $60 billion and will remain in the red until at least 2012, despite a massive new levy on solvent banks. Evidently saving capitalism’s a bitch. Tons of grapes will rot on the vines in the Niagara Peninsula and the Okanagan this autumn as the Canadian wine industry deflates. Prices have crashed by 40% or so as consumers stop boozing, or turn to rotgut. In a classic case of supply and demand, supply loses. Expect the orgy of bank loans and cheap money to end soon, says the IMF. As the government… Read more »


From Garth's blog: Judging by some comments here in the last twenty-four hours, there are people disturbed I would write such things. And while I personally think higher rates, higher taxes and a sputtering economy are what likely lies ahead, a deflationary spiral into the unknown has been a possibility now for almost a year. Last winter I put the odds at 20%. Still do. Don’t know about you, but anything I judge has a 20% chance of happening to me, I do something about. It’s called insurance. Maybe you should get some, too. Regardless of which road opens, there’s one inescapable conclusion: Real estate loses. If inflation wins and rates rise, the market will correct. Has to. Affordability takes a big hit and an asset priced at the top of its cycle declines. Hundreds of thousands of people face… Read more »


49 patriotzed BC municipalities (and I think also those in other provinces) are forbidden to borrow for operating expenses. It has long been standard practice for them to borrow for all capital expenditures, which is the reason why you get that ballot with all the capital projects on it at election time. ======== True,….Local Gov'ts generally went to referendum to request votoe permission for capital projects/expenditures. However, they can still skirt this if the are creative enough. City of Richmond, for example re-built City Hall(Approx. $50 Million) with no referendum. It engaged in an RE venture called Odlinwood rezoned and re-developed 30+ acres for housing(right under the YVR flightpath), and who knows how it really did ..they developed it in the late 1990's when the market was flat…? Same with Olympic Oval…Richmond Council cut a deal in the summer months… Read more »


"I’m seeing more listings in my hood."

Yup. This is it. Not Dieppe. Juno.


datsunboy – quit slackin and get back to work… stickin yer nose up cam muirs ass


# 50 patriotzed

True re COV voters in THAT case, but by and large democracy, R.I.P.



Elections have been bastardized to the point democracy only exists on voting day.

Vancouver voters were asked in February, 2003 whether they wanted the Olympics. 2/3 said "yes" (I said "no").

They got what they voted for.



I’m not sure about the complexities of issuing municipal bonds in Canada, but we could see these cities getting more of their capital and operating cash from selling a lot more bonds than they have in the past.

BC municipalities (and I think also those in other provinces) are forbidden to borrow for operating expenses. It has long been standard practice for them to borrow for all capital expenditures, which is the reason why you get that ballot with all the capital projects on it at election time.

BTW only the City of Vancouver borrows in its own name, all other municipalities borrow though the Municipal Finance Authority which is a BC crown corporation.



There are private mortgage insurance options available (e.g. GE).

No there aren't. 90% of Genworth and AIC's obligations are guaranteed by the federal government. And they aren't satisfied with that:

As the Globe reported this week, Genworth and AIG want the finance department to guarantee their mortgage insurance 100%, just like it does for Crown corporation CMHC.

Isn't "free enterprise" great?

The last genuinely private mortgage insurer in Canada, MICC, went bankrupt and there is no way any company would be in the business today without government backstopping. Especially after the events of the last couple of years.



I am generalizing that governments are bloated and inefficient. To claim otherwise is simply ignorance. I am sure that some groups and branches are focussed and efficient. Most are not.

Higher efficiency and focussed programs allow us to achieve more for a smaller cost. This is a positive thing for whatever political position you advocate.

Having multiple levels of government working on the same problems is simply not efficient.

I have seen City of Vancouver workers playing cards for half the day in their site trailers. Do you support that? We could probably cut the union labour in half and not have an effect on the level of service to the City. Do you not find it strange that City managers were able to run things with only 10% of the workforce for numerous months?