Original Published 14:19 Apr 12, 2022

By Charlie Carey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Property owners, commercial or residential, are in for the same property tax increase this year, as City of North Vancouver council voted unanimously Monday night (April 11) to apply it equally across the board.

The tax increase of 3.75 per cent was adopted in February, and now all property owners will be on the hook for the same percentage increase, with the exception of utilities and major industries, which provincial legislation usually caps.

In supporting staff’s recommendation, Coun. Jessica McIlroy said tax increase discussions are never easy and decisions are not made lightly.

“I think the property tax increase is something that’s going to allow us to achieve our council strategy and continue to work for all of our community members and residents,” she said. “So, it’s never an easy thing, never something we enjoy approving, but necessary at this time.”

Coun. Tony Valente described the tax distribution as “logical” and staff’s recommendation to council was comprehensive, while also acknowledging the impact COVID-19 has had on businesses and families.

Coun. Tina Hu echoed Valente, and said as businesses still suffer impacts from the pandemic, some will choose to pass on these costs to their tenants.

“I’m hoping that when we look at economic strategies in the future, we can come up with some solutions to help our businesses in the city,” she said.

Mayor Linda Buchanan said the across-the-board proposal from staff is fair and reasonable, considering the challenge of the last couple of years.

“Property tax is deductible for business owners, and for homeowners, they have the homeowner grants, plus depending on your age, you’re able to defer some of your taxes,” she noted.

“I think as we start to really dive into the new financial framework, we’re going to have our new updated economic strategy and development plan coming forward. I think as we continue to move forward and get a better understanding of where we sit in the city, and the challenges we face and the burden on individuals and business, we’ll be able to look at that strategy again and see if we’re truly meeting where we want to be, or do we need to make some changes based on new information.”

The tax rate bylaw will come back to council to be adopted at the April 25 meeting.

This item reprinted from the North Shore News, North Vancouver, British Columbia