Dan Fumano: Metro Vancouver cities to consider taxing vacant commercial sites
When Ruby Campbell looks at long-empty commercial properties in Downtown New Westminster, she is frustrated not only by the derelict buildings she sees, but also by what she imagines could be there.
“We know these could be developed into homes above these commercial properties,” said Campbell, who was elected last year to her first term on city council.
Despite’s New West’s efforts to encourage housing development, especially purpose-built rentals, several prime properties have sat empty for years, Campbell said. This is frustrating for municipal officials who would love to see the sites redeveloped to produce homes above ground-floor commercial space, especially the properties near transit infrastructure like SkyTrain stations.
Derelict commercial properties are also upsetting for businesses and residents, she said, who lament the effect on a neighbourhood’s vibrancy.
“We’ve been hearing, no surprise, from our local business associations that we need to unlock these commercial properties, especially in the downtown core,” Campbell said. “But municipalities don’t have the regulatory tools to encourage development on these vacant lots or empty buildings. So we need to go to the province.”
Leave a Reply