Working for You | Chamber Advocacy Efforts
Over the past 3 months, your Tri-Cities Chamber and Policy Committee have been busy on three key initiatives: Increase in property taxes along the Austin Heights corridor; 3030 Gordon and the impact on neighboring businesses; the referendum on Proportional Representation.
With the lifting of the height restriction moratorium last July, the businesses along Austin Heights faced a massive tax increase on their operations. Each business continues to have a commercial grade mill rate, yet the properties are valued in large part on the residential, highest and best use valuation. We are working with the Ministry of Housing and the City Council to address this existential threat to local businesses. We need government support quickly as the local businesses cannot sustain large tax increases even over the short term.
The homeless shelter opened December 2015. Immediately upon opening, the local residents and businesses have experienced an increase in drug dealing, drug use and discarded needles, aggressive pan handling, prostitution, graffiti, break ins and general disrespect of private property. The Policy Committee with support of the Tri-Cities Chamber leadership and staff, have been vocal with local government. As a result of our efforts and others, the Coquitlam City Council created a task force to address the issues. The local government is committed to improving the issues and support the businesses in the area. Real, tangible change is coming thanks in large part to the power of our collective voice as a united Chamber.
As a campaign promise, the NDP and Green coalition have finalized the referendum date and question for Proportional Representation. The Policy Committee is working with the Education and Membership Committees to organize information sessions so that our membership can increase the level of knowledge and understanding in order to make an informed decision. We would like to organize a debate between the YES and NO campaigns. Stay tuned for dates and locations for the upcoming sessions.
Chair, Policy Committee