City of Vancouver goes from COVID-19 bankruptcy fears to building development boom in two years

Mayor Kennedy Stewart highlights ‘massive increase in (building) permit applications from builders and businesses’, just 26 months after saying city could go bankrupt due to COVID-19

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What a difference two years make.

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On Tuesday, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said he wanted to investigate a guaranteed wait time policy for permits because of a “massive increase in (building) permit applications from builders and businesses “.

“It is clear that our economy is in full recovery as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to recede,” Kennedy said in a statement.

It comes 26 months after the mayor said the city of Vancouver was at risk of bankruptcy, citing a poll that showed more than half of homeowners did not expect to pay full property taxes in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Kennedy’s statement came a month after the first death from COVID-19 in British Columbia and before the housing market took off as the federal government designed the economy so that interest rates became historic down.

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The idea behind this was to keep the economy going as pandemic restrictions were established.

Kennedy’s 2020 statement also came a week after he asked the provincial government to give the city $200 million to help manage the pandemic.

According to the City’s 2021 Financial Information Statement (released March 23, 2022), the City’s financial condition and outlook has improved throughout 2021 as provincial COVID-19 restrictions ease. lifted.

“The City of Vancouver is optimistic about its ability to fully recover from the negative economic effects of the pandemic, but remains cautious about its financial planning as the pandemic continues to evolve,” the statement said.

In 2021, the city had $940 million in net assets (assets minus debts), an improvement of $202 million from 2020.

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The city’s revenue was $2.35 billion in 2021, down from $1.858 in the COVID-19 year of 2020.

“The City of Vancouver’s Consolidated Statement of Income shows evidence of the city’s recovery from the negative effects of the pandemic,” said a report from the city’s chief financial officer.

“This translates into increased revenue from developer contributions, program fees, and licensing and development fees.”

According to Tuesday’s statement from Stewart, the city’s Development and Permitting Task Force (which was created amid the pandemic) had reported a significant drop in wait times for development permits.

Kennedy said he had the council’s full support in his request that the task force “investigate the risks and benefits of guaranteed wait times for permits.”

“With the support of the Board, I have asked the task force to review lessons learned from other jurisdictions, as well as review all financial and legal considerations as part of this new work to improve our timelines. development and licensing,” Stewart said.

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Janet E. Fishburn