SHPOA Voices - What our members say

2018 School Tax Hike on Residential Properties

With respect to the CMBA letter to Carole James, SHPOA member Karen Bichin comments:

This letter is very well written and I agree full-heartedly with its message. As a property owner assessed over $3Million which includes a rental suite (basement), our family would certainly feel the impact of the School Tax increase.

and Jean Robertson says:

I agree with everything; it is an ill thought out tax. We have lived in our bungalow for over 50 years, and paid plenty of taxes. My husband who is over 90 years, is in long term care. I remain here, but with no increase in pension, what am I to do? No help for aging seniors!

Members' Comments:

I have a rental property in the FSD; here is what one of my tenants says, "As a mention in the aforementioned area, I have to say that the school tax increase you are proposing will effect my rental payment and as much as BC Housing is trying to help seniors stay in the homes (SAFER) the increase in School Tax will nullify the effect of the SAFER program.  Please allow rental properties the ability to opt out of the School Tax Hike.  Thank you, Sincerely, Jan B." - Morris Cohen

To John Horgan:
I am so upset and worried about this new ridiculous tax on homes over 3 million. Having lived here for over 51 years very frugally, I now find myself in difficulties. My husband, a veteran, is in long term care, while I try to maintain things here. It is very expensive already, and I do not know what to do. Maybe I will have to join my 90 year husband in care, but I thought the idea was to keep us at home as long as possible! The whole idea is crazy, as we are not rich, and have worked >hard to provide for our family. You are going after ordinary people, and are taking away initiative. Please re-consider this ill conceived idea.
Yours truly,

I agree that this tax grab is just that, and will be a burden on Vancouver home owners and in many parts of the city. It may be a great deal for school boards  but does not reflect in any way an increased cost of schooling, nor does it seem to be requested by any school  board. In actual fact those of us who have owned a home for many years and have seen value and city taxes increase at a unbelievable rate have paid our school taxes and now our children have gone and we no longer send them to school and thus place a lower burden on the school board .Not  many young folks with kids can afford to buy houses worth $4 or $5 million.  And those of us on pensions will not appreciate a huge increase in taxes because we choose to stay on our old homes.  Doubling taxes would be OK if my pension was doubled but I doubt that will happen.  - David Wrinch

This is the Progressive property tax that I wrote about some six months ago.  The unfairness of this tax is beyond belief, as it taxes prior behaviour.  Those that invested in a property rather than consuming their earnings in some other fashion will now be taxed based upon their prudence, regardless of their ability to pay.

This is about strike three or four for 1st Shaughnessy and strike two or three for 2nd and 3rd Shaughnessy.

We have been hit with the Foreign Purchaser’s tax, which by the way, comes out of the seller’s pocket, not the buyer’s. First Shaughnessy has been hit with the Heritage Conservation Area. Second and Third Shaughnessy has been hit with the Character Home Zoning Review. We have all been hit with the increase in the property transfer tax, which also comes out of the seller’s pocket, not the buyer’s. And now we are getting hit with this misnamed School Tax Increase.

Don’t be misled.  These taxes and restrictions are founded on envy and racism.  They have nothing to do with building a better society, any more than the race laws in Nazi Germany were designed to bring about a better society.- Robert Angus

The NDP has started a war on the upper-middle-class and upper class of British Columbia. Not only has the NDP placed a “school tax” on properties over $3 million, but they increased the property transfer tax to 5% above $3 million if you sell. They have also put a “speculation tax” on any secondary property/summer homes of British Columbians which could result in even more property taxes (2% on the value of the property) if there is no tax rebate. Basically, these taxes are all “wealth taxes” directly attacking people that have been able to accumulate assets over time using after-tax dollars. These measures will do nothing to improving housing supply. In the result, it's really a taxation assault on the more well-off people in British Colombia. When you combine the health payroll tax, the increase in income tax for higher earners and an increase in corporate taxes, the NDP is doing a good job of telling the job makers of this Province that they don't want them. Mark my words but this assault on people with some money will end up with a large job loss to British Colombians and ultimately, the lower income individuals of British Columbia will end up suffering dearly. When Carol James says that she wants some citizens to give a “little bit more”, that is a big farce. What she should have said is “the NDP is going to stick it to people with money”. My message back to the NDP is: “Do you really think innovative people that have businesses and have been able to accumulate assets are going to let you steal back, in the guise of taxation, most of their after-tax money without having a direct impact on the entire economy?”. I, for one, am heading out next week to open a new business in Alberta which would have otherwise been opened in British Columbia. - Wes Mussio

Member feedback on the Character Home Zoning Review

I certainly understand what the city council is trying to do, but I feel they are taking the easy way out,  as well as taking away the rights of the home owners.  It seems to me that they are trying to solve this issue from the wrong end.  They should provide an architectural guide line just the way they provide a building code that must be adhered to when building a home. This is a simple way of approaching the issue ( and somewhat fairer to the homeowners) rather the convoluted way they are currently approaching it .

When I was at one of the open houses I mentioned this proposal to one of the participants. The answer I got was that it would be too difficult to do. His mind was made up. I felt that they were trying to convince rather than listen.

Gerry MacPherson

We believe that the implementation of this program will result in a decreased value of the properties that will fall under the character home program. Many older homes which would be deemed character houses are not designed for today's open plan lifestyle choices and it would be much better to take them down so that they could have floor plans appropriate for today way of life. If the zoning review is successful city hall employees will arbitrarily decide who is and who is not included in the Character house program and the appel procedure (if any) will be costly. There is no doubt that the survey was designed intentionally in order to facilitate the responses in favour of the program to push the zoning bylaw successfully. We are of course against the Character Home zoning program.

Pierre & Nonie Augereau

Some of us are older, and not used to online surveys. Having lived in my 2nd Shaughnessy home over 50 years, I do not need to be told what I can and cannot do with my property. Keep up the pressure, this affects everyone, it is wrong!

Jean Robertson

We are completely against the Character Home Zoning program. The 3 main reasons are:

1.  Forcing homeowners to preserve pre-40s homes or face prohibitive building restrictions means a lot of tear downs will be left alone to rot lowering the character of the neighbourhood. Save the gorgeous houses only by giving homeowners an incentive to designate the house as a heritage home. Make it easy to tear down the ugly old beaters or the neighbourhood will look like a scary movie scene with a bunch of haunted houses;

2. Allowing densification in exchange for keeping the pre-40s house means the character of the neighbourhoods will be severely compromised. Extra buildings should not be stacked into the neighbourhood. The charm of the neighbourhood is the lot sizes with beautiful heritage style old and new homes; and 

3. This zoning policy will severely compromise housing prices in the neighbourhood. Many buyers will shy away from the neighbourhood if they are severely restricted in what they can do with their home.

At the end of this public review process, we all know the Mayor and his party will do what they want and ignore public input.

Wes and Penny Mussio 

and here are some links to letters on the subject...

Age is not “Character”

Old wooden homes, no matter how well maintained or even improved, pose a HEALTH HAZARD. Over time wood deteriorates and harbours MOULD and SPORES.Evidence of this is found by the prevalence of respiratory disorders throughout the City and the presence of noxious odours emanating from older homes. These smells are most noteworthy when the house has been closed up while its occupants have been vacationing. Upon return the smell can be overwhelming. Also these odours are most obvious when passing a demolition site, where all the old timber is exposed to the atmosphere. Read more...

To Mayor and Council
I live in Shaughnessy and I am opposed to the Character Home Zoning Review plan put forward by City staff at the Open Houses in November - December 2016. I am not in favour of requiring homeowners to maintain old houses that may not be appropriate for their living needs. Read more...

Dear SHPOA board,
Thank you for drawing to our attention on the Zoning Review. As a result of your newsletter, I have attended the open house, initiated discussions amongst friends and in our own family. My feeling about the new zoning plan is complex. Read more...

I am opposed to the zoning changes described in the Character Home Zoning Review. As with the First Shaughnessy Heritage Conservation Area Official Development Plan, the City is forcing property owners to subsidize its housing agenda, which is fundamentally unjust. Read more...

Mr. Mayor, councillors, 
        I would like to express my opposition to The City of Vancouver's strategy to preserve pre-1940's houses. While I do not object to the preservation of such houses that have legitimate historic or architectural value, I do not believe that houses deemed to have 'character' alone should be the object of a civic retention effort. Read more... 

Dear Mayor and Councillors,


I am a resident of Shaughnessy and I strongly oppose the CHZR plan, as set out by COV staff at the Open Houses in November and December 2016. 

Allowing densification as an incentive to keep an old house will destroy the character and charm of the single family neighbourhoods in 2nd and 3rd Shaughnessy and green spaces will be lost.  The houses that are densified will have to be brought up to code, the fact is the whole interior of the house is likely to be “blown out” due to COV requirements.  The zoning will very likely lead to some older homes falling into disrepair and discourage renewal of the neighbourhoodsRead more... 

"Our" Governments' War on Homeowners in FSD and Across Vancouver

The Canadian dream of home ownership and the time honoured rules by which many of us have conducted our economic affairs are based on the notions that a Canadian's best investment is a home and that home ownership rewards owners with both personal and financial benefits.  Many of us have owned our homes in Vancouver for decades, some even through generations.  Others have purchased more recently. Most of us have faithfully paid our property taxes, serviced our mortgages, (including during times while interest rates were much higher than today), invested in the renovation and the maintenance of our properties, and generally supported our neighbors and our neighbourhoods.  In FSD, we have taken pride in living in a particularly beautiful and gracious neighbourhood.  Like many other City neighbourhoods, it has been a place where one could buy a home or property, enjoy living in it, invest in improvements and reasonably expect capital protection and growth over the long term. Read more...