Vision Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson released his economic and jobs platform for the next four years today, from the site of the new $750 million national Telus headquarters in Downtown Vancouver, BC’s largest private sector employer.
“Vancouver’s economy is strong, diverse, and growing, and we need to keep it moving in the right direction,” said Mayor Robertson. “I’m proud of the role we’ve played in this success. We’re seeing big investments in our downtown, homegrown companies succeeding, and newfound confidence in our economy.”
Robertson pointed out that, under Vision’s leadership, Vancouver has the lowest property taxes of any major city in Canada, and has reduced its debt by $191 million. There are also a record seven new office towers under construction in Downtown Vancouver.
“Business is booming, and the construction of new office buildings like this one is literally a concrete example of Vancouver’s economic success,” said Robertson. “But this didn’t happen by accident. Vancouver needs a City Hall that takes care of the basics, and lays the groundwork for a stronger economy. That’s what Vision has done, and we will continue to do.”
Over the next four years, Robertson promised to continue his focus on strengthening local businesses and building on the success of growing sectors like technology, tourism and digital media.
“Vancouver has established itself as a tech start-up city, with rapid growth fueling new jobs and companies in Vancouver. That’s why local companies like Hootsuite have been able to become global competitors, and international companies like Microsoft and Sony Pictures Imageworks want to grow here,” Robertson said.
“I’m proud of our economy, and confident of the direction it is headed,” added the Mayor. “But there is a risk in this election. City Hall should be our local economy’s biggest booster, but all we’ve heard from the NPA is negativity and doubt, and an inexperienced team with no business experience.
“With Vision, we have a clear plan on the economy that’s in contrast to an inexperienced, out-of-touch NPA.”
Growing an economy for all of Vancouver
Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver’s economic plan for the next four years builds on their record of steady leadership, and provides a clear path to continue Vancouver’s economic success.
Continue strong fiscal management:
Vision has steered the City’s budget through an economic downturn while maintaining crucial services and keeping taxes low. We will:
- Build on Vision’s record to keep taxes low and control spending, and continue to target any tax increases to inflation.
- Reduce the City’s net debt per capita, continuing our work that has seen net debt lower than it was a decade ago.
Grow Vancouver's tech sector:
Vancouver has established itself as a tech start-up city, with rapid growth fueling new jobs and companies in Vancouver. Over the next four years, Vision Vancouver will:
- Support the Vancouver Economic Commission in establishing the Vancouver Entrepreneur Fund, which will raise private sector capital - without contributing tax dollars - to provide the mid-level financing that emerging companies need to grow.
- Improve the public realm for tech hot spots by bringing together public and private sector partners to determine how to best support local tech companies through physical infrastructure improvements.
- Enable youth to gain skills in tech by supporting a Digital Badging system, which recognizes skills training through workshops in tech and digital media.
- Establish a Mayor’s Roundtable on Tech, to ensure local tech leaders can work directly with City staff to ensure the rapidly growing sector’s success.
Enable success for small business and our local economy:
Vancouver’s economy is thriving, but we need to do more to support locally owned businesses and protect the unique culture of our neighbourhoods. Vision Vancouver will:
- Implement the recommendations from the Fair Tax Commission to establish clear benchmarks to track and address the impacts of property taxes on businesses.
- Increase the unbundling of contracts to allow small, local businesses increased opportunities to bid and provide services.
- Make sure the City's procurement policy recognizes the benefit that social enterprises provide for taxpayers and the City, while maintaining that all winning bids provide top value for taxpayers and go to fully qualified companies.
- Initiate a series of roundtable discussions with the VEC, neighbourhoods, local BIAs, and the development industry to identify ways for large redevelopments to support smaller, more locally-owned businesses, and activate the streetscape with several stores, rather than one large one.
- Convene BIAs and local artists to identify ways to activate vacant storefronts to showcase local arts and culture through temporary installations.
Champion tourism and our downtown:
We believe it’s time for a comprehensive, long-term vision for Vancouver’s downtown, one driven by the ideas of local residents to establish our downtown core as a world-class destination on par with major cities around the world. Vision will:
- Work with the Downtown Vancouver BIA, the VEC, the Downtown Vancouver Association, the Vancouver Public Space Network, post-secondary institutions, local bars, restaurants and residents to undertake a large-scale, public re-envisioning of Vancouver’s downtown.
- Work with Tourism Vancouver, the Vancouver Economic Commission and local food stakeholders to better promote Vancouver's food scene, and make culinary tourism a larger piece of our economic development strategy for Vancouver.