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Property taxes, heritage preservation discussed at City Hall

Don Fennell   May-02-2018

Council has approved Richmond’s property tax rates for 2018. The overall tax increase will be 3.30 per cent.

A city staff report presented to Richmond City Council April 23 shows that while total market value increased by about $8.4 billion or 9.41 per cent from 2017 to 2018, the residential market values increased by $5.2 billion or an average of 7.18 per cent; a much smaller increase compared to 2017 when residential market values increased by an average of 34.9 per cent over 2016.



But strata residential properties enjoyed a healthy increase; an average increase in market value of 18.75 per cent, while single-family detached properties averaged an increase of just 1.29 per cent. In 2017 single-family homes, on average, had significant tax increases while most strata properties had tax decreases. The staff report suggests that in 2018, stratas will face tax increases while single-family homes will have minimal increases or, in many cases, tax decreases.

For more on this issue, and the following topics see council minutes.

Phoenix net loft preservation

Council has approved $11.5 million to restore the Phoenix net loft as part of the city’s 2018 capital program.

One of the last surviving structures associated with the Phoenix Cannery, featuring a 956-square-metre (10,300 square feet) lower floor and 641-square-metre (6,900 square feet) upper floor, it operated as a net storage and repair facility until the early 2000s when the city acquired the building from BC Packers as part of rezoning considerations.

The net loft is located at the Britannia Shipyard on a water lot leased from the province for 30 years, effective as of 2017.

“Being able to access a bit of our past has significance to us, and will allow people in the future to see what Richmond was like,” Coun. Derek Dang said.

River Road safety measures

Council is embracing efforts to improve traffic safety along River Road between No. 6 Road and Westminster Highway.

Coun. Ken Johnston, who has a business in the area, said “it’s always a nightmare in terms of speeding and large trucks.”

“I’m happy the RCMP is monitoring and increasing enforcement,” he said. “It would (also) be nice to see a widening (of River road) somehow. When you have employees walking down the railway tracks because they can’t walk on River Road, something’s wrong. And there are a lot of businesses with no bus service.”

Initiatives are generated through the Traffic Safety Advisory Committee established in 1997. It is a partnership between city staff, community groups and other agencies to enhance traffic and pedestrian safety in Richmond.

Managing rainwater resources

Council has approved an integrated rainwater resource management strategy for Richmond.

Coun. Carol Day has lauded staff’s efforts, and notes that rain barrels are available at the city works yard for $30.

“They will allow you to collect and have water when there is a watering ban,” she said.

Coun. Derek Dang added that the Richmond Olympic Oval is a great example of managing rainwater resources. He said water is funneled into a pool on the east side of the building and then reused in the oval.

Steveston Hotel gets permit

Council has approved a heritage alteration permit at the Steveston Hotel.

The permit allows for the removal of decorative shutters and the replacing of all the upper-storey windows of the protected heritage property at 12111 Third Ave.

The proposal to replace all 41 upper-level windows with black vinyl-framed, double-pane windows is for energy efficiency and noise mitigation within the hotel.

All the larger windows and the eight small windows in the south and north facades will be frosted glass to add privacy.

The Steveston Hotel is one of the identified heritage resources in the Steveston Village Heritage Conservation Area.

Coun. Bill McNulty noted that the hotel, originally named the Sockeye Hotel, dates back to 1896 and was located across the street from the present site.

Dike master plan

Council has endorsed the second phase of the dike master plan. It generally recommends that the city maintain the existing dike alignments in the study area, while identifying medium and long-term dike improvements along part of the West Dike (Williams Road to Terra Nova Rural Park) and part of the North Dike (Terra Nova Rural Park to No. 6 Road) that will be required to address climate change induced by rising sea levels.

Coun. Harold Steves said Richmond is fortunate to have the “best” dike system from here to Hope.

“(Longtime former city councillor) Archie Blair was continually talking about dikes and drainage, but he was absolutely right,” Steves said.“Now, no other community is up to the grade we have. Staff are to be complimented for keeping up with the environmental changes. Our future has been planned for us for well into the next 50 to 100 years.”

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