Property taxes 2015 – in search of the obvious

Ladner, Municipality of Delta

Ladner, Municipality of Delta

Every spring, homeowners across British Columbia receive a statement from their local government demanding payment for local and regional services, including elementary and secondary education.

The individual statements are complex enough. But with 30 cities and towns in the Fraseropolis area alone, all facing different economic circumstances and delivering services in  different ways, and a wide range of property values within each jurisdiction, it’s close to impossible for the lone taxpayer to evaluate their own position in terms of fairness and value. Continue reading

A homeless camp in a Vancouver suburb

2015 homeless camp 1 reduced

Nicole Read, the mayor in my home city of Maple Ridge, won election as a political newcomer in November 2014. The local election campaign was marked by concern over downtown property crime, linked by some to the presence of homeless people in vacant spaces nearby. The homeless have been a prominent feature of the town centre for more than a decade, but the incumbent mayor and council were blamed and Read  got the political benefit.

Weeks after the mayor’s swearing-in, a colourful row of tents sprang up on a residential street 200 metres from my home. In the 2014 Metro Vancouver homeless count, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows together were said to have 39 unsheltered homeless people. By July 2015, the estimated population of the Cliff Avenue camp was about 60. Continue reading

MoneySense.ca “best places to live” rankings, 2015

Oceanfront houses, Delta

Oceanfront houses, Delta

[This post refers to the MoneySense.ca community rankings for 2015. We posted a link to the updated rankings in July, 2017.]

MoneySense.ca, “Canada’s top personal finance magazine,” has posted a list of the “Best Places to Live” in Canada, ranking 209 cities and towns on a 103-point scale.

Top marks for 2015 go to Boucherville, Quebec, a south-shore suburb of Montreal, while New Glasgow in Nova Scotia comes last, making it either the 209th-Best or the Worst Place to Live in Canada. Continue reading

An open door for offshore home buyers

Kitsilano, City of Vancouver West

Kitsilano, City of Vancouver West

New real estate numbers for British Columbia’s Lower Mainland suggest that the long rise in house prices is accelerating in the City of Vancouver and adjacent suburbs.

In all these areas, the benchmark price for a detached home has surpassed a million dollars. This is far beyond the reach of most working families, with troubling side effects. Continue reading