The small, local businesses in our neighbourhoods provide vital services, create jobs, and keep money in our communities. They are an important part of our city’s history and culture, with beloved family businesses and creative young ventures standing side-by-side on our streets.
Small and local businesses in Vancouver are being priced out of our neighbourhoods. Those spaces are being left empty or are being replaced by corporate chain stores that diminish local culture and sense of place. This is happening in neighbourhoods all across the city. We must act quickly to protect these businesses and support new local businesses that create vibrant neighbourhoods.
ONECITY'S PLAN TO PROTECT LOCAL BUSINESSES
- Call on the Provincial Government to create rent protection legislation for small, independent, BC-owned businesses, similar to the way the Residential Tenancy Act seeks to protect residential tenants from sudden dramatic rent and tax increases.
- Explore the creation of a new classification of tax rates and mill rates that differentiate between local independent businesses and chain stores, shifting tax revenues from local independent business to national and international chains. Include small businesses, as well as local arts and culture spaces and not-for-profit spaces, in this classification.
- Create a ‘Legacy Business Program’ that specifically protects and highlights businesses that have been in Vancouver for 30 years or more, recognizing them as historic assets.
- Extend the Vacant Homes tax to include vacant commercial space to discourage commercial landlords from evicting existing commercial tenants simply because they think they could get more rent from someone else.
- Consider shifting the focus of the Vancouver Economic Commission, which currently spends most of its time trying to attract tech companies to Vancouver, to focus on supporting and expanding small and local business in Vancouver.
- Call on the Provincial Government to protect the health of small, local, independent businesses in an existing ministry or create a new ministry with a mandate to support the sector.