Press Release: August 23: Improving Conditions for Local Businesses (press release)

Video: Video: Paul LeBlanc, FastSigns

One of the unique features of Vancouver is our vibrant neighbourhood streets like Commercial Drive, West Point Grey Village, Main Street or Denman Street. They are the lifeblood of our communities. I am committed to supporting and strengthening small businesses in the city.

Upon taking office, I will call for the appointment of a Small Business Ombudsperson at the City. City Hall needs a full-time advocate who understands the challenges facing small business owners and is empowered to assist them in finding the solutions they need quickly.

My platform protects local neighbourhood businesses and creates an enabling environment in City Hall that recognizes the leading role of small businesses and niche industries to job growth and economic development. Small businesses are extremely important to keeping this city livable and innovative - they provide easy access to goods and services, employment and investment back into our communities and make our city interesting and fun.

When elected Mayor, I will implement a number of solutions including:

  • Working collaboratively to strengthen and expand Business Improvement Associations (BIAs)
  • Rescinding city policies that are outdated, redundant or unfriendly to innovation
  • Simplifying permitting and fee transparency to improve efficiency and grappling with the escalating property tax burden that hobbles many small businesses.

Businesses across this city are struggling to find and retain employees because workers cannot afford the high cost of living in Vancouver.

I commit to taking action on escalating rents, property taxes and staff recruitment. As Mayor, I will explore how to follow Whistler’s lead to create affordable purpose-built rentals for front-line retail and service workers.

I will also work with the provincial government and the BC Assessment Board to create a new category under commercial that would allow us to apply a different mill rate for small businesses and reduce their property taxes.

My platform brings years of experience working closely with community-oriented groups, including founding five social enterprises, working and growing up in a small family business, and serving on the boards of various Vancouver organizations. These include Vancity, Vancity Capital Corporation, MEC, and the Downtown Vancouver BIA, to support my passion for helping the city’s business community thrive, innovate, and expand.

My platform brings measures to include the city’s social enterprises as small businesses, reserve and increases industrial land by expanding vertically and explore the creation of innovation corridors that support local entrepreneurship.

I understand the importance of strengthening small businesses for our economy and our communities and commit to appointing a Small Business Ombudsperson, improve affordability for workers, and streamline permitting processes to create healthy business environments.