Most of us are aware that homelessness is not just a local or provincial problem. It is a national problem. The CVRD non-binding referendum, to take place in the November election, is to determine if the general public wants the property taxpayers to resolve this problem by increasing property taxes.
No doubt the non-property owners will say “yes, make the property owners pay”.
Should a non-property owner have a say in how much to tax property owners? Targeting only one sector of society to pay the cost to resolve an unfortunate problem, that all society must solve, is discrimination. According to a recent article by Mr. Roger Albert, subsidized housing already exists. If so, then this proposal is redundant.
The CVRD and now the City of Courtenay appear to have their hearts in the right place. However, this is a Canada-wide problem, one that should apply to a broader population. Instead, perhaps they could consider joining all municipalities and their respective provincial governments to lobby the federal government to resolve it. All taxpayers would then be contributing towards this issue, not just property owners.
If the result of this referendum is positive, we are a caring community but it will be the property owners funding the resulting service and will face ever-increasing taxes based on the proposed sliding scale. A dangerous precedent is being set by this referendum (non-binding or not). As well, can you imagine the bureaucracy involved if each municipality governs and administers their own homeless issue? Will the money actually get to those who need it?
Higher level governments should not be allowed to download problems that are truly within their mandate. This is clearly a federal issue and should not be left to each individual municipality to ask the property owners to pay through increased property tax.