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Art gallery, Olympic village and more touched by provincial budget

September 17th, 2009 · 16 Comments

Here’s a link to the report from Vancouver city finance guy Ken Bayne about the implications of the provincial budget for the city of Vancouver. Some of Bayne’s analysis could just as easily apply to Surrey or Coquitlam — the impact of all-day kindergarten on community centres, which may get more demand for after-school care; the hits on libraries; the HST that will be applied to some city fees.

But there are also some impacts that hit Vancouver a little harder than most. The HST on new residential units over $400,000, Bayne notes, could impact the future marketing of Olympic village condos which the city has a pretty direct interest in. The provincial budget makes no mention of the Vancouver Art Gallery or any funding for it, which will likely have an impact on whether and where the gallery moves to.  However, there is money identified for the construction of the new pre-trial centre, whichever municipality that ends up in.

The money for repairing the roof on BC Place is there, but it’s uncertain whether it will be enough to cover the full bill. The operating money for HEAT shelters continue to the end of the 2009/2010 fiscal year (that’s end of March, I believe) and the money for the first six social-housing sites is there, but there is nothing identified for the other eight until something happens with the Little Mountain redevelopment.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • Joe Just Joe

    Glad to see there is still money going into projects like 670 new curb cuts for mobility, a Bute St Greenway from Robson to Cordova, the 57 or is 59th ave bikeway, both the Trout Lake community centre as well as the new sewer over flow work, a large amount for the new VanDusen building plus numerous others. Seems like the taps aren’t too dry.

  • mezzanine

    JJJ, is there a link to any planning docs about the Bute street greenway? i can’t seem to find any…

  • Joe Just Joe

    The Bute Street Greenway provides an enhanced pedestrian connection and way-finding between Robson and Cordova Streets. The goal of the Greenway is to improve pedestrian crossings and an enhanced sidewalk environment. This project has $1.3 million in CAC funding available, total cost is $2.6Million.

    Source:
    http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20090922/documents/a8.pdf

  • Patti Bacchus

    Bayne touches on the school-related issues of universal all-day kindergarten (I say “universal” as the VSB already has dozens of all-day K classes for students in our designated “inner-city” schools) and the Neighbourhood Centres of Learning, but it’s important to note what’s included in the appended VSB memo.

    The memo suggests an almost $15 million projected budget shortfall for Vancouver’s 2010/11 school year, but that already-bleak projection is based on the optimistic assumptions that the schools’ facilities grants (that were abruptly cancelled in late August) will be fully restored and that the previously negotiated teachers’ salary increase, which will cost the district $4.8 million next year, will be funded by the province. It also assumes the province will fully fund the all-day K implementation and that we won’t have significant H1N1-related (substitute employees for those off sick?) costs. I am not convinced these are safe assumptions.

    Which means the Vancouver School Board could be facing a $30 million funding shortfall next year — added to an accumulated annual operating shortfall of over $ 40 million since 2001/02. That’s $ 5 million more than the devastating Christy Clark-era cut that led to the city-wide, pan-partisan Save our Schools Campaign. Folks who’ve been around the system since then will tell you we’ve never recovered from that cut and the smaller-but-painful ones that followed. I shudder to think of where we would possibly find $30 million to cut in order to balance the already insufficient budget.

  • Not Running for Mayor

    Rent out the school fields and buildings outside school hours, there is such a large demand for gym space in this city that it’s almost silly not to be renting that space out to leagues.
    I’m sure a lot of condo dwellers would love to be able to access school workshops and pay for that privilege. I reckon though that the supervision required would probably offset all the money raised.

  • Patti Bacchus

    The VSB has a very high rate of rentals to child care providers, community groups, teams, clubs and even church groups. We’re trying to squeeze out every bit of revenue we can and I think the one position we added this year was a rentals clerk to facilitate this.

  • Paul C

    HST will impact community/civic groups ability to provide affordable before care, after care and summer programs. Attempts to reduce program costs are stifled by the increased costs of products and services required to provide such care.

    The net result is recreation as the preserve of the haves while lower income families must settle with “dancing in the park.”

  • I like the thinking behind ‘Not Running for Mayor”s suggestion. I would also like to see ‘creative brainstorming’ sessions, organized by the city, to explore how best to reduce costs of existing operations, and to generate new revenues for many aspects of the City’s operations.

    I think that FORMER city employees and Councillors would be excellent candidates to participate in such sessions since they know the system, and may be less encumbered when it comes to making suggestions. Other creative thinkers, including some of the contributors to this blog might also want to make suggestions.

    When I was in Brussels, I noticed that in one district, the city ‘sold’ sponsorships for street signs. So a restaurant could pay to have it’s name, with a direction arrow as part of a wall mounted street sign. I’m not saying this is something that should happen in Vancouver, but it was a creative idea to generate revenues, and I am saying that there are other creative ideas to generate more revenue or make better use of existing resources.

    For example,while it won’t make me popular, I think we should extend the hours for parking meters…why should they not come into effect until 9 am, or remain in effect after 8 pm? Does Impark only operate during these hours?

    I am also convinced the city could reduce costs by relying on more third party certifications for reviewing development and building permit plans…an extension of the Certified Professional program.

    We could also save a lot of money by not requiring staff to prepare such extensive and lengthy reports, for so many matters that go to Council. Indeed, why does the finalization of a design for a single family house in a CD zone in Southlands require a 20 page staff report and have to go to Council? Because it was done in the past! And the rezoning was written that way.

    It’s crazy folks…believe me. I challenge any of you to read through the entire Council packages for the forthcoming Council meetings. (It is now all on-line). I tried one week, but it was so time consuming I eventually gave up…20 page documents to approve a road repair contract, that in my opinion should not even be coming to Council.

    (Now some of you will be really glad you didn’t vote for me….I don’t even have the patience to read the entire Council package!)

    WE COULD SAVE A LOT OF TIME AND MONEY by starting to review and change many of our existing practices. I would urge the City Manager to begin to organize such reviews with existing staff, former staff, and outside experts. I am confident that the benefits would be worth the time. And we might find more money for really important programs, like after school childcare.

  • spartikus

    Rent out the school fields and buildings outside school hours

    I guess you don’t play sports. You’ve able to do this for years.

    And haven’t you heard of the adult courses offered through the VSB? I don’t know how much of a money-maker they are, but the buildings are in use off-hours.

  • Denis

    Seems the HST is starting to worry the Apartment Owners group as they under the present RTA could not pass it along to the tenants. Expect to see Coleman making changes to the act to keep the governments friends happy. The CBC had a article on the subject in Fridays on line edition

  • Not Running for Mayor

    Spartikus,
    I do play sports, hence my knowledge at the lack of space and the need to pay enourous amounts of money at places like 8 rinks and Sportstown and still get stuck with hours where most normal people are sleeping.
    The school board has rented out their baseball pitches for years, but that’s about it. There are a few schools that have adult programs at night but that is not the norm, most of them are sitting empty every night.
    I know a lot of people that would access to workshops to work on their own stuff, not take an adult class. Imagine having access to a high schools autoshop to do stuff you wouldn’t be able to do in the parkade of your condo. Imagine being able to use an art classroom to work on a painting or pottery. Imagine using the school gym for a game of basketball in the middle of winter where all the community centres are already booked solid. There is so much potential that it boggles the mind that they are sitting there empty. It’s not like I’m asking to be able to use them for free, there are enough people out there willing to pay to use them. Let us give you our money.

  • Not Running for Mayor

    Spartikus,
    I do play sports, hence my knowledge at the lack of space and the need to pay enourous amounts of money at places like 8 rinks and Sportstown and still get stuck with hours where most normal people are sleeping.
    The school board has rented out their baseball pitches for years, but that’s about it. There are a few schools that have adult programs at night but that is not the norm, most of them are sitting empty every night.
    I know a lot of people that would access to workshops to work on their own stuff, not take an adult class. Imagine having access to a high schools autoshop to do stuff you wouldn’t be able to do in the parkade of your condo. Imagine being able to use an art classroom to work on a painting or pottery. Imagine using the school gym for a game of basketball in the middle of winter where all the community centres are already booked solid. There is so much potential that it boggles the mind that they are sitting there empty. It’s not like I’m asking to be able to use them for free, there are enough people out there willing to pay to use them. Let us give you our money.

  • “I know a lot of people that would access to workshops to work on their own stuff, not take an adult class. Imagine having access to a high schools autoshop to do stuff you wouldn’t be able to do in the parkade of your condo.”

    I imagine the liability and insurance issues would be a big stumbling block. Imagine if somebody’s insufficient mechanical ability created a situation where their faulty brake work ended up killing a passenger or pedestrian. Isn’t it very likely the school or comm. centre that allowed that individual to do the work without proper training would be named in any lawsuit? (insert “I am not a lawyer” caveat here!)

    I sure would like to see better use of the many hectares of city-owned parking spots that sit empty in our city for so many hours in the day however.

  • Not Running for mayor

    I’ll leave the liability issue to the lawyers to comment on. I don’t see an issue as a layman though, if you do a faulty job at home can you sue Canadian Tire who sold you the brake pads and the tools to do the work?

  • spartikus

    The school board has rented out their baseball pitches for years, but that’s about it.

    Except for youth soccer, touch football et al, you’re right.

    From your comment I gather you are talking about the shortage of ice-time for hockey, which is true and the stuff of legends, but the School Board doesn’t operate rinks.

    There are a few schools that have adult programs at night but that is not the norm

    There is a huge adult ed. program.

    Chris mentions the liability issue which I can see being a huge issue with the example of the autoshop.

    The fact remains is you can rent VSB facilities (PDF link) and have been able to for decades. If they’re not 100% full is more a matter of demand – it might not be as big as you think.

    All of which is to say if they can get away with it, the VSB will do it. Which is a sad comment on the level of funding for education in this province.

  • “if you do a faulty job at home can you sue Canadian Tire who sold you the brake pads and the tools to do the work?

    No more than a plaintiff can sue the LCB if you get drunk and kill someone driving home form the family picnic.

    Serve booze at a community hall however, and they will ask who has the Serving It Right certificate? Without it, no go. That’s how they cover their backside.