Advertisement

Vancouver mayor asks B.C. for $200 million to offset COVID-19 economic hit

Coronavirus concerns on the Downtown Eastside
It's one of the highest-risk communities in all of Canada, so what are the residents of the Downtown east side doing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19? Jordan Armstrong reports.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart is asking the province for an emergency grant of $200 million to help offset the likely major financial hit when the coronavirus pandemic begins to end.

Despite cost-cutting measures such as temporarily laying off 1,500 municipal employees, Stewart told a news conference on Wednesday that there is still a “serious gap” in funding at City Hall.

He said he anticipates a 50-per-cent drop in tax revenue between March and May, adding that governments cannot apply for the federal wage subsidy.

The $200-million figure is based on when government health orders and other restrictions may end.

City of Vancouver unveils measures to protect vulnerable DTES residents
City of Vancouver unveils measures to protect vulnerable DTES residents

In a worst case scenario — a recovery period stretching to end of December — Stewart said he expects a financial hit of about $189 million, equivalent to a 24-per-cent increase in property taxes.

Story continues below advertisement

“Slow economic recovery in Vancouver means slower recovery throughout B.C.,” he said.