Mayor cites Charter for denying tax break to Billy Bishop

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billybishopDespite a quick change in Vancouver’s Charter to facilitate a $458 Million Olympic Village loan, Mayor Gregor Robertson says the city can’t do the same to provide a tax break to the Billy Bishop Legion in Kitsilano. Declining membership and $20K in property taxes are threatening to close Legion Branch 176 named after a legendary World War 1 pilot.

Many other Metro Vancouver Legions already receive a tax break, but the Mayor said it’s not possible for this branch. “Vancouver’s charter doesn’t enable us to give that tax break right now,” Robertson said. But the issue might be more about money and political will than a simple question of changing the rules. “At this point the budget is very, very tight and we’re facing cutbacks right across the board, he said. “It’s a very difficult year to be considering giving people a tax break like that — as great as our Legions are.”

Legions in Burnaby, North Vancouver, New Westminster and Port Moody are exempt from city taxes. But in Vancouver exemptions are only allowed to charities, meaning the Legion technically isn’t eligible because it is a non-charitable, non-profit organization.

Looks like the Billy Bishop will need to come up with the tax money to keep its doors open.

Last modified: November 13, 2009

3 Responses to " Mayor cites Charter for denying tax break to Billy Bishop "

  1. Sully says:

    When Mayor Robertson and Vision made their push two years ago university students and hipsters signed up more then 16,000 people to make VV the largest civic political party in the lower mainland. He has embraced the olympics and has financed the village, which if you own property or a condo in this city, your taxes are going to rise. If you take the bus or the train, you are going to see the fares rise.

    My point is, is that these guys, these precious few vets, who have given everything, have spilled blood and guts in the name of Canada across Europe, Korea, Gulf War 1 and Afganistan. We cannot cut them slack where is all the other municipalities across the lower mainland have legions exempt. This legion who bares the name of Canada’s most prestigious war hero is apart of our community. Seaforth Armory is apart of our community. Maybe someone who lives in Mount Pleasant does not get it. He maybe running the city now, but the Legioners have been in it for the long haul and to lose it would be a shameful travesty. Those houses would be gone and all we would have is another brick set of condo’s. We cannot remove everything old and build everything new, because the face of this neighborhood is changing dramatically. Signs over the bridge, a possible concrete metal walking bridge which from what I can tell resembles the port man.

    Give the little guys a break and change the rules.

  2. Kerry says:

    We are regulars at the Billy and every year they have to put on extra events (all through volunteer efforts) to pay this property tax bill. And every year the Billy is in danger of closing, even though all the members and local community come together to save the day…..again. It’s a crazy situation – they should be exempt from paying the 20K property tax because they shouldn’t still be “fighting” for what they believe in.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This crap makes me angry that our Veterans are close to losing a spot were they can be with each other for some good times.These people have represented our country in the highest manner that a human being can. They chose to fight and possibly die for our great country of Canada. And all the ideals that this country is founded on are slowly being washed away. Makes me sick that we fund sites like Safe Injection and fund 110 million dollar study on homelessness and we can not as a society find 20,000 or give them a property tax break to a generation that sacrificed so much and has paid the bulk of the taxes over the years shame on Vancouver council.