This Saturday (September 23), independent Vancouver city council candidate Jean Swanson is taking her campaign to the most expensive house in Vancouver.
According to a media release, Swanson and supporters will meet outside Lululemon founder Chip Wilson’s home on Point Grey Road and there make the case for a “mansion tax”.
“Rents have increased 20% in the past year,” the media release begins. “Homelessness has skyrocketed since 2001 when the provincial government cut taxes for the rich and services for the rest of us. Meanwhile the property tax rate has decreased to less than half of 2001 levels, including for luxury properties like Chip Wilson’s $75 million mansion—the most expensive home in Vancouver.”
In 2017, Wilson’s waterfront home was assessed at $75.82 million.
That means that this year he’ll pay $95,604.97 in taxes to the city plus $98,109.35 to the province and to the regional Metro Vancouver governing body.
That's a total of $193,714.32. It equates to 0.26 percent of the property’s assessed value.
Swanson’s release doesn’t say how much she believes her proposed mansion tax should come out to.
It does, however, suggest where money collected from higher taxes on the wealthy should go: to lower-income earners who could benefit from financial support for housing.
“We need to build 2,138 modular homes, as well as social and cooperative housing for the 18,000 Vancouverites spending over 50% of their income on rent,” the release states. “One way to help us do that is by instituting a Mansion Tax.”
For decades, Swanson has focused on affordable housing, renters’ rights, and improved conditions for the homeless, especially in the Downtown Eastside. In 2016, Ottawa recognized her work and awarded her the country’s highest civilian honour, the Order of Canada.
Swanson is competing for a council seat that was left vacant in July when Vision’s Geoff Meggs resigned to take a job in the new NDP premier’s office.
The by-election is scheduled for October 14.