Crime, housing prices, red tape among top concerns for Vancouver businesses: poll

With B.C. civic elections coming this fall, a new poll suggests businesses are fed up with red tape and policies put in by city councils.

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade conducted the poll among its members. CEO Bridgette Anderson says 50 per cent of those asked say facing roadblocks put in place by civic policies is their number one concern about running their business.

“At a time when businesses are coming out of a really challenging period due to the pandemic, it’s clear that we need policies in place to support these businesses and not actually throwing up roadblocks to make it even more difficult for them to succeed,” she explained.

However, she believes City of Vancouver staff “have made progress.”

“They have a taskforce on permitting and things have improved in some areas … But businesses are saying much more needs to be done. It needs to be easier to deal with municipalities, the costs need to come down, and delays on things like permitting need to go away.”

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The poll suggests 44 per cent of businesses say crime and public safety are the top issues they’re dealing with.

“[It’s] really something that’s fairly new from our members. it had been ranked previously, but not as high as we’re ranking it right now,” Anderson said.

Vancouver police have said they’ve been dealing with a rise in crime compared to pre-pandemic levels.

“To be clear, these are complex issues, when it comes to homelessness and crime and public safety. And a lot of different levels of government need to come to the table,” Anderson added.

According to the survey, 83 per cent of respondents think Metro Vancouver’s housing prices have had an impact on their ability to recruit and retain employees.

“When we asked our members what they’re thinking about for the future, about two-thirds said they’re very concerned about affordability going forward and … the high cost of doing business in the region.”

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