Home builders join Yes side in transit tax referendum

Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association says benefits of better transportation more than offset higher sales tax costs

Bob de Wit is CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders' Association.

The Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association is the latest group to support a Yes vote in the transit and transportation referendum.

CEO Bob de Wit said that while the 0.5 per cent sales tax will add to the cost of home construction and renovation, the resulting transportation upgrades are important to the industry.

“On balance we saw it was far more beneficial than it was impactful on the cost side,” de Wit said. “It would be a huge opportunity missed if we don’t go ahead.”

Good transportation and good development are linked, he said, adding there will be more demand for a home in Langley if its buyer can get to downtown Vancouver in a reasonable amount of time.

He said it makes much more sense to spread the cost of transportation improvements across all users through the sales tax instead if on property owners through property tax.

De Wit got emails questioning the decision from a handful of the association’s 700 members. He described the opponents as “dogmatic” in their hate of TransLink and taxes generally.

The GVHBA is one of more than 110 groups across the region that are now members of the Better Transit and Transportation Coalition.

Vancouver Board of Trade CEO Iain Black, a co-chair of the coalition, said there’s “unprecedented” support for the “generational opportunity” to improve transit offered by the plebiscite.