They’re at it again, Council is considering giving your money over to profitable corporate landlords. On September 20th, City Council will be considering whether or not to offer a subsidy to convert downtown office space into residential units. This money gets us no share in the building or say in how the units are developed; we’re just expected to give money to corporations who already have it. This corporate welfare has got to stop and the money that is being spent by our city needs to be done in the benefit of working Edmontonians. 

The current vacancy rate, which is roughly half of what Calgary’s was when they did something similar, is benefiting many non-profits and small businesses who are looking for affordable office space to rent. If these companies are allowed to rake in profits while rates are high they should also suffer the consequences when rates are low. Lower corporate profits are not the responsibility of working families. Counter to the developers opinions (found HERE) tax dollars being used for their failure to plan for any changes in the economy will not actually help. In fact, administrations research (found HERE) shows that if there is no change in the commercial real estate world at all it would take up to 125 years before we could see this hand out start to pay dividends.

While we agree that addressing safety issues downtown is an important goal and increasing the amount of people using the area is crucial in solving this, providing corporate welfare to profitable corporations is not the proper mechanism to use. The city owns office space that could be consolidated into Edmonton tower. If we are to be spending public money on bringing more people downtown it should be into the feasibility of transforming the city owned buildings where we can control the type of units created and ensure that they benefit working families.

Write your City Councillor with the tool on the side to let them know that our city should be considering all projects on the basis of how they benefit working families and not how they line the pockets of already profitable companies.