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Discovery Centre rolls into Capstone


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The City of Red Deer, Land & Economic Development team publicly launched a real estate presentation centre for the Capstone community redevelopment program. The presentation centre has been designed specifically to educate and engage Red Deerians and Central Albertans on the vision of the community and its importance to the vitality and sustainability of downtown Red Deer. The opening marks a new era in the transformation of the area into a master planned urban village in the heart of downtown Red Deer.

While traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ real estate centres are still common practice in community development, The City of Red Deer took a more innovative approach to sharing the vision of the Capstone redevelopment, by converting a decommissioned transit bus into a discovery centre.

Named the Capstone Discovery Bus, the mobile real estate centre allows The City a unique opportunity to travel throughout Red Deer and into smaller areas to broaden interest for and educate on the community vision. Civic celebrations, annual festivals and cultural performances will be regular stops when the bus is not at its main stop near Canada 150 Square inside Capstone.

“Having a community presentation centre that engages and educates the public is a vital part of real estate development as it supports storytelling, which ultimately affects a buying decision,” said Mayor Ken Johnston. “It gives future residents and real estate prospects a sampling of how the community will look, feel, and behave. Importantly, it addresses how the community will meet the needs of its residents.”

Capstone is quite unique in its design and development intentions and represents a new type of community for Red Deer. The vision for Capstone is a mixed use, multi-family community in which 5,000 residents will one day live in some 2,000 condominiums, apartments, and townhomes. Its’ location on the Red Deer River, west of the downtown, means Capstone is both a prime riverside address and an accessible city home.

“The success of the Capstone redevelopment program underpins the future health and vitality of our downtown core,” City Manager, Tara Lodewyk. ‘Our city is expected to grow by approximately 20,000 new residents over the next 10-12 years and accommodating some of this population growth in Capstone is good news for our downtown businesses and services. We have planned for the highest and best use of the lands in Capstone to accommodate for our growth.”

City Manager Tara Lodewyk joins Mayor Johnston and Councillors Buruma, Dawe, and Lee at Capstone Discovery Bus Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The interior spaces and displays of the remodeled city bus have been meticulously designed to portray the Capstone vision. Within its tiny 280 square foot footprint, the Capstone Discover Bus allows visitors to experience a typical day-in-the-community. An urban condo, a brew pub, a micro grocery store, and a mini park space all come together to describe the personality and built form of the neighbourhood. A 3-D model, depicting the community at full build-out, will be delivered digitally and will orient the visitor to the lands of Capstone, while highlighting the future density ambitions and design aesthetic.

Extensive research was done on the wants and needs of the future resident, and young working professionals and older adults have identified as most interested in calling Capstone home. With nearby retail services and amenities, including an expanded regional hospital, the future Capstone citizen is seeking a community which not only satisfies their social and recreational needs but also offers beautifully appointed and designed homes.

The Capstone Discovery Bus is free of charge to the public and is open 12 – 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday and on holiday Mondays. No reservation is needed; the public is invited to find us in Capstone and throughout the downtown core this summer. Follow us at #liveincapstone.

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New capital gains hike won’t work as claimed but will harm the economy

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From the Fraser Institute

By Alex Whalen and Jake Fuss

Capital taxes are among the most economically-damaging forms of taxation precisely because they reduce the incentive to innovate and invest.

Amid a federal budget riddled with red ink and tax hikes, the Trudeau government has increased capital gains taxes. The move will be disastrous for Canada’s growth prospects and its already-lagging investment climate, and to make matters worse, research suggests it won’t work as planned.

Currently, individuals and businesses who sell a capital asset in Canada incur capital gains taxes at a 50 per cent inclusion rate, which means that 50 per cent of the gain in the asset’s value is subject to taxation at the individual or business’ marginal tax rate. The Trudeau government is raising this inclusion rate to 66.6 per cent for all businesses, trusts and individuals with capital gains over $250,000.

The problems with hiking capital gains taxes are numerous.

First, capital gains are taxed on a “realization” basis, which means the investor does not incur capital gains taxes until the asset is sold. According to empirical evidence, this creates a “lock-in” effect where investors have an incentive to keep their capital invested in a particular asset when they might otherwise sell.

For example, investors may delay selling capital assets because they anticipate a change in government and a reversal back to the previous inclusion rate. This means the Trudeau government is likely overestimating the potential revenue gains from its capital gains tax hike, given that individual investors will adjust the timing of their asset sales in response to the tax hike.

Second, the lock-in effect creates a drag on economic growth as it incentivises investors to hold off selling their assets when they otherwise might, preventing capital from being deployed to its most productive use and therefore reducing growth.

And Canada’s growth prospects and investment climate have both been in decline. Canada currently faces the lowest growth prospects among all OECD countries in terms of GDP per person. Further, between 2014 and 2021, business investment (adjusted for inflation) in Canada declined by $43.7 billion. Hiking taxes on capital will make both pressing issues worse.

Contrary to the government’s framing—that this move only affects the wealthy—lagging business investment and slow growth affect all Canadians through lower incomes and living standards. Capital taxes are among the most economically-damaging forms of taxation precisely because they reduce the incentive to innovate and invest. And while taxes on capital do raise revenue, the economic costs exceed the amount of tax collected.

Previous governments in Canada understood these facts. In the 2000 federal budget, then-finance minister Paul Martin said a “key factor contributing to the difficulty of raising capital by new start-ups is the fact that individuals who sell existing investments and reinvest in others must pay tax on any realized capital gains,” an explicit acknowledgement of the lock-in effect and costs of capital gains taxes. Further, that Liberal government reduced the capital gains inclusion rate, acknowledging the importance of a strong investment climate.

At a time when Canada badly needs to improve the incentives to invest, the Trudeau government’s 2024 budget has introduced a damaging tax hike. In delivering the budget, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said “Canada, a growing country, needs to make investments in our country and in Canadians right now.” Individuals and businesses across the country likely agree on the importance of investment. Hiking capital gains taxes will achieve the exact opposite effect.

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Doubling Down on Missing the Mark

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By Chris Gardner

President, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association

Earlier this year, public opinion research company Leger published the results of a nationwide poll. One result stood out: 70 per cent of Canadians agreed with the statement: “It feels like everything is broken in this country right now.”

To young people, families and business owners struggling to buy or stay in a home, find a doctor, pay for gas and groceries, hire people, worried about how unsafe our streets have become, or having to navigate a never-ending web of red tape to get projects approved, a deep sense of helplessness has set in.

Over the past few years, Canada’s long slow decline has become the subject of an avalanche of scrutiny and by every measure of social well-being and economic competitiveness, Canada is coming up short among its global peers. Canada’s ability to generate opportunities and long-term prosperity for its people is now at serious risk.

But anyone reading the 9th budget of the Trudeau Government looking for some relief from the big challenges that Canadian families and entrepreneurs are facing, will come away sorely disappointed.

It seems that every day there is a new report telling Canadians what they already know – buying or staying in a home has never been harder in this country. Just last week, RBC reported that it is the ‘toughest time ever’ to afford a home and that the share of household income needed to cover ownership costs is now 64% in Canada and an almost inconceivable 106% in Vancouver and 85% in Toronto.

CMHC estimates that we need to build 800,000 homes a year between now and 2030 to meet demand, while CIBC says it’s closer to 1 million. Keep in mind that in 2023 we built about 230,000 new homes.

With the shortage of people across every part of our economy now acute, a central question asked by many is ‘who will build all these homes?’. Our labour markets are undergoing a seismic shift – absent immigration, our population is flat-lining and will start to decline. Indeed, in B.C., in 2022, for the first time ever, natural births exceeded natural deaths – and it happened again last year.

Part of the answer is immigration. However, our immigration system is failing us. Last year we added a city the size of Calgary to our national population, and we are on track to do the same in 2024. Two major challenges have emerged. First, we have failed miserably to assess the skills gaps in our economy – doctors, nurses, technicians, teachers and trades workers – and attract them to Canada. Case in point: only 2% of all permanent immigrants in 2023 will pursue a career in the construction trades. Second, the torrid pace of our population growth is crushing affordability and overwhelming the infrastructure in our major centres. In 2021 there was a total of 1.3MN non-permanent residents in Canada; today we have 2.6MN. We must find a better balance – attract the people with the right skills to power our economy and in numbers that our schools, hospitals, transit systems and housing stock can reasonably absorb.

Canada has a remarkable competitive advantage in its natural resources – energy and minerals in abundance and in high demand. And, harnessing them provides some of the highest paying jobs in the country. Budget 2024 offered barely a passing reference to this enormous potential for Canada. No one should be surprised. Leaders from Germany, Japan and Greece have visited Canada and received the diplomatic equivalent of a cold shoulder at the suggestion that Canada supply their economies with much needed energy. One federal minister stated that Ottawa is ‘not interested in funding LNG projects.’ He missed the point completely – no one was asking Ottawa to fund anything; they simply want Ottawa to get out of the way.

Finally, last year, the CD Howe Institute reported that for every dollar that an American business spends on training, technology and capital – the essential ingredients for innovation – a Canadian company invests 58 cents. Business investment in Canada from 2015 to 2023 ranked 44 out of the 47 most advanced economies, according to the OECD. This matters because the more innovative Canadian firms, the more they spend on upskilling their people and on adopting new technology, the more they can increase the size of paycheques for workers. Canada’s lagging productivity is to the point where the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada said, “You know those signs that say, ‘In an emergency, break the glass?’ Well, it’s time to break the glass.”

After reading the budget it’s hard not to come away with the feeling that Canada is not a serious country, and the Trudeau Government is incapable of addressing the big challenges facing the country.

Why do so many people feel like everything in this country is broken? Because so much is breaking all around us.

Chris Gardner is the President and CEO of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association.

The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA), the largest construction association in Canada, represents more than 4,000 members and clients. ICBA is one of the leading independent providers of group health and retirement benefits in Canada, supporting nearly 170,000 Canadians, and the single largest sponsor of trades apprentices in B.C. ICBA is Merit Canada’s affiliate in B.C. and Alberta.

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