#LongLivetheRio Petition To Waive the BC Property Transfer Tax

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Calling all Rio Theatre friends and supporters! We're launching a letter writing campaign to ask the Provincial Government to waive the Property Transfer tax to help reduce the cost of buying the property by the completion date on August 31st.

The Vancouver Art House Society will be the largest shareholder of the Rio property, a non profit society with a mandate to help save Arts and Culture spaces in Vancouver. The City has already approved a $375K grant for the Society to help save the Rio and they have also applied for a matching Federal Grant.  Plus Vancity has approved an increased mortgage if needed to complete the purchase. With the help of the grant from the City and the increased mortgage from Vancity we have raised the $7.5 million needed to buy the property! 

We are extremely grateful for this support, but so far we haven't received any response from the Provincial government.

To help us Save the Rio the non profit society has asked for an exemption from the increased Property Transfer Tax imposed by the Provincial Government. PPT is a one time tax that is owed when you transfer the land title from the previous owner to the new owner. This tax has been increased recently by the Provincial Government in an attempt to reduce the buying and "flipping" of properties.

We feel that since The Vancouver Art House Society is purchasing The Rio Theatre property, with the help of the community, to save it from demolition and ensuring it lives on as a cultural institution, it would be helpful if the Province could assist us. With a premium purchase price of $7.5 million that was set by developers, the PPT comes to an additional $207,000 on top of the purchase price. If the Province were to grant the Society an exemption from paying the PPT it would be a huge relief for all the hard work and contributions made by the community to save the theatre and perhaps this approach could be used to help save other Cultural venues in the Province.  

To achieve this goal we are asking supporters of the Rio to join us in our letter writing campaign to ask the Provincial Government to waive the PPT for the purchase of The Rio Theatre property. We saved the Rio with the help of over 30,000 contributors. We know that the support of our community is strong.

Please lend your voice to help protect arts and culture in Vancouver.

Just copy and paste the letter below and send it to:

Carole James: 
carole.james.MLA@leg.bc.ca ,  FIN.Minister@gov.bc.ca

Lisa Beare:

August 20th, 2018

Hello Carole James Minister of Finance and Lisa Beare Minister of Arts and Culture,

As you know, over the last six months, the community has come together to help save The Rio Theatre from being sold to developers who want to tear it down. 
The outpouring of support has been overwhelming: over $500,000 was donated by more than 5,000 members of the community, and private investors, big and small, have stepped up to save The Rio. Vancity credit union came through, approving a $4,250,000 mortgage. Members of the cultural community came together to form the Vancouver Art House Society, which will oversee donations to help buy The Rio property and see that a legacy will continue to help save other cultural spaces in East Vancouver. 

On July 31st, 2018, the City of Vancouver stepped up with approval of a $375,000 grant to the Vancouver Art House Society, and the Mayor proclaiming #SaveTheRio week. The society is also in advanced discussions with the federal government for funding support to match the City grant through the Canadian Cultural Services Fund.

The B.C. Provincial government now has a great opportunity to help finalize the sale. As successful as the campaign has been, there is very little margin for error and the province’s Property Transfer Tax (PTT), especially after the recent increase, has proved to be a financial stumbling block. With a purchase price of $7.5 million on the property, the amount that The Rio and the Vancouver Art House Society would need to raise to pay the PTT to the province would be $207,000.
I would like to add my voice to those calling for the B.C. provincial government to make an exemption to the PTT to help save The Rio. Such a waiver is a suitable proxy for more direct forms of funding being proposed by the City of Vancouver and the federal government, and would allow the province of B.C. to play an important supporting role in protecting this vital arts and culture space for the community.

This has been such a huge team effort to save the theatre, which is beloved by the community, and it would be incredible if there is a way the Province could help Save The Rio! We have over 30,000 supporters in this campaign, and they would all be very grateful for your support.

Thank you in advance for your consideration,

Concerned citizen and supporter of The Rio Theatre