The Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce issued two statements June 28.
Executive director Scott Wheatley wanted to talk taxes, while advocacy chair and vice president Rebecca Smith wanted to talk Canada Day.
In a statement sent out via email to members of the Chamber, Wheatley led with his concern for the “excessive” taxes members of the Chamber are facing.
“Members of the Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce are facing huge increases in commercial property taxes in 2021,” Wheatley wrote. “These taxes surpass inflation and can only be described as excessive.”
Wheatley said in a recent membership survey, 80 per cent of respondents said their taxes went up by 25 per cent over last year. He said 60 per cent are facing increases of more than 40 per cent.
“This translates into tens of thousands of dollars for companies just starting to see recovery from the pandemic,” Wheatley said. “We urge the City of Surrey to find a compromise to these punishing increases.”
Smith took the opportunity to make a statement about Canada Day.
“Canada–like a human being–is not all one thing. It is not all evil and not all good; to view it in such dichotomous terms is naïve and disingenuous. And that, just as a human learns as it grows and experiences things, Canada must learn too.”
Smith said the Chamber will be observing Canada Day as an opportunity to grieve the past, but also to learn from it.
“We must acknowledge that atrocities have been committed, we must atone for it, and we must learn that the Indigenous people of Canada, their cultures, their nations, and their rights must be respected.”
Smith encouraged Chamber members, and everyone in the communities of Cloverdale, Clayton, and Campbell Heights, to use July 1 to “grieve, learn, and commit to doing what is right, what is needed to address the continuing systemic racism and inequities.”