We are excited to add this electronic service to help the Edmonton CRE community stayed informed about BOMA advocacy, luncheons, networking and educational events. This eNewsletter will be sent out quarterly and we invite you to become a regular reader of the publication and solicit your input for articles or information you would like to see featured.
BOMA Edmonton was established in 1982 with a handful of members when Edmonton’s population stood at 551,000 people. Those founding member organizations saw the value in BOMA’s tenets of advocacy, professional development and networking. Currently, with north of 1 million people in Edmonton Metro, BOMA Edmonton with over 360 corporate members is one of 11 locals in BOMA Canada and one of 18 countries that are affiliated with the 96 local associations in BOMA International. Collectively, BOMA Canada’s 3100 members manage over 2.1 billion square feet of commercial real estate. Today, over 90% of Edmonton’s office space and between 70% and 80% of non-owner occupied retail and industrial space is owned or managed by BOMA Edmonton members. And a 2015 BOMA Edmonton study on The Economic Impact of Commercial Real Estate in Edmonton revealed that CRE contributed $6.2 Billion to the City’s GDP.
Governed by a Volunteer Board of 14 Directors, BOMA had over 170 opportunities for members to connect in 2016. With a total of 5,700 registrations for luncheons, professional development and educational offerings, industry breakfasts, building tours, connecting events, the Awards Gala and of course the ever-popular Golf Tournament, BOMA’s staff of 2.5 were kept very busy. On top of that, over 80 volunteers participating in 15 committees attended north of 75 meetings to carry out the Board’s Strategic Plan of being … Edmonton’s voice of commercial real estate.
Some of our recent advocacy activities include:
We look forward to coming editions and providing you with the latest and greatest in commercial real estate information.
We’re here to help you so please feel free to contact me or anyone else at the BOMA Office.
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Accounting & Administration
As many BOMA Edmonton members will know, the provincial government has been going through the process of reviewing the Municipal Government Act (MGA) for about five years, moving towards making major changes greatly impacting the municipality’s ability to tax, conduct planning and development, implement cost recoveries, make infrastructure changes and more.
What many BOMA members may not know is BOMA Edmonton along side BOMA Calgary has ensured it has been at the forefront of the changes to the MGA from the very beginning as the voice of the commercial real estate industry. “The MGA is the second largest piece of legislation next to the Health Act in Alberta,” says Anthony Patenaude, a member of the BOMA Edmonton Board of Directors. “It is the piece of legislation that provides municipalities with all their governing authorities, and commercial real estate is significantly impacted by the MGA. Everything from taxation to planning and development all comes out of that Act, so it’s very important to us as an industry.”
In fact, BOMA Edmonton worked very hard to establish themselves as a resource and a collaborator with respect to the review of the MGA, which is now called the Modernized Municipal Government Act (MMGA). “We spent a great deal of time not only meeting directly with Municipal Affairs, but also meeting a number of MLA’s and working with municipalities who are already familiar with us so that we could establish ourselves as an entity that should have a voice, and that should be the voice of commercial real estate,” says Patenaude.
After a lengthy consultation period initially, BOMA was invited to be part of the MGA Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) two years ago. “This is a very select group of industry and municipality representatives who are meeting quarterly with Municipal Affairs to identify concerns, talk about issues, attempt to resolve issues between municipalities and industry as needed, and ultimately provide guidance for this MMGA,” says Patenaude, adding there are only four or five industry representatives guiding the MGA changes.
Through that process, BOMA has had a direct seat at the Stakeholder Advisory Committee table and have worked very diligently on behalf of members to ensure the voice of industry has been heard.
After round two of the amendments were passed by the Legislature in December 2016, BOMA subsequently spent the last eight months pouring over those details and those regulations to ensure BOMA members are being acknowledged through the process.
“It’s been a very challenging process” says Patenaude. “We’ve had some big wins, but there have also been some areas where our concerns have not been acknowledged.”
The last round of draft regulations were recently released in August 2017, and BOMA is currently working through those, particularly in the areas concerning assessment and taxation guidelines, which would have some of the greatest impacts on the industry.
In addition, the cities of Edmonton and Calgary have been working with the province for the last two years to develop a Charter Cities Act (CCA). This Act would allow Edmonton and Calgary to have extraordinary powers over and above the MGA, particularly as it relates to taxation and planning, as well as the ability to generate revenue.
“This Act is not just about taxation, but instituting all sorts of levies and tolls,” says Patenaude. The CCA enables the cities to modify or replace provisions of the MGA or any other provincial Act or regulation, as specified by the province. The cities will not be given cart blanche, municipal public engagement processes, such as public hearings prior to passing bylaws, will still be in place. The act is intended to “modernize processes, remove obstacles to innovation and efficiency, provide greater autonomy for administrative decision-making, and ensure appropriate accountability mechanisms are in place,” as stated in the City Charters Overview Package.
So far the Act has mostly flown under the radar of regular taxpayers, with very little full mainstream media press, even though the first round of amendments were made in March 2015 and the final round were made this past August.
The CCA regulations were just released, and BOMA Edmonton is actively engaged in the consultation process for this Act as well. “We don’t have a seat the table - no one does except for the City and Municipal Affairs. We’re simply part of the consultation,” says Patenaude. The province’s intent is to have the CCA in place for the municipal elections set to happen this fall. The timing for this is incredibly tight, and this is quite unprecedented, says Patenaude. “The average citizen has no idea what’s about to hit them if this CCA gets rushed through in time for the election. To put things into perspective, there are a number of other cities in Canada which are charter cities such as Toronto and Vancouver. Vancouver, for example, now charges a significant per litre tax on gasoline for a transit levy, and Edmonton and Calgary could do the exact same thing.” Other changes could include toll roads, and placing additional taxes on vacant land and derelict buildings, says Patenaude. “Some things are good, other things are scary,” he admits.
“This Act is coming very quickly. The regulations were released in late August and there’s a 60 day consultation period. The intent is to have these regulations in place in time for the fall election. We are currently working on providing an industry response to that as well.”
You can learn more details on the changes to the MMGA by visiting https://mgareview.alberta.ca/whats-changing.