NPA campaign promises would destabilize City's finances, Vision claims

First photo: City councillor Raymond Louie; second photo: Mayor Gregor Robertson

Vision Vancouver city councillor and finance chair Raymond Louie said today that based on his "conservative" estimate, the NPA's campaign promises would add over $100 million to the city budget.

"Provincial law requires us to balance our budget...we cannot risk the future of our finances of our city to the NPA," Louie said. He claimed NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe's plans would mean either program cuts or a tax hike. The press conference came just the day before the NPA's scheduled release of its full campaign platform tomorrow, which will have the party's own analysis of expenses. 

After brief remarks from the Mayor, Louie gave a presentation highlighting initiatives that the NPA said it would implement if elected, and spoke about potential costs. Notably, he said city-wide Wi-Fi, which LaPointe said would be put first in lower-income areas and then to the rest of Vancouver, would cost $10 million, while counterflow lanes during rush hour would cost a total of $70.8 million. As for the NPA's promise to roll back parking meters during evenings and provide free Sunday and holiday parking outside downtown, Louie warned that it could cost upwards of $7.6 million. 

"These are conservative estimates, that don't take inflation into account," Louie said. 

Once his presentation was finished, reporters bombarded Louie with questions on issues ranging from Vision's forthcoming donor list (Vision missed its self-imposed deadline over the weekend, while the Green Party and OneCity voluntarily disclosed) to CUPE 1004's decision to support to Vision. 

When asked why should the public believe these numbers and not what LaPointe will release tomorrow, and whether conflicting estimates wouldn't simply "confuse the public", Louie said his figures were based on his six years as chair of finance, and on historical costs for related programs.

As for Vision's policies, Louie said it would cost the city $1.4 million. 

The NPA was reached for comment, and said it will release detailed information about its full campaign platform tomorrow morning. 

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