NPA should release platform costings, Councillor Louie says

Vancouver municipal election 2011: Vision Vancouver Councillor Raymond Louie offered to debate any NPA Council candidate on the cost comparison of the two party platforms today -- no one has taken him up on his offer yet.

"No one (from the NPA) has called or emailed me," said Louie. "I was hoping to give citizens an opportunity to understand their platform a bit more, but they're not willing to do that." 

“So far the NPA has refused to share the secret costing for their platform, but I think voters have a right to know exactly how and if it adds up before they go to the polls Saturday,” said Louie in a press release earlier today.

“It's simply irresponsible to put together a wish list of platform promises without giving voters and taxpayers any idea where the money would come from...I am offering to debate any of the NPA's council candidates on their plans and their numbers -- any time, any place, anywhere.”

Louie has been Chair of the City's finance committee for the last three years, guiding the City budgeting process. On Monday, Louie released Vision Vancouver's costing analysis of both the Vision and the NPA platforms.

He said that although NPA Council candidate Mike Klassen defended the NPA plan, saying it is “well-costed” and that their numbers “stand up", no one from the NPA has released the costings yet to the public. 

 

While criticizing the NPA's lack of transparency on costs, Louie drew attention to Anton's election promise of a building a streetcar system, which has been a key focus of the NPA campaign. 

"There's no money (to build the streetcars), and that's why we say it's another mega-project of the NPA that isn't well-researched," said Louie.

He said even though both the NPA and Vision Vancouver have said improved public transit on the Broadway corridor will be a priority, the streetcar initiative will significantly reduce the odds that the City can secure funding for it. 

"The NPA is indicating that they would leverage money from senior (provincial and federal) government for their streetcar, which would detract from the opportunity to attract money for the Broadway corridor," he said.

Louie also addressed a critical article by Vancouver municipal blogger Frances Bula which claimed that both Vision and NPA were giving misleading numbers on election spending. In particular, Bula highlighted Vision's promise to build 500 daycare spaces for $25 million, without including it as part of their cost. 

"The $25 million for the daycare spaces will be well within Community Amenity Contributions (CACs)," said Louie. "That's why we didn't have to cost it out. But they (the NPA) is spending five times over what's available in CACs." 

Louie said that the NPA made a large number of promises that would require funding from CACs, such as increased senior housing or rental housing, but that it was unclear how the NPA planned to pay for the costs. 

Louie said that the NPA should provide their costings to voters, and said that he would be happy to answer any questions regarding Vision Vancouver's costs. 

NPA Councillor candidate Mike Klassen has yet to respond to a request for comment. 

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