NPA divided on strike refund

NPA councillors Peter Ladner and Suzanne Anton are downplaying the split vote cast by their caucus on a motion to return savings from the civic strike to homeowners in the form of reduced property taxes in 2008.

Vision Vancouver councillor Raymond Louie introduced the motion on July 24. Ladner and NPA councillor B.C. Lee voted in favour, whereas Mayor Sam Sullivan, Anton, and NPA councillors Kim Capri and Elizabeth Ball were opposed.

"I'm sure that there was a lot of hand-wringing and consternation about it on the part of the NPA," Vision Vancouver councillor Tim Stevenson told the Straight . "I'm sure Sam wouldn't be happy at all that Peter or B.C. Lee went in a different direction."

Ladner had originally proposed to have staff report back on options on how to use savings, the position supported by Sullivan, Anton, Capri, and Ball during the vote. The seven-week civic strike in 2000 generated a net savings of $1.3 million for the city, according to Louie.

Asked by the Straight about the split vote, Ladner said: "Well, in as much as we voted different ways, yes, but if you look at, if you actually follow through the debate, you'll discover that the NPA agreed on the general intent of returning money to the taxpayers. There was just some differences about which way to do it."

Anton told the Straight that Ladner's initial position of asking staff to report back on spending options "makes sense" because it's "up to us [as council] to decide how to allocate the money".

Anton described the council debate on Louie's motion as a "very academic discussion".

The NPA's split vote was the subject of a media release by Vision Vancouver the day after the council meeting.