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20-hour sitting passes bill for Village bailout

Vancouver was granted borrowing authority to ensure the completion of its Olympic Village at Southeast False Creek yesterday morning, following an exhaustive 20-hour legislative sitting.

Vancouver was granted borrowing authority to ensure the completion of its Olympic Village at Southeast False Creek yesterday morning, following an exhaustive 20-hour legislative sitting.

The legislation — which amends the city’s charter, allowing it to borrow $458 million to finish the athletes’ village develop­ment without a city referendum — was introduced at noon Saturday during an extraordinary sitting of the House called specifically to pass the bill.

Debate raged through the night and Bill 47 passed unanimously just after 8:30 a.m. yesterday.

New Democrat Leader Carole James said the government was trying to avoid public scrutiny and questions by recalling the legislature on a weekend (avoiding question period) and by ramming the bill through in one sitting.

“I’m proud of the job we did,” James said.

“We used all the rules possible to keep the legislature going through the night into the early hours of the morning.”

James blasted the government for refusing to “come clean about the full cost of the Olympics” and what taxpayers “are on the hook for.”

Community Develop­ment Minister Blair Lekstrom, who introduced the bill, said the legislation will “give Vancouver the tools it needs to negotiate the best possible deals for city taxpayers.”

 
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