Thursday, January 7, 2010

Counter peition and the blue bridge

Ok, so a citizen counter petition today put a stop to our borrowing bylaw to finance a new bridge. Not what we would have wanted, but a splash of cold water in the face is a good reminder of who the boss is I guess.

Still, it doesn't change the condition of our existing bridge or dull the good reasons to replace it. Guess I'll be hard at work over the next couple of months trying to wrestle with how to move forward.

Part of the problem will be that many Victorians don't want a new bridge and for them the cost and the challenges of refurbishment, and there are many, are not relevant. I'm pretty sure I can't make them happy - there will always be those who do not support decisions that pose a threat to icons of our community that they hold sacrosanct.

It's a tough one. I like the old bridge, though many of those supporting our new bridge project can't wait to get rid of it. It's a funky old piece of industrial architecture. Unfortunately, it is increasingly vulnerable to the frailties of age and serves cars and trucks almost exclusively.

There are no fixes that make the old bridge a net positive contributor to a sustainable transportation system and that has to govern my decisions on how we prepare for a future in which the threat of climate change will increasingly overshadow so many other issues.

I take the challenge of thinking globally and acting locally seriously. I have two children who will grow up to face an increasingly expensive challenge in maintaining or replacing deteriorating infrastructure and, particularly with our transportation systems and structures, design biases that discourages sustainable choices.

With 60% of our GHG emissions in Victoria coming from transportation, it is the most important target for changing behaviour, and without changing the infrastructure, we won't change peoples choices. Carrots work better than sticks.

I want a new bridge that acts as a carrot, so we aren't sticking it to cyclists and pedestrians for another 30 or 40 years. That's where I'll be spending my political capital and I guess, submitting myself for judgement.

1 comment:

  1. The problem is that council moved fast and without giving the public the information needed to be comfortable with the path you took.

    I have tried to read everything there is to do with the bridge, but either you have information I have not seen or you need to gather more information to be clear on the decision.

    I still have not see any good financial information on the costs - only early stage estimates.

    The bridge in the fly through, I do not know if the full architectural drawings been completed

    When looking at the initial report, I do not see an imminent danger of catastrophe with the bridge, I see a risk concern, but there there should be a risk concern with respect to a seismic event to a number of city buildings. I am more concerned about the Crystal Pool or Firehall 1 in an earthquake than the bridge.

    What happened to the bridge in the last ten years - in 1999 the city was told that the bridge was still good for some decades.

    I am certain that if council engages in an open and transparent consultative process with the public, you will get the buy in for the decision that meets everyone`s interests.

    Numerous people in Victoria now feel alienated from the council and feel you have something to hide. I do not come from that perspective, but hear it a lot.