Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Myth busters and missing links . . .



















In the wake of a convenient “release” of information about costs of the new bridge, some of the facts missing in the story line may help to paint a more complete picture than that offered by those with a more pointed political agenda.

Today’s big myth:
There was never a $35 to $45 million dollar project.  Those figures were provided in the condition assessment completed six years ago, proposing a notional budget for a drab, off the shelf bridge to replace the existing structure.  The report spelled out, by the way, that the numbers provided should not be used for budgeting purposes.

Council of the day chose a more complete project – one that included on deck bike lanes, an expanded bridge to accommodate the Galloping Goose trail, another, fixed bridge connection to link the Goose to and from the new E&N rail trail, a cantilevered sidewalk to provide better levels of service for pedestrians and those with mobility challenges, and a road realignment to dispense with the “S” curve, which generated an average of 40 reportable collisions a year. 

Council also looked for a project that would allow the current bridge to remain open until completion of the new crossing to keep traffic of all sorts flowing between downtown and points west, critical to the health of the city’s economy.  One could imagine that those choices would provide a rather different cost picture than those thumbnail estimates.

Journalists covering the story or provincial ministers privy to any city request for funding might have been at least exposed to those rather different project scenarios, even if the implications didn’t sink in.  Self-inflicted forgetfulness is always a good strategy, I suppose, but the facts have been there all along.

Council also responded to the less than enthusiastic public response to creating a replica of a cookie cutter highway interchange with a structure that would provide a more aesthetic gateway to bookend the city’s harbour.  Past generations of city builders did as much for our heritage; we owe it to future generations not to devalue our city by dropping big box suburban sensibilities into the heart of Victoria.

That project concept, at the very least, was very clearly presented to the public, vigorously challenged by those attached to the old bridge, and, despite protestations to the contrary, Victorians had their say, and voted their approval in a referendum by a substantial margin.  The former Minister, to be fair, lives far enough away from the bridge that she wouldn’t have a had a vote to cast in that referendum, so perhaps wasn’t paying attention to the details presented to those who did.

More myth busting to follow.  Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Yes or No for sewage surcharge on summer water use

    This is not a complicated question - it requires just a "yes" or "no" answer. A "Yes" answer will win my vote. The question is:

    If you are elected to Victoria City Council, will you support a motion to levy the City and CRD sewage charges only on winter time water usage (like Saanich does) and not on our year-round water usage (including water used for gardens and lawns in the summer) as is now done by the City?

    Background: The city currently adds both its own and the CRD's sewage treatment surcharges to every drop of water we use throughout the year, including all the water that we use on our lawns and gardens over the summer.

    see:http://www.victoria.ca/EN/main/departments/finance/property-taxes-utilities/utilities.html

    The city imposes this year-round water use surcharge even though the outdoor watering that Victoria gardeners do in the summer puts no demand on our current (or any future) sewage treatment system, and actually helps recharge groundwater aquifers. Saanich, by comparison, realizes that it is unfair to put a sewage tax on summertime, outdoor watering, and instead bases its sewage treatment surcharges only on winter (indoor) water use.

    see: http://www.saanich.ca/services/utilities/utilitybill.html

    The City claims that billing Victoria gardeners for summer use is a so-called "best practice" though they give no rational for imposing this sewage surcharge on what is basically agricultural irrigation.

    see: http://www.victoria.ca/EN/main/departments/finance/property-taxes-utilities/utilities.html

    So, as I said, a simple question. Yes, you support removing the surcharge for summer water use, or No, you don't support a surcharge similar to that now levied by our neighbour to the north, Saanich?

    Graydon Gibson
    1027 Chamberlain Street

    ReplyDelete