Johnson Street Bridge

August 26, 2009 at 1:03 am 3 comments

I attended a meeting of the JohnsonStreetBridge.org group tonight. Headed by Ross Crockford, Yule Heibel and Mat Wright, they offer sober second thought regarding the rush to replace the venerable and iconic Johnson Street Bridge. You can read more about the meeting by reading the live blog record at the site:

http://johnsonstreetbridge.org/

Ross brought up some questions the City will need to answer. Like why hasn’t the heritage assessment been made public? Why hasn’t the cost of rehabilitating the existing bridge been broken down separate from the total cost? How realistic is the construction timeline? Will it be completed before March 31, 2011 when the government funding turns into a pumpkin? In that scenario, will Victoria have to pay back the two-thirds cost? Would taxpayers be on the hook for the entire $63+ million? Why wasn’t this payback scenario explained in the Spring when Victoria applied for the grant?

The City is going full-steam-ahead on this project despite the lack of public consultation. Recall that the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre went to a referendum and that a simple cookie-cutter arena that cost half of what the bridge is supposed to cost. Recall also that the arena went way over budget and was months overdue.

Entry filed under: architecture, City Hall, urban design, Victoria's economy.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Yule Heibel  |  August 26, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Thanks for coming to last night’s meeting, Rob! We did a head-count and there were 48 people in attendance.

    One small favor: can you change the link in your post to direct people directly to the blog post that has the CoverItLive re-blog? The link is
    http://johnsonstreetbridge.org/?p=437

    Thanks!
    It’s kinda hard to find otherwise… ;-)

    Reply
  • 2. robertrandall  |  August 26, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Thanks, Yule, I fixed it.

    Ross emphasized some sobering points. Notably for me was the “fish window” which I assumed was a calendar time period but now I fear is based on observation. This could really destroy the timeline.

    However, IF the grants are awarded I can see a lot of wiggle room in the wording that would save the grant. For one, they ensure the bulk of the money was given to the contractor at the deadline to claim the grant was substantially spent within the time period. And what do they mean by substantially completed? Percentage of the schedule? Or visually complete? The SOFM arena *looked* substantially complete at one point yet there was months of interior finishing left to do. I could see the basic bridge roadbed being in place by 2011 and the various levels of government calling that good enough in order to avoid scandal, especially if there were an election looming.

    Reply
  • 3. robertrandall  |  September 2, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Some clarification from the City: The fish window is a fixed calendar time frame and will not be changed. The City says the bridge will be open for traffic by the deadline so that would likely meet the grant requirements for substantial completeness.

    Reply

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