Victoria councillor considers refurbishment of Johnson Street Bridge

Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt wonders if continuing with the new bridge is such a good idea, after news of more delays and more money.

More money and more time are on the agenda for the Johnson Street Bridge project yet again.

One Victoria councillor wonders if that time and money would be better spent on refurbishing the existing bridge.

“What magnitude of cost overruns will the council be prepared to accept? Because there’s going to be a price point where refurbishment may actually be a viable option,” said Coun. Ben Isitt. “If we start getting into a discussion of the tens of millions of dollars, at some point, taking a look at refurbishing the asset we have might be a financially responsible option.”

Mayor Lisa Helps, other councillors and project manager Jonathan Huggett, disagreed, saying the project is much too far along at this point to abandon it.

“We are, like it or not, a significant way down the road,” said Huggett. “We have a contract with PCL and we have a contract with MMM, and we are not wanting to break any of those contracts, because there would be significant consequences. We have no grounds to break contracts right now.”

Isitt questioned whether or not continuing to increase the budget is a good idea.

“It is very far along, and I think the preferred option is to complete the project within the available budget, but what I’m hearing from our staff is that there’s not enough room in the budget.”

The original contingency budget for the bridge was $2.4 million, four per cent of the total project.

Staff brought a recommendation to council on Thursday for them to consider increasing the contingency budget, which Helps said she thought was too little all along.

“I’m sure the original contingency budget wasn’t high enough, and that was one of my main reasons initially for voting against the contract,” she said. “But I’m also not interested in looking backward.”

Helps said this project is much too far along to stop now.

“It’s not a matter of opinion, it’s a matter of fact,” she said. “There’s no turning back unfortunately. My job is to try and steward this project to completion for better or for worse.”

In an effort to find any possible cost savings, Isitt recommended an amendment that staff prepare a report bringing forward options for council’s consideration to increase the project’s contingency and/or reduce costs, which council passed.

“If we’re going to be asked to increase the budget, we also want to know where there are opportunities going forward for cost savings,” said Helps.

City manager Jason Johnson said those options for cost savings are “rather limited.”

Regardless, Isitt said his top priority is containing the cost of the bridge.

The report outlining the extra money needed for the contingency budget along with any possible opportunities for savings will be given to council at the end of February.

In the meantime, fabrication of the steel for the bridge is not slated to recommence until March 2015, and is tentatively scheduled to be shipped to Victoria in March 2016. This puts the targeted completion date at January 2017, a 10-month delay.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Food trucks will be allowed to operate in several Sooke parks beginning May 1. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke’s food truck pilot project under scrutiny

Councillor questions impact food trucks will have on nearby restaurants

A walk for autism awareness. (Black Press Media file photo)
COLUMN: Autism acceptance, not autism awareness

Elizabeth Sparling is the mother of a 24-year-old son with Autism Spectrum Disorder

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
PHOTOS: Vehicle driven into Saanich Walmart removed after two trapped workers rescued

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Tons of bottles were donated during bottle drives in Sooke and Langford on March 27. The funds raised from the drives will help a local family stay with their daughter during her leukemia treatments in Vancouver. (Photos: Glendora Scarfone)
Sooke, Langford bottle drives help cover family’s costs of staying with daughter during cancer treatments

More than $11,900 raised to help Shae Hanilton’s family stay with her in Vancouver

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Organ donation form from BC Transplant. (BC Transplant)
POLL: Have you registered as an organ donor?

They number 1.5 million strong and growing. But their numbers still fall… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 6

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Most Read