Bridge decision best given bad situation

Groans came from city taxpayers at news the estimated cost for the Johnson Street Bridge project had jumped by more than $15 million.

Groans came from city taxpayers and some councillors last week at news the estimated cost for the Johnson Street Bridge project had jumped by more than $15 million.

We don’t blame people for getting bent out of shape about the cost hike, especially when residents voted for a new bridge they thought was costing $77 million.

But there was good reason to bump the cost estimate for the bridge project up by a factor of 20 per cent.

Such factors as moving the Telus wiring duct under the old bridge, the requirement for a more detailed geophysical survey of the seabed, the contaminated soil disposition and the archaeological monitoring of the project by First Nations are aspects with floating costs.

The question is, could such extra costs have been anticipated before the referendum by either the city, or the company overseeing the project, MMM Group?

Perhaps. From the public’s response to the news, the city could have emphasized more clearly that the $77-million projected cost was only an estimate, and that it was entirely possible that it would increase by the time the project reached the building stage.

People don’t like being surprised by such things, especially when it has the potential to affect their pocketbooks.

City manager Gail Stephens assured two News staffers last week that the higher cost would not require a further burden on taxpayers. We sincerely hope that is true and remains so through the life of the project.

With a $92.8-million cost estimate now on the table, there is zero wiggle room left. The city needs to have a plan to address any further cost overruns.

That said, it’s time for the province to step up to the plate to help cover off the extra costs, especially since the federal government kicked in far more than it originally committed to.

The city must do its part to keep costs manageable, but let’s see the B.C. Liberals play a role in the funding equation.

Just Posted

VicPD arrest reportedly armed man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

The man was found near Centennial Square on Tuesday afternoon

Port Renfrew man charged with animal cruelty

Hot coffee poured on dog’s face, say police

Victoria shipyard awarded one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contracts

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Property registration crucial for Oak Bay’s deer contraception program

Got deer? Want them gone? Do your part, register your property!

Saanich sponsors Jeux de la Francophonie giving $50,000 for the French-language Games

Couns. Susan Brice and Nathalie Chambers opposed funding, citing substantive and procedural concerns

VIDEO: Black bear caught climbing tree in Langford neighbourhood

Triangle Mountain residents on alert following bear sighting

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

Most Read