NEIL WILLIAMS on the JOHNSON STREET BRIDGE: ‘It is a heritage structure as the only Joseph Strauss double-span bascule in existence’



Mayor Dean Fortin’s defence of the Johnson Street Bridge reflects the entire decision process to move forward with this boondoggle (Nov. 18).

No serious consideration of the rehabilitation option has been made.  

Public participation has been limited solely to consideration of replacement options, with no consultation on repair of the existing heritage structure.

And it is a heritage structure as the only Joseph Strauss double-span bascule in existence.

Similar single-span bascules designed by Strauss in Toronto and Mystic Conn., are valued, designated heritage sites.

Demolition will be a disgrace to a city that has prided itself on its heritage conservation.

The process seems to have been driven by the availability of grant money.

That’s no way to run a government, particularly when the federal grant still means a local expenditure of at least $42 million.

And let’s not forget, it’s all public money and should be spent where it is really needed.

The mayor states this is a decision for 100 years.

Given the de-industrialization of the harbour over the last 20 years, it is doubtful that there will be any commercial requirement for a drawbridge in 40 years, let alone 100.

And given proper maintenance, there is no reason that the current structure shouldn’t last indefinitely.

The assertions of months of disruptions for the rehabilitation option is another red herring.

Properly managed, there should be no need of any extended closures.

This is a bad decision, both in financial and heritage terms.

Councillors should be ashamed of themselves for not putting it to referendum.


Neil Williams



CCC BLOG reprint:

Victoria Times Colonist:

Bridge boondoggle demands referendum

Page A11, Friday, November 20, 2009




Tell Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin you want a referendum on the JOHNSON STREET BRIDGE: SIGN THE PETITION


Victorians deserve a referendum on the most expensive project the City has ever undertaken.  We got to vote on the $28-million arena in 2003.  Victorians also got to vote on other public-safety infrastructure projects in the past, such as the Caledonia Street police station in 1992, and the existing Johnson Street Bridge in 1920.

The political process used by the mayor and council to date is flawed.  City Hall has not held any public hearings over its decision to replace the bridge.  Its recent “public engagement” survey did not discuss repairing the existing bridge, or the price Victorians will have to pay for a new one.  And when surveys favoured a cable-stayed bridge, the City chose a different design.

The existing bridge can be repaired for less than the cost of replacing it.  In April, the Delcan engineering firm said the Blue Bridge could be repaired for $5 million, and seismically upgraded for another $18.5 million.


Gathering 6,343 petitions is a big task, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be fun.  Join our dedicated group of volunteers and supporters who are:

* Running the campaign office

* Canvassing door-to-door

* Organizing petition-signing parties

We need your talents!

If you can help, contact us

Phone: 250 704 704 9120



Victoria Times Colonist, Frank Stanford (CFAX), The Honourable David Anderson, Dave Broadland and Leslie Campbell (Focus Magazine), Franc D’Ambrosio (architect), Keith Dagg (advertising consultant), Barry Hobbis (Victoria Harbour Ferries), Matt MacNeil (Victoria Pub Company), Jim Munro (Munro Books), Rob Reid (Frontrunners), Victoria City Councillors Geoff Young and Pam Madoff.



To force a referendum, 6,343 Victoria residents must submit valid petition form by January 4th, 2010.

* You can sign the petition if you are a Canadian citizen, 18 years or older, who has lived in BC for at least the past six months, and in the City of Victoria for the past 30 days.

Complete the official petition form in writing (by hand) with the following:

* Your full name (no initials)

* Your full address (“1234 Fernwood ROAD”, not just “1234 Fernwood”) including “Victoria, BC”

* Your signature

Then MAIL your signed petition to:





Or call 250 704 9120 for pickup.

City Hall will NOT accept emailed or faxed petition forms.

Signed originals only!




PREVEDOROS, GOLDEN + JOY @ ST. ANNE’S ACADEMY: Sunday, November 29, 2009, 2:00 p.m.


Christmas starts in Advent at Saint Anne’s this year with ‘Tidings of Comfort and Joy: A Celebration of Music for the Season’, with a series of Sunday afternoon Christmas music programmes at the beautifully restored historic chapel in the nationally-designated heritage Catholic convent.

Starting this afternoon at 2:00 p. m., Brad Prevedoros, Neil Golden and Greg Joy will present ‘Sounds of the Season’.

All three musicians are well-loved and well-known in the area for being some of the best proponents of ‘world beat’ music, with extensive recording and performance histories.

Information is available at: or telephone 250 953 8829.  The office opened at 1:00 p.m. today. 

– ‘Goyo de la Rosa’

Editor, LA ROSA


Ryan Campbell and John Hartnell have signed the petition for a referendum on the endangered heritage Johnson Street Bridge.

Both are Rockland Avenue property owners, and are well known in Victoria’s construction community, Hartnell as a tile- and marble- setting subcontractor and Campbell as a home renovator.

Their completed petition forms were delivered today to the new office of the group, located in the Savoy Building.

– Gregory Hartnell, President

Concerned Citizens’ Coalition


FORTIN’S FOLLY: Victoria taxpayers face $3,121,000 loan payments annually for 20 years if JOHNSON STREET BRIDGE is ‘replaced’

Contrary to patently false assertions made recently by the Victoria Mayor that new taxes for the new Johnson Street Bridge will not be imposed, Victoria taxpayers will pay a staggering $3,121,000 per year for twenty years if the citizenry is foolish enough to be seduced by Dean Fortin’s irresponsible plan to demolish and replace the Johnson Street Bridge, according to an official advertisement placed by the City of Victoria in today’s Victoria Times Colonist.

The legal ad, second of two that are required by provincial law for the City of Victoria to place, makes the ‘Alternative Approval Process’ or ‘counter petition process’ legal as of today.

‘Funding for the debt financing for the Johnson Street Bridge replacement project will be accounted for in the Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw (2010)’, an anticipated bylaw which obviously does not yet have the full force and effect of law, as it does not yet exist.

‘Debt costs for this project will be amortized over a 20 year term.

‘Annual principal and interest payments commencing in 2010 will amount to approximately $3,121,000.’

That would appear to contradict unbelievable assertions made by the Mayor in recent days that City of Victoria taxpayers will not see any tax increases to pay for the project.

It seems that the Mayor is so desperate to have his radical  philistine ideas accepted, that he is prepared to insult the intelligence of his own constituents, by suggesting that this money is already accounted for in the budget.

The fact of the matter is that no such increases in capital spending and debt repayment can occur in any jurisdiction without taxes going up, or already existing services being sacrificed, or perhaps, both.


– Gregory Paul Michael Hartnell, President

Concerned Citizens’ Coalition




Concerned Citizens’ Coalition members John David Burke and Dawn Elizabeth Keough Hartnell have signed the petition to have a referendum on the future of the endangered Johnson Street Bridge.

David Burke is a former Victoria City Council candidate for the Concerned Citizens, and Dawn Keough is the wife of Concerned Citizens’ Coalition President Gregory Hartnell.

The Elector Response Forms for the ‘Alternative Approval Process’ for the Johnson Street Bridge Replacement Project are available at the City of Victoria website, and at, both of which are found in the CCC BLOGROLL to the right.  A link to the City’s pdf of the form is also availabe in the Comments section below.

Concerned Citizens’ Coalition President Gregory Hartnell urges all Concerned Citizens, fiscal conservatives, democrats, and architectural preservationists in Victoria to sign the petition rejecting the City of Victoria’s plans to borrow $42,000,000 to demolish and replace the national heritage bascule bridge designed by the same man who designed the Golden Gate Bridge, American engineering genius Joseph Strauss. 

– ‘Goyo de la Rosa, Editor









Now that I have signed the Elector Response Form  for the City of Victoria’s ‘Alternative Approval Process’ (AAP), rejecting the outrageous idea of borrowing $42,000,000 to demolish and replace our Joseph Strauss-designed heritage bascule bridge, but instead endorsing democracy by voting for a referendum on the future of the Johnson Street Bridge, and having secured the enthusiastic signature of my dear wife Dawn Elizabeth Keough this afternoon, I will now be seeking other like-minded Victorians to sign the blank ‘elector response forms’ I stilll have on hand.

 I have eight to get signed today at the Market on Yates, corner of Yates and Quadra where the self-serve espresso machine coffee is hot and only a loonie.

Victoria Concerned Citizens, democracy campaigners, and other Johnson Street Bridge preservationists are able to pick up the blanks at City Hall, a maximum of ten, or download them from the City of Victoria’s website.

I will go to the Market on Yates now for one, hoping to get some signatures, and report anon…

Probably shouldn’t be doing this so late in the afternoon, I think to myself as I sip the stuff, with two sugars, no less…

Lots of tired people going up Yates, but no familiar faces…

I picked up FOCUS, however, and found to my delight two excellent articles in the December 2009 number, both on the endangered Johnson Street Bridge.

The Editor’s Letter on pages 4 and 5 of Volume 22, No. 3, written by FOCUS’ foundress Leslie Campbell, is an impassioned plea to ‘apply conservation ethic to Blue Bridge,’ as her title puts it.

In it, she applies ‘the oft-repeated phrase of my Scottish foremothers: “Waste not, want not”‘ to the endangered Joseph Strauss bascule bridge in Victoria.

Leslie Campbell’s Editor’s Letter in the December FOCUS should be required reading for Green Party Councillors Lucas and Chandler, in fact, all of the recalcitrant Councillors who shamefully voted to squander our heritage bascule bridge, thus making a mockery of all their ‘sustainability’ rhetoric.

Campbell’s Letter is complemented by a longer three page article by Sam Williams entitled ‘Citizens petition for a referendum on the fate of the Blue Bridge,’ running on pages 8 through 10.

Williams provides a detailed synopsis of the latest machinations of the Dean Fortin-dominated Victoria City Council, the deterioration of democracy in the governance of that Council, and the nascent opposition movement called which is organizing itself with the help of Anne Russo, who has fought another similar ‘counter petition’ battle.


– Gregory Paul Michael Hartnell, President

Concerned Citizens’ Coalition



[A link to the FOCUS website, and a link to the City of Victoria’s pdf of the Elector Response Form for this particular Alternative Approval Process on the Johnson Street Bridge Replacement Project borrowing bylaw is provided in the Comments section below.]