PAUL WILLCOCKS ON HIDDEN INFORMATION ABOUT REPAIRING JOHNSON BRIDGE: ‘Taxpayers have a right to know, as Coun. Geoff Young has argued, all of the facts’

JOHNSON STREET BRIDGE PETITION FAIRNESS?

 

The organizers of the counter-petition against the replacement of the Johnson Street Bridge have their work cut out for them – and even if they win, there is no guarantee that the old bridge will not be removed.

The organizers need 6,343 signatures, or 10 per cent of the City’s eligible voters, on forms that must be submitted to City Hall by Jan. 4.

Supporters can go to the citizens’ group driving the counter-petition, johnsonstreetbridge.org, to have the forms checked and submitted on their behalf.

So far, the group has about 2,200 signatures and, at its current rate, will come close to the total needed by the deadline.

The petitions being received at City Hall might push the number over the top.

If there are more than 6, 343 validated signatures, the counter-petition would not stop the bridge project.

It would require the City to take the idea to a referendum and let the voters decide whether the City should borrow $42 million to put up a new bridge between downtown and Vic West.

The bridge replacement would cost more than $60 million – the federal governement has already agreed to cover one-third of the cost – and would be the most expensive project in the history of the City.

Smaller projects, such as the $30-million arena, have been put to the voters, but Council has been reluctant to let the public have a say in the bridge work.

The taxpayers of Victoria have a right to know, as Coun. Geoff Young has argued, all of the facts about the choices on the table.

They also should have every expectation that the message they deliver through their counter-petitions will be accepted and considered by Council.

The counter-petition process represents a serious commitment to the democratic process by individuals with nothing to gain.

They have been willing to fight City Hall at a time of year when it is tough to be noticed – and they are helping to make our democratic process stronger.

 

CCC BLOG reprint:

Victoria Times Colonist: timescolonist.com

Bridge petition fairness

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Page A16

CCC

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One Response to PAUL WILLCOCKS ON HIDDEN INFORMATION ABOUT REPAIRING JOHNSON BRIDGE: ‘Taxpayers have a right to know, as Coun. Geoff Young has argued, all of the facts’

  1. goyodelarosa says:

    While the general gist of this editorial is correct and it gives much credit to the johnsonstreetbridge.org group, it perhaps gives us too much credit for being ‘the organizers of the counter-petition against the replacement of the Johnson Stret Bridge.’

    Members of our group were never the organizers of this flawed ‘alternative approval process.’

    That distinct dishonour belongs to the City of Victoria, which unnecessarily imposed this awkward system on reluctant Victoria voters.

    In fact, just this past Thursday night, one of the co-directors of the groups, Ross Crockford, formally asked the Victoria City Council to cancel the ‘counter petition process’, effectively asking it to admit it had made a mistake in undertaking it in the first place.

    JohnsonStreetBridge.org has always asked for the City of Victoria to go directly to referendum.

    It’s activities are purely reactionary, and it should not be given the discredit for having organized this flawed process, but rather for being the main group that organized citizens to react against it, as flawed as it is.

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