JOANNE HATHERLY: ‘Johnsonstreetbridge.org reported 500 more signatures were collected by about 50 volunteers yesterday’ Saturday December 12, 2009

ALMOST 3,000 CALL FOR VOTE ON BRIDGE

 

Proponents of holding a referendum on borrowing $42 million to replace the Johnson Street Bridge have almost half the number of signatures they need to force the City to hold a vote on the project.

The balance of the $63-million project cost is from federal funding.

Ross Crockford, director with the citizens’ group johnsonstreetbridge.org, reported 500 more signatures were collected by about 50 volunteers yesterday, bringing their total to almost 3,000.

The group needs another 3,500 by Jan. 5, the end of a 45-day “counter petition” process.

Crockford said he doesn’t know how many people have filed counter-petition signatures at City Hall.

Yesterday, the Times Colonist asked passersby at Centennial Square what they thought of the proposed replacement of the City’s landmark “blue bridge.”

Allan Gallupe, 55, who signed the counter-petition, believes not enough thought has been given to repairing the existing bridge.

“I really think the project has been rushed through,” he said.

“This is such a huge project and it devours so much of the community resources, it should be put to referendum.”

Carmen Correra is worried about the impact on her taxes, especially with the impending introduction of the HST next summer.

“We are going to be paying more PST and GST altogether with the HST next year and now there could be more taxes.”

Esquimalt resident Dale Shotton, however, said increased traffic justifies the expenditure.

“I look at pictures [of the bridge] on TV and I think it looks like it’s going to fall apart at any time,” Shotton said.

“I feel we need a new one, but the question is the money.

“It’s an awful lot of money.”

Lifelong Victoria resident John Crossley says both sides of the argument have merit, but a referendum is appropriate.

“When I look at the other costs coming up with this sewage [treatment] project, I’m worried about what my taxes are going to look like,” Crossley said.

Crockford acknowledged that making the deadline will be a challenge with the Christmas season at hand, and people’s minds occupied with the holidays.

“It’s a long race, but you just have to get out there and keep doing it,” Crockford said.

 

CCC BLOG reprint;

JOANNE HATERLY: jhatherly@tc.canwest.com 

Victoria Times Colonist: timescolonist.com

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Page A3

CCC

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