Gregory Hartnell on Dean Fortin’s JOHNSON STREET BRIDGE AAP: ‘Petitions omit vital public interest information that Victoria voters should have’

CCC PRESIDENT QUESTIONS WHY $3,121,000 COSTS PER ANNUM, +

20 YEAR LENGTH OF AMORTIZATION WERE OMITTED FROM PETITION,

+ WHY PETITIONS WERE NOT SENT TO ALL VICTORIA VOTERS

IN UNPUBLISHED LETTER TO EDITOR OF VICTORIA NEWS

DECEMBER 13, 2009

 

Victoria News

Letters to the Editor

 

Re: City mum on bridge counter-petition, Victoria News, December 9, 2009

The City of Victoria omitted vital public interest information from the ‘counter petition’ elector response forms used by Victoria voters participating in a confusing ‘Alternative Approval Process’ (‘AAP’) on a proposed borrowing of $42,000,000 to demolish and replace the Joseph Strauss-designed heritage Johnson Street Bridge.

Then, while the AAP is still underway, Roszan Holmen quotes Howard Markson, the City’s Johnson Street Bridge replacement project spokesperson, talking about the possibility of the City borrowing ‘up to $52,000,000 without having to increase its annual payments.’

This is not helpful and in fact, confuses the issue at hand.

Nor is it helpful when Mr. Markson suggests that ‘no contracts will be awarded for the construction of the bridge until the counter-petition deadline passes,‘ as this suggests the City is ready to award such contracts regardless of the outcome of the AAP.

Victoria voters are also very wise to be skeptical of a Mayor who says that ‘the debt load won’t increase property taxes.’

Something is strange about the accounting methods of this socialist mayor and his stimulus-intoxicated spendthrift Council.

The Elector Response Forms for the City of Victoria’s Alternative Approval Process for Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 09-057, otherwise known as the ‘petitions,’ are inadequate in many respects, but primarily they omit vital public interest information that Victoria voters should have been privy to in this process.

On November 28, the City of Victoria placed the second of two legal ads with vital public interest information strangely missing from the petitions.

‘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.’

In other words, when this loan is finally paid off in 20 years, it will cost City of Victoria taxpayers about $62,420,000, and it will cost Canadian taxpayers the federal grant of $21,000,000, bringing the total real costs to Victoria and Canadian taxpayers: at least $83,420,000.

One must seriously question why this vital public interest information was omitted from the petitions, and why the petitions were not sent to every person on the City of Victoria Voter’s List.

It is simply impossible to believe that Mayor Dean Fortin and the Victoria City Council will not raise residential property taxes if the Johnson Street Bridge is torn down.

That is the main reason why people should question his whole plan to do it, sign the cursed petition, and hope for a referendum during the next municipal election, in order to ultimately save the bridge from this appalling philistinism, and kick out all Councillors who voted to destroy our good old bascule bridge that has served us so well since 1924.

 

Gregory Hartnell, President

Concerned Citizens’ Coalition

CCC 

 

 

 

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