JOHN LUTON’S LOONY TUNES: ‘The potential for cost escalation… elevated estimates to a more realistic $57,000,000’





Victoria City Councillor John Luton has come out of hiding, and visited the Vibrant Victoria website for the first time this evening, with comments that are sure to be the talk of the town tommorow.

‘The potential for cost escalation … elevated estimates to a more realistic $57 million,’ said the sage Councillor in continued opposition to the repair option for the Johnson Street Bridge, and in defence of the supposedly more practical replacement option for the heritage Joseph Strauss-designed bascule.

This is rich, far too rich.

It is almost (but not quite) as laughable as Councillor Lynn Hunter worrying herself on CBC Radio Victoria the other morning that the referendum habit is going to render this city a California North of powerless government crippled by riled citizenry bent on waging democracy in every quarter.

Poor Ms Hunter is apparently worried that she will lose her new job, as well she should.

It looks like it is damage control time, but surely, dear Councillors, you can both do better than this?

[For a link to Councillor Luton’s priceless words forever committed to the etherspace for posterity, please refer to the Comments section below.]


– Gregory Hartnell, President

Concerned Citizens’ Coalition



2 Responses to JOHN LUTON’S LOONY TUNES: ‘The potential for cost escalation… elevated estimates to a more realistic $57,000,000’

  1. goyodelarosa says:

    Today, 05:06 PM

    Join Date: Jan 2010
    Posts: 2
    Counter petition and bridge options
    I spoke to numbers of people who signed petitions who also support a new bridge, but were upset with the process, so while many supporters of the campaign no doubt support refurbishment (at any cost), the direction from the counter petition is not as clear as you might like to think.

    It may be moot at this point, but a referendum could conceivably ask several questions. The $23.6 million figure cherry picked from the Delcan report is not particularly credible. While it is a sound estimate for the scope of work envisioned (at the time of the assessment), the Delcan report also pegged replacement at $35 million.

    We know that replacement cost estimates rose with more detailed analysis and additional roadworks to take advantage of opportunities to realign the “S” curve in Vic West. That said, the frequent repetition of the $23 million estimate for refurbishment is not a fixed price contract. The potential for cost escalation (and certainly scope changes asked for by critics elevated estimates to a more realistic $57 million).

    More problematic is the potential exposure to liabilities related to economic dislocation that may result from policy choices (reference the Cambie St. merchants who sued the Canada Line), that shift costs or impacts from public agencies to other stakeholders. Those costs could conceivably dwarf capital costs of any project.

    While I can’t predict what we will do on Thursday, my expectation would be that a repeat of the refurbishment costing will be an appealing option, notwithstanding that the work has been done fairly thoroughly, and competently, already.

    For many who signed the petition based solely on cost and taxation issues, the possibility of a more expensive preservation project (which while not certain is certainly plausible), would give them some pause to consider what course of action they would support (rather than that which they just oppose).

    Nonetheless, duly chastised, the discussion will likely consider a number of options, and doing nothing is not one of them. That strategy gave us a $1 billion sewage treatment project (defeated at $200 million in a 1983 referendum).

  2. Avery Moore says:


    Who knew that one word could stretch in meaning and become so elastic in the wrong cerebellum?

    ‘The potential for cost escalation….”


    That’s all we really need to look at? Meaning, imagine on demand and accept precisely as described? Really? We are honour bound to swallow this slightly poisoned gift, this truth prescription, delivered to us not by a disinterested third party, but argued, as though fact, by an intransigent advocate?

    Hmmm. Isn’t that a trifle suspicious?

    But given it’s due, it’s such a vivid hallucination of omniscience! Surely such god-like insistence must trump all other estimates. It’s just has to be “more realistic” than any other work done by actual, fully qualified, professionals in the field? Who says it’s ‘more realistic’? The person who says so.

    Ask yourself: what could be more fair?

    Finally, it’s even more believable because the assertion is promoted by someone, less than a hapless novice, who nonetheless ranks himself higher than a professional bridge engineer with decades more experience?

    Between you and me Gregory, I think the POTENTIAL for financial harm due to political bullshit in this town has been grossly underrated. I put the estimate at at least $63 million and climbing with every second, until the next election.

    Curious isn’t it? Without the slightest hint of proof, the POTENTIAL cost of the publicly-favoured option has tripled overnight. But the discredited council option continues to sink in POTENTIAL cost by about 2/3 AND skyrocket as a vast POTENTIAL cost savings.

    Glory be.

    To the extremely credulous, this crusade of balloon puffing must almost seem ‘miraculous.’

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