JOHN LUTON: “I haven’t been sitting around finding new ways to polish my halo”

VICTORIA CITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY AGREED

TO HOLD A REFERENDUM ON THE FATE OF

THE ENDANGERED JOHNSON STREET BRIDGE

AT AN UNSPECIFIED DATE 

 

Victoria residents will be going to the polls, but what exactly they’ll be voting on is still open to debate.

 

On Thursday [January 7, 2010], City Council committed to holding a referendum on the Johnson Street Bridge.

At the meeting, City staff presented the official tally of counter-petition forms calling for a referendum.

Nearly 10,000 people in Victoria filled out a form opposing Council’s plans to borrow $42 million to replace the Johnson Street Bridge.

Nearly all the forms were collected by a group of volunteers over a 45-day period.

This counter-petition process, though imperfect, is designed to be a sounding bell of our community’s moods, said Coun. Philippe Lucas.

“I think there’s no doubt through the results that we’ve seen the community would like to have more imput.”

Petition forces City to abandon loan bylaw

 

The number of petition forms far exceeds the 6,343 needed in order to trigger a referendum on the issue in the next 80 days.

Council, however, objected to the tight timeline.

People are still asking for more information, said Councillor Pamela Madoff.

“I think we would benefit the public by not putting the restraint of an 80-day period but committing to a referendum,” she said, putting forward a motion to that effect.

Councillors unanimously agreed.

“A lot of contention, I believe, has arisen based upon the time constraints that we though we were under,” added Councillor Sonya Chandler.

To avoid the 80-day referendum deadline imposed by the province, Council abandoned its plan to borrow $42 million for the project.

Instead, it committed to redefining the referendum question.

Council still doesn’t understand what people are unhappy with, said Councillor Lynn Hunter.

It’s not clear whether people filled out a petition form because they oppose replacing the bridge, or they oppose borrowing $42 million, or they oppose Council’s decision-making process, she explained.

The wording of the referendum question, however, is limited, said Rob Woodland, director of legislative services.

The question can’t ask people to choose between two options, Woodland said, adding it must be a yes-or-no question.

“I think any project of a significant magnitude for the Johnson Street Bridge will involve borrowing so the heart of the matter will be about borrowing for a purpose,” he said.

“What’s left to determine is the purpose.”

Council is now tasked with deciding whether that purpose is to replace or refurbish.

Many Councillors reiterated their ongoing commitment to replacing the bridge.

“Since the initial decision to replace the bridge was made by Council (in April), I haven’t been sitting around finding new ways to polish my halo,” said Councillor John Luton.

“I’ve been going out and doing my own research …

“Nothing that I have done in the way of that research has convinced me that we didn’t make the right decision.”

CCC BLOG reprint:

Victoria News: http://www.vicnews.com

Roszan Holmen: rholmen@saanichnews.com

Victoria residents demand referendum in high numbers

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Page 1 [with full colour photo of Ross Crockford

in front of the Johnson Street Bridge, by Sharon Tiffin]

CCC

 

COUNCILLOR YOUNG HOLDS THE BALANCE OF POWER NOW


Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin is in total denial, while his lieutenants

Victoria City Councillor Lynn Hunter is confused and

Victoria City Councilor John Luton is defiant…

 

Victoria City Councillors Councillors Young, Madoff, Coleman and Lucas 

now seem to understand the significance of the petition…

 

Victoria City Councillors Sonya Chandler and Charlayne Thornton-Joe

are somewhere between the two camps


– Goyo de la Rosa, Editor

LA ROSA REVUE

 

[For more of Victoria City Councillor John Luton‘s thoughts

on the adjacent Point Ellice or Bay Street Bridge,

please refer to the link to a letter to the editor of the Times Colonist,

published today, January 15, 2010, and found in the Comments section below]

 

CCC – LA ROSA CONSERVATION PROPAGANDA 2010

 

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