ISLAND TRANSFORMATIONS ORGANIZATION: A coalition of transformative Vancouver Island communities

Andy Sinats, an artist-conservationist with a keen interest in street cars, LRT and other alternative methods of transportation, recommends like-minded readers visit the Island Transformations Organization website.

IslandTransformations.Org is a coalition with a plan to dynamically transform the way that Vancouver Islanders live, work and play in their communities,’ according to the website.

‘+  A hierarchy of mixed-use and higher density walkable communities located along low-carbon transportation corridors; that 

‘+  Encourages an enhanced quality of life which includes a sustainable, healthy, safe environment and nurtures a flourishing cultural mosaic; within

‘+  A locally managed, low carbon, sustainable economy that

     1) enhances human dignity through community and individual entreprise and

     2) operates in harmony with natural ecosystems.’


[For a link to the IslandTransformations.Org website, please go to the Comments section below.]




Vander Zalm’s FANTASTIC victory over The Liar: 705,643 FIGHT HST petitions signed!



There was a time in the late eighties and early nineties when I didn’t have much use for then Premier William Vander Zalm, because his Social Credit government had a bad plan to privatize a national historic site and designated Provincial heritage building on the edge of downtown Victoria called Saint Anne’s Academy, and the Greater Victoria Concerned Citizens’ Association and the Saint Anne’s Rescue Community Coalition fought that stupid plan in the courts.

But these days, Mr. Vander Zalm is the hero of at least 705,643 of his fellow B. C. taxpayers, including myself and my wife Dawn Keough Hartnell, having amassed that staggering number of signatures on his FIGHT HST petition.

Gordo Campbell, the current lame duck ‘BC Liberal’ premier who is despised  by more than 80% of those polled recently, got the guest editorial slot in the pro-corporate business monopoly paper today, but his arguments are falling on deaf ears.

Hopefully, a last-minute application for an injunction to halt the petition in the courts by a pro-corporate business lobby group will be similarly rejected by a prudent judge.

Most people want to know and can’t wait to see when The Liar himself will be recalled.

The recalls will start, but not soon enough for many of us.

But Mr. Vander Zalm is wise like a serpent, and does not want to hand over all the hard work garnered by the FIGHT HST volunteers to the hapless New Democratic Party (NDP), led by the absent Carole James, as Times Colonist pundit Les Leyne noted in his column the other day.

The former premier will chip away at the pro-tax Liberals most vulnerable to recall (those who forced more than 25% of eligible voters to sign petitions in their ridings).

Bringing down the government now would serve nobody’s interests except those of the NDP, and Billy the Gardener is too smart to do that.

A new party of fiscal responsibility is the order of the day.

Let’s hope that it grows quickly out of this FIGHT HST organization and folds the  stalled and unorganized Conservative Party of BC under its wing, as that party is certainly not the right vehicle to take this movement to the Victoria Legislature to form government.

Gregory Paul Michael Hartnell, Editor

Concerned Citizens’ Coalition Weblog

DOLORES KOGELHEIDE ON OLD ROUNDHOUSE FOR ISLAND CORRIDOR TRANSIT STATION: ‘There is room for parking… it’s the best place the station could be.’





Re: One expensive piece of track (News, June 18)


I live on the corner of Russell Street and Esquimalt Road, where the train passes by my apartment just after 8 a.m. daily.

In the winter months it appears to be more than half empty as it goes past and in the summer the extra train is added on occasionally to accommodate tourists, most likely.

To build a multi-million dollar span for that unsightly, noisy, aging train to go that short distance over the waterway makes no sense at all.

I’ve witnessed it being towed in after breaking down many times.

Now if they were to build a quiet, new and modern transit rail as is used in France and other places in Europe, it might make some sense.

I don’t think the short walk across the bridge will deter many.

On the contrary, it’s a beautiful walk along the Songhees.

It makes much more sense to have the station on the Vic West side even if a new rail transit system is in place eventually.

There is the room for parking and I would think if the old roundhouse ever gets developed as is rumoured, it’s the best place the station could be.

Mayor Fortin and his staff need to give their heads a shake and ask the people of Victoria what they think.

I hope Roszan Holmen will write more articles like this one and keep on bringing these points to the people of Victoria.


Dolores Kogelheide



CCC BLOG repost:


Pricey section of rail not worth the money

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Page A11



FRED MALLACH ON JOHNSON STREET BRIDGE: ‘Mechanical and electrical upgrades as part of ongoing maintenance: Yes.’



Re: Blue Bridge repair cost has tripled

(Victoria News, June 16)


Seismic upgrade including repairing corrosion,

repainting the steel and

resurfacing the bridge and sidewalk,

worth $80 million: Yes.

Mechanical and electrical upgrades

as part of ongoing maintenance: Yes.

Anything else: No.


Fred Mallach



CCC BLOG reprint:

Victoria News:

The Blue Bridge fiasco part 2 arrives

Page A11

June 23, Wednesday, 2010



[The letter above was printed again on July 2 in the same newspaper, with a significant correction, that being the dollar amount, which Mr. Mallach indicated in his original letter that he was comfortable with, that being $25,000,000, not $80,000,000, as first published on June 23.  Please refer to the comments section below for more speculation on why this ‘error’ which was never acknowledged by the publishers Black Press was ‘corrected’ in such a covert manner.  Talk about media manipulation. – Gregory Hartnell, Editor, CCC BLOG]


ANDY SINATS ON JOSEPH STRAUSS: ‘Golden Gate Bridge, by the same designer in earthquake-prone San Francisco, is quake resistant and this much reduced version, over a smaller span, isn’t?’





The last estimates for the Blue Bridge costs are absurd and no more likely to be accurate than the previous erratic attempts.

How is it that the Golden Gate Bridge, by the same designer in earthquake-prone San Francisco, is quake-resistant and this much reduced version, over a smaller span, isn’t?

We must look again at the vision for this bridge.

It must be a traffic-calming device, restricting cars from downtown, not accommodating more.

Victoria’s transportation menu should include a pedestrian mall on Government Street, street cars, amenities for bikes and scooters, an LRT to Swartz Bay, rickshaws, carriages, skateboard parks and a downtown train station.

Cruise ships burning bunker fuel and diesel buses can stay away.

So too the big yachts that wantonly consume more carbon per person than any rational use ought to allow.

Bike riders, to save $13 million dollars, can dismount and wheel their bikes across the bridge.

They would enjoy reduced competition from cars, as would pedestrians and sightseers, when we we plan for fewer vehicles downtown.


Andy Sinats



CCC BLOG reprint:

Rethink is needed on Blue Bridge

Victoria Times Colonist:

Friday, June 25, 2010

Page A15


KEVIN LAIRD ON JOHNSON STREET BRIDGE + CAPITAL REGIONAL DISTRICT: ‘Why not hold a regionwide referendum on the matter?’:







The City of Victoria took a calculated risk a handful of years back when it determined it needed to replace Memorial Arena, a truly regional facility.

In the ensuing years, it elicited financial support for operating the new arena from some neighbouring municipalities with the argument that residents of their jurisdictions would attend events at the new building and thus benefit from its existence.

The sentiment of helping out a sister municipality with operating a regional facility lasted less than five years, to the point where only Oak Bay remains on the list of jurisdictions still contributing to the operation of the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

Part of the problem was that Victoria alienated many civic politicians by not including them in the planning stages of the building and by acting with a “we know what’s best for you” mentality.

Looking at the rail aspect of the Johnson Street Bridge project, the same logic applies.

If the City wants to kindle financial support from its neighbours for extending rail over a refurbished or newly constructed bridge, it needs to ensure representatives of Saanich, Oak Bay, Esquimalt and other municipalities have the opportunity to give input on solutions.

Better still, instead of asking the Capital Regional District outright for money to help complete the project – the CRD has already said no to providing any funding – why not hold a regionwide referendum on the matter?

That way you’d give all area residents a chance to put their money where their transportation mouth is.

Not only that, City planners would get a good sense of just how much need there is for a rail bridge to the downtown side of the harbour, and likely how much support there is for a downtown station to be included in a regional rapid transit plan.

We already have troubles convincing voters of the importance of casting theri ballot every three years.

Why not add something that is meaninful to a significant portion of the region population?

It just makes sense.


Keven Laird, Editor

Involve region in bridge decision

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Page A10

ROSZAN HOLMEN ON JOSEPH STRAUSS’ JOHNSON STREET BRIDGE: ‘The bascule bridge was designed by the Strauss Bascule Company Ltd. in 1920’



City of Victoria seeks funding help for Johnson Street Bridge 

From Capital Regional District and Provincial Government… again


Fork  over a share of the cost, or lose the rail line to Victoria.

That’s Victoria City Council‘s message to the Capital Regional District, the provincial government and other funding sources such as the Island Corridor Foundation.

The reluctant decision was reached after long debate by a City Council last week that unanimously supports preserving the downtown train station as a potential commuter line, but which agreed taxpayers simply can’t afford the extra cost.

The City is facing an estimated cost of $77 million to $80 million to overhaul the aging Johnson Street Bridge.

Maintaining the rail line across the span will add an extra $12 million to $23 million, depending on whether Council decides to replace or upgrade the bridge.

On Thursday, Council narrowed down many of the project’s variables presented in new technical analysis.

For instance, Council opted for “lifeline” seismic upgrade, built to withstand an earthquake of magnitude 8.5.

The goal is to present two simplified, but comparable, options to bring to the public for feedback.

Both options include many of the same amenities: three traffic lanes, a multi-use path and a dedicated sidewalk.

They differ, however, in other respects.

First is the replacement option: a $77-million project which includes on-street bike lanes.

A new bridge would be built just north of the existing bridge, which eliminates closures during construction and includes a correction of the twisted roadway system on the west side of the span.

Second, the refurbishment option: an $80-million project whose major advantage is the preservation of a unique historical structure.

The bascule bridge was designed by the Strauss Bascule Company Ltd. in 1920.  

With these preliminary decisions made, the public is now invited to weigh in.

Over the next seven weeks, the City will send out mail-in surveys, conduct telephone surveys, and hold open houses and bridge tours.

On Aug. 12, Council will consider the feedback and make its final decision.

This date also marks the cutoff for financial contributions to the rail line.

If the majority of the cost has been secured by this point, Council will consider plans to reincorporate the rail line onto the bridge. 

If not, it will preserve the corridor in case funding can be found at a later date.


CCC BLOG reprint:

No money, no rail line, says council

Roszan Holmen:

Victoria News:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pages A1 and A8