DEAN FORTIN’S THUGGISH 16% TAX HIKE THREATS: ‘It is about, do you increase taxes by 16 per cent? Do you close the bridge down?’

DEAN FORTIN WITH A FELLOW BUSINESSMAN IN THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA

 

‘THERE IS NO PLAN C,’

SAYS BIG TIME STIMULUS- SPENDING SOCIALIST MAYOR

Deano says the City of Victoria will tear down Johnson Street Bridge

with or without taxpayer-approved loan

 

Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin simply says “we don’t know.”

If voters reject the City’s plan to borrow $49.2 million to replace the Johnson Street Bridge on November 20, Fortin insists there is no Plan C.

The referendum is not a choice between replacement and refurbishment, he explains.

If the referendum fails, replacement is still the only option on the table, he said.

“It is about, do you increase taxes by 16 per cent?

‘Do you close the bridge down?

‘These are the serious considerations,” said Fortin.

Drawing a portion of the funds from City reserves is another option, although the City’s reserves aren’t adequate to cover the cost.

A group opposed to the City’s plans, however, insists there is another option should the referendum fail.

Ross Crockford, spokesperson for johnsonstreetbridge.org, says the City should take a step back.

Through plebiscite, he argues, Victoria taxpayers should get to choose between two options: a $77-million new bridge with all the bells and whistles, or a repair job that offers fewer amenities and a shorter lifespan but comes at a substantially cheaper price tag.

Crockford points to a bridge assessment by engineering consultants Delcan prepared for the City in April 2009.

The report prices repairing the bridge in the ballpark of $25 million.

This option wouldn’t offer on-road bike lanes or an “emergency” standard seismic upgrade.

“Obviously, fixing the current bridge can’t compete with brand new, purpose-built dedicated bike lanes,” said Crockford.

“But what I’m saying is, ‘can you dramatically improve the situation without having to blow all of the money you’re going to spend on a new structure?”

Crockford concedes that a minimal-cost repair may not be cheaper in the long-run, due to higher ongoing maintenance costs.

Regardless, he says, a lower upfront cost would benefit Victoria – a city in a “very difficult financial situation.”

For its part, the City flatly denies there is any low-cost option.

Replacing the obsolete electrical and mechanical systems on the bridge alone will cost $25 million and doesn’t address the structural or foundational issues, argued Peter Sparanese, Victoria’s general manager of operations.

The figures are based on a more recent assessment of the bridge pegging repair costs at roughly $80 million.

The cost inflation was partly due to a more in-depth assessment of the 86-year-old structure.

It was also due to a substantial increase in project scope, which demanded equivalent longevity, safety and amenities as a replacement bridge.

Mayor Dean Fortin summed up his position with a question: If we’re going to invest money in this project, “Why not do it right?”

 

‘There is no plan C,’ says Mayor Fortin

Roszan Holmen: rholmen@vicnews.com

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

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Page A5 


 


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One Response to DEAN FORTIN’S THUGGISH 16% TAX HIKE THREATS: ‘It is about, do you increase taxes by 16 per cent? Do you close the bridge down?’

  1. manos1 says:

    Don’t be a drama queen. Thuggish, really? Repairing the bridge is idiotic, and anyone who has done their research on this issue should come to the same conclusion. Save-the-bridgers are just self-serving their own short term sense of fiscal responsibility and a misplaced idea that the bridge is some kind of historic artifact.

    So far, the only claim of history I’ve seen is “it was built right before the golden gate bridge by the same company”. Whoooooop? Should we be using traffic lights built in the 1920’s? How about cars? Let’s move railway tracks back to manual track switches, those are historical too.

    Public safety and transportation planning trumps the insignificant history of the eyesore that is the current bridge. It just doesn’t make sense to shovel millions of dollars into upgrading the electrical, mechanical and paint, only to have it remain as unsafe and inefficient as before.

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