YULE HEIBEL’S PROPHETIC WARNINGS: JSB.org co-founder, Post Studio wit, Metrocascade Aggregator designer, Harvard + MIT Architectural History Prof., FOCUS urbanism columnist, first warned of Dean Fortin’s plans to destroy Victoria’s neglected heritage ‘Joseph Strauss Bridge’ near Chinatown



Yule Heibel is seen in this detail from a front page cover colour photo in Victoria’s premiere conservationist publication, Leslie Campbell’s FOCUS.

The endangered Johnson Street Bridge is seen behind the genius architectural historian whose early FOCUS articles on the plans of a manic philistine socialist mayor first shocked sleepy Victorians into a frenzy of healthy defensive reactionary conservationist activitism, the likes of which we have never really seen in our recent history, not since the Saint Anne’s Academy saga in the late 80s and early nineties.

In fact, the JSB.org group has somehow managed to avoid the courts so far, in contrast to what happened the last time there was such a big heritage kerfuffle, when the City of Victoria was sued on a number of occasions by two groups working in concert for a shared goal, the saving of a national historic site, our very own Quebecois Second Empire style Roman Catholic nunnery near Beacon Hill Park, L’Academie Sainte Anne.

In that similarly historic conservation struggle against the brute forces of apparent government corruption and mindless philistinism, the Greater Victoria Concerned Citizens’ Association, (our original legal precursor to the present more political Concerned Citizens’ Coalition) joined forces with David Turner, Mark and Pamela Madoff and other socialists, hippies, reactionaries, conservationists, ‘greens’, Raging Grannies, in other words, all the most unusual suspects … it was the strangest coalition I have ever seen, until now, when it seems even more diverse.

Both groups sued the City of Victoria and the Provincial Capital Commission in a kind of never-ending stream of legal attacks that finally apparently left the developer Academy Gardens Corporation unable to secure the confidence of a bank loan, and thus the whole nightmare of seeing the old convent grounds turned into a kind of kitsch Fantasy Gardens, courtesy a smiling charmer of a Euro Catholic premier who should have known better than to set up a cosy deal with his loyal Socred developer friends…

…All this crass materialistic manoeuvring to privatize the most significant national historic public property resource  from the colonial period of Victoria history … all this, as I say, came to a final ignominious end when Academy Gardens Corporation was found in default of its lease by the very same Provincial Capital Commission that the Concerned Citizens and the Saint Anne’s Rescue public interest conservationist groups sued in the first place (the non-accountable secretive PPP-like entity which purports then and still pretends to properly manage these and other valuable downtown Victoria real estate properties)

Academy Gardens Corporation defaulted on their cosy 70 year lease arrangement with the Prinvincial Capital Commission for not making monthly lease payments in a timely manner.

Developer Peter Daniel, principal of Academy Gardens Corporation, was at the time well known to be a member of the Social Credit Party of the then government of the province of British Columbia, which ultimately had the title to the huge property across the street from the Church of Our Lord.

Saint Ann’s Academy also borders our own Hartnell family business property, then called the Queen Victoria Inn, a thriving hotel business started by our parents who built and owned it the time of the Saint Ann’s saga.

With legendary Langford Lake senior conservationist lawyer Ron MacIsaac’s help, my late father Peter George Hartnell and my dear mother Sheila Hartnell joined with Donna W. and I, along with another lady whose name shall remain anonymous, and formed the Greater Victoria Concerned Citizens’ Association, a legal society generally designed to protect and defend the greater public conservation interests of the good people of Greater Victoria, and specifically, to launch an unrelenting attack of legal actions against the Provincial Capital Commission (CCC) and Academy Gardens, which we did, time after time, for a number of years… in concert with the David Turner-Pamela Madoff-Sue Stroud-NDP-Tom Loring-affiiliated Saint Anne’s Rescue Community Coalition.

Saint Anne’s Academy is bordered by Blanshard on the west, and by Humboldt Street’s Saint Joseph’s Hospital on the north of the precinct, a huge hospital zone also built by the inspiration of God and the hard dedicated work of our early Quebecoises Soeurs de Sainte-Anne de LaChine Quebec, the francophone Roman Catholic order of bilingual teaching nuns who built and staffed the Motherhouse, L’Academie de Sainte Anne, near Beacon Hill Park.

Canada’s most famous female artist, Victoria-born Emily Carr, convalesced and was nursed back to health by these nursing Sisters of Sainte Anne, when she stayed for some time at the old Saint Joseph’s Hospital, I believe it was in the late 1930s.

Later, of course, we all saw her spirit alight on the top of the Saint Anne’s Academy cupola, when at dusk or dawn golden light time, a white bird would alight on the top of the cross, upon which strange phenomenon occurring, the next thing that would invariably happen would be a lovely apparition of Emily Carr stroking her pet monkey Woo, as if to console the creature for the follies of Man, and the brute forces of philistinism.

Emily and Woo would turn slowly in a circle, as if to survey all the wonderful panorama of parklike Victoria, wrapped in a kind of familiar amnesiac fog, and eventually this apparation would dissipate in the gloom as the fog became more manifest in a typical Pacifican early morning or early evening fog-in.

Thus the legend of Emily Carr’s spirit or ‘ghost’ as Peter Zozsky put it, became instant karma folklore for the conservationist movement in Victoria.

We need to invoke the spirit of our greatest artist to get the energy changed on this Johnson Street Bridge fiasco in the same way she helped intercede with us to the Creator to help save Saint Anne’s Academy.

I am not saying that Emily Carr is a saint.

Only this: that she is a mythical symbolic figure that is so appealing as an OUTSIDER that she has a very wide appeal to a myriad of groups:

Everyone seems to love the Emily Carr story of a valiant and misunderstood modern woman’s lone fight against the smug uptight bourgeois provincialism of colonial Victoria, and we all love her valiant attempt to inject French post-impressionism into the sleepy world of the English watercolour tradition of artists like Sarah Trutch, the Beaux Arts academicism of Sophie Pemberton, the Arts and Crafts medievalism of Sam MacLure’s Victoria.

And then, it came to me in a flash, folks, and I thought and remembered with fondness my old friend in radical surrealistic artistic political activism, Robin Buote, who first claimed that it was mutually inspired revelation:

We need Emily Carr to help us to save the Johnson Street Bridge just like she helped us save Saint Ann’s Academy!

I swear I got that idea today straight from listening, while in a meditation, to a great piece of music this morning on the car radio while I was driving home around 7:00 a.m., after dropping my dear wife Dawn off to work @ Sunset, the beautiful music was a haunting mystical piece of praise to the holy mother MARIA, with lovely name chanted over and over, each time slightly differently…



These impassioned articles of Yule Heibel’s detailed all the reasons why Dean Fortin’s ideas about what to do with the neglected bascule bridge were likely to be so destructive, costly, unnecessary and ultimately futile.

Yule Heibel’s hardhitting and sophisticated style of architectural criticsm, her withering wit, and her passion for fiscal prudence set the tone for further writing by her companions in the good fight for the bridge at JohnsonStreetBridge.org, Mat Wright and Ross Crockford.

These gents, along with the energetic Rockland German-Canadian professor, then produced their truly wonderful website that shamed the City of Victoria with its wealth of information, forcing the City to smarten up its own communications efforts, which they tried to do, but which they consistently messed up, with dictatorial messaging, unfair advertising, one-sided funding of YES propaganda, etc.

Thus, we all owe a great debt of gratitude to this dynamic and happily married mother of two very intelligent young students, all living not very far away from our own abode in leafy Rockland.

Were it not for Yule Heibel and Leslie Campbell’s prescience and determination to just say NO, the Johnson Street Bridge would very well likely just be a memory now.

After her departure from FOCUS, these key historical documents were put online by Leslie Campbell at the FOCUS website, then transferred to the JSB.ORG site, and are also found, I believe at the great historians own quirky website called Yule Heibel’s Post Studio.

Another great FOCUS writer, Sam Williams, then picked up where Yule Heibel left off, with an extraordinary display of hardhitting investigative journalism, showing all the myriad of ways the Fortin YES crowd messed up, and continue to mess up.

Many Sincere Thanks, then, are certainly due to Yule Heibel, Leslie Campbell and Sam Williams at FOCUS for all the great work they are doing in the public interest of protecting our heritage bascule built by Joe Strauss.


Gregory Paul Michael Hartnell

GREGORY HARTNELL CONDEMNS VANDALISM AT FORTIN RESIDENCE: CCC President deplores perverse counterproductive violence of vandals + Victoria Police’s rogue cops



I condemn the mindless vandalism that was discovered by the Mayor of Victoria on his Fortin family property this morning.

While I have been an unrelenting critic of this mayor’s heartless, strange and materialistic bridge-building mania, I deplore without reservation the crude vandalism and brutish violence of the cowards responsible for the senseless damage found by Mr. Fortin.

The ‘agenda’ of the vandals that struck at the Fortin family residence is not that of the poor, but rather that of common hoodlums, and will merely encourage the bad behaviour of the rogue cops that plague the Victoria Police Department.

Obviously, these vandals are too stupid to figure that out, and should these rogue cops play rough with them, they will have no one but themselves to blame.

I am not advocating a heavy-handed police reaction, obviously, just predicting that it will be difficult for these rogue cops to resist coming down heavy on all of the more troublesome of the homeless, and not just those few anti-social misfits who are responsible for this outrage.

Recently a report found that the ‘VicPD’, as the police department now styles itself, needed to improve its constables’ service behaviour in no less than 80 ways.

Until that has been done, Tasers banned, and improved, law-abiding, more compassionate policing behaviour is monitored, tested and become standard procedure over a couple of years, the Mayor and Council and the Victoria Police Board should not authorize any more pay raises for these police union members.

A hiring freeze should also be put on the Victoria Police Department pending a rigorous assessment of the new regime.

The Police Chief should reassure Victorians that this obscure but small group is under investigation, that they do not represent the vast majority of law-abiding poor and homeless, rather they only represent a tiny minority of disgruntled so-called ‘militant’ anarchists who have no respect for private property or the sensibilities of the family in question.

They should arrest and charge these people with the full force of the law.

There is no real justification for this vandalism, of course, but it can be compared to the idiotic WTC 911 bombing in that it was precipitated by reckless government policies.


The blood-drenched flag of the worst human rights abusing regime on earth is displayed at Victoria City Hall

Canada's first VIP visitor, Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin, visits the Canada Pavilion with Commissioner General Mark H. Rowswell in April 2010.

Dean Fortin in Shanghai in April of this year, the first Canadian VIP, according to federal goverment propadanda, to visit the Canada Pavilion at Expo 2010, with a federal government bureaucrat. Will federal stimulus money for the Johnson Street Bridge end up in the pockets of Chinese Communist Party businessmen?

By immediately giving themselves outrageous raises as the first order of business after being elected, by taking expensive, useless, scandalous trips to Communist China every year, by insisting that the heritage bridge will be torn down, NDP Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin and Victoria City Council have forgotten about their original mandate, given to them by the people who voted for them, to solve the homelessness problem in Victoria.

In their mad dash to tear down and build a new bridge on Johnson and Wharf, they have left hundreds of poor people in precarious conditions on the streets of downtown Victoria, thus actually endangering their lives.

This is the stark reality Victorians need to admit before they recklessly endorse borrowing almost $50,000,000 to tear down our heritage Joseph Strauss-designed bascule bridge, and build a new bridge to replace it, all the while ignoring or delaying responding properly to the beggars that litter our sidewalks now.

Victorians should not vote for the Mayor’s heartless agenda in the upcoming referendum, nor should we vote for the mayor’s favoured NDP candidate.

A vote for Marianne Alto would be a vote for Dean Fortin’s materialistic agenda of an expensive foreign-designed bridge, unnecessary concrete sidewalks and cosmetic curbs before actual poor people in real need.

A vote for Marianne Alto would actually reduce social housing and addiction treatment programmes for the poor, because there will only be  a severely limited amount of money allocated for those problems when they are deprioritized, and the rest will be squandered on a new bridge that is not really needed.

Therefor, to help our homeless by prioritizing social housing, to reallocate tax dollars for job training and treatment programmes for those in recovery, and to save the Johnson Street Bridge, I recommend that we reject the borrowing proposed by Dean Fortin to build a new bridge, and that Victorians vote NO in the referendum.

 Instead of the same old tired partisan ideas peddled by the NDP candidate, we should also support positive change by voting for Barry Hobbis in the byelection, the independent moderate and fiscally cautious candidate who is best qualified to be our next Victoria City Councillor.

Mat Wright, campaign manager for Barry Hobbis, posted this message to the Barry Hobbis campaign website:



Vandalism and intimidation have no place in the democratic process.

While feelings are running high on certain issues our City faces, it is only through informed debate they can be resolved.





Gregory Hartnell, President

Concerned Citizens’ Coalition



Abandoned homeless people’s chattels, Beacon Hill Park, Victoria 2010

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Jean Juneau, outside the Canada Pavilion at Expo 2010.


A traitorous Mountie stands on guard for Chinese Communist Party business interests

and those of the Conservative Party of Canada, at the Canadian Pavillion in Shanghai at Expo 2010

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?’





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 


Susan Woods clarifies her position on the Johnson Street Bridge, homelessness and other priorities



Thank you for the coverage.

I also wish to clarify my position on the bridge.

I want to see it repaired absolutely.

My comment about ‘ultimate replacement’ was made in the context of there being a “yes” vote returned in the Nov 20th referendum.

In that case, I would lobby for a less costly design to save money, resources and the rail.

My position (if there is a “no” vote which is what I hope for) is for a full review of all REPAIR options and to explore how refurbishment could be achieved while ensuring access across the bridge at all times to ensure the viability of commerce.

My concerns about borrowing 49 million is the lack of financial support from surrounding municipalities – the new design excludes rail, which would be imperative in the future to link commuter rail to downtown transit – and the Blue Bridge is an important heritage asset.

I have now updated my webste to better clarify my position on this important issue – and my brochure has also been updated.

And I do have a position on homelessness, of course.

I just deliberately choose to talk about other things.

Because someone does not always mention homelessness does not mean they don’t care, or have opinions, or good solutions.

Indeed, I have very personal experiences and insights into the issues – but best shared in person rather then a few sentences in a brochure.

Meanwhile, I’m happy to answer any questions about my postion on transportation, affordable rental housing, amalgamation, the cultural health of our city, downtown safety, how to keep taxes under control, and I’ll be a strong advocate for a value-for-money audit at City Hall.

I am not burying my head in the sand about social issues – and look forward to one day being in a poistion to have an affect on public policy in this regard.

Cheers, Thanks! Sue


Dennis Parsons on Johnson Street Bridge’s safety record: ‘No earthquake big enough to damage it ever occurred’

There are so many reasons for refurbishing the Blue Bridge it is a wonder that a new bridge was ever considered.

The present bridge has lasted for 90 years and did yeoman duty in its early life.

Sixty years ago it would be raised as many times in one day as it does now in two weeks, and if it failed to work it must have been for the shortest time.

Fortunately no earthquake big enough to damage it ever occurred.

The inconvenience to road travellers will become less and less as the four remaining businesses upstream are persuaded by developers to move to Esquimalt or elsewhere.

Perhaps there will come a day when the bridge will no longer need to be raised.

Wouldn’t it be better to refurbish the Old Lady with improved materials, methods and Canadian skills?

The bridge could be a “must see” around the Inner Harbour, along with the Empress, the legislative building and the statue of Emily Carr.

CCC BLOG reprint:

Make the Blue Bridge a tourist attraction

Dennis Parsons, Victoria

Victoria Times Colonist: timescolonist.com

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Page A11

ROSS CROCKFORD DEBATES DEAN FORTIN ON CFAX: JohnsonStreetBridge.org director versus Mayor of Victoria



Moderated by CFAX’s Stephen Andrew, the NO side’s foremost spokesman, Ross Crockford of JohnsonStreetBridge.org confronts the ‘progressive’ nonsense of Victoria’s big-spending socialist philistine mayor, Dean Fortin, this morning, 9:30 am. – 10:30 am, Monday, November 1, 2010…

Post debate impressions:

It was very compelling listening, and Stephen Andrew is to be commended for displaying his typical petulant incredulity when the Mayor evaded his questions.


 It is clear that Mr. Andrew doesn’t think the mayor is telling the truth about his intentions for the bridge in the event of a NO victory, and Victorians should share his skepticism.

The mystery of the morning is why Ross Crockford didn’t endorse Barry Hobbis as the best qualified candidate to replace Sonya Chandler.

To advocate a NO in the referendum without specifiying a candidate to take the Council seat is like only filling out 1/2 of the ballot.

It makes no sense, so Mr. Crockford missed an opportunity there.


Focus Magazine Cover Victoria BC February 2010

Ross Crockford, one of the three JohnsonStreetBridge.org directors, with Yule Heibel and Mat Wright.

Mr. Wright is Barry Hobbis’ campaign manager.

 Ross Crockford should have endorsed Barry Hobbis today on the radio, but oddly, didn’t.



Johnson Street Bridge’s purety + simplicity of engineering is ‘nice’ says Sebastian Ricard, the English designer whose new bridge would replace it






It’s been more than a year since Victorians were first introduced to the design chosen to replace the Johnson Street Bridge.

Since then, there’s been a lot of bumps in the road: petitioners thwarted City plans to borrow money for the $63-million project; in response, City staff re-examined the possibility of fixing the 86-year-old bridge; project costs escalated dramatically and now the City aims to borrow even more – but not without public consent through referendum.

Now, with the vote date mere weeks away, City staff and politicians are once again reminding people of the amenities and esthetics offered by the new bridge design.

“People are starting to get excited about it,” said Mayor Dean Fortin, who is well into his Vote Yes campaign.

The design, by WilkinsonEyre Architects, is billed as a “landmark” bridge.

“When I was looking at designing the project, it was very important to respect the previous bridge and try to refer back to it,” said Sebastian Ricard of WilkinsonEyre.

“What is nice about (the Johnson Street Bridge) is the purity and simplicity of the engineering and what we wanted to recreate was the same effect in a modern way.”

The rolling bascule bridge rotates to its lifted positions on two large wheels located under the bridge span.

The design offers some rare bells and whistles, such as a pedestrian pathway running through the wheels.

Above deck run two lateral beams which rise and peak at a height of 10 metres on the downtown side.

These heavy peaks form the counterweights used to help raise the bridge.

Only half the weight is carried at this high level.

The other half is designed to sit below deck.

No word yet on the new colour set to replace the familiar blue, but lighting will likely play a role.

“There are illuminated aspects built into the project in terms of night lighting, which from a functional perspective is for safety, but from an esthetic perspective is value-added,” said City spokesperson Katie Josephson.

Aside from esthetics, the new bridge design offers some improvement for cyclists, and people using wheelchairs.

They include on-road cycling lanes, a multi-use trail and an end to the winding, steep pathways into Vic West.

On the south side of the bridge, a pedestrian deck sits lower than the bridge’s road surface, providing views of the Inner Harbour.

It connects to the Songhees walkway, and to the future Harbour Pathway, planned for downtown.

The remaining question is whether the new bridge is worth its $77 million price tag.

Opponents argue a partial repair of the Johnson Street Bridge could be cheaper.

Some heritage advocates say the “iconic” 86-year-old bridge is worth preserving as a reminder of our city’s industrial roots.


Roszan Holmen: rholmen@vicnews.com

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

Friday, October 29, 2010

Page A5