Thursday, October 07, 2010

Why I will be voting No on the bridge

I have given this a lot of thought about the bridge referendum and  I have come down on the side of NO to a new bridge. 

I do not like the existing bridge and I would like to see it  gone and replaced with something new and unique, but I am not keen on the expense or the process used by the City to make their decision.

Here are my reasons:

  1. The City has not shown me that they have any mechanism in place to ensure there will be no budget overrun.  Around the world transportation capital projects go over budget in most cases.   I want to know who on City staff will put their job online to guarantee no overrun.  I want to know if the City will end the project when the money has been spent even if the bridge is not finished.
  2. The process the City has gone forward to deal with the Johnson Street bridge does not give me faith that the decision was well thought out or well researched.   There are too many examples out there of refurbishment projects that have been achieved for much less but no indication of why these examples are not applicable here.   Most specifically the City has a cost to refurbish the bridge that is about the same as the Lion' Gate Bridge project, a very complex and large project. 
  3. I am not convinced that the bridge is the single most important infrastructure project for the City.  This was not on the radar in the last election and there is nothing in the reports the City has recieved that action on the bridge has to taken dramatically quickly.  It feels like someone in City Hall saw the stimulus money and thought the City could use the bridge to access this money - when this money would come through the City seemed to have locked itself into a decision it can not back out of without losing face.
  4. On a purely selfish reason, no one has given me a good reason why I should pay for this bridge when it holds no benefits for me.   I am expected to pay but the majority of people that use the bridge will not pay anything towards it?  Where is the fairness in that?
  5. The final reason why I will be voting No is because of the utterly abysmal consultation process the City engaged in with respect to this project.   From someone that does consultation for a living, it is clear to me there is no one involved with this project that understands what a good consultative process is and how to react to the input from the public.  Voting Yes would feel like rewarding bad governance.   

I am voting No because I can not support a new bridge and want to see the City look at a much, much cheaper option for the bridge.
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