Poor priorities evident in local government spending

Politicians too often focus on cute aspects of projects instead of paying attention to essentials

So Victoria’s Johnson Street bridge project has joined Ottawa’s Airport Parkway bridge, Goulbourn Recreation Centre and Hazeldean bridge as high-profile examples of the inability of government to do a job right.

A common cause is politicians forcing cutesiness instead of paying attention to essentials. Victoria even managed to slash viability of commuter rail service by not including tracks in the new bridge – I ask if the cost of the cutesy hinge would have paid for tracks instead.

Here, Saanich and View Royal increased fabrication and installation cost of the new Craigflower bridge by bulging deck width, supposedly to accommodate fishers for a few weeks each year – never mind that the new bridge design had ample width of sidewalk so passing them would not be a problem. That taxpayer money should have been put to widening the exit to Island Highway, so traffic doesn’t back up as much into Saanich neighbourhoods. Good news is they rejected the demand of heritage nuts for siderail appearance matching the old bridge, which was built before rolling wide steel sections became cost effective.

Other examples of councillors giving priority to appearances include the piece of junk adorning the north end of the bridge – too obscure to communicate history, whining about the colour of paint on a private building behind Tillicum Mall, a cutesy website home page that hampers finding information, and endless micro-managing of building (which didn’t ensure good appearance nor traffic safety). A really wild example was a Saanich councillor objecting to calling the trail of secondary suites south of McKenzie “legalization” because that would imply reality – that suites would still be illegal north of McKenzie.

View Royal spends on the ashtray strip in the middle of Island Highway past city hall and the fancy sign at the south end of its territory.

What is the mentality of councillors? A negative view of humans motivates them to control individuals, and facilitates the derivative priest/royalty view that an anointed few are all-seeing all-moral so should rule over peons.

There won’t be improvement until voters elect stewards instead of incompetent manipulative meddlers.

Keith Sketchley

Saanich

 

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