Bridge motion proves faulty
Re: City Watchdog, March 8-14
The foundations of Councillor Isitt’s motion on the bridge are faulty. There is little to be gained by “simplifying” the design where complexity is part of the function rather than extravagance of presentation. Because the bridge has to lift, the mechanics and operational requirements are essential to the design. While some imagine that significant cost savings would be associated with a fresh start on a “cookie cutter” bridge, that is not the case. More costs are associated with the width and capacity of the bridge, added to provide improved levels of service for cyclists and pedestrians.
New councillors, while notionally committed to improved cycling and walking amenities, threatened those very features by proposing to return to the drawing board in search of a new scope and reduced costs. The significant and very real sunk costs would be lost, and the schedule of works disrupted, posing a threat to the partner funding the city has secured. The most appalling of the proposals was the premise that Victoria should be saddled with big box store architecture across our harbour for the next 100 years. While much debate took place over the chosen design, the iconic bridge will provide functionality as well as a sympathetic expression appropriate for the location and our downtown skyline.
Oversight of the bridge project will be useful, but we would do well to question how cost savings could be achieved by further delay, significant scope changes and discarding the extensive and expensive work the city has already carried out to deliver the bridge we voted for.