Solid ‘maybe’ on rail bridge

It wasn’t the resounding “yes” Victoria hoped to hear. However, the “maybe” offered by the Capital Regional District directors may be enough to keep the door from closing on a railway crossing on a new Johnson Street Bridge.

“We would have liked more commitment (but) it’s a win,” Victoria Coun. John Luton said.

At the CRD meeting Feb. 16, Mayor Dean Fortin asked his fellow directors to share in the City’s $5.5-million cost to include rail on the new bridge.

“We can’t delay the project,” he said, emphasizing the need for an urgent decision.

“We’re not talking huge dollars relative to transportation initiatives for each of the parties,” added Graham Bruce of the Island Corridor Foundation. “If … rail has a future, at some point one of you, all of you, will have to come to the table.”

Fortin asked the region to share the $700,000 cost to keep the rail option open for another few months.

“You can’t ask Victoria to be the only one to carry the risk,” Fortin argued.

This money would be spent to prepare bridge design plans that include rail, just in case the City secures funding for the project down the road. In early summer, the City will learn whether it will receive a $6.5-million grant from federal gas tax funds.

Around the CRD table, mayors and councillors from the region’s other 12 municipalities responded with some skepticism at the need for speed.

“As I watch the whole process, I have to smile at our mayor from (Victoria) — it’s almost like it’s become our problem that it’s a tight situation,” Saanich Coun. Leif Wergeland said. “We want to see a business case.”

“I’m worried that if we make too many commitments now, it will delay the development of other critical areas in the transportation system,” Sidney Mayor Larry Cross said.

Despite these apprehensions, most on the board reaffirmed their commitment to rail as a regional priority.

The board passed motions to ask CRD staff to prepare reports on both of the Victoria’s funding requests.

This week, Victoria council will decide whether the region’s tepid commitment is enough for the City to proceed with parallel design plans.

Just Posted

New secondary school planned for north Langford

Province announces $18.6 million in funding for site

Confusing parking lot blamed for cars tipping into flowerbeds at Peninsula Canadian Tire

Tow and repairs cost thousands, engineer says drivers’ responsibility, Canadian Tire stay quiet

Saanich says it will take months to fix a sink hole that appeared during ‘Snowmaggedon’

Roads closed in the area after the sink hole first opened in early February

Change room thief nabbed by West Shore RCMP Bike Unit

Quick-thinking caller leads police to suspect after witnessing theft

Victoria Shamrocks win proves costly

Shamrocks lose Rhys Duch to a season-ending injury

WATCH: Barbers battle it out in Victoria

‘Barber Battle’ saw stylists and barbers from across North America go head-to-head

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Most Read