The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce praised the outcome of the Nov. 20 referendum in which voters approved funding for the replacement of the Johnson Street Bridge.
“We see this as a very positive outcome for our region,” says Chamber CEO Bruce Carter. “The approval for financing creates new opportunities for the city to create a secure transportation route for another 100 years and accommodate bikes, pedestrians, and provide an increased level of reliability.”
The referendum sought permission from voters to borrow up to $49.2 million to fund the rebuilding of the bridge. Unofficial results show the referendum passed with 60.57 percent voting in favour and 39.43 percent voting against.
The iconic Blue Bridge, as it’s known, is a vital link from downtown Victoria to Esquimalt and the western communities. It is coming to the end of its design life and will need to be replaced or refurbished in the next few years.
“With this new iconic project, there is an opportunity to include rail, and with the Capital Region District willing to come to the table we need to fully exploit this opportunity,” continued Carter. “The rail must be integrated into downtown plans to allow the development of higher capacity commuter options on this important regional route.”
A by-election for Victoria City Council was also held Nov. 20, with one seat up for grabs. Unofficial results show the winner is Marianne Alto. Referendum and by-election results will be made official Wednesday, Nov. 24, with the winner of the by-election sworn in on Thursday, Dec. 9.
The City of Victoria reported that 16,459 ballots were cast in the referendum, marking a 20 per cent increase over the 13,819 cast in the 2002 arena referendum, and within a few hundred votes of the 17,080 votes cast in the 2008 general election.