johnson street bridge

After countless hours, dollars, and news articles, the Johnson Street Bridge was officially opened for business on March 31st, 2018. 

But now, almost two years later, the events which led up to the completion of the project are still being examined. 

Mayor Lisa Helps requested an audit of the Johnson Street Bridge project in the lead up to a municipal election in October 2018. Now, the Auditor General for Local Government (AGLG) has granted that request. 

The decision to audit the project was announced in a news release on February 5th, 2020.

“One of the major services local governments provide is the construction and maintenance of community infrastructure,” said Gordon Ruth, auditor general for local government, in the statement. 

“The effective management of these projects can have a huge impact on how well taxpayers’ money is spent and the quality of services they receive.”

The AGLG serves 190 local governments in BC, offering advice to local governments to help them deliver their services more efficiently, effectively, and economically.

This is the second audit in an AGLG series examining capital project management. Future auditees under this topic will be announced later this year. 

A guidebook containing best practices in capital project management will also be released in the near future.

See more: Drunk man spotted clinging to the Johnson Street Bridge as it was being raised 

Taxpayer advocacy group welcomes audit

In their own statement to the press, advocacy group Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria welcomed the audit and commended Mayor Helps for initiating the review.

“Hopefully the City and other municipalities around the province will learn from this management audit,” says Stan Bartlett, chair of the group.

Due to City Council meeting times, Mayor Helps was unable to respond to a request for comment by time of publication. 

In 2017, the City of Victoria received the un-coveted Teddy Award from the Canadian Taxpayers Foundation. The award is given to “the most wasteful project of the year. 

The Johnson Street Bridge was a no-brainer for the award, after construction costs ballooned to $105 million — almost $50 million more than anticipated — and took seven years to complete.

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