Nearly two years after the new Johnson Street Bridge opened to vehicle traffic, B.C.’s Auditor General for Local Government has announced it will audit the bridge replacement project. (Black Press Media file photo)

Audit announced for Johnson Street Bridge replacement project

Victoria council requested audit after nine-year project went $42 million over initial budget

The City of Victoria’s request to audit a project that took almost 10 years and more than $105 million to build has been granted.

Nearly two years after the new Johnson Street Bridge opened to vehicle traffic, B.C.’s Auditor General for Local Government (AGLC) has announced it will audit the bridge replacement project – the largest capital project in the city’s history – which, according to Mayor Lisa Helps “didn’t go well.”

The independent office will review the project and make recommendations to inform the City of Victoria and other local governments managing capital projects.

READ ALSO: BRIDGING THE GAP: Mayor vows to learn from Johnson Street Bridge project

In 2017 the bridge replacement project earned the ‘Teddy’ award from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation for “the most wasteful project of the year” after costs increased $42 million above the original $63 million budget and brought total costs to $105 million. Council asked for the audit in hopes of improving capital projects for Victoria and other municipalities.

“One of the major services local governments provide is the construction and maintenance of community infrastructure,” said a statement from Gordon Ruth, auditor general for local government. “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 bridge is the second in a series of audits to take place as part of a capital project management project. The first was the District of Mackenzie, announced last fall. Other future auditees will be announced later this year.

Ruth said the AGLC considers a number of factors when selecting which local governments to audit, including population size, geographical location and other community characteristics, such as recently completed capital projects.

READ ALSO: Johnson Street Bridge may see upcoming audit



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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