A Thoughtful Approach to Big Projects
We need to ensure that the lessons from previous infrastructure projects are not merely acknowledged, but inform how we manage every project moving forwards. Increasingly cities and governments around the world are looking to move away from big projects, which are too easily treated as “too big to fail” - putting taxpayers at the mercy of contractors.
An audit of the Johnson Street Bridge project is the right decision, but an audit doesn’t necessarily mean the same mistakes won’t be made in future. We should commission a task force of independent experts to ensure that mistakes made in the Johnson St. Bridge are not repeated with the Crystal Pool and Firehall replacement projects.
Large city contracts should be “unbundled” into smaller contracts wherever possible. This reduces the risks of relying on multinational firms, and enables small local businesses to compete for City and CRD contracts.
PLANNING FOR INFRASTRUCTURE
The key to better managing infrastructure costs is adopting meaningful long-term planning. This would incentivize the city to not only plan for the depreciation of existing assets, but also for how our physical and social infrastructure can accommodate future growth, mitigate climate change impacts, and prepare for the risk of a major earthquake in the future.
Better infrastructure planning also positions Victoria to be first in line for government investments in “shovel-ready” projects, and gives us the breathing room to plan out projects properly so that conversations about co-locating housing at Crystal Pool aren’t happening at the 11th hour.