Johnson Street Bridge project faces provincial audit

The $105-million Johnson Street Bridge replacement project will be the subject of a provincial audit.

The Office of the Auditor General for Local Government confirmed Wednesday that it will review the project at the city’s request.

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

Victoria councillors unanimously endorsed Mayor Lisa Helps’ call for an audit in 2018 after the bridge project came in three years late and over budget.

The bridge was originally scheduled to open on Sept. 30, 2015. The project cost was estimated at $63 million in 2009.

Ruth said his office considers a number of factors when selecting local governments for audits, including population, location and recently completed capital projects.

In this case, he said, Victoria city council contacted his office to request the audit.

“As an independent office, the [auditor general for local government] was asked to review the project and make recommendations that will inform both the City of Victoria and other local governments when they manage future capital projects,” he said.

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