Last summer, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre announced a plan to install lights on the Jacques Cartier Bridge to commemorate the 375th anniversary of the city.
The project would be a joint project between the Federal and provincial governments, the city of Montreal and the Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated and cost a whopping $39.5 million dollars. The city will be responsible for $9.5 million and the rest will come from the Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Corporation owned and financed by the federal government (also known as a crown corporation).
The Montreal Gazette did some research into other bridge lighting projects and found that on average this project is ten times more expensive than anything they found in the world.
The bridge most comparable to the Jacques Cartier Bridge was the John A. Blatnik Bridge in Duluth, Minn and its lighting system cost only $750,000 U.S.
Montreal 375 committee head Gilbert Rozon is actually claiming this project will pay for itself! He thinks the bridge will be seen as a new icon for the city like the Eifel Tower is to Paris. It’ll be widely photographed and recognized throughout the world and lead to an increase in tourism presumably. Do you know anyone who traveled to another city because of an 85-year old bridge with lights on it?
You know what might counter this alleged increased tourism? Cops wearing camouflage pants, dirty police cars covered in stickers and teachers protesting on street corners forcing people to take time off work.
To be fair, it’s not the mayor’s job to negotiate with the provincial unions, nor is it the federal government’s but he could make a statement in favor of responsible governance that could make a huge difference in the lives of the people province-wide. Opt for a cheaper lighting project, send the money back and tell both the federal and provincial governments that before they spend one penny more in this province, teachers, cops, firefighters and other public workers should be taken care of first.
The $40 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the $16.9 billion earmarked for education spending in the 2015-2016 provincial budget but it shouldn’t matter. If the government (and really – does it make a difference in eyes of the voters whether it’s provincial, municipal or federal) is willing to waste money on this project, they are surely able to muster up some extra cash and present a reasonable offer to public sector workers.
As one MontrealRacing.com member put it: at least the excrement currently being dumped into the St-Lawrence river will be visible at night!
Image credit: Credit: Moment Factory/ 375MTL