What is more Sustainable? Repair or Replace?
That question, and many others, surround the Blue Bridge issue. We could add: is replacement financially sustainable? As Yule Heibel points out in a recent article:
Another thing to note: one of the arguments that the City of Victoria’s Engineers made – an argument subsequently embraced by some of the councilors who profess Green allegiances, notably Councilor Sonya Chandler – is that building a new bridge represents less embodied energy than refurbishing (preserving) the old one. Yet as Campagna’s lecture suggested, the embodied energy argument has to be pondered carefully. Surely, manufacturing new steel in China (after burning bunker oil to transport the raw materials from South America, say, to China’s factories), then burning more bunker oil to transport that steel to Victoria, is not the greener option. And let’s not even get started on how much fresh concrete a new bridge will require.
There was an irony in seeing a councilor who’s a heritage advocate listen attentively to an expert historic preservationist make the argument that the embodied energy argument should be viewed with skepticism, that preservation and reuse are always the greener options, and that retrofitting old buildings – can we say old structures? – is the environmentally responsible thing to do, given her readiness to trash the Johnson Street Bridge.
The question is: will Campagna’s message reach Victoria on the issue of the Johnson Street Bridge, or will Victoria remain comfortable in believing that it’s doing its best with regard to preservation …and sustainability?
johnsonstreetbridge.ORG and Earth Day
On Saturday April 24th we will have a table in Centennial Square, joining dozens of organizations striving to make our communities more sustainable.
The walk begins at Noon at the BC Legislature, and arrives at the square around 1:15 for speeches from Vicky Husband and Ross Crockford, and music by Oliver Swain and Friends, and the Ecclestons.
Hope to see you!