New freedom of information requests about Burrard and Granville Street bridges are raising some concerns and creating intrigue.
The documents on the bridges are big on volume, but small on detail.
Global News submitted an FOI to the city of Vancouver asking for inspection and engineering reports on both bridges. The report that came back consisted of 2,300 pages. Only about 200 pages had anything written on them. The rest were blank.
Vancouver’s best explanation about the vacuum of information is – terrorism.
“It is the lesson we’ve learned going through the Olympic experience, working with the various law enforcement agencies… that we do look at the information related to the utilities or to structures, and there is information that we don’t make public,” says City of Vancouver director of transportation Jerry Dobrovolny.
But a similar request made by Global News in Toronto regarding the Gardiner Expressway and its crumbling infrastructure had more than 500 pages released, not one was blanked out – a far cry from Vancouver’s FOI with one greyed out page after another.
“They might be putting out tenders. They probably would not, quite reasonably, want to say – we are prepared to spend five million dollars doing this work, because then all bids will come in at five million dollars,” says Vincent Gogolek with B.C. freedom of information and privacy association.
Of the little information Global News manage to glean from this meager offering of information — is that both the Burrard and Granville bridges have serious toxins.
The Burrard with layer upon layer of lead paint, so thick it can no longer bond with the bridge.
There’s asbestos and inside the bearings upon which the Granville moves, there are PCB’s — all considered contributors to cancer.
“Certainly, there is work that is needed, but overall the bridges are in good shape,” says Dobrovolny. “They need some work, and we have scheduled that work over the next few years.”
Here is an FOI document on the Analysis of Granville Street bridge to determine weldability:
Another document obtained by Global News:
An example of a redacted document on the state of the two bridges – Granville Street Bridge Preliminary Assessment report:
Here is a copy of Toronto FOI documents received by Global News: an Appendix with Remedial Work Activity Summary