A public art piece featuring an orca made of surfboards is the latest proposal to divide residents in the ongoing saga of the new Johnson Street Bridge.

With the placement of the new bridge's rings and counterweights over the weekend, council is now turning its attention toward the public spaces surrounding the bridge.

That includes the proposed art piece called "Transient Resident," the artist's vision of an orca, to be installed in the triangular meridian near the Janion Building.

City of Victoria policy is to spend up to one per cent of a major public works project on art, and with the new bridge costing $105-milion, the piece is estimated to cost $250,000.

Some residents who looked at the proposal said the piece, made up of a series of surfboard-like shapes, didn't seem worth the $250,000 price tag.

"Am I being on the record here? I think it's a waste of money," said one woman passing by.

Others working at businesses in the area feel the initial cost will eventually pay off.

"I think public art is great and especially for a tourism city, it's really great to showcase that," said Dena Smith, an employee of Paboom on Store Street.

Council is looking at early designs for public spaces surrounding the bridge and formulating a strategy on how they'll be funded.

"I think this is one of those city-building opportunities where we can start to beautify and really make those public spaces in the city respond, and help us make it the city we want it to be," said Jonathan Tinney, director of sustainable planning and community development.

Council will consider both budget and design for the project at a Committee of the Whole meeting on Thursday.