Letters from our readers. Today: Victoria’s relationship to the rest of the region, urban trees and a look at the benefits of zoo life.
Inflatable integrity on full display
Last week, after a visit to Eagles Lake in the Highlands, we inadvertently left our inflatable sports lounger on the grass shoulder of the street near the lake entrance.
Early the next morning, not expecting much, I returned to the lake — a half-hour drive — and found the lounger still there. Not only had it not been stolen, but someone had transferred it from its more exposed location and placed it back at the trail entrance by the beach, leaning against a tree where only lake visitors would be likely to walk by it.
Along with our thanks and shout-out to whoever this Good Samaritan was, we can only hope that the integrity demonstrated by their action was witnessed by any children in attendance; it’s never too early to learn that there are still many out there whose default setting is to do the right thing.
Want to spread the costs? Spread the benefits, too
Several writers say the costs of policing downtown Victoria should be borne by all municipalities. They ignore what Victoria gains as the center of our region. The people who “go downtown to party” are spending money there. Victoria also benefits from the commercial, government, and tourist activity which the focus of our region attracts.
Would those who promote sharing police costs support distribution of the benefits to other municipalities? Would a new Central Library be built in Saanich? Perhaps a performing arts center could be built in View Royal. Would ships dock in Esquimalt or Sidney? Let’s replace the aging courthouse with a building in Langford.
How about a new art gallery in Oak Bay? Sharing goes both ways.
We’d be better off living in a zoo
Documentaries about zoos have always fascinated me. As I age, I now look at them enviously. Why do you ask? Whereas I prepare all my own food, do all my own cleaning and waited nine months for hand surgery, two years for eye surgery and am on the waiting list for another specialist for another year and a half, at least, here’s what’s happening in the majority of zoos.
Animals are given living quarters that have adequate space, they don’t have to shop, pay taxes, clean or cook!
The temperature in their home is regulated to ensure maximum comfort, someone prepares their daily food with a balanced diet and variety, there is a team of experts who monitor their health and well-being on a daily basis, medication or tests or surgeries are performed as soon as a problem is diagnosed (no long waits for them!).
Sure, they don’t have ‘freedom’ but then do we elderly enjoy so much ‘freedom’? Finally, when there is no more quality of life or they live in too much pain or discomfort, a potion is added to their last meal so they can drift off to eternal sleep….
Think about it: Who’s got a better quality of life?
Missing transit stops make for a long walk
This city has decided to turn itself over to developers. Two building projects on Johnson Street have led to the removal of two transit stops at Vancouver and Cook Streets. That means a long walk for riders.
It is especially irksome since one of the stops serves a major medical building. Who goes to doctors? Old people with disabilities and mothers with their children. All need easy access to public transit.
The city should have rules that protect access to transit.
Road safety, bylaws, apathy and indifference
Just a few weeks until the beginning of a new school year, and still no enforcement of bylaws designed to enable pedestrians to navigate the roads safely in Gordon Head. Despite the Saanich mayor’s claim that “pedestrian safety is a priority for both he and council” and that “bylaws on the books must be enforced,” the municipality’s efforts provide otherwise.
Recently, after seeing a pedestrian almost get knocked down by a car, I filed a complaint with the Saanich bylaw department. My complaint was a hedge planted at the roadside, mere inches from the curb, and about three meters onto the municipal boulevard.
At the time there was a car parked adjacent to the hedge, forcing the pedestrian to, quite literally, walk in the middle of the road.
I was contacted by a bylaw enforcement officer who advocated for the property owner. Despite multiple complaints by myself and others, nothing is being done to protect pedestrians, many of which are young children, regularly walking in our neighbourhoods.
On Hillcrest Avenue alone there are at least 10 bylaw infractions, all being ignored by the municipality.
Certainly there are some high-profile, million-dollar projects underway in the municipality; however, on the side streets, in neighborhoods where the majority of people live, precious little is being done to protect pedestrians and cyclists.
These are the roads that children use to get to and from schools, playgrounds and their friends’ houses. Why, in an election year and one that has seen a near-record tax hike, is the municipality ignoring its responsibilities?
To the mayor, council and CAO, I’m embarrassed for and angry with you. Saanichites rely on you to do your duty and you are failing us.
Questions about trees for aspiring candidates
Seventy-five percent of Victoria’s trees are on private property. When Auckland, New Zealand, embarked upon a program of “intensification” (gentrification masquerading as densification), within 10 years some neighborhoods had lost 35 per cent of their tree canopy.
Ask the aspiring candidates for city council if this is their vision for Victoria.
Ask them if this makes any sense in a climate crisis.
Let other places pay when their residents break the law
Regarding Esquimalt wanting out of the police deal with Victoria … given that no other municipality around Victoria has a downtown, Victoria ends up with all the drunks, druggies, homeless, hookers and weirdos.
Perhaps city council should pass a law that says if we arrest and charge someone in Victoria who lives in another municipality, all expenses for the arrest should be billed to the police of their home area.
It is bad enough we have a reputation for being crime-ridden when it is actually out-of-city people who cause most of the problems.
Dreaming about a better Canada
I have a dream.
The leaders of Canada’s provinces and territories are meeting in Ottawa with the leaders of all political parties to discuss changing the Constitution to bring it into line with today’s global environment, today’s Canadian needs, and using the latest in communications technology to bind this vast nation.
This would make possible a truly national health plan administered federally to provide the same high level of healthcare from coast to coast. The billion-dollar savings in administration can help to add a national drug and dental plan.
I have a dream.
To safeguard our democracy, all federal and provincial voting is done using a proper Proportional Voting System. This will decrease politics and make for the broadest representation of Canadians at the decision-making levels.
I have a dream.
That all of us are proud Canadians first, and proud residents of our province or territory second. That under the new constitution Canadians can fly the national flag to help celebrate national, provincial, and private events, provided that the flag is in prime condition, not faded or worn, and is taken down at sundown.
I have a dream.
To make a substantial reduction in harmful emissions Canadians may only buy a new automobile weighing less than 1,500 kilograms and powered by gas, electricity, or hydrogen fuel. Exemptions allowed for medical reasons, or if used for purely commercial purposes.
I have a dream.
Government discourages use of electricity
I applaud Victoria’s plan to ban fossil-fuel appliances, furnaces and hot-water tanks in new buildings and renovations by 2025. But a big deterrent to going electric is the system implemented by the Liberals in 2008 to promote the use of natural gas.
Under this two-tiered system of charging for electricity, you pay nearly one and half times more if you consume greater than an average of 22.1918 kilowatt hours per day in a billing period.
In our case, we have heated our house and hot water with electricity since 1989 and we can only stay within the first tier for about 90 days in the summer.
It is time for our provincial government to step in and undo the meddle of 2008. If the price per kilowatt hour has to increase somewhat to compensate for the revenue loss then so be it, but this two-tier system has to go.
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