Letters May 15: A bikeway brouhaha; Saanich tax hike is excessive

Not everyone can afford to move into town

Re: “Are Victoria’s bikeways really wasteful and unfair?” May 13.

Although I found many of Todd Litman’s points to have merit, there was one key point with which I take issue.

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He claims that bikeways improve lives for local residents, with which I agree. But he also directs people to move into town if they prefer to reduce their impact. As if choosing where you live is that simple.

My rebuttal to that is only a personal story, but I imagine I am not in the minority of home seekers.

In 2017, we were losing our rental home. As the market for rentals was crazy at the time, we sought to purchase a home. My wife and I are both slightly above-average income earners, and yet, the nearest home we could purchase, given what we were pre-approved for, was in Sooke.

When we had our rental home, we cycled everywhere, and really enjoyed life in the Esquimalt area. Since our forced relocation, we cycle less than a tenth of what we used to, because although the Galloping Goose is only five kilometres away, it is then almost 50 kms into town.

As for transit, it would take me over two hours each way, to get to work from Sooke. So we are forced into our cars way more than we would wish. While I agree that an active transportation city is a happy city, not everyone who lives in the suburbs does so because they love driving everywhere in their car.

Also, for the record, we have two cars, one of which is hybrid, and the other is full electric. We are certainly trying to reduce our impact.

It would be refreshing to read a commentary where the plight of the middle class, who can’t afford inner-city living, is discussed. But I guess, like amalgamation, that doesn’t benefit the few who can still afford to live in Victoria proper.

Simon Pauze
Sooke

Bikeway commentary doesn’t reflect reality

Re: “Are Victoria’s bikeways really wasteful and unfair?” May 13.

This commentary doesn’t reflect reality. I am all for walking and bike lanes, but if you are going to rely on Google maps, you shouldn’t.

What used to take four minutes to travel by car from Richardson and Moss to London Drugs on Yates Street now takes 12 minutes because of the diversions to alternate streets like Cook, where traffic is always congested.

Now add to that time when garbage and recycling pickups occur, (several times a week) the delivery trucks, buses, and so on. How does that help my carbon footprint?

The whole premise that everyone will now be able to walk and ride their bikes safely assumes seniors are part of this group. How long before a cyclist is mowed down when two opposing cars have to dodge each other when they meet in a single lane?

Then, to top it off, this writer suggests that if I don’t like it I should uproot and go live somewhere else.

Walter Hill
Victoria

Let’s go after the weeds that really matter

In response to the recent letters about dandelions, I say let’s look elsewhere for something to eradicate.

Scotch broom is the real plague on our landscape!

Alison Irwin
Duncan

Saanich tax increase is just too much

It appears that Saanich council, like many other councils, has decided that their taxpayers are just a piggy bank to be raided.

The 5.76 per cent increase for this year to fund their nice-to-have plans is unwarranted. More than a million dollars is for new positions — bureaucracy loves more bureaucrats.

Then add odds and ends like Active Transportation, Urban Forestry, Tree Planting, Community Funfair, Sustainability, whatever that means, etc.

It is evident that this “woke” council never heard about zero-based budgeting, but rather works on the premise that the budget is based on prior spending year plus all the nice-to-have things.

How many of the residents of Saanich, the piggy bank, saw a 5.76 per cent increase in wages last year, how many retirees saw a 5.76 per cent increase in Old Age Security or pension? I would guess the answer is zero.

The lack of any semblance in understanding real-world budgeting or finance by council is disheartening.

I suspect they took lessons from the City of Victoria.

Chris Sheldon
Victoria

Military police to the rescue

While walking my dog on May 12 near Work Point, I noticed a deer trapped in the security fenced area beside Clifton Terrace.

Animal control could not solve the problem. However, a call to the base commander soon resulted in the dispatch of military police.

Officers unlocked the gate and efficiently “escorted” the frightened animal to freedom.

The deer was not charged with trespassing.

Michael Dupuis
Esquimalt

All of these problems were predicted

I would like to concur with the psychiatric occupational therapist and the paramedic who have written to say that the closure of Riverview was an enormous public policy disaster.

Before the closure I was invited to a “consultation” (i.e. “rationalization”) session, as a representative of the board of the Victoria branch of the Schizophrenia Society of B.C.

We were told that all would be well, as 40 community support workers would be hired to assist the former residents destined for Victoria. This number was slashed as soon as the program was implemented.

As allies and family members of people with chronic mental illness, we knew about the self-medication to offset the side effects of the psychotropic meds.

We fully expected that they would either show up at the door of family members already exasperated with unpredictable behaviour, but more likely they would fall in with unsavory friends — providing the ideal vulnerable victim.

As we know, this is exactly what happened, only worse, much worse, than we ever expected.

Pieta VanDyke
Sidney

Poisoning rodents creates health problems

In a city that bans the use of plastic bags, bans smoking, spends millions of dollars putting in cycling lanes to encourage citizens to ride a bike, take city transit, but still allows the indiscriminate use of rodenticides, do you see the irony?

It is well documented that raptors such as eagles and owls are dying as a result of eating poisoned rats. Children and personal pets can also be affected. Centres of disease control report thousands of calls per year from parents whose children have been exposed to rodenticides.

It’s time the city of Victoria and environs initiate an outright ban of rat poison and go to snap traps. A little more laborious, but a lot more mindful of the environment and all that lives within it.

Evelyn Schofield
Victoria

Economic tourists use Victoria’s resources

This is a quote from the 2020 Point In Time report on homelessness in Victoria:

“ ‘Most of the people we see are from somewhere else,’ claims an outreach worker, who asked not to be named due to potential legal liability from his organization. The reason, he explained, was simple: Weather. ‘And that’s what they’ll [his clients] straight up tell you.’ He described Victoria’s social services as ‘overloaded’ and as a consequence, designed to meet the immediate needs of its patrons like clothing and food rather than long-term solutions such as housing and mental health care.”

I do not mind my taxes being used to care for people who were born and bred in Victoria, but strongly object to funding the needs of economic tourists. Time for Victoria politicians at all levels to press the federal government to find a solution.

Peter Denby
Victoria

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