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Letters April 1: Blindsiding Victoria taxpayers; calculating councillor pay per capita; disorder at Alix Goolden

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Victoria City Hall’s Pandora Avenue entrance. TIMES COLONIST

Councillors blindsided the taxpayers

Victoria council raised their own pay 25 per cent going into effect on May 1 without due consultation and without any warning. In other endeavours that is called being bushwacked.

Victoria taxpayers have been blindsided by Coun. Jeremy Caradonna and his four acolytes.

Mayor Marianne Alto and councillors Stephen Hammond and Marg Gardiner voted against but the motion passed even with Chris Coleman away.

Caradonna is the liaison to James Bay Neighbourhood Association and many of our members are thoroughly disgusted that such antics could not wait until the next election.

Make it a debatable issue in that election by all means. The entire issue has been bungled by a rookie councillor who has embedded this ploy into my “full time memory” for our next civic election day.

Is it any wonder that politicians are having difficulty garnering full-time respect when a stressed public feels it receives only part-time service?

Gregor Campbell

Victoria

Other municipalities are getting a better deal

City of Edmonton: Number of registered voters: 630,000. Number of councillors: 12. Councillor base pay: $122,363. Councillor cost per voter: $2.33.

Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia: Number of registered voters: 322,000. Number of councillors: Nine. Councillor base pay $95,600. Councillor cost per voter $2.67.

City of Victoria: Number of registered voters: 72,000. Number of councillors: Eight. Councillor base pay $65,525. Councillor cost per voter $7.25.

The voters of Victoria are paying three times the cost for our councillors compared to Edmonton and Halifax. Are we getting three times the value from them?

Alan Humphries

Victoria

Local councils dealing with government policies

Critics of Victoria council seem not to realize that all the ills they place at the feet of council are the result of government policies enacted over the previous 30 years.

Federal and provincial governments have reduced taxes on business and upper incomes earners, and have privatized many services. To finance these measures, supposedly to stimulate the economy, public services have been hugely reduced.

Thus there has been no affordable housing built in the past 30 years. There is a chronic shortage of doctors and nurses. There are totally inadequate services for those struggling with mental illness and/or poverty. We do not even give citizens enough money for food!

The failure of the economic policies over the past 30-plus years is clear. Our civic councils are having to deal with the failure, but are not responsible for their enactment.

Sadly it seems that the electorate is leaning towards a doubling down on these failed economic policies as politicians exploit the poor conditions today, without reminding us of how these conditions came to pass.

Bert Slater

North Saanich

Connect the dots between fracking and climate disasters

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as it’s called, has been around for about 25 years. The technology was developed in Texas, which has forever been the greatest supporter of oil and gas.

It was introduced as the way to make the U.S. energy self sufficient.

The process is highly damaging, drilling miles down and across to blast the hard shale rock with huge amounts of water and some of the most toxic chemicals on Earth.

Gas production produces methane, during the production stage and then again as it is burned by the consumer.

The pollution from fracking causes the deadly extreme weather events that we have been seeing, in the extreme, during the past six years.

So much for “natural” “renewable” gas. It is worse than gas and coal because of its methane footprint.

If it is government’s job to keep people safe. Prolonging this industrial poison as a heat source is madness. Now that we have finally recognized that water is a finite, and not an infinite resource, fracking and the waste of millions of tons of water is a crime.

We need to end fracking as soon as possible, stop issuing permits for new gas wells and cancel proposed liquefied natural gas projects and current plants.

We have everything we need to make the transition off fossil fuels except the political will.

Donna McLellan

Victoria

Fernwood mafia needs to show progressive credentials

“This purchase demonstrates council’s commitment to preserving and investing in music spaces downtown as reflected in our 2023-2026 strategic plan,” said Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto to justify the spending of $4 million to buy Hermann’s.

The word that screams at me in that press release is “preserving,” as the same principle does not appear to apply in the case of the Alix Goolden Hall.

I have to ask why council tolerates such a high level of disorder outside the entrance to an absolute gem of a music venue here in Victoria.

Disorder that has closed the main entrance and limits the number of music lovers that can attend events to meet reduced-capacity fire regulations.

May I suggest the reason for this contradiction is that the Fernwood mafia on council have this desperate need to prove their progressive credentials by refusing to limit the impact our unhoused population has on the city.

The fact that they make little attempt to work for all of the good folk in Victoria will, I trust, be remembered in October 2026.

Paul Cunnington

Victoria

Great family members of the Mars aircraft

Many people have cherished memories of the Mars aircraft, and I am sure none more intimate than the memories shared by those who maintained and flew the iconic aircraft.

My father flew float planes from Campbell River for more than 30 years and became good friends with several maintenance personnel who moved on to work for Flying Tankers, so we had a direct connection for a summer camping trip at Sproat Lake.

As preteens my brother and I had little inkling of how interesting our trip to Sproat Lake would be. We camped right at the base and received a guided tour of the Mars, from stepping out of the vertical tail door onto the stabilizer, to walking into the wing cavity accessible from the aircraft interior and then walking out on top of the wing.

While on top of the wing one of the maintenance crew dared us to walk out to the wingtip, and wouldn’t you know it, the wingtip float was about six to eight feet out of the water.

As the wing started to drop, until the wing float touched the water, we both scrambled back to the fuselage to great laughter from the crew.

Iconic people and an iconic aircraft indeed.

Mike Wilkinson

Duncan

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