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Letters April 12: Excluding the disabled, invest in the planet, cats don't stink

Victoria City Hall’s Pandora Avenue entrance. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

People with disabilities excluded from planning

Victoria’s Official Community Plan survey is a classic example of the systemic ableism people with disabilities are subjected to daily.

The Accessible British Columbia Act calls upon municipalities to remove barriers for people with disabilities. As the city moves forward with its OCP, one would think the city would attempt to understand the barriers faced by these people.

Nope. On the last page of the survey, in the “standard demographic data collection” section the city asks age range, gender identity, resident status, spoken languages, household size and income. Glaringly missing — disability.

As far as I am aware, Victoria is not a disability-free zone and people with disabilities still represent close to 25 per cent of the population. Further, understanding this demographic is fundamental to removing barriers in the city as required by the Accessible B.C. Act. Our exclusion from the demographics is an egregious omission at best.

Beyond the abhorrent omission, the city’s survey uses language that excludes segments of the disability community and calls upon blind survey users to view graphical maps to answer questions.

AudioEye, a tool used to detect website accessibility violations, detected 72 violations on the first page of the survey alone.

Further demonstrating contempt for the rights of people with disabilities, the survey asks respondents to prioritize Indigenous identity, multicultural identity and diversity over one another, as though rights are determined by popularity and not the law.

These types of questions are volatile in nature and breed hatred amongst community groups.

It’s 2024; we are all of equal value.

Susan Simmons


We need to invest to save the planet

If you think climate solutions (like the carbon tax) are too expensive, think ahead to yet higher food prices, ­unaffordable insurance and increasing costs to rebuild infrastructure after extreme weather events.

A report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives puts the total economic costs associated with the 2021 heat dome, wildfires, floods and landslides between $10.6 and $17.1 billion (not including insured losses).

Better to spend on solutions that help us quickly reduce our fossil-fuel emissions (the primary cause of global warming) and protect biodiversity.

Framing climate solutions as a “sacrifice” overlooks the multiple benefits of mitigation.

Those benefits include clean air; clean water; trees, soils, oceans, and rivers that thrive and capture carbon, all resulting in better health, reduced hospital visits, happier children. A healthy planet can sustain a healthy population. And a planet in climate chaos … well, you can finish that sentence.

Yes we can lead by example. Eschewing consumer culture in favour of voluntary simplicity, undertaken with the right attitude, has proven to bring those who practise it more joy, satisfaction and contentment. Who doesn’t want more of that?

We do not need to sacrifice to save the planet. But we do need governments, and voters, who believe it is a worthwhile investment.

Karyn Woodland


Smells around house? Don’t blame any cats

In response to David Sovka’s April 7 column about cats, I have only one comment.

If there is a problem with overpowering odour of urine in their carpet, furniture, hair and clothing, then the residents might consider taking a bath.

Cats do not stink.

Lynn Larsen


Keep your pets away from others, please

What is this strange compulsion some pet owners have to inflict their pets on others?

Why are quite tiny dogs forced to walk among the crowded legs of strangers on downtown streets? It’s doubtful these animals enjoy it.

Why can’t pet lovers keep their dogs and cats safe near home, where they are comfy?

Or better yet, out in the countryside, which these animal lovers can reach by walking with their pets.

Jon Blair


Only certain people can afford Island life

The number of people leaving B.C. to move east is intriguing.

The real question is, are they leaving? Or are they simply going home?

Too many people have Island dreams, but NDP policies are making it impossible to live here, unless you have an addiction and a tent.

Dewane Ollech


The youth of today are worth the money

Re: “Oak Bay’s many needs matter more than wants,” letter, April 5.

The writer leaves the impression that parks are not important, a want rather than a need. Yes, in Oak Bay there is a need to replace crumbling infrastructure, such as sewers and roads.

But what is the cost of not ensuring public spaces are available, attractive and well used, especially to youth? The facilities at Carnarvon Park, and elsewhere, need replacement and repair.

For one, they were developed at a time when there were no considerations regarding accessibility, inclusion and material effects on the environment.

Children are motivated to communicate and interact with their peers. Those of us who were raised in an era of “free range kids” found many ways to do so, without structure and parental oversight. While some parents are happy to have their children socialize in highly regimented activities, there are others who see the benefits of more autonomy for their children.

Youth will put effort and energy into finding ways to socialize with peers, including seeking online environments.

There are many reports on the negative impacts of online environments, thus many parents are seeking alternatives for their children.

Outdoor public spaces, such as parks, where youth are safe in their community can certainly play a role. Taxpayers have a voice.

Yes, it will come at a cost, but as the youth of today are our future, it might be money well spent, as it contributes to their physical and emotional well-being, and growth as productive citizens.

Janice Davis

Oak Bay

Thanks for your help at the Wilkinson Co-op

On Easter Sunday, on the way to my daughter, I stopped at the Peninsula Co-op on Wilkinson about 2 p.m.

I tripped on something and landed hard on my side. Fortunately, nothing was broken and I just have some bruises and scrapes.

A man rushed to inquire if I was all right and then lifted me to my feet. He was concerned enough to wait to check that I was really OK.

Being a senior with knee problems, I would have had a hard time getting myself up without something to grab onto.

I did not get his name and am not sure if I thanked him properly. I really appreciate his assistance.

There are a lot of good people around!

Stephanie Greer


Four young people came to my rescue

A heartwarming experience reaffirmed my belief in the goodness of humanity

I’m 79. Recently, I tripped and sustained an injury. In that moment of vulnerability, four remarkable young people came to my rescue.

Their swift actions were nothing short of heroic. They provided first aid, stemming the bleeding and ensuring my safety. Their selflessness and compassion touched me deeply.

As I am on blood thinners, the situation could have been dire, but their intervention made all the difference.

In a world often filled with negativity, witnessing such kindness from the younger generation renewed my faith. These young individuals exemplify the best of humanity and their actions serve as a beacon of hope in our collective future.

Terry Burn



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