Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Letters April 2: Missing the sound of pickleball; suspension of doctor; housing in Oak Bay

A letter-writer suggests the closure of pickleball courts in James Bay is a loss not just for Victoria seniors who enjoy the game, but the community as well. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

What became of the pickleball players?

Victoria must be the only city and parks-and-rec department that does not want its citizens to be active, especially the older ones.

Yes, I refer to the banning of the sport of pickleball on the James Bay tennis courts. For the third day — beautiful, sunny days — in a row, Nelson the Rottie and I walked about the aforementioned park.

Not a soul on the courts. No one. Today included. Further, parks and rec had put up fencing on the courts to block those nasty pickleballers from playing.

I live close by in the ’hood and, since this whole kerfuffle started, have tried to assess how much louder a wiffle ball hitting a wood surface is compared to a tennis ball hitting taut strings. I’m pretty comfortable stating that the difference in sound produced is pretty negligible.

Finally, as a neighbour to these courts, I have found the sound of pickleball being played to not be annoying, but rather inspiring, as mainly older folks take up an activity that gets them active and fit.

I also watch the camaraderie amongst the players and the good-natured slagging that goes back and forth. This is annoying? And what are these people doing now that another venue has been closed to them?

Shame on you Victoria, and shame on you my neighbours.

James (Jim) Parker

Suspension of doctor is reasonable

Re: “Denman doctor accused of issuing false exemptions,” March 30.

Quoting the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C., the article said Dr. Stephen Craig Malthouse “used his status as a registrant of the College to try to circumvent COVID-19 public health measures.”

Also the article said that in October 2020: “Malthouse wrote an open letter to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry alleging masks ‘are useless and even harmful’ against COVID-19, and claimed people were ‘rarely’ becoming ill from the virus.”

Malthouse’s statements are false. Face masks decrease the transmission of COVID. COVID has sickened tens of thousands of people in this province. In 2021, 2,990 people died of COVID-19 in B.C.

We are fortunate in Canada to have universal health care, a robust public-health service and a population that generally trusts authorities, including scientific authorities. 37,506 Canadians died of COVID-19 in 2021, giving a mortality rate of 99 per 100,000.

In the United States, the distribution of health-care resources including public health services is more uneven, so that less-favoured Americans have much worse health outcomes than average.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, usually a world leader, stumbled in how it handled COVID. Under the so-called leadership of former president Donald Trump, the response to COVID became politicized. 979,177 Americans died of COVID in 2021, giving a mortality rate of 297 per 100,000.

It seems that Alberta Premier Jason Kenney sometimes wasn’t listening to his provincial public health office, and the approach to managing COVID in Alberta proceeded in fits and starts. In Alberta 4,044 people died of COVID in 2021, for a mortality rate of 92 per 100,000.

We are lucky in British Columbia to have an outstanding public health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, fully supported by Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan. In 2021 COVID claimed 2,990 people in this province, for a mortality rate of 59 per 100,000.

Licensed medical doctors are expected to understand the science behind what they do. It is outrageous that Malthouse tried to circumvent COVID-19 public health measures.

The suspension of Malthouse’s licence by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. while it gathers and reviews evidence about him is timely and reasonable.

Robert Shepherd, MD

Getting rid of real-estate ‘auctions’

Re: “Real estate waiting period is not ­necessary,” letter, March 31.

I agree with the suggestion regarding mandatory government-approved and -standardized home-inspection reports being readily available to potential purchasers in a timely manner.

It should be the responsibility of the listing agent to ensure that interested parties have access to the reports. This would seem to remove a potential considerable risk for a purchaser.

Further, the purchaser should be required to acknowledge receipt of the report.

I am old enough to remember when a property was listed for sale at a price determined by a vendor it formed the basis for a contract. A binding contract was the result if a buyer met all of the terms, including price.

An argument can be made this approach interferes with the free market, but I do not accept this. A vendor is free to set whatever price he or she feels can be obtained in an open market. I recall many instances where a vendor would set a very high asking price and simply use a short listing period just to test the market.

Re-listing at the end of the period would of course be an option in the event there were no takers. Among other issues, this would seem to mitigate, if not eliminate, the frustrating and often unfair “auction” process we currently witness.

Tony Southwell

Affordable housing? Not in Oak Bay

Re: “Oak Bay aiming for best answers to housing crisis,” commentary, March 30.

As a resident of Oak Bay, I find councillors Hazel Brathwaite and Cairine Green’s concerns about affordable ­housing a bit rich, no pun intended.

On nearly every block in this municipality one can see no evidence that affordability is a priority. Instead, as Pam Copley has rightly pointed out, older homes are regularly bought by developers and replaced by much larger single-family houses, most selling for $2 million or more.

How is that contributing to affordability or diversity in our community? On the other hand, woe be to any developer who tries to bring forward a multi-unit proposal.

As a former mayor once said, nothing ever gets done in Oak Bay (referring to a multi-unit development at the time) ­without a long and protracted fight that usually ends in defeat.

So much for laser focus on creative solutions. Still waiting for that to happen.

Carol Hubberstey
Oak Bay

Plan to save nature is doomed to fail

Saving Taylor’s checkerspots from extinction made for a colourful front page. Great.

But contrast that with the Feb. 10 announcement that the B.C. government will again apply “aerial-spray treatments” here “to prevent Lymantria moths from becoming established.”

Lymantria moths are what used to be called “gypsy moths.” The agent used is Foray 48B, which “is used in organic farming and the active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki (Btk)” which “only affects the stomachs of caterpillars such as Lymantria moth(s).”

Unfortunately, the digestive systems of many other butterflies and moths and other insects are just as affected as those of the gypsy moths.

We remember well the aerial spraying of Btk conducted in 1999 right across our organic farmland in Metchosin. That year all lepidoptera (and many other insects) disappeared, and it took three years before small populations of the most common ones, such as cabbage whites, started to reappear.

Perceptive authors protesting then against this “treatment” of our nature likened the approach to eradicating crime in New York by dropping an atomic bomb.

Nowadays, the eradication of “Nazism” in a European country by waging an unprovoked devastating war is a timelier analogy.

And the claims of beneficence of Btk because it is allegedly “used in organic farming” are as misleading as the propaganda of the aggressor in the current conflict.

Hoping to re-establish our biodiversity one threatened species at a time is doomed to fail under conditions of such “treatment” of nature.

Jochen R. Moehr, MD, PhD.

No room for homophobia, violence in Nanaimo

I was dismayed to hear of the violent assault of a Vancouver Island University student. Attacking someone because of their sexual orientation is unacceptable and shameful.

My heart is with Spencer and his loved ones as he deals with the unfair outcome of someone else’s horrific actions.

It is critical to stand up against bigots and call out hateful rhetoric when we hear it, so we can prevent hate from escalating to violence like this.

I appreciate the countless people in our community who have rallied behind Spencer to make it clear that we will not tolerate homophobia, and the RCMP for acting quickly and continuing to ­investigate.

I am glad to see VIU has ­committed to enhance training, awareness, and ­allyship. Our New Democrat government has also ensured all 60 school districts are part of the SOGI Educator Network and have inclusive codes of conduct in place to foster understanding and stop discrimination in K-12.

This attack shows there is much more to do to eliminate hate in our ­communities.

We owe it to Spencer and every other person in Nanaimo, and across B.C., that has ever been a victim of hate and ­discrimination, to take action.

Sheila Malcolmson, MLA


• Email letters to:

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

• Submissions should be no more than 250 words; subject to editing for length and clarity. Provide your contact information; it will not be published. Avoid sending your letter as an email attachment.