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Letters April 22: What boulevard space is good for; threat of being shot for admiring poinsettias

The Centennial Square entrance to Victoria City Hall is locked, with a note on the door telling visitors to ring for entry. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Open the doors at Victoria City Hall

Two weeks ago, I visited Victoria’s City Hall about noon to check if it was true that the doors were locked. They were.

A polite official asked what I wanted and then told me the doors had been locked for some weeks, and why. He was honest.

“Street people,” he said quite clearly. I was so shocked I shut my mouth and walked away, trying not to cry.

What has happened to us that the homeless have become “street people” — dirty, angry and a threat to the rest of us.

It is no longer our responsibility to provide housing; they are no longer fellow citizens; they are “the other” and we are scared of them. You or I could so easily lose our housing, our jobs and our citizenry and then become the enemy we are scared of.

It is so much easier to fear rather than help.

Please open those City Hall doors, invite people in, even if they don’t look “decent.”

Provide a social worker who could help or direct that citizen to someone who could help.

Victoria City Hall belongs to us all and we must not discriminate just because some may not dress like us. If we can’t do that, we can no longer claim that this is our City Hall.

Alison Acker


Seniors advocate deserves our support

The Office of the Seniors Advocate is a valuable office in the Ministry of Health.

Canada’s health services are focused on hospitals and medical care. Our society needs a big shift in policies and culture toward better services for seniors.

We must shift toward an attitude of “aging with zest” focused on autonomy, respect and dignity, ensuring high-quality health services when needed.

This will require the concerted effort of all levels of government. Rather than criticize Isobel MacKenzie, the B.C. Seniors Advocate, we need to support the advocate’s proposals and press for fundamental changes in culture and services to shift toward healthy living for seniors.

The Office of the Seniors Advocate is a powerful force for making these changes, so let us recognize the importance of this Office and support the Advocate and its recommendations.

Ken Fyke

Former deputy minister of health in ­British Columbia and Saskatchewan


Ease senior poverty with the stroke of a pen

There are far too many aspects relating to senior poverty to list here. There is however, one thing that could be done with the stroke of a pen.

As it stands now, if your spouse predeceases you, you lose their old age pension and a large part of their CCP benefits. If your spouse received a military pension it is cut in half.

This affects mostly women. And while household expenses stay the same, the ability to pay them is significantly reduced.

Doug Poole


Forget space, solve the problems here on Earth

I am all for humans going to other ­habitable planets … in the long run. But Mars is uninhabitable except with huge support from Earth.

The main effect of Elon Musk (and his fellow space obsessed: Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos) is speeding the destruction of our planet and the futures of our descendants.

The fuel wasted in one flight of Starship is enough to provide all the energy of a village in Somalia for a year. If one included all the upstream costs of the flight, it would probably provide enough energy for a small country.

Imagine if the energy, the material, the human time, effort and creative power were put into solving our real problems on this planet.

Glen Staples


Let’s hope Keating fixes the bottleneck

Let’s hope planners get it right with the announced highway-to-Keating overpass project.

The completed McKenzie Interchange, for all the money it cost, wasn’t. There, eastbound traffic, exiting to go north on McKenzie, is forced down to one lane and one lane over the highway.

On the opposite side of the highway, there are more merge lanes than are ever needed. The farthest from the centre line is rarely used.

This shouldn’t exist. One lane less on the north side merging lanes; one added lane in a wider two-lane exit and overpass, and the daily morning, just like before, backup for northbound traffic could have been truly fixed.

The whole exchange could have avoided this remaining bottleneck, all within its current footprint, if the experts had happened to just tweak it a little differently. Now we’re stuck with it.

Kevin Norman

View Royal

Keating Cross flyover needs more planning

As a resident in this area, a flyover is long overdue for the safety and efficient flow of northbound traffic on the Pat Bay Highway and onto Keating Cross Road. The current situation has resulted in fatal collisions.

However, like other contributors on this subject have said, the issue of southbound traffic getting onto Keating requires a similar intervention.

The current route routinely sees heavy, commercial, and industrial trailer traffic negotiating roads through a dense residential area and right in front of an elementary school; on narrow, secondary roads that were never designed for this type of use.

The ministry’s approach to this will not be a complete solution to the problem, but only a half-measure of what is required.

Common sense as an approach to our highway systems sometimes seems to be an elusive commodity within the ­ministry. Excess millions were spent on the ­overbuilt nightmare of roundabouts at Pat Bay and airport traffic exchange.

Let’s hope they can come up with the same excess for a job that requires it. Recall that when you ask some engineers the time, they often end up building you a clock.

John Stevenson


These patios provide a safe, welcoming space

Re: “Pubs hopeful ban on boulevard patios won’t be forever,” April 20.

Victoria city staff say the two patios in question are destroying “landscaping.”

Grass boulevards are not landscaping. Both of these patios provide a nice outdoor space to dine accompanied by one’s dog (something the enclosed patios don’t allow).

Furthermore, I would rather eat at a table on a boulevard than in an enclosed pen on the street with traffic fumes and the possibility of some errant driver crashing into me. The city should revisit this decision.

Cindy Swoveland


Expand the thinking to parking spaces

Re: “Pubs hopeful ban on boulevard patios won’t be forever,” April 20.

In reference to boulevard patios, Victoria Coun. Jeremy Caradonna said: “I’m mindful of the fact that we don’t want to be privatizing public space.”

This concept should be expanded to include the public road space. Eliminate all “Resident Parking Only.”

Jim Grayson


That patio space is needed for other things

Re: “Pubs hopeful ban on boulevard patios won’t be forever,” April 20.

Let me get this straight. Patios are OK on the sidewalk. Patios are OK on the street.

Patios are not OK on the boulevard. In what world does this make sense?

Oh yeah, now I get it. We must reserve the boulevards for tents.

Scott Clark


Some nice poinsettias, and the threat of a gun

The recent shootings of young people in the U.S. for doing things like stopping at a wrong address have triggered an old memory for me.

I was newly married and my husband Ted and I decided to take a trip/honeymoon to Mexico. We readied our VW van and set off.

When we got to Los Angeles we stopped to stay a couple of nights with Ted’s Uncle Roy. After supper that first night, I decided to go for a walk. I went by myself, no pack or purse or bag.

One of the gardens I walked by had poinsettias growing in the garden. What a sight for a girl from Victoria who had only ever seen poinsettias in pots at Christmas time.

I walked up the path to take a closer look. The front door opened a crack and I heard a voice say: “Get off my property.”

”Oh hi,” I said, ” I’m from Canada and I’ve never seen …” The voice then said “I’ve got a gun.”

I froze, put my hands up and slowly walked backwards until I got to the sidewalk. I walked right back to Uncle Roy’s and, totally shaken, told my story. Roy looked at me and said: “You stupid girl.”

That was 50 years ago and that incident has never left me.

Diana Leeming



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