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Letters Aug. 12: A victim of MD 'downsizing'; climate deniers should be held in contempt

Patients wait in the lineup for Shoreline Medical Clinic in Sidney to open. A letter-writer is now on the hunt for a new doctor or a walk-in clinic after her doctor decided to reduce patient numbers. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

You’ve been randomly selected to start searching

My family moved to Victoria from Tofino in 1986. My mother was pregnant with my sister and became the patient of a local OB-GYN. I was 15 at the time and this doctor also took me on as a patient.

She retired about 15 years ago; a new doctor took over the practice, inherited me and has been treating me since then. I am a very healthy 50-year-old woman who decided long ago not to have children.

I see her for occasional checkups and do not consider myself to be a burden on her practice.

Imagine my surprise when I opened a generic letter from my doctor, informing me that she can no longer be my family physician and that she was reducing her practice by “random selection.” I now have until the end of October to find a new doctor, and that I should contact the Victoria Medical Society to register and may attend a walk-in clinic until I find a new doctor.

She ends the letter by saying she “wishes me all the best.” If that was really the case, she should have reduced her patient roster by “randomly selecting” her newest patients for the chopping block first. So much for loyalty. Yet another prime example of how the current family doctor situation is failing us.

My husband has been trying to find a new doctor for almost 10 years. I don’t like my odds.

Allison Stofer

Change public policy or deal with more protests

My brother died in the latest heatwave, and don’t tell me it was because he did not have air conditioning.

I wish to express my support for the very reasonable letter of Aug. 6 suggesting that climate protests will increase. Until public policy reverses the causes of climate change, protests will grow. To think otherwise defies logic.

On Aug. 9, nine letters to the editor attacked this rational message about the motivations and methods of climate protesters. The tone of the complaints suggest a fear for loss of comfort, convenience and perceived personal security.

A fear for the loss of comfort is understandable. Unfortunately, the comments are also a litany of inaccuracies, false equivalencies, fear-mongering and logical fallacies.

One comment suggests that a deflated tire is a slippery slope to the collapse of civil society. If we take this seriously, it is logical to also assume that Halloween pranks will inevitably lead to Armageddon. What kind of protected bubble do these people live in?

Meanwhile in the real world, climate change is driving famine, flood, drought, fire, pestilence, mass migration and war.

There is nothing illegal about being a climate denier, or being a self-interested twit. Nor is there any reason why reasonable people should not hold these twits in utter contempt.

Michael Dennison

Carbon-free buildings will come at a cost

Re: “No natural gas for new buildings in Victoria by 2025, council decides,” Aug. 9.

Here we go again. The shortsighted take over the agenda and the citizens have to live with no choices.

So by 2025, man’s control will have the globe sorted out and we will be OK for the next 12 years before the waters rise and cover Victoria and all other coastlines, as was projected before and before that.

If politicians and bureaucrats think that renewable energy will be reliably available to everyone here in three years, they haven’t done their homework.

Mayor Lisa Helps says each new building will last more than 50 years. That is frightening. Our house in Toronto was 97 years old and in its history had undergone conversion from coal to oil to finally gas.

Never in the cycle was electricity an option because of the expense. If there’s a brownout or blackout, as happens anywhere, there goes your heat or aircon, means of cooking, lifesaving appliances, etc.

Canada’s footprint is tiny in the global setting. When your job relies on pushing this agenda, citizens should be given the full story of what it means.

I shudder to think of my favourite restaurants without gas for cooking. I know it doesn’t affect City Hall because they’re employed, but Victorians are struggling to feed themselves, paying for mortgages or rent.

Add to that, paying Step 2 on a hydro bill will be a killer, literally.

Nana Spence

No new natural gas? Watch for problems

With Victoria council’s decision to ban natural gas in new buildings by 2025, we have another example of the short-sightedness of an amateur group of people making more rules for us to live by and, down the road, suffer from.

Forcing homebuilders to rely solely on one power source would be folly indeed if one studies home power trends over the years in Greater Victoria.

I would not like to buy a new house in Victoria 2025, when a power outage would leave me with no backup at all. No heat, no heat pump to heat or cool, no hot water, no fridge or freezer, no fireplace (gas or wood), and no light. It is likely that propane barbecues and outdoor heaters would soon come under the rule and be banned as highly inefficient polluters.

The demand for new housing focuses on multi-unit dwellings, and doubtless this trend will continue. Legislation for air cooling will be the next thing and these units will all be fitted with cooling devices, creating another draw on the grid.

In 10 years we can see the rationing of electrical power and certainly outages as our hydro facilities become strained beyond their capacity to provide.

For the single-family-home builder, the choices of alternative power are limited and expensive. The cost of installing solar panels sufficient to serve an average-sized home would ramp up a building budget alarmingly. A geothermal system could provide heat, but would not function anyway without electricity.

If Victoria council came up with a reasonable plan to allow natural gas backup such as fireplaces and water heaters it would be a compromise at least, but an outright ban would be folly and also serve to eventually ruin some local industries, such as fireplace shops and future restaurants that cannot function without natural gas.

Let us hope that Saanich councils have more sense.

Bill Labron

Is hydrogen the best climate solution?

Re: “No natural gas for new buildings in Victoria by 2025, council decides,” Aug. 9.

Victoria plans to transition buildings “from fossil fuels to renewable energy.” Will gas companies comply with the requirement by calling their product renewable energy?

For example, it has been proposed that newly constructed homes connecting to the gas system would automatically receive 100 per cent “renewable gas” for their lifespan.

The British Columbia Utilities Commission is considering whether newly defined renewable or low carbon gas could include a small percentage of actual renewable natural gas (biogas), with larger portions of hydrogen, syngas or lignin — if and when these gases are actually available at reasonable costs in the future.

Hydrogen’s role in this scenario is large. Is it the climate solution that many assume?

Gas pipes containing more than 20 per cent hydrogen must be replaced or adjusted, along with the furnaces, stoves and dryers they serve. Twenty per cent hydrogen gives seven per cent greenhouse gas emission reduction at best because of hydrogen’s poor volumetric energy density.

Hydrogen leaks much more easily than gas because the molecule is eight times smaller. New peer-reviewed research indicates that a system with 10 per cent hydrogen leakage loses 50 per cent of its climate benefit. If the hydrogen is made from natural gas feedstock, rather than water, then net climate benefit drops further yet.

Renewable-gas climate benefits would degrade even more because of biogas methane leaks.

I support Victoria to realize energy, climate and air quality benefits by replacing 90 per cent efficient furnaces and boilers with 350 per cent efficient heat pumps.

Bob Landell

Ask the local people how to make things work

Re: “Eight Saanich cycling and pedestrian projects set for completion in months, not years,” Aug. 10.

As a cyclist, pedestrian and motorist in Saanich, I recognize the need for improvements to Saanich’s transportation infrastructure.

Saanich needs to actively inform and solicit input from persons living in the neighbourhoods before approving plans. A couple of Saanich residents on an advisory committee does not constitute “consultation with Saanich residents” as stated.

Referring to the document “Moving Saanich Forward” “Active Transportation Plan — Final,” available on the Saanich website, this section of Tillicum is not noted.

Residents know what will work in their area. Proper involvement in the planning processes needs to occur.

John Clarkson


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