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Letters Aug. 15: Parking, cycling and health insurance

Be upbeat and gracious when you go to pay your parking fine
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A Victoria parking kiosk. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

You violated the bylaw, so you have to pay

Re: “Predatory parking fine is like a radar trap,” letter, Aug. 10.

The recipient of a parking ticket is justified in feeling surprised and a little annoyed. But be annoyed with yourself. You violated a bylaw and earned that ticket.

Even so, I suggest the driver use a positive approach. Instead of nursing that annoyance and being angry with the city over a small fine, think of all the times you deserved a ticket but didn’t get one. Then pay cheerfully.

On a couple of occasions, I have enjoyed perplexing clerks at the city office with my big smile and jovial demeanour as I paid up.

So, say thank you. Give the clerk a break from all the surly people paying city bills ungraciously. You’ll feel better too.

Alanne Gibson
Victoria

Limit Class 2 e-bikes from paths and trails

As a frequent cyclist on the Lochside Trail and other paved/unpathed paths, Class 2 e-bikes (aka “throttled bikes”) can be a hazard for all of using these corridors and related infrastructures.

These bikes are not fully pedal-assisted, meaning that they can operate without any effort from the rider. In short, they are electric scooters which can easily reach speeds well over 30 km/h. Sadly, they do so far too frequently.

It is seldom I see a rider with these bikes pedalling at all.

When used in this manner they are dangerous for all: walkers, joggers, dog walkers, runners, cyclists and families using the trails with small children. Speeds are excessive and are simply accidents waiting to happen. To be fair, some use these bikes safely; however, the observed majority do not.

The only solution appears to be limiting their use to cycle lanes on our roads and highways where other motorized/gasoline-powered vehicles operate safely with little or no chance of collision with pedestrians, cyclists and others.

John Stevenson
Victoria

Amalgamate police? No, limit liquor sales

Re: “Why crime score is Victoria 148, Oak Bay 29. Hint: partying,” Aug. 3.

Victoria Police Chief Del Manak is quoted as saying: “If there’s any region that could benefit from amalgamation or a regional police force, it would be the Capitol Regional District.”

Let’s try again. The CRD is not monolithic. There are 13 municipalities, not at all the same.

If policing were amalgamated, not all municipalities would benefit. There would be winners and losers. I have an alternative suggestion. Victoria could stop issuing licences for establishments serving alcohol, or make them close down earlier.

Or raise the cost of a liquor licence (currently less than $3 per day for a 100-seat establishment) and use the revenue to pay more for policing.

That would benefit my part of the CRD a lot more than amalgamation.

Ian Cameron
Brentwood Bay

Health insurance is best linked to income

Re: “The basic health question: Who owns our bodies?” commentary, July 29.

The commentary by Dr. Brian Day regarding the subject of private health care in Canada contains many unfortunate truths about our politicians’ handling of this vital service and a few exaggerations.

But what Day, and others, fail to recognize is that we already have a two-tiered system in Canada. Those with enough money can simply hop on a plane and go to any country of their choosing to get whatever procedure they wish.

I have known people who have flown to the Mayo clinic for cancer treatment in spite of the fact that we have one of the best cancer clinics right here in Victoria, or others who have taken a day trip to Seattle to get a diagnostic procedure just to avoid the wait.

So all we’re talking about now is at what level of income is this two-tiered system going to kick in. If we can purchase private health insurance, at what cost and who will be able to afford it?

And would most young people even bother, as they probably wouldn’t see the need?

And what insurance company is going to offer such insurance to the very few that would actually purchase it? Insurance of any kind is only profitable if the vast majority never use it.

So if your income is below something around $150,000 per year and you have a young family and a mortgage, you will probably rely on our current system. For those who have the financial resources, you can go wherever you want for treatment and take some of the pressure off of our system.

The solution is not to provide private insurance to those that can afford to employ health-care services that don’t exist, but to provide all our citizens with health-care insurance at proportional rates according to income.

This, of course, is what we already do. The problem is it’s not enough and the various levels of government, or should I say politicians, refuse to admit it.

A good example of this problem is demonstrated graphically in the so-called nurses shortage. There are hundreds of young people with grade-point averages well above the B level who are denied entry into nurses’ training simply because the governments refuse to fund it.

In that way they don’t have to pay the resulting nurses and can continue to argue that they are recruiting as fast as they can but not enough are applying. It’s time to wake up to this shell game and demand a change.

Jack Trueman
Brentwood Bay

Airbnb listings reveal there is plenty of housing

Re: “How empty-homes tax could help Salt Spring,” July 29.

While I fully support the implementation of a vacancy tax on Salt Spring, I’m confounded at how one of the most significant issues is seemingly buried — the large number of Airbnbs on Salt Spring that both cannibalize existing long-term housing while simultaneously pushing up landlord’s expectations for rental incomes.

A quick search or Airbnb reveals 390 active listings on Salt Spring. While perhaps this doesn’t represent the volume of housing needed to solve the issue, it does show that there is housing available, just not for those who can afford it, and not for the long term.

The Airbnb effect of rising rental rates and decreased rental housing stock is well researched and documented around the world — why aren’t more people demanding a full ban on this detrimental and unsustainable business model?

The municipal, provincial and federal governments need to work together and fully ban the use of residential properties as hotel stock.

Ethan Smith
Jubilee neighbourhood
Victoria

Let the population come to a balance

Re: “How empty-homes tax could help Salt Spring,” July 29.

Those “advocates” are supporting a foolish concept. What if you had a vacation home on the island? Would you consider it fair to pay an additional tax to provide funds for low-income housing? Probably not.

The problem is simply a matter of economics. If low income housing is in very short supply, so be it. The businesses that suffer will fade away.

Just allow that to happen, and let the businesses and population come to a balance. Fewer businesses, and a lower population, and fewer vacation homes, will be the result.

It will be an economic balance. That’s life.

Robert Leonard
Mayne Island
(retirement home)

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