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Letters Aug. 17: Overworked nurses don't need your abuse; Victoria's tax rate far too high

A licensed practical nurse in Nanaimo writes that overworked hospital staff are dealing with patientsÂ’ abusive families in addition to a crushing workload and strained capacity. JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Abusing health-care staff is not the answer

I have just completed a 12-hour shift on floor six at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. The hospital is critically short of nurses, health-care aides and unit clerks.

Today I was responsible for eight patients, twice the patient load considered safe and efficient. I also had a stream of abusive relatives: criticizing, complaining and threatening.

I am close to retirement. I have nursed for 35 years at four different hospitals. I have never seen the wards so chaotic.

This health-care crisis has been predicted for decades. Some blame politicians, government or health-care executives.

The truth is probably more complex. Vancouver Island is a retirement community, and Canada has an aging population.

Nanaimo is an out-of-date hospital built in the early 1960s. The facility runs daily at overcapacity. In addition to all the regular beds, patients are in lounges, alcoves and hallways.

Hospital staff face problems daily dealing with challenging patients with dementia and drug-addiction issues. Almost all nursing staff have been cursed, slapped and punched by patients.

Exhausted staff do not need the added burden of abusive relatives.

Perhaps visiting relatives could help by bathing, shaving and walking their loved ones. A word of thanks to the staff would go a long way.

Like most health-care staff, I am very happy to work hard to care for my patients. But a bit of kindness and appreciation from patient’s families and friends would be greatly appreciated.

Eileen Miller, LPN
Nanaimo Regional General Hospital

Pay for street parking — hear that, Victoria?

Re: “Take responsibility for your automobile,” letter, Aug. 10.

The writer raises some valid points. Here’s another one: Roads were made for transportation, not for parking.

Perhaps we should pay for street parking everywhere. That would be a logical consequence of a user-pay approach.

The municipalities would love to have that income. I wonder which one would have the courage to implement such a scheme.

The City of Victoria, perhaps?

G.M. Bonnor
Oak Bay

Victoria is wallowing in (our) money

Our property taxes jumped an unaffordable 30 per cent this year with no change whatsoever to our property; only a whopping assessment jump. In shock, I took a few days to examine financial statements (2021) for B.C.’s 20 largest municipalities (populations over 59,000). For comparisons, I divided taxation revenue by the population for each municipality.

The average taxation-per-person (2021) for the 20 municipalities was $1,190. Of those 20, Victoria taxes the highest: $1,586 per person.

The next four (in declining order): Prince George $1,499, Vancouver $1,417, Delta $1,454 and District of North Vancouver $1,263. Saanich weighs in at $1,138.

In 2021, Victoria posted total revenue of $273.7 million and expenses of $216.7 million, producing a staggering $57 million surplus (21 per cent of revenue); which generated an accumulated net financial assets position of $223.3 million.

Simply put, Victoria City Hall is wallowing in money; our money. Given the astronomic tax hikes for 2022 (certainly for everyone on my block), at year-end 2022 the wallowing will be much worse. As a matter of course, they tax far too high and routinely do not use the money they take in.

Blaming tax hikes on assessments leaps is a red-herring approach. The city is in complete control of the mill rates.

It’s election year… time for a complete overhaul at City Hall.

C. Stephen Smith

What other countries spend on rail service

There’s a recent compilation from what some European countries spent on their rail infrastructure per capita in 2021:

Luxembourg: 607 euro

Swiss: 413 euro

Austria: 271 euro

Great Britain: 158 euro

Germany: 124 euro

Vancouver Island: 0?

With a bit more than the 850,000 inhabitants on Vancouver Island, Luxembourg would have easily rebuilt the whole island railway in about a year, the other countries listed in a small number of years.

So, what is holding us back?

Why not start with a frequent Langford-Victoria service with a car every 10 minutes at peak hours to take the pain out of the fear of missing the next train. Provide wireless internet so people can start checking their work email while on train and check news.

Have it all reasonably priced and provide ample parking at park-and-ride hubs with shopping facilities along the way: Go at most a few minutes to the nearest hub by either public transport or your own car in the morning, park, then go to work, work, go back, do quick shopping for dinner and finish your commute home in another few minutes.

Later, work with First Nations to establish further hubs along the railway.

Connect those hubs to local transport by bus and taxi and bike storage. Provide cheap tickets to youth to explore and experience their home country.

Provide reasonable priced tickets to tourists to enable them to connect to locals and let them experience Beautiful British Columbia.

Rolf Seuster

Expect more deaths without fossil fuels

Re: “Change public policy or deal with more protests,” letter, Aug. 12.

The message that this letter gives us is that climate change is responsible for the death of a brother, and others as well.

The irony of this is that there are many people dying in the U.K. and in Europe each year, thousands, because they can no longer afford to heat their homes adequately in the winter. Far more people die from cold than from heat, worldwide.

Transitioning away from fossil fuels will add to the already high cost of electricity. This is proven to be true in many countries and jurisdictions.

Some governments are presently looking at banning air conditioning in some of the very warm areas, to reduce stress on the fragile power grid.

Wind- and solar-generated electricity, unfortunately, is not reliable. There are brownouts and blackouts occurring regularly in southern U.S. states that have more heavily adopted renewable power generation. California and Texas are examples.

So we can expect many more deaths from hypothermia and also from heat exposure each year if fossil fuels are rapidly phased out.

Unless governments change course and choose nuclear power generation, which, like hydroelectric and fossil-fuel generation, is very reliable and less costly to provide.

Bill Wilson

Mourning the loss of trees by Vic High

Last Wednesday, a friend alerted me to the devastating loss of most of the 70-year-old towering poplars along Grant Street beside Vic High.

The next morning I went to see the heap of trunks, branches and the forlorn stumps. Several more trees were cut down later that day. I went back later, and as people walked or rode their bikes past the carnage, I asked what they thought. Person after person said: I feel like weeping.

As far as I know, the public wasn’t alerted to this loss and there was no consultation. Someone said this is to make way for a parking lot. Joni Mitchell was all too prescient when in 1970 she wrote: “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

Have we learned nothing? Is this how the city and/or the school district consult with residents and students? Do they not take the climate crisis seriously? Or the crucial role of mature trees in carbon sequestration as the earth heats?

Roger Painter

Tire-deflation plan raises many questions

To the writer of an Aug. 6 letter, and a flock of misguided and apparently ageist supporters:

Do you really think deflating tires is going to advance your objectives of delaying global warming? Have you thought through the consequences of such acts of vandalism?

You may believe you are acting on a moral imperative to “save the planet.” It seems to me you are motivated more by anarchy than aspirations of altruism.

Here’s where the rubber really hits the road.

The planet will endure, as it always has. It may in time have to carry on without us and your dashing little campaign of inflicting inconvenience and perhaps even suffering on innocent people will be a forgotten footnote in history.

In the meantime, do you really want to live in a lawless society? And by the way, the reason Halloween pranks haven’t spiralled out of control is that there are legal deterrents to prevent as much.

Why do you think there is an increased police presence on such occasions? How did “peaceful protests” against COVID vaccination policies transform into an effort by an organized and lawless mob to occupy and terrorize downtown Ottawa for weeks last winter in a bid to overthrow a democratically elected government?

You want to live in a society where anything goes? Survival of the ugliest? If we can’t hold together as a civilized society based on the rule of law what of humanity is left worth saving?

David Masini

Little faith that politicians can fix Canada’s health care

I have zero faith that this government (provincial or federal), the next one (provincial or federal), or any future ones will have the wherewithal to fix our failed health-care system.

The problems are simply too complicated for career politicians.

One not need be the sharpest pencil in the case to understand that these folks do not become automatically qualified to run such a complicated system because a few thousand voters thought they had nice hair.

Nor should the system be turned over to a big corporation to be run as a profit centre.

Perhaps we should stick the two groups in a room, lock the door, feed, water them, and don’t let them out until a solution is reached. Together, they should be able to come up with something better than what we currently have.

Somewhere out there is the answer. To find it, we Canadians must abandon our ideas of what we think we were promised decades ago and face today’s reality.

We need to pressure our politicians. They need to answer questions and not resort to doublespeak.

We may need to march in the streets.

Stephen Kishkan


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