Let’s talk about our travel amenity priorities
Re: “Five ways to improve Island transportation,” letter, July 28.
Many would argue that fundamentally, B.C. Ferries is an extension of the highway system. Just as we build and maintain roads and bridges to enable Vancouverites to travel outside their region, Vancouver Island residents are entitled to reasonable means to travel to and from the mainland.
Of course there is a premium paid for ferry travel. But like the former tolls on the Coquihalla Highway, the focus should be on cost recovery, not increased (and punitive) fares intended to dissuade travel by car.
B.C. Ferries already has a cost structure that encourages walk-on travel. When it’s going to cost an extra $150 round trip plus reservation fee to take a vehicle, you can bet I consider well and hard whether I really need it.
By contrast, a passenger ticket today barely costs as much as a fast-food meal and offers much more flexibility for sailings.
We also need to have an honest discussion about how much we’re willing to pay for what amenities we need. Last week I took ferries across Puget Sound and to Victoria from Port Angeles. They were clean, basic and efficient.
As with the money-losing and staff-intensive buffet, perhaps B.C. Ferries should lose the premium lounge, arcade, sprawling gift shop, and focus on its core objective of moving people and vehicles efficiently between terminals.
As for alternatives, the failure of the V2V self-styled “cruise service” should not be construed as a failure of a downtown-to-downtown passenger ferry.
Recall that sailings were few, travel time was three and a half hours, and the least expensive adult ticket was $110 when they ceased operations.
The Hullo ferry is a drastic improvement in all these respects, and I wish them all the best proving a new model for travel to and from the mainland.
A ferry service that is aimed at commuters
Letters about the new Hullo ferry service between downtown Nanaimo and downtown Vancouver are interesting, but miss a point.
The price of housing in Vancouver is relevant because some buy a house here in Nanaimo although they work out of Vancouver. I’ve heard of five who do so. House prices here are rising but still affordable compared with Vancouver. Not so, Victoria.
Thus it looks like Hullo will attract commuters rather than tourists, explaining the restriction on large luggage, at least at first.
Trades should attract female, Indigenous faces
Geoff Johnson’s recent column about youth options for careers has stayed with me. I want to thank him especially for acknowledging the shockingly low numbers of young women and Indigenous people who are apprentices in the trades.
In a time of desperate trades shortages, with excellent wages, looking to a whole new source of labour seems an obvious solution.
It’s time — it’s long past time — for the trades to loosen up their traditional, very limited white male labour sources, and welcome new faces.
Thanks to Johnson for reminding us.
Red-seal journey carpenter
Double standard in council decisions
Victoria city council has shown it has a double standard. It denied an application for a 17-storey condo building in James Bay as too high but approved nine buildings, up to 28 storeys, for the historic Roundhouse property at the entrance to the scenic Victoria Harbour.
Relying on council for the revised proposal
Re: “Proposed 17-storey James Bay tower deemed to high, sent back for redesign,” July 29.
The report about the Mike Geric Construction proposal to build a 17-storey block in James Bay being sent “back to the drawing board” unfortunately overlooks a key point.
The objections to the proposal were not just based on height. The proposed density also goes way outside the floor-space ratio currently permitted.
As Coun. Stephen Hammond put it, “this is simply too much” — 112 units, as Geric proposed, is too many. Not all the council took that view.
The key point is that they voted for the revised proposal to go straight back to the council, without public consultation or even scrutiny by the council’s own advisory design panel. We are therefore dependent on the council to review the revised proposal. They still have the option of rejecting it.
Let’s watch what happens. Most of Victoria’s councillors were elected in 2022 for the first time, so we were voting on the basis of their promises.
Most said that James Bay is already dense and should not be densified further. At the next election, we can vote for them (or not) on the basis of what they actually did in office.
Moonlight feels right for us in August
Re: “Two Supermoons coming in August, first one on Tuesday,” July 30.
I feel I can write with some authority on moon-related topics. For years I have often correctly identified the moon in the sky, saying to my wife “Ah look, it’s the moon,” just like that.
I am writing concerning the recent announcement of two supermoons in August. Two supermoons in one month!? Who approved this extravagance? And where was the public consultation?
Do not forget that the moon is our sole natural satellite (unlike moon-hog Jupiter with her 95 moons; by Jove, what excess!), and should not be squandered willy-nilly. And what is the moon getting out of all this extra effort?
I know the moon enjoys a reputation as a romantic and illuminating presence in our night sky, but I tell you there is a dark side to the moon. I fear our ability to have input into this moonshine is quickly waning. As LeAnn Rimes warned us, we “Can’t fight the moonlight.”
Want better service? Maintain the toilets
Re: “Cruise ship crawl reduces emissions, but leave some shops out to dry,” July 28.
As a vendor at the Ship Point Night Market at the Inner Harbour, which runs on most weekends in the summer until 10:30 p.m., I want to let Jeff Bray of the Downtown Victoria Business Association know that cruise ship tourists love to purchase local handmade products.
This summer night market accommodates their desire to own a piece of Victoria. The lack of “service” Bray speaks of is reflected by the City of Victoria’s graffiti riddled public toilets that usually do not have toilet paper — not a good impression to give tourists that are spending their money on local goods.
Salvatore Glass Studio
Let’s be less rigorous with health-care workers
I had a conversation, while travelling in Japan recently, about Canada’s highly restrictive qualification requirements for health-care workers from other countries.
The conversation was with a very intelligent and obviously well-trained (based on our interactions) Filipino nurse. He (John) mentioned that his mother wanted him to go to Toronto with her to visit some family members.
He explained he was hesitant as it was very difficult for him to get a visa, even for a visit, because of his profession. This surprised me and yet it didn’t.
This then brought us to Canada’s overly rigorous requirements. John mentioned that Australia had been in a position similar to Canada, with lengthy rigorous requirements, which resulted in a critical shortage of health-care workers.
So what did Australia do? Well, they revised their process, to a more adaptive protocol, based on the applicant’s current status, (e.g. education, training, experience, etc). This was still a rigorous process just not “everything, everyone, all the time.”
This shortened the timeline for many applicants and Australia saw an increase in health-care workers.
This sounded brilliant! I enthusiastically told John that I had read that Canada was going to do something similar. Did I get that wrong? Still waiting.
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