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Letters Aug. 5: Plans for a James Bay tower; council should admit mistakes; it's time to buy more ferries

B.C. Ferries vessels docked at Swartz Bay terminal. TIMES COLONIST

Another hearing for revised James Bay plan

Victoria city council’s decision to refer the James Bay tower proposal back to staff to work with the developer for revision is welcomed, but I am concerned that the revised proposal will go directly back to council without further consultation with the community.

If the revision is significant, as it must be to square the issues of density and proposed tower height, there needs to be further consultation with the community and a public committee of the whole hearing before final council consideration.

Comments by some councillors that suggest no reduction in density is needed while reducing tower height make little sense. I think the proposal minimally needs to be reimagined to include a tower that better fits with the neighbourhood.

This would suggest something about nine to 11 storeys. Consideration also should be given to re-thinking the podium to use for two-level townhouses rather than commercial purposes (we do not need yet another coffee shop) and pre-school.

Better yet, something more like the wonderful Capital Park development on Michigan Street would be welcomed and fit well into the neighbourhood.

Chris Lovelace


Once again with feeling: Council, admit mistakes

What I find most galling about the current and former Victoria council (and the list is long) is their apparently utter incapability of acknowledging they made a mistake and then rectifying it (Clover Point, Richardson Street bike lanes, et al).

Then there is Quamichan Avenue that is the obvious choice with Richardson being closed, but that is now some sort of “greenway” (whatever that is in English), replete with “traffic calming” bumps and blobs of concrete and completely unnecessary signs (wasn’t it always the law to stop for pedestrians?).

What a bunch!

Geoffrey Robards

Oak Bay

Let’s make big plans for large new ferries

With the B.C. Ferries fleet having reached capacity, I think it’s time to accelerate the plans to purchase new vessels for the major routes. To help to make them more future-proof, I think the new vessels should be at least 200 metres long, preferably a good deal longer.

As well as increasing the capacity, plus enabling greater efficiencies by transporting more people and vehicles at a time, it would allow for the greater possibility of changes being made to on-board amenities over the coming decades.

It would also allow for improvements over the current ferries, such as more dining options, a larger shop and a very large kids play area.

Unlike some people, I love getting the ferry. With improvements to onboard amenities, I believe that other people would, too, and would look forward to that part of the journey.

When the route between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay takes one hour and 35 minutes, plus waiting time beforehand, it is hardly a route that daily commuters can take.

Instead, let’s adopt a different philosophy, of providing comfort, relaxation and enjoyment, rather than a bare-bones platform to be transported on.

Matthew Cousins


Balance of nature needed on Sidney Island

It is incredibly disappointing to read that, once again, the barbaric mass murder of deer by so- called “hunters” shooting from helicopters is even being considered.

This has to be the height of inhumanity and something of which we should all be ashamed. Surely there are sufficient willing hunters who would be more than happy to purchase two- or three-day licences to kill to their heart’s content.

Perhaps some venison could be harvested, too, for sale or charity. A willing boat owner would probably be happy to service the hunters during this killing season.

Alternatively, perhaps the emerging cougars in and around Victoria, having lost their own food supply due to our rapacious building projects, could also be relocated to Sidney Island to help restore a more natural balance of nature.

Chris Gabriel


Find the money to help those who need it

Re: “To fix what ails the city, we need to change course,” commentary, July 29.

The province has shut its eyes to the necessity of stepping up and doing something major about this issue for what seems like decades; now is the time to start planning the provincial budget to account for hospitals to be built for our mentally ill fellow citizens, so that, as Marg Gardiner has said, we can rehabilitate them rather than just house them.

People with physical illnesses go into hospital to be made well, so that they can return to being contributing members of society; why should we expect any less of a hospital for the mentally ill?

If they can’t be made well with cognitive therapies, medications or other forms of treatment, they should be housed safely, so that they can’t harm themselves or others.

The criminal element lurking amongst those on the street should be arrested, tried, convicted and given good, stiff sentences to serve in prisons, both as a punishment for their actions and to serve as deterrent examples to others who would think about taking their places.

Is there anyone reading this who would change places with those living on the streets? Of course not.

What part of this do our provincial and federal leaders not understand? They can always find the money when it comes to things like fixing stadium roofs (I’m looking at you, B.C. Place); this is more important.

Lorraine Lindsay


Councils, justice system could help fix downtown

Sprucing up downtown Victoria’s ­storefronts will not solve the problem that the businesses have in attracting business.

The majority of people I talk to about going downtown, no longer do so. There are too many troubled street people and random acts of violence, as well as the scruffiness that will continue until attention and care for these folks can be solved.

Winnipeg, Brandon, Nanaimo, Seattle and other cities’ downtowns are becoming ghost towns — closed stores, broken windows, filth — a sad commentary on the lethargy of city councils to address the problems, and the justice system that needs an overhaul in this and other countries.

Until the root causes of this century’s slide into our city cores being abandoned, it is like putting lipstick on a pig, or a Band-Aid on a gushing artery.

Barbara Zielinski


Make developers pay for local amenities

I was disheartened to read that Saanich is slashing amenity fees, which were introduced by municipalities to offset developers pushing for waivers on many things, including bylaw adjustments, and to protect something of neighbourhoods that was special or necessary.

The economy has changed and all rules need adjustments some time. But is this a time-limited change or a forever event?

My longest friend was a city councillor in Toronto representing for more than 20 years an inner city ward that was one of the poorest and still is, home to immigrants and the less fortunate.

A wealthy developer wanted to build a luxury condo building in the ward. She said sure, “but you need to give my people a swimming pool.”

They did not have a swimming pool anywhere near. The developer relented.

A beautiful pool was built and named Regent Park Aquatic Centre. After my friend died in 2017, people in the area asked the city to rename the pool and it did. After that the community requested a statue be raised in her honour in front of the centre. The city agreed.

Many councillors in Victoria and beyond will remember my friend and her commitment to social justice, poverty reduction, women’s role in politics, and speaking out always for those less fortunate. Her name is Pam McConnell.

The aquatic centre is now the Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre. The developer was Donald Trump.

Please don’t let developers take profits from housing to benefit only themselves. Look to the needs of the people who live there. People, no matter where they live, need liveable neighbourhoods, nature, parks, playgrounds and safe, walkable streets.

Ann Wilmut

Oak Bay


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