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Letters Aug. 9: Building something special in James Bay; frustration trying to book a doctor's appointment; didn't appreciate the concert

A doctor examines a patient. Thomas Kienzle, The Associated Press

Build something special in historic James Bay

Re: “A call for quality in architecture,” letter, Aug. 4.

While I agree that the proposed tower is out of all proportion to the James Bay neighbourhood, I am also concerned that Victoria council, the advisory design panel and the developer are all missing an important opportunity.

The location, currently zoned for family housing, is a bridge between the condos of the Inner Harbour and the heritage houses of James Bay, which is the oldest residential neighbourhood on the Pacific Coast north of San Francisco.

Thousands of visitors pass by it every day.

This calls for truly innovative design, something which provides the “missing middle” housing the area needs so badly, with a density and height consistent with the surroundings, as well as a reasonable profit to the developers.

This site is an opportunity to create something exceptional: harmonious, ­environmentally sustainable living space that is also unique and beautiful — something which will be a must-see Victoria feature.

We have the talent and the far-sightedness. Victoria council should ensure that we get a development that makes the most of this site!

Diana Clift


The money is there, so let’s use it properly

Re: “Tell us how to pay for new health services,” letter, August 7.

The letter asks what ministries and services would have their budgets reduced to pay for doctors and other health services.

The money already exists, within the Ministry of Health.

Since Adrian Dix became minister, total health spending has grown by $8 billion annually.

Head-office admin in MOH/health authorities (bureaucrats) went from $1.695 billion to $2.693 billion - $1 billion more each and every year. Up 59 per cent. Well-outpacing, for example, MSP payments that support doctors (up 37 per cent).

Who has all that added bureaucracy helped? Not patients or front-line workers. And those numbers just scratch the surface. Actual program spending (such as within hospitals) also has a hefty administrative component not included there.

What else could that $1 billion per year increase be used for?

Here’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation…

Assume two million people in B.C. are without adequate primary care.

We could eliminate that entirely with 2,000 new family doctors.

At $400,000 per doctor per year (including expenses), that would cost $800 million.

That would still leave $200 million per year left over.

Mark Roseman


Let artificial intelligence replace politicians

Booking an appointment has never been more frustrating

The promise: Connect to a fully licensed Canadian physician for a medical consultation.

The NDP government promotes Telus Health. My pharmacist promotes Rocket Doctor. Neither service have appointments available. I know — I checked. In fact, there is nothing available to Oct. 28. After October 29? The appointment bookings do not extend beyond that.

Today, when I am not stressing over my multiple health issues, I am discussing AI, as a way to distract my thoughts.

Many have asked: Could artificial intelligence replace doctors?

Who knows. Given the state of access to doctors in this province, I ponder: Could artificial intelligence replace politicians?

William Perry


That was no concert, that was a Martian attack

When I heard there was a concert in Beacon Hill Park, I was expecting to hear some band music or some theme from the movies, but instead we were subjected to sounds of two cats being strangled or sounds akin to an invasion from Mars.

Like most people, we politely stayed until the end, but returned home with drums echoing in our ears. Tranquil music for the masses would be much more appreciated and not have poor seniors trying to escape on their walkers.

Valerie Bellefleur


Force politicians to ride the ferries

My guess is the only reason the condition of the ferry service to Vancouver Island gets any attention at all is because the provincial capital is Victoria. Imagine if it were New Westminster. We would probably be rowing back and forth.

This is not to say that our politicians actually use the ferry. Let’s ban them from the Helijet, force them onto the nightmare boats for a year or so and see if the system improves.

C. Scott Stofer


Ferry-reservation cutoff is ridiculous

As Jerry Seinfeld said to the car rental representative when his reserved rental was unavailable: “That’s what the reservation is for — to hold the car.” In this case, the B.C. Ferries reservation is to hold the spot.

The reservation cutoff a half hour before sailing is ridiculous.

We arrived for our reserved sailing with 20 minutes remaining, before the ferry had docked. The cars were obviously still not boarding, but we were told our reservation was null and void and to wait for the 3 p.m. sailing in a non‑reserved lane.

This rule should be changed. When should the cutoff time occur? Perhaps when the last vehicle is moving onto the ship. Years ago, I arrived without a reservation when all cars were on the ship with five minutes to sailing time and was allowed to drive straight on board.

This time, my wife had just returned from a doctor’s appointment and was in a great deal of pain. Her scheduled visit was late in occurring or we would have arrived before the 30-minute cutoff.

Change this rule immediately.

Keith Taylor


Try slowing down on the trails

I travel every day on the trail from Victoria to the West Shore. I ride a electric scooter that I don’t have to pedal.

I slow down to a snail’s pace when coming up on anyone or anything, and always say “On your left” or “Coming up behind you.” Being on a electric scooter, I believe everyone has the right of way before me, as I am big and faster.

I’ve been riding for years and find that if you are riding fast you get dirty looks and bad words. But if you slow down, you can shake hands and give and get a smile or two, making your day and their day a little better.

One thing I don’t like is the people on their $5,000 bikes riding side by side thinking they have the right of way over everyone, not letting you know they are passing. Would you do that on the road? No, you wouldn’t, so why do it on the trail?

Joe Craggs


We must all ‘Be the Change’

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated that the term “global warming” is no longer accurate and that “The era of global boiling has arrived.” If that isn’t enough to push us to act quickly to reduce use of fossil fuels, I don’t know what will.

After more than 40 years of ignoring and delaying by whichever party held power, greenhouse gases have continued to increase to the point beyond which we dare not go to maintain a livable future.

The natural environment on which all life depends continues to be sacrificed for “the economy” under the power of the fossil-fuel industry. The time to “transition” is long past. Swift, significant action is the only choice remaining.

In this critical time, We the People must summon wisdom, compassion and courage to bring about the substantial, meaningful change required to re-create a livable future for us all.

We must individually “Be the Change”, and turn our worry into our own meaningful action. We can do this with a few life-supporting changes that will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but enhance our well-being.

Engage with nature in gentle ways, be mindful shoppers, buy local, travel at least 50 per cent less and eat at least 50 per cent less meat.

Discover birdsong and fresh air and the sheer aliveness of walking or riding a bike. Or relax on the bus.

Every thoughtful effort can help change a world gasping for breath and badly in need of refreshing.

Gail Meston


Councillors, stop trying to muzzle democracy

Re: “Victoria councillors at odds over who can file a complaint under code of conduct,” Aug. 4.

Coun. Dave Thompson’s opinion regarding social media is the real bad-faith argument. The percentage of constituents who engage in social media debates around municipal politics is small. It’s a statistically insignificant percentage of the tens of thousands who live in Victoria.

Hiding behind said argument to avoid accountability from the public is poor governance. Restricting the feedback loop because you had your feelings hurt on Twitter (or X) is not only undemocratic, but also not consistent with the recommendations of the governance report conducted last year.

When running for local politics, this slate of five councillors should have been aware that they were making themselves open to scrutiny, and that not all decisions they make would be popular with everyone. My recommendation: Grow tougher skin, be accountable to your constituents and stop trying to muzzle democracy.

Mark Rennie


Bike lanes congest Pandora

“From disasters to successes: A summary of bike lanes,” commentary, July 22.

I completely agree with this assessment. I consent, concur, assent, accede and accept.

Lack of parking is the primary reason and bicycle lanes are the secondary reason that we no longer enjoy doing business downtown or participate in activities at downtown venues such as the Royal Theatre, McPherson Playhouse, Alex Goolden Hall and Save-on Foods Memorial Arena.

To demonstrate the difficulty, I once (and only once) drove to the McPherson box office to pickup event tickets. I parked in the pickup/drop-off stalls on Pandora Avenue. It took a full seven sequences of the traffic lights for me to exit the parking stall and that was only because a driver behind me wanted the parking stall and blocked traffic. Only two to three vehicles per traffic-light sequence turned right onto Government Sreet because of the current bicycle lanes.

I truly fear that our downtown will inevitably become a bastion of bicycle-riding, high-rise tower residents with a smattering of half-full entertainment venues, high-end restaurants and convenience stores. And that would truly be sad.

E.P. Wickens-Jobling

Oak Bay


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• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

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