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Letters Sept. 19: Colon cancer, highrises, and Qualicum council differences

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, in the Foyer of the House of Commons, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Colonoscopy is better for detecting cancer

The publicity regarding Ryan Reynolds’ recent colonoscopy will definitely help to raise awareness about colon cancer. It is worthy to note, however, that his procedure was done in the U.S.

If he wanted to have it done here in B.C., it’s unlikely that he would have been able to. We are told that the fecal (F.I.T.) test, done every two years, is good enough.

If you have a positive fecal test, or one/two (depending on ages) close family members diagnosed with colon cancer, then you qualify for a colonoscopy here.

Not long ago my older brother, who lives in Ontario, underwent some unpleasant surgery for colon cancer that was not detected by fecal tests. Subsequently his surgeon urged him to advise his close relatives to have a colonoscopy done.

Those that live in Ontario had no problem, but here in B.C. I didn’t meet all of the requirements. I was willing to pay for it and I thought I had a solution when I found a clinic in Vancouver that did the procedure, along with other services.

Unfortunately the government doesn’t allow them to get paid for doing colonoscopies any more. I finally got lucky with the help of Telus Healthcare.

It’s true what they say about getting a second opinion, and recently I had three polyps removed.

I won’t digress and blame the government. My point is that a fecal test, while better than nothing, is not as effective as a colonoscopy in preventing colon cancer.

Rob Schott

High rise beside Elk Lake will change the area

This past summer I enjoyed paddling my kayak on Elk Lake. What a beautiful opportunity to celebrate nature. But wait – Saanich council is allowing an 11-storey tower on Elk Lake Drive.

That is six storeys higher than adjacent structures and at least another five storeys more than the Royal Oak Shopping Centre. This means that I can now ‘enjoy’ looking at a tall urban condo building from anywhere on the lake. Wow.

Is that progress? We definitely need more infilling for new homes but erecting a high-end tower that completely changes the park that citizens have cherished for years does not cut it.

We need more imagination from the mayor and council. How should I mark my ballot on Oct 15?

Barry Rolston

Poilievre would move Canada backward

Pierre Poilievre wants to make Canada the freest country in the world by limiting the reach of government. What he is suggesting is turning freedom on its head.

Government programs, existent and proposed, in fact give more freedom to Canadians. What is more liberating than to know you can access health care without extra costs?

What is more liberating than knowing you can access affordable child care and reach your potential by advancing your work/career aspirations?

What is more liberating than having access to affordable dental care to improve your health? And what is more important than being secure in the thought that one’s parents will be looked after in old age with quality home-care and/or accommodation?

The demands on government are growing in order to help Canadians reach their aspirations by freeing us from the crippling financial burdens unequally imposed on us by our free enterprise society.

Poilievre, if elected prime minister, will move us back to a times of angst and financial insecurity.

Robert Milan

Conflicting decisions on affordable housing

Re: “Harris Green plan to top agenda for next council,” Sept. 10.

According to Victoria Coun. Jeremy Loveday, this “very large and controversial project … is outside of the official community plan — and requires an OCP amendment.”

So he says “there is rationale for not considering that in the middle of the election.”

Yet only hours earlier, he wanted to ram through the missing middle initiative, which would rezone most of the city and forever change the fabric of its neighbourhoods, in the middle of the same election.

Then, even more incredulously, he says “we need a massive amount of new rental housing,” but then goes on to suggest it can somehow be achieved without building up.

Meanwhile, Coun. Ben Isitt, who doesn’t like the missing middle initiative because it doesn’t deliver “affordable housing,” also punts the Harris Green application to the next council, because it too doesn’t deliver enough “affordable housing.”

So now the Harris Green application, and the 1,500 rental units that the city council supposedly wants and claims are so desperately needed, is further delayed, inevitably increasing the cost.

Exactly when, where and how is sufficient “affordable” housing going to magically appear, in an area of the country in which everyone wants to live?

And exactly where is the “massive amount of new rental housing” going to be built, in the very limited space that is available, if not upward?

Chris Lawson

Young shooters needed for police, military roles

With increased reports of gun violence, some people believe that only police and military should have access to guns. This would, therefore, imply that they would only learn proficient firearm skills on the job.

I asked my LinkedIn connections who are current/former law enforcement, military, and emergency management personnel two questions: 1) At what age did you first fire a real gun? 2) Who coached you (parent, friend, organized program, etc.)?

The responses ranged from age six to 14 and most were with a parent or through a cadet (or similar) youth program.

Gun ranges, clubs and organizations across the country offer a variety of youth and new shooter programs. I introduced a colleague and her son to shooting and then, years later, learned he joined the Canadian Forces and served multiple deployments in Afghanistan.

Another time, a neighbour asked if I could take him and his boy out shooting for the first time. I recently heard he is a staff sergeant at a Lower Mainland police force now.

We wouldn’t have expected Mozart, Gretzky, or Sinclair to be as good in their professions if they hadn’t started young so we shouldn’t expect different for our police and military professionals.

Reach out to your local gun clubs and inquire about what programs they have. Not only is the training provided in a safe controlled environment, but also prepares those who decide to move on to future public safety roles.

Fred Hoenisch
Central Saanich

Wider implications in censuring story

Re: “Town reveals why Qualicum Beach councillor censured after he runs for mayor,” Sept. 14.

The article on the public censuring of Coun. Teunis Westbroek, a much-admired former Qualicum Beach mayor, by the current mayor has wider implications.

It is baffling that just weeks before the Oct. 15 election, with both elected officials running for mayor, that the incumbent Mayor Brian Wiese insists the censuring is not political gamesmanship.

As your article reported: “There was no formal complaint, accountability was accepted and apologies were issued.” Surely, end of story.

Yes, Westbroek changed his mind about running. But so did one of his fellow accusers, now living and working in Vancouver.

Instead of shaming a fellow councillor, Coun. Robert Filmer should explain why QB ratepayers should finance his $35,000-a-year council salary to meet his off-Island living costs?

These accusations, including recent lawsuits, surely resonate with other small rural B.C. municipalities. They are symptoms of local councils beholden to the growth and monied interests of the development, real estate and business communities.

Yes, these are important stakeholders, but ones that a mayor and council must manage respecting the broader public interest, now sadly lacking in my own small town.

Notably, our Official Community Plan is repeatedly overridden. Due process and procedural fairness is ignored.

Informed comment at public hearings is dismissed while spot zoning and fast-tracked developments ignoring environmental concerns rule that day.

All the while Qualicum Beach’s identity is being stripped away and cynicism about local democracy grows apace. Small towns take note.

Good governance requires mayors and councillors acting for all the people.

Graham Riches
Qualicum Beach

Bullying allegations in Qualicum Beach

Re: “Town reveals why Qualicum Beach councillor censured after he runs for mayor,” Sept. 14.

There is something rotten in the state of Denmark — or perhaps it is just the current state of political affairs in Qualicum Beach.

After reading the article one could gather that mayoral candidate, Coun. Teunis Westbroek, is a bully. However, when you dig further, one can conclude that the shoe deserves to be on the other foot.

Others, including Coun. Robert Filmer, once saw things very differently. He pointed the finger not at Westbroek, but Mayor Brian Wiese. In December 2020 Filmer took a two-month medical leave citing a “very, very toxic environment” that included bullying, the fault for which he laid at the feet of Wiese.

According to Filmer, “the mayor is the leader. If there is an issue, especially if that issue is bullying or harassment, it is the mayor’s job to resolve that.”

When an outside report on the matter was released, Filmer took exception to its conclusions, stating: “I feel that council is now engaging in victim shaming, which is patently unacceptable.”

Westbroek might be the target of an attempt to prevent him from running because he represents a political threat to Wiese.

Jay Smith
Qualicum Beach

Dallas Road slowpokes, please step on it

I have lived on Dallas Road for 10 years. The speed limit is 50 km/h on Dallas Road. And yet, on a daily basis, there is always some driver so distracted by the view that they believe it is OK to drive at 30 km/h or less on Dallas Road. It is not OK.

I wrote to the City of Victoria a couple of years ago regarding excessively slow driving on Dallas Road. I suggested it was necessary to post a few 50 km/h signs on Dallas Road, just like you will find on Blanshard Street.

Some clown wrote me back, admitting that the city tolerates the distracted driving of those who cannot help themselves and take their foot of the gas pedal while they admire the lovely view of the Olympic Mountains and the activity on Juan de Fuca Strait.

Victoria police have a fetish for enforcing the speed limit on the safest road in the city — the separated north/south lanes of Blanshard Street north of Caledonia Street — but I bet they have not written a single traffic ticket for excessively slow driving on Dallas Road in the past 10 years.

If mayor and council of Victoria want to lower the speed limit on Dallas Road, then do it. If not, then post signs reminding drivers on Dallas Road that the speed limit is actually 50 km/h, and suggest to VicPD to pad their quotas by targeting excessively slow driving on Dallas Road, and to give the Blanshard Street radar blitzes a rest for a while.

Trevor Amon


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