Negligence by the City of Victoria
I am concerned about snow clearance in downtown Victoria from Dec. 19 to 22.
First, I am aware that this was an extraordinary snow event, and that city works capacity is limited and strained during this winter season.
Second, I acknowledge that the City of Victoria has traditionally not invested in snow removal equipment, choosing to allocate to other areas, such as hanging baskets and bike lanes.
Knowing this, I have been appalled by the lack of snow clearance on emergency routes and adjacent streets in the downtown core, including streets that are key transportation routes for emergency services, the elderly, disabled and children.
It is a clear and stark risk for essential emergency and transportation routes to remain uncleared and hazardous, while bike routes are being prioritized.
I have seen ambulances skidding, elderly struggling on uncleared sidewalks, and children walking into oncoming traffic due to uncleared sidewalks and bus stops.
This is simply negligent and a significant safety risk for residents of Victoria.
City of Victoria should get the first fines
The always entertaining Jack Knox has given us a gentle reminder to shovel the snow off the sidewalk in front of our premises, raising the spectre of significant fines, lest we neglect to do so.
Maybe the first levy of fines should be to the City of Victoria itself, for failure to maintain the walks in front of its own premises, namely its parks.
The Fairfield sidewalk past Porter Park is a particular, hazardous mess. I have noticed this at many other City of Victoria locations.
But, at least the bike lanes get all plowed.
Armoury sits empty, people sleep in tents
A recent letter commented on the possible use of the Bay Street Armoury as a cold weather shelter. As an “old” former air cadet who used to parade down there, I have been trying to advocate for the same thing for a few years now.
Why couldn’t Elizabeth May, Laurel Collins and Randall Garrison, our local MPs, get together with Defence Minister Anita Anand (she was just out in this part of the country recently) to facilitate this sort of temporary solution in our region?
Is it too much to expect different political parties to work together for the better good, on this sort of immediate and specific concern?
While I was driving around town the other day, I stopped in at the Armoury and found both of its main doors locked. I then headed over to Our Place on Pandora Avenue to drop off a bag of winter toques.
While there I saw a number of people sleeping outside in snow-covered tents and some had lit a fire right in front of the building on the sidewalk to try and keep warm.
With the amount of military resources available in this region, I cannot think of a better place to provide these sorts of services.
The City of Victoria seems to be too busy plowing empty bike lanes, ironically just down the street by City Hall, to worry about these folks who really need our collective help at this time of the year.
Back to the office? It’s an outdated idea
Re: “A return to normalcy includes the office,” editorial, Dec. 22.
The editorial brought a blast of nostalgia with its 20th-century “If-I-can’t-see-you-you-must-not-be-working” attitude that launched a thousand Dilbert strips, but, alas, also espouses dangerous waste through its ignorance of modern technology.
Any organization that restricts its talent pool to the people within commuting distance is placing itself at a severe market disadvantage. This would be an especially irresponsible stance for government to take in the capital region.
Do we need more traffic trying to squeeze down Douglas Street? If government workers have to live near downtown, that places them in the most expensive real estate on the Island, and therefore increases the compensation that taxpayers have to fund.
Has management not discovered how to reach their people at any time by video conference? Should we suffer the carbon impact of that unnecessary transportation, of more people forced to leave small disadvantaged communities and pour into cities, because the writer has not heard of Slack?
These arguments might be dismissed as conjecture if it hadn’t already been forcibly proven through two pandemic years that employees can be trusted to work at home and can get the job done there.
The intangible water-cooler conversations that are suggested as justification for meeting in person are mostly code for “Old Boys’ Club” cliques.
We taxpayers need a government that’s tech-savvy enough to understand how distributed workforces can be cheaper and more effective than collocated ones.
Mental illness and MAID must be studied
As volunteers in the Victoria Chapter of Dying With Dignity Canada, we wish to remind TC readers that the exclusion of those with a mental illness from accessing their constitutional right is stigmatizing and discriminatory.
Requests for MAID by people whose sole condition is a mental illness must be treated on a case-by-case basis.
However, Justice Minister David Lametti is well aware — as are health professionals — that mental illness is a complex issue, differing from one individual to another. That is why we welcome his recent announcement committing to further study of mental health and Medical Assistance in Dying.
A 2021 poll indicates that 65 per cent of Canadians support access to MAID for those whose sole underlying medical condition is a mental illness, if they meet all other criteria and have the capacity to provide informed consent.
It is expected that a very small number of Canadians will be eligible under MAID criteria: individuals who have endured many years of persistent unbearable suffering that has not been improved by all available interventions.
Furthermore, no one can receive MAID on the basis of a lack of social support. Access comes only after rigorous assessment by mental-health clinicians.
Someone in acute crisis, with depression or who is contemplating suicide, could not simply apply and attain MAID.
Illness of any kind deserves Canadians’ understanding and compassion.
Gwen Anholt and Lynne Van Luven
Co-chairs, Victoria chapter
Dying With Dignity Canada
Build more housing, but keep the beauty
We are blessed by generations of city leaders who have protected and nurtured Victoria’s architectural landscape.
Victoria’s beauty is admired and celebrated as the city of gardens. Great cities are organic and grow not to indiscriminately house more people but to guard and enhance past beauty and ensure future generations’ quality of life.
In these latter years, our city has provided more housing per capita than any other city in Canada. The rush to provide more housing should not take precedence over our city’s beauty.
The Humboldt Valley is an example of well-planned higher density. Johnson Street is not.
Yes, build more diverse housing in our city neighbourhoods, but be careful not to lose the inherent beauty and peaceful retreats bestowed to us by previous generations.
Ensure that new zoning does not overwhelm the past. A walk through Rockland, Fairfield, James Bay, Jubilee or any of our neighbourhoods gives respite to all.
Often, people do not realize what they have until it is gone. Great cities never lose sight of beauty.
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty.”
Eager to go electric, but what about charging?
I disagree that the biggest hurdle on the road to switching to electric vehicles is availability of vehicles. It is the availability of infrastructure, both macro and micro.
To replace the enormous amount of gas consumed by personal and public transportation, this power has to be provided by and distributed by the electric grid. This means huge upgrades to production and transmission of electricity, with the corresponding expense, be it public or private to pay.
I am eager to replace my gas-powered vehicle with electric, but I have no viable place to charge a vehicle in or near the building where I rent my home.
I also own two tenanted condos — same problem for my tenants. Millions of Canadians who live in rental accommodations, strata properties and suites in homes face the same hurdle.
Are corporate landlords going to pay to have 50 fast-charging stations installed in my building so all the tenants can go electric? Is the owner of the basement suite next door going to cover that expense for their tenants?
Can we really expect 60 per cent of Canadians will have the available infrastructure by 2035? That’s roughly the same percentage of the urban population that lives in rented homes.
Rising food costs and high cellphone costs
Everyone is talking about how much the increasing food prices will affect family finances.
How about the really terrible cost to families because of cellphones? We pay the highest cellphone costs in the world.
If families paid less for cellphones, they could afford their groceries.
If people wrote complaining to the federal government about the cellphone costs, as the government is letting the cellphone companies rob you blind, something might be done.
The government is not responsible for the cost of groceries.
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