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Letters Dec. 30: Victoria snow-clearing fails the elderly and disabled; thanks to a snow angel

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A tractor clears the snow in front of the Fairmont Empress Hotel. A letter-writer points out that the Empress managed to clear the sidewalks on its property, while the City of Victoria ignored the Causeway across the street. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

We don’t deserve a slushy, slippery mess

It is 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 28. Coming home to James Bay from downtown, an elderly lady has fallen on the slushy Causeway sidewalk across from the Empress. Several people rush to her, pick her up and make certain she is OK.

A few metres in front of me, a ­disabled man is struggling to make progress through the snow and slush in his wheelchair. A man begins to help push him through the mess of snowy sludge.

I’ve just crossed Wharf Street onto the Causeway, noticing that the bike lanes on Wharf Street have all been cleaned and cleared of snow and slush, even though there isn’t a bicyclist in sight.

But on the Causeway sidewalk there has been no snow clearing at all! The snow and slush are now a congealing, icy, slippery mess — and there are a dozens of pedestrians slipping and sliding along.

Over on the Empress sidewalk, all snow has been cleared and swept. I cross at the mid-block crosswalk just to make certain of what I see: Empress side clear and clean: City of Victoria side a slushy slippery mess!

I am furious at this!

How can my city treat its people, particularly the elderly and the ­disabled, like this?

Why are the freaking bike lanes cleaned and clear, when a major pedestrian route like the Causeway is a three-inch-thick slippery mess?

How can the city allow this?

Where are council’s public safety priorities?

Thank heaven we have a civic election coming — council needs to change. We deserve better than this.

Greg Gilbertson
Victoria

A volunteer helping to clear sidewalks

We heard the sound of scraping and, looking out the window, saw someone clearing a path to our elderly neighbours’ door.

We went outside to thank them — and saw that a path had been cleared to our own door.

Across the road, with a bag of Times Colonists on one shoulder and a snow-shovel on the other, was the paper deliverer. She was carefully clearing paths to all the doors on the street!

It was a thoughtful and much-appreciated action, very much an act of kindness.

Patricia and Alistair Beck
Sidney

More CCTV cameras would increase safety

The recent article describing four women being shot with a pellet gun is horrifying.

If this had happened in England, that grey vehicle would be on so many CCTV cameras that an arrest would soon follow.

Why don’t we have more CCTV coverage here? Oh, wait, our fearless leaders cite “too many privacy issues.”

Utter nonsense.

Mike Woods
Saanichton

Destroying the RBCM’s third floor

B.C.’s history has been and is being selectively edited to romanticize the past — Aboriginal and settler histories alike.

Ignoring historical accuracy and/or giving it a sculpting massage is not the way to reconcile hunter-gatherer and agricultural societies.

Attempting to merge theism and animism isn’t the way, and if not a merger, then coexistence of the two spiritualities will create further divides.

Pathological altruism will damage all efforts to promote truth and reconciliation.

Hugh Finnamore
Burnaby

Build around existing history, culture and art

Re: “Before destroying museum exhibits, plan a replacement,” commentary, Dec. 9.

I disagree with destroying the third floor of the Royal B.C. Museum. If we need to see new perspectives in a museum, then build another building and add new perspectives.

Museums are about preserving history, not putting a correct lens every 50 years, because of changing politics or views on history in contemporary society.

Decolonizing museum displays are problematic, in that the history of displaying history is lost, and the act of presenting culture/history/art is morphed into overt pedagogy, where the institution manipulates the viewer on how they think of history to correct how they think of culture today. This is not a museum. It’s a pseudo-university posing as a museum.

Colonization is part of our history. History (and art and culture) cannot be decolonized; one, because that’s anti-cultural, two, it misreads culture/art as real, and three, “decolonizing” is colonizing — with another colonizer — our views today.

Acting CEO Dan Muzyka says the goal is to develop a new narrative from all voices in the province. But why would museum professionals need to consult others when history is something which can never truly be accurately or correctly presented?

A museum should not be a “political advocate” in shaping how we see history or culture or art, today or in the future.

That’s a soft version of Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution in terms of destroying or regulating historical objects for some higher moral purpose.

Ultimately, with reconciliation, culture and art should not be part of the conversation, because if history and art are going to be “politicized,” it should be an act within the realm of the individual, not the institution.

K.S. Drager
Vancouver

Riding out the storm because ‘we know best’

The arrogant and disrespectful ­position taken by the acting CEO and board of the Royal B.C. Museum with respect to the public outcry against closing the Old Town exhibits without having even begun consultations as to what its replacement will be is outrageous.

It smacks of professional elitism and “we know best.”

They clearly intend to ride out the wave of public criticism and hope people will have short memories. They forget that the museum is a public institution, funded with public money.

Hugh Stephens
Victoria

World-class museum and a mysterious future

I grew up in Victoria. When I was a little boy I would visit the museum often. It was in a small room in one corner of the main Parliament building.

The main attractions were a beautiful stuffed bear and a moose a little past its prime. As I grew up, I watched the provincial museum take shape across the street. It became a magnificent showpiece of human and natural history.

World class. I was very proud of it and every out of town visitor I had was required to see it.

Now there is a plan to remove the best displays and replace them with … no one knows. This development is a complete mystery to me.

Why is it happening? Who wanted it? Why destroy something without a plan of what to put in its place?

And as someone said recently, they appear to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. A large part of the exhibits that will no longer be seen are remarkable examples of Indigenous culture.

The culture that will somehow be honoured by the removal of the third floor.

Someone explain this to me.

Bryan Kingsfield
Victoria

Ever notice a problem with museum’s name?

The board and management of the Royal B.C. Museum seem to feel that the public needs to be protected from viewing evidence of how the city evolved during a certain period of its history.

Should they not also therefore remove the word “Royal” from the museum’s title?

After all, does not that title embrace unambiguously the mantle of colonialism which the board and management so desperately want to shield from our eyes?

Just asking.
Tony Timms
Saanich

Maybe they’re working on Shelbourne instead

Apart from the ongoing, very annoying disruption of traffic, the incredibly long time taken by Saanich public works to make road improvements on a short stretch of Vernon Avenue has given me a new sense of the meaning of eternity.

John Sutherland
Victoria

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