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Letters Dec. 4: Explaining departure of Saanich's top staffer; whether to celebrate return of cruise ships; leaves in bike lanes

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Saanich Municipal Hall. The council does not believe in its motto, Serving the People, a letter-writer suggests. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Saanich should explain departure of CAO

The slogan “Serving the People” figures prominently on the cover page of the latest Statement of Financial Information for Saanich, but is it true?

Eye-watering taxpayers find it unacceptable that Mayor Fred Haynes and council are not fully transparent about the most recent departure of Saanich’s chief administrative officer. The public interest needs to be served.

Why is there such a frequent turnover of CAOs in the region followed by golden handshakes, parachutes and costly severances? About six years ago, the departure of the last CAO in Saanich cost taxpayers a princely $476,000, although Sooke takes top honours among the 13 municipalities with the expensive departures of seven CEOs since incorporation in 1999.

How will Saanich district be impacted at budget time with the loss of a CAO – the “critical linchpin between the political and the professional public service” – and the key to whether a municipality runs well?

The importance of the job is reflected in the $288,176 salary in 2020, the highest-paid employee in the region’s largest municipality.

Haynes told CTV News “it was the collective will of council to go in a new direction.” So why not tell us what that new direction is and why it requires a senior staff change, whether a severance can be justified and how much it’s going to cost taxpayers?

At the end of the day, who will best be served? Without full disclosure, Saanich council clearly doesn’t believe in its own motto.

John Treleaven, Chair, Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater ­Victoria
Sidney

Don’t blame the NDP for Victoria council

I believe the New Democratic Party has done a lot of good work for Vancouver Island and Victoria for the last several decades. Unfortunately, they have bequeathed Victoria, without question, a very damaging city council.

The present mayor, Together Victoria, and two other young councillors purport to be of the NDP political stripe. Good judgement comes from experience.

Please recognize in next year’s city election that these folks have shown by their youth and ideological decisions that they lack competence. They may say they are NDP, but discerning voters will recognize they are not.

Patrick Skillings
Victoria

Too many cruise ships coming to Victoria

The schedule is out, the big ships will return. At what expense to our health will this occur?

In 2019, we were spewed 11,404 tons of carbon dioxide to inhale, not counting particulate matter, and sulphur compounds. Now the industry is touting even more ships and more pollution for our city.

This does not account for the emissions from shuttle buses, taxis and huge garbage trucks taking away the foreign garbage from the ships.

Welcome to Victoria, but are we in all reality creating 800 jobs, and is our economy being injected with $1.3 million, according to Greater Victoria Harbour Authority?

Is our green city really green with this huge amount of pollution?

When the community of James Bay is paying the price of dealing with health concerns, emissions, traffic, and noise, who is benefiting from this dirty industry?

As a city, and province, we must cap the number of ships coming to Victoria. Too few are benefiting from this industry and many more residents are seeing their health, neighbourhoods and home environments destroyed.

Linda Klein
Victoria

Cruise ships say: What climate emergency?

How terribly sad to read that Vctoria will be “welcoming” more than 300 cruise ship visits next summer.

Has the climate emergency suddenly been resolved so that we are happy to allow such discretionary consumption of fossil fuels throughout Vancouver Island, from the ships themselves as well as all the spinoff carbon-consuming activity resulting from bringing more than 700,000 tourists into our midst in a span of seven months?

It seems to me the height of hypocrisy for our leaders in government and business to rail about how desperately we need to take immediate action against climate change while, at the same time, increasing our consumption of fossil fuels in such an irresponsible manner

Franz Scherubl
Salt Spring Island

Stop the delays, get green power for ships

Let’s celebrate the return of tourism and cruise ships to Victoria. After two years with no ships, 2022 is set to be a record-high season, meaning we will ­welcome thousands of visitors in just a few months.

While this is certainly something to be happy about, it comes with great challenges. Pollution has been an issue for the planet and James Bay residents for years.

We may have missed the opportunity to take advantage of the “COVID downtime,” but it’s not too late to upgrade our cruise ship terminals to shore power in preparation for our busiest season to come.

Currently, cruise ships dock at Ogden Point, the busiest cruise ship port-of-call in Canada.

These ships are essentially floating cities, and when they’re docked, they’re polluting by ways of diesel exhaust fumes, engine noise and more.

We have witnessed the catastrophic effects of climate change whether that be drought, fire, and floods. Cruise ships undeniably contribute a large portion to air and water pollution as well. So, what are we waiting for? Why not shore power today?

We have the necessary skills and workforce to implement shore power. Shore power allows ships to connect to B.C.’s green grid and shut down their diesel-fuelled engines while docked. This alternative marine power is an effective way to reduce air emissions and improve local air quality.

Let’s not wait, we should take action to reduce GHG now for a cleaner, greener future.

Phil Venoit
Business manager/financial secretary
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 230

Government stupidity through the years

As Albert Einstein once said: “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity.” But what is much more widespread than the actual stupidity is the playing stupid, turning off your ear, not listening and not seeing.

The B.C. government over many decades has played stupid.

Creating farmland by draining a lake (Sumas) was not only stupid but foolhardy. Not spending money on levee upkeep was really stupid.

Fast-tracking a highway without seeing what washouts could do to bridge foundations is a failing grade bordering on rank stupidity.

Saying their studies indicate a Malahat bypass wasn’t worth the money was and still is really stupid.

Expecting people to get on board the vaccination train without actually ensuring they do is stupid.

The universe has a message: “Wake up stupid!”

I’m getting old and really don’t need government stupidity to force me into my grave. I can do that by myself without this government‘s help.

As they say: “Climate is what you expect, but weather is what you get.” Ignoring either, you do so at your peril.

Chris Spratt
Victoria

Leaves in bike lanes are dangerous

Hey Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay councils ­— get the leaves out of the bike lanes! Fine the people who put them there.

Not only do the leaves dangerously narrow the roads, but the slime they leave behind can take my bike out from under me in an instant.

Are you’re waiting until a cyclist is killed and the family takes you to court before you get moving on this nightmare?

Dave Secco
Victoria

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