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Letters Feb. 16: Appreciating the trees; confusing road signs; bring back co-op housing

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B.C. Premier David Eby. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns

Praise for Saanich boulevard program

Last week, we received four beautiful nine-feet-tall Serbian spruce trees courtesy of the little-known Saanich Partnership Tree Planting Program.

Kudos to:

• Saanich for offering this great free-of-charge program;

• Saanich Parks Department for the excellent, friendly service;

• The tree planting crew who did an excellent job of planting the trees.

Don Hinz

Saanich

Too many signs don’t tell the truth

Lately, I have passed signs on the roads of Victoria that I find confusing, as if driving in Victoria isn’t confusing enough.

Signs that say “Road Closed Ahead” but the road ahead isn’t closed, a side street is. Why is that sign not just at the side street that is closed?

Recently I passed three of those signs but just kept driving and ignored them. If we all start ignoring the signs then when there really is a problem, chaos will happen.

Victoria should review its policy for road repair and construction and inform sub-contractors on where to place signage.

Eileen Cannon

Victoria

Co-op housing works, so bring it back

Wow, our politicians have stumbled on co-op housing as a solution for decent rental accommodation for those with lower incomes.

For years, us older folks have wondered why this proven solution that worked so well in the 1960s and 1970s, was ignored by today’s generation of politicians.

They are building affordable housing that a large percentage of our population cannot afford, and fiddle with rental laws and strata rules that upset all and solve nothing.

Let’s stop talking and get started on co-op housing. They do not have to reinvent it, the evidence and examples still abound in many places.

Vince Devries

Ladysmith

James Bay square is not a good idea

Construction is underway for a 137-unit rental building at the corner of Menzies and Niagara in James Bay. This development will clearly bring an increase in traffic flow to the area.

Now is hardly the time to implement yet another of Victoria council’s goofy ideas — a village square at the five corners, one block away. Leave well enough alone.

Michael Olson

James Bay

How about rail service to ease congestion?

Ask yourself this: how many more people would start commuting into Victoria from Mill Bay, Cobble Hill, Duncan, and beyond if the highway were widened? In short order the traffic would be as bad or worse than it is now.

You might argue that it would be good for those communities — and Victoria, too — if more of us had greater flexibility in where we live and work. And you would be right!

The good news then is that there is a reliable way to both reduce traffic congestion on highways and to give us this flexibility.

The answer is simply to provide better alternatives than driving. The problem with driving is that cars take up an enormous amount of room per traveller.

A good bus can comfortably carry dozens of people while using hardly more space on the road than an enlarged pickup. A train can do even better, and doesn’t take up any space on the road at all.

The trick is to make sure that the service is good — better than taking a car. Perhaps the train has coffee service or a bar car.

For some of us, being able to stand up and stretch our legs while travelling is enough of a perk. Or the chance to relax, take your eyes off the road, and enjoy some of the beautiful scenery we’re blessed with.

Passenger rail service connecting our Island communities is a wonderful, safe, comfortable, and convenient solution. It’s the best way to relieve congestion on the highway, and it will give us all more choice in how we live and work.

Michael van der Kamp

Victoria

New housing is for people from elsewhere

The housing that is being built will not serve the people who are here. It will be for richer people from elsewhere.

When you buy a house, you pay your taxes and buy into a neighbourhood with certain building restrictions and codes that protect the integrity of your property.

With these new rules, there could be multiplexes two storeys high, going opposite your back and front yards, blocking light to your gardens and ruining your privacy.

Living in a community for decades you spend a lot of time working on your yard and gardens and expect that you can enjoy them.

This doesn’t even touch on the effect of the loss of trees, lawn etc. for the local birds and other wildlife.

Politicians are kidding themselves and us, if they think the new housing will help folks who are here trying to get into the housing and rental market.

They will be bought by people from elsewhere at the cost of our quality of life. We will just end up having more traffic and more people using water and looking for a doctor.

Janet Cram

Brentwood Bay

Government spent well over assessed value

The NDP government recently purchased two housing co-operatives in Coquitlam to maintain reasonable rental rents for all tenants.

One property is at 2860 Packard ­Avenue, with a property assessment value at $40,381,000.

The other is at 2865 Packard Avenue with a property assessment value of $40,630,000.

Our NDP government paid a total of $125 million for the purchase of these two properties — $43,898,000 over assessed value, or 35.1 per cent.

Why is this NDP government so careless with taxpayer dollars?

Joe Sawchuk

Duncan

Who is driving the B.C. economy?

In Premier David Eby’s recent news on affordable rentals that made the front page of the Times Colonist, I noticed that five of the six professions (teachers, nurses, firefighters, police officers as well as civic employees) mentioned are all paid for in full by taxpayer dollars.

I have great respect for each profession. However, what I find missing in this announcement is free enterprise and its workers, who pay their fair share of taxes.

Premier Eby, don’t forget who the real engine of this economy is. It’s not government. but business and its hard working employees that keep your government running.

Derek Collins

Victoria

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• Email: letters@timescolonist.com

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