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Letters Feb. 2: Doing a better job with B.C. forestry; relieving housing pressure

Well-managed forests and the products they produce are a key part of addressing climate change, a letter-writer says. TIMES COLONIST

New generation will do better with our forests

Re: “Scrap the old forest industry, build a new one,” commentary, Jan. 30.

I have absolutely had it with retired foresters writing long-winded opinion pieces about how we need to shut the forest industry down.

It strikes me as the peak of hypocrisy to spend a career exploiting a resource, then once you are safely retired with a well-funded pension to decide it is time to shut it all down.

These individuals spent decades in the industry and got us into the situation we find ourselves in today.

If they had stood up for the same principles of sustainability that they now espouse 30 or 40 years ago instead of relentlessly exploiting our forests (or the oceans, or the climate for that matter), many of the problems we face today would be greatly lessened.

I work in the forest industry because I truly believe that well-managed forests and the products they produce are a key part of addressing climate change, building our province and providing benefits and employment to people in rural B.C.

Is there room for improvement in the way we manage our forests? Absolutely, and there are legions of bright, innovative young people out there excited to do exactly that.

To suggest that our profession has failed and our jobs should be wholesale “transitioned” because the previous generation mismanaged the resource, leaving us no opportunity to do better, is frankly insulting.

We recognize that there are problems, we know who caused them, and we are keen to solve them so the next generation inherits a healthy, growing forest, and a sustainable, world-class forest industry.

The future belongs to the young, and we will do better. We must — you have left us no choice.

Kit Burke


Affordable housing from the government

Tuesday’s letters to the editor is “must read” for the premier and all MLAs. While fiddling with stratas, in-fill housing and the permit process might add to the housing inventory, it creates a great deal of stress, and does nothing to provide any affordable housing.

As one writer stated, we need to look at what worked in the past and two things come to mind, government-built not-for-profit housing and co-ops.

The government makes land available and a low-cost mortgage, and people with a family income below a certain level are eligible and pay rent according to income.

The tenants can run it, or a not-for-profit organization with oversight of a government department.

Vince Devries


Victoria voters chose the missing middle

The municipal election last October was all but a referendum on whether the city should pass the missing middle initiative. Missing middle supporters decisively won the election, almost by a two-to-one margin.

Election results matter more for our democracy than anything else, so if elected council members had gone back on their promise to pass the missing middle housing initiative, it would have been bad for our democracy.

Despite this, there seem to be a lot of people who seem to think that what should really matter are public hearings, where people with nothing better to do on a Thursday night have a shouting match in the hopes of influencing policy.

That arena is disproportionately made up of homeowners and retirees rather than renting and working Victorians, but even there both missing-middle hearings resulted in an even split between supporters and opponents.

So the city has spoken, and the majority want more medium-density homes.

Missing middle is not an affordable housing plan, but there’s no reason mid-sized housing for middle-income households can’t exist alongside low-income high-density housing.

Breaking out of the stranglehold that single-family zoning has placed on the majority of the land in the city will make low-income housing easier to build.

This will only happen if the political will is there, but if you think new duplexes are a problem, while the three entire neighbourhoods of multimillion-dollar mansions are OK, you might want to reassess your priorities.

Will Owen


Rail would help relieve housing woes

There’s much discussion in the media these days on the lack and cost of housing in Greater Victoria. Only occasionally, someone mentions rapid transit and rail — but the two topics are related.

It’s been said before, but bears repeating: If the E&N railway were upgraded into a working, fast, commuter rail system, it would allow people to live as far afield as the Cowichan Valley or beyond, and still comfortably commute to work and play in Victoria or the West Shore.

The upward price pressure on real estate in Greater Victoria would be relieved once people realize they could live up-Island and still easily access work and recreation in the Capital Regional District.

This isn’t rocket science, people — it’s rail science. It’s been done before in all well-run jurisdictions, and all we have to do is revitalize an existing railway line that most rail-less towns would give their eye teeth for.

Relieve the clogged artery of the Trans-Canada Highway before we collectively suffer a missing-middle aneurysm.

Jonathan Stoppi


Penalize, sympathize to fight drug problem

Decriminalizing the possession of hard drugs will do nothing to solve the problem of overdose deaths. Who are these stigmatized addicts who are overdosing alone and at home?

The main reasons the rest of society stigmatizes them is because they are shooting up on the streets in broad daylight without a care and no consideration for how it might affect the rest of us.

They are stigmatized because they are robbing businesses and breaking into our cars to support their habit. They are stigmatized because the rest of us have to watch them stooped over like decaying zombies while we drive to work so we can pay taxes that pay for their cellphones and food and drugs.

What we need is more funding for police and a judicial system that keeps the dealers off the street once they have been arrested. We need hard-time punishment for anyone caught with fentanyl in any quantity.

The addicts need rehabilitation, education, jobs, housing and dignity and that is expensive — but still cheaper than the current plan, which will only make things worse.

We need a government with a spine and not just another study producing a kid-glove plan.

C. Scott Stofer


Another reason for more to come to B.C.

So B.C. now allows possession of all drugs, so long as you have 2.5 grams or less. You will not be charged, you will not have your drugs confiscated. Cocaine, meth, heroin, it doesn’t matter. All this in the name of “harm reduction.”

The issue for me is this. It is not a federal decision, but a B.C. initiative. Every other province will continue to confiscate and charge.

Therefore, the welcome mat is out for every drug-addled individual to migrate to B.C. where our health-care system is already broken, and will not be able to cope with the influx of even more troubled individuals.

Dewane Ollech


Thanks, Kenny, for your help in the rain

Our brother, Kenny, was in a catastrophic motorcycle accident on Malahat Drive, Victoria in June and suffered multiple fractures, loss of a leg and a traumatic brain injury.

His daughter and I flew out to obtain power of attorney until he is able to reclaim his life. In the ensuing months, I have returned to Victoria multiple times to resolve issues that have arisen.

Just after Christmas, I brought my youngest brother Robert along with me. In between our visits at the hospital, I continued to try to resolve insurance/phone issues etc. at a large mall in Langford.

Despite my best efforts to remember where I parked my rental car, I could not find it after quite some time of searching in the rain.

At this point a man came up to ask if everything was OK. When he heard that we couldn’t find our car, he took my fob and personally checked each row of cars.

This wonderful man then helped both my brother and me into his truck and we eventually located it on the other side of the mall.

When I went to hug him in appreciation, I told him my brother’s and my name and asked his in return.

Somewhere in your lovely city is a man we will never forget. His first name? Kenny.

Kathy Pinnell

Kitchener, Ont.

Answers needed from governments

Re: “Death at 844 Johnson St.,” Jan. 28.

It was heartbreaking and shocking to read Louise Dickson’s article on the death of Jamaal Johnson at 844 Johnson St.

Heartbreaking that drug addiction has taken the life of yet another victim, this time a 43-year-old father and husband; shocking that the place Jamaal died was established to provide safe and supportive housing with on-site support staff and instead has evolved into a dangerous, unhealthy place where Victoria police have seized firearms and large quantities of illegal drugs.

Where is the accountability for this project and why has it gone so terribly astray? The silence from the provincial and municipal governments is deafening.

Valerie Sovran


Give money to Pattison, he gets things done

Re: “We must tax the rich, for the benefit of all,” column, Jan. 22.

Trevor Hancock thinks we should take a few billion dollars from Jim Pattison and give it to the government so it can take care of all those things it’s promised to do.

Based on a comparison of their records, I think we’d be better off if the government gave a few billion to Jim Pattison and asked him to look into some of those items.

His ability to get things done puts any recent B.C. government to shame.

Michel Murray



• Email letters to:

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

• Submissions should be no more than 250 words; subject to editing for length and clarity. Provide your contact information; it will not be published. Avoid sending your letter as an email attachment.

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