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Letters Jan. 21: Vexing potholes; Island farmers need our support; a misleading 'decolonization' argument

Support local farmers in any way you can During 2021 we witnessed floods and fire of biblical proportions and a world plagued by COVID-19. One of many issues it exposed, yet again, is how fragile our food and power supply is.
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A poorly repaired pothole near Shawnigan Lake. AL BRUNET

Support local farmers in any way you can

During 2021 we witnessed floods and fire of biblical proportions and a world plagued by COVID-19.

One of many issues it exposed, yet again, is how fragile our food and power supply is.

The most current figures I could find regarding how much of the food we consume is produced here on the Island can be found on the Food ECO District Victoria on their website: https://www.get-fed.ca

They stated that “until the 1950s, 85 per cent of our food supply was grown locally here on the island. Today in 2019, our local food supply has dwindled to roughly 10 per cent.”

I contacted the Ministry of Agriculture to see if they had any current figures. They did not, but they were polite, prompt in returning phone calls and supplied me with a list of the programs in place to assist and promote food growing and processing on the Island.

There is a lot we can do to encourage and support Island farmers and procesors and it is very easy to do. Buy local and support Island farmers.

To further support and assist Island farmers, processors and vendors there is an Island Farmers and Farmers Markets page on Seniors 101: https://seniors101.ca/markets

All Island farmers are invited to send their location, products they have and their contact information to seniors101@shaw.ca.

Let’s all do what we can to support Island farmers and in doing so strengthen our food supply security.

Roy Summerhayes
Chemainus

Decolonization profit claims misleading

Re: “$238 textbooks and more: profiting off ‘decolonization’,” commentary, Jan. 13.

Geoff Russ criticized universities such as UVic and UBC for offering courses on the politics of colonialism and decolonization. Russ claims that universities are profiting off “decolonization” because textbooks for these courses are expensive, citing the $238 cost for required texts for Politics of Colonialism (POLI 433) at UVic.

We have consulted with the UVic Bookstore. It turns out that POLI 433 is a special topics course that varies from year to year, and the $238 textbook cost that Russ cites is actually for a POLI 433 course on a completely different topic (Fable, Memoir, Archive), not the course on Politics of Colonialism.

When the Politics of Colonialism course was offered last fall, students could access the course’s required texts for as low as $43, since one of the books was available for free at the UVic Library. The claim that UVic’s Politics of Colonialism course is profiteering off decolonization with exorbitant textbook fees is therefore factually inaccurate.

Moreover, the topic of decolonization is the subject of a wide-ranging body of interdisciplinary scholarship, including contributions from fields such as history, political science, geography, and anthropology.

The history of the past century makes little sense without some understanding of the role that decolonization movements have played in shaping the world political map — from sub-Saharan Africa to South and Southeast Asia.

Decolonization is therefore a worthy topic of study at the university level, and UVic remains committed to decolonizing and Indigenizing the curriculum taught in our courses.

Reuben Rose-Redwood
Associate dean academic, Faculty of Social Sciences
Neilesh Bose
Canada Research Chair in Global and Comparative History
University of Victoria

Signs of incivility are all around us

Re: “Infamous charter flight to Mexico sign of declining interest in civility,” Jan. 16.

The writer has hit the nail on the head. The trend of saying “Sorry” and the “Thank you” culture for which we were once famous in the world depicting our polite demeanour is certainly going downward.

You can notice this on our roads while driving, where impatient drivers are in a hurry, leaving behind any courtesy whatsoever.

We can see it when parents give fake addresses to schools that otherwise fall out of their geographic area from which the students are eligible to attend, just to get their kids admitted to the schools of their choosing.

They do not even consider what kind of a person their kid would become when he/she is a grownup who would think lying here and there is OK because their parents did it when they were young.

Having said this, there is still a majority that is not tuned to this new sans-civility culture and will not be accustomed to anything less than politeness and tolerance coupled with civility.

Anas Khan
Beaumont, Alta.

Potholes, potholes and extra repairs

I can understand how difficult it is to maintain the roads in the winter and spring but, when contractors do careless, inferior work when they get around to fixing a pothole, it serves nobody and costs us a lot of money.

The photo shows a new patch for a pothole. The first car over the soft patch left a depression. A few days later it is a hole again.

To add insult to the injury to the public pocketbook, two other holes, less than 10 feet in either direction, filled with water, were left untouched. All will require another visit from a road crew, costing even more money.

From snow clearing to regular maintenance, the current contractor is less than efficient.

Al Brunet
Shawnigan Lake

Thanks for the action on safety in Saanich

Livable Roads for Rural Saanich would like to recognize the mayor and council of Saanich for their unanimous support on two motions from Jan. 10.

Staff has been asked to bring forward reports on the various impacts of accelerating the Active Transportation Plan and of formally implementing the principles of Vision Zero.

This high-level approach should buttress and strengthen the concrete road safety actions already being taken by this council. Unfortunately, insufficient change has been realised on the ground.

However, the possibility of this kind of comprehensive directional shift is welcome and has the potential to bring about the real changes needed for vulnerable users to achieve a safe place on our roads.

These motions, and their unanimous support, indicate how seriously council takes these issues. We look forward to the substance of the reports.

Financial implications may exist, but the long-term benefits for our municipality would be massive.

Pam Harrison
Livable Roads for Rural Saanich

Nuclear power is not the answer

Re: “Majority of U.S. states pursue nuclear power for emission cuts,” Jan. 19.

The article states that “many are coming to the conclusion” that more nukes are required to fight climate change. The author of the letter “A green future with the nuclear option” (also Jan. 19) laments that while there are more than 400 active nuclear power reactors in the world today, no new reactors are currently planned in Canada.

A recent report from Friends of the Earth Australia notes that nuclear power’s contribution to global electricity supply has fallen from a peak of 17.5 per cent in 1996 to 10.1 per cent in 2020, a year when renewables’ share reached a record 29 per cent.

The average age of the world’s reactor fleet continues to rise, and by mid-2021 reached 30.9 years. The mean age of the 23 reactors shut down between 2016 and 2020 was 42.6 years. Even China has averaged just 2.5 reactor construction starts per year since 2011.

Why is the nuclear industry in decline? In no small part because the staggering cost of nuclear has become apparent. Decades of claims about “cheap” nuclear power didn’t consider real-world nuclear construction costs and delays.

Every power reactor construction project in Western Europe and the U.S. over the past decade has been a disaster. The only current reactor construction project in France is 10 years behind schedule, and is forecast to cost $27 billion Cdn, 5.8 times greater than the original estimate.

The only two reactors under construction in the U.K. are forecast to cost over $37 billion Cdn — more than five times the original estimate.

The Olkiluoto-3 reactor being built in Finland is 13 years behind schedule, and is forecast to cost 3.7 times more than originally estimated.

Relying on nuclear power to fight climate change? Good luck with that.

Jack Hicks
Shawnigan Lake

Blockaded drivers should join the fight

The correct response to protests blocking roads because the last remnants of B.C.’s high-productivity ancient rainforests are continuing to be clearcut day after day — while the B.C. NDP, two years after endorsing the results of its own forestry study urging a “paradigm shift” in forestry practices, continues to fail day after day to implement the changes that study recommends — is to demand of one’s MLA that this foot-dragging stop.

An environmental catastrophe is unfolding all around us.

The least an inconvenienced driver can do is demand that the B.C. NDP stop clearcutting old-growth forests in this province because deforestation profoundly influences climate change, biodiversity and B.C.’s ability to withstand torrential rains.

Bill Appledorf
Victoria

Property value is up because of lots of hard work

I take exception to the idiotic idea that I have not earned the added value in my home.

I bought my property in 1967. It was cheap because it was very steep and only had a 600 square foot cabin on it but it had a nice view of the lake. No one wanted it but I saw potential. At that time my property taxes were $2 a year.

I worked hard to pay off the mortgage. For years I took no vacations and all my overtime pay went into the mortgage. Eventually I paid it off. I got married and together we built a proper house.

Again, with a lot of hard work over many years we managed to pay off that mortgage. Meanwhile my property tax has skyrocketed, not to mention all the original taxes and many new ones.

My most recent assessment went up by 33 per cent, which pushed my valuation just over $1 million.

I have spent over 45 years working hard and paying uncountable amounts in taxes and now some hare-brained politico, who may well never have had an honest job in his life, wants to grab a slice out of our retirement nest egg because he feels I have done nothing to deserve it.

That person should get out in the real world and get an honest job.

Kerry Butler
Salt Spring Island

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