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Letters Jan. 5: Visitors essential to care-home seniors; assessments inflated by panic buying

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A resident makes her way down a hallway at CHSLD Rose-de-Lima seniors residence in Laval, Que. A letter-writer suggests every senior in care should be allowed at least one essential visitor to provide companionship during the pandemic. RYAN REMIORZ, CP

Essential visitors are essential for seniors

I was one of those visitors who was told on Friday night that I could no longer visit my husband due to the recent public health order.

After 10 years of caring for my ­husband at home, I was declared non-essential. This was devastating.

Many tears and letters later I was informed that I now was classed as essential. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. I was saddened when I visited on Monday to discover that so many of the residents were without essential visitors.

Everyone who enters this particular residence is vaccinated, as are all the staff and have been since October. Most are triple vaccinated.

They are short-staffed and, being an old retired nurse, I understand many of the problems they face. They can barely meet the very basics of care for their residents, let alone the social and emotional needs that this isolation brings.

We have allowed, even condoned, travel to wherever, dining out and small family gatherings, but those in most need of seeing a familiar face are being denied. Where are the rapid tests for us?

Every resident in every care facility must have an advocate, an essential visitor.

Anita McCaw
Victoria

Panic buying pushed assessments higher

In the past year or so, the very competitive housing market has duped many potential home buyers into paying more for housing than any sane mind would have predicted only a few years ago.

There seems to be no mechanism to temper the increase in assessed value based on prices paid and number of properties sold.

An uninspiring property with a well of unreliable production and no outbuildings sold very quickly for $250,000 above assessed value in the fall of 2021 in our rural residential area of 60 individual acreage properties.

Anyone who saw the sale go through could see that it was panic buying by this couple from out of town, but now we have all been tarred with the fallout of this single sale in our neighbourhood in 2021.

There is no question that the B.C. Assessment Authority is complicit in contributing to the shortage of affordable housing by inflating assessed values based on panic buying prices paid.

Mike Wilkinson
Duncan

Reconciliation tax must go to referendum

Unsuspecting residents will pay another substantial tax this year, if the fatigued Victoria council has its way and public opinion is again stifled or ignored.

It’s been dubbed cleverly by Coun. Ben Isitt a “community reconciliation levy,” but when it needs millions of tax dollars from residential and business property owners, it’s a tax.

As proposed in the supplemental budget, this municipal reconciliation tax goes to two other jurisdictions in perpetuity. It would profoundly impact city finances and amount to the greatest change in municipal taxation in a generation.

Bleary-eyed councillors, seven hours into a committee of the whole meeting Nov. 4, voted to grant reconciliation funds annually to local First Nations and to solicit public views. It was passed without the benefit and insights of a staff report.

The motion directs 15 per cent of new assessment revenue to the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nation. Thereafter, 15 per cent of the new assessed revenue annually is added to the amount transferred the previous year.

With considerable development in the city — and the exponential growth of carryovers — it will quickly amount to millions of tax dollars annually. Only Coun. Geoff Young, a Harvard economist, understood the implications, saying: “It’s likely to become quite a large number fairly soon.”

The unprecedented idea was soundly rejected during the recent public engagement survey on the 2022 city budget. Despite an incomplete and misleading “illustrative example,” respondents ranked a “reconciliation grant” 46th out of 49 supplementary budget items. And a majority, more than any item, were opposed or strongly opposed.

Budget discussions continue this week: If council unilaterally proceeds with this controversial idea, city finances will be significantly affected, and there will be regional, provincial and perhaps federal implications.

To succeed, any reconciliation tax must receive broad community discussion and support through a referendum during the fall municipal election.

Stan Bartlett, vice-chair
Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria

A woke culture might be a great place

Re: “No group has a monopoly on virtue — or suffering,” column, Jan. 2.

Let’s be clear that Lawrie McFarlane was talking about wokeism, not about “wokeness,” although his words “wokeness can also be rendered as a systemic effort to right old wrongs and eliminate bias” leave room for misinterpretation.

So to clear up the ambiguity, here’s a quote from the same article in Psychology Today:

“Wokeness, in my view, is a good thing … Awareness of unfairness in the treatment of others not only makes the world a better place and us better people, it creates a culture in which the marginalized receive empathy instead of blame. Everyone has marginalized thoughts, feelings and desires. Everyone has a history of managing unfair expectations and humiliations. A woke culture would be a pleasure to live in for everyone.”

Alan Thurston
Victoria

Making us easier to control and manipulate

If I might add my two cents’ worth to Lawrie McFarlane’s excellent column, although my comments might not come across as so amusing or light-hearted as McFarlane’s.

“Wokeism” seems to be a progression of political correctness that has been around quite a while and shares one of the same goals, which is controlling speech, thereby controlling what people think.

The result of which is a population that is easier to control and manipulate, in other words a form of censorship.

Tony Priddy-Camson
Cobble Hill

Correcting our history — let’s start with today

It’s a brand new year, so let’s start it off right.

It seems that we’ve been busy in the last while, tearing away and correcting the past for all that we presently think was wrong.

How about beginning today, we start correcting ourselves for all that we are doing wrong, so that our descendents don’t have to go back in history and correct us?

Raymond Ho
Victoria

We cannot fix history, no matter how we try

Re: “No group has a monopoly on virtue — or suffering,” column, Jan. 2.

Thank you for succinctly putting into words what is happening.

All so true. We cannot fix or change history. Perhaps it does take our minds off what’s happening now and will become history.

Wendy Lojstrup
Brentwood Bay

Let’s think of the planet as we move through 2022

Let’s expand our compassion for hummingbirds to the whole of nature.

Social media and national newspapers have been abuzz with the dedication and creativity of so many British Columbians to ensure their resident hummingbirds survived the recent cold snap.

The concern felt by so many people is commendable, and is a good base for extending compassion to other creatures and the whole of nature.

Our concern for the remarkable little birds gives me hope that we are beginning to understand that we cannot continue to wage war on the very planet that is essential for our existence on Earth.

My wish for 2022 is that we can all come to the realization that our present lifestyle that includes unnecessary travel (especially air travel), harmful farming practices, social and economic inequity, overconsumption and waste is not sustainable, and that as individuals we accept the responsibility to act accordingly.

Shelagh Levey
Cordova Bay

Langham Court was not a den of harassment

Re: “Langham Court cancels shows, closes theatre,” Dec. 31.

For many patrons and members of Langham Court, the board’s decision to cancel shows and close the theatre is disappointing and unnecessary.

Unfortunately, the article portrays Langham as a den of racism, harassment, bullying, homophobia and so on.

It is not.

That is not to say that there have not been instances of the above, and certainly that behaviour is not be condoned.

However, my philosophy in life is that 95 per cent of people are good contributors to society. It is the five per cent that cause the troubles.

I would hope that the board would adopt a similar stance so as not to disappoint the vast majority of patrons and members.

The story did not present a balanced view. For 90 years Langham has enriched the lives of thousands of patrons because the theatre community dedicates countless volunteer hours, using their talents and love for theatre to bring plays to the stage.

I wish the board well. I urge them to revisit their disappointing decision and find a solution that will both remedy the ills and bring back the plays.

The shows must go on.

Peter McNab
Victoria

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