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Letters Jan. 7: Reconciliation tax requires a vote; when 'heritage' trees become a headache

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Victoria City Hall. A letter-writer suggests a referendum is needed before Victoria enacts a 'reconciliation tax' providing money to local First Nations in perpetuity. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Proposed new tax should go to a vote

Re: “Reconciliation tax must go to referendum,” letter, Jan. 5.

Who in their right mind gives away an unknown portion of future taxes? To anyone. For anything.

The idea for this boondoggle came from the city family, a largely unelected group that in no meaningful way represents the majority of the citizens of Victoria.

The closest thing I could find to this idea was in Edmonton. They built a new arena, and city hall dedicated a portion of taxes collected from a designated area around said arena until the debt load was paid for. Not in perpetuity.

I agree that this must be brought to the people of Victoria in a referendum during the upcoming civic election. Should our current council pass this as is, the next council should rescind it immediately.

Ron Sleen
Victoria

Cherry tree branch stops the cleanup

My sister lives in the Fairfield area. At about 10 p.m. on Dec. 27, she ended up having water running into her basement due to a ruptured water main on the street.

In this case, the water from the ruptured water main made it into the city storm drain, and then the water backed up into her storm drain outside her basement door and flooded her basement.

As we go through the restoration process, we have encountered a problem with one branch from the Japanese cherry tree that was planted on the boulevard when I was a child.

This branch of concern goes over the driveway, preventing a dumpster bin from being delivered. This dumpster is needed for the contractor to do their part of cleaning out the mess.

We have called the city parks to have the branch cut back and was told that it is a heritage tree, and it cannot be cut.

What are homeowners supposed to do when they have paid property taxes for more than 60 years and now cannot get access into their driveway with large vehicles including emergency vehicles like an ambulance?

The driveway has not moved from the day the house was built.

Open for suggestions.

Martin Wong
Victoria

Theatre board can learn from a play

Langham Court Theatre’s new board members would do well to recall Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, a Langham production in 2016.

In it, naïve, inexperienced, self-serving and self-righteous people destroy others in the name of virtue.

By the end of the play, we all learn that virtue involves humility and mercy, not vindictive accusations of wrongdoing. John Proctor is destroyed for refusing to forsake his honour. He asks: “How may I live without my name?” I wonder whether Langham can live without its name, too.

If the board reviews the titles of the more than 525 plays mounted over 92 years, they will see a full range of drama from the silly to the profound.

I hope they will draft COVID-19 protocols and codes of conduct to their satisfaction promptly, thereby enabling Langham to continue to entertain and enlighten us all.

Gordon Alexander
Set builder and life member
Oak Bay

B.C. was a colony; it’s part of history

The Royal B.C. Museum is playing a reckless game. Overhauling the eye-opening First Nations exhibits may be warranted, based on feedback from First Nations people.

However, it is rather hard to believe that someone with temporary CEO Dan Muzyka’s experience would make the dire mistake of unilaterally dismantling Old Town first, and then consulting the public about its replacement second, unlike First Nations time-tested best practices of talk-first-act-second.

To dismantle one of the strongest draws at the museum without first consulting the public whose tax dollars support the facility, with a five-year estimated rebuild period, and nothing on the drawing board for a new gallery defies logic and good business practice.

As far as we can tell, Old Town is close enough to true history, and immersive enough to draw crowds by its captivating sights, sounds and smells, to warrant not removing it without good reason and public consultation.

Parroting the nebulous woke PC buzzword “decolonization” is not sufficient reason, considering how, from many perspectives, B.C. was a colony. A museum’s purpose is to depict history, for good or bad, not to pretend that it was something else.

Journalists Lucas Aykroyd and Geoff Russ were right on the mark in their recent commentaries. They listed several critical questions that deserve answers before anyone dismantles Old Town.

John Lee
Victoria

How can we sway museum’s decision?

Dismantling the exhibits on the third floor of our province’s main museum is unbelievable. Will it really happen?

I am lucky, I will remember those exhibits from the many times I visited with my children and then my grandchildren — not so for future visitors to our museum.

Will they see the perfect forest, seaside and farm dioramas? What about the miniature First Nations seaside village where I would stand for a while, taking in how connected they were to the sea — and how like Emily Carr’s paintings it is.

What about the example of a sunken winter abode used by Interior First Nations? So clever. These are all part of our history.

What if the Times Colonist gathered together all our letters (along with many that I suspect never made print) and presented them to the misguided people who made this decision to destroy. Would that sway their decision?

Penny Trelford
Saanich

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