Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Letters July 27: Pope apologized for Christians, not Catholics; keep Shawnigan Lake's shoreline natural

Pope Francis blesses a baby, as he arrives for mass in Edmonton on Tuesday during his papal visit across Canada. A letter-writer points out the Pope's residential-school apology did not specifically mention the Catholic Church. JASON FRANSON, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Pope’s apology must name the church

Re: “Pope begs forgiveness for abuse of children at residential schools,” July 26.

The first paragraph in the story states that the Pope asked forgiveness for deplorable evil “committed by the Roman Catholic Church.”

The Pope did no such thing.

He spoke specifically and carefully of some members of the church and of many Christians.

As I understand it, Catholics believe their church is a creation of Jesus Christ and as such it can’t do wrong or change its doctrines. So the Pope talked about individuals rather than the institution itself.

The difference is crucial. The Pope cannot be said to have apologized fully until he has named the church itself.

Good luck with that.

Vivian Smith

Mourning ecosystem at Shawnigan Lake

A morning walk along the Shawnigan Village Rail Trail is nothing short of heaven. Breathing in the scents that perfume the air, you hear the bird songs, the rustle of the trees, and catch a glimpse of the lake and the occasional rabbit.

It’s a short stroll filled with a symphony of a thousand shades of green, topped by delicate blooms, all framed by the majestic firs and cedars that have lived at the lake’s edge for decades.

It’s a bittersweet walk, knowing that all the lakeshore vegetation will soon be stripped away and those glorious trees will come crashing down to be replaced a gravel walking trail.

The section of trail from the Government Wharf Park to Old Mill Park would be the third section of the rail trail, and this precious gem of lakeshore ecology will soon be the beneficiary of a $650,000 gas-tax grant that would destroy the very thing that draws people to this place of wonder and beauty.

Instead, we’re getting 150 dump trucks of fill to create a path often just feet from the shoreline. It’s soil that will leach into the lake as powerful winter waters and winds rise and take their toll. These are elements that can crush docks, let alone a gravel pathway.

Shawnigan Lake residents have objected to the project, with 1,500 signing the petition to end the madness and a rail trail group that has sprung up to protect the path.

The consensus is not to stop people from walking the trail, but to build it on the rail bed. The common thought is that we should at least wait until March 2023 when a definitive decision about the rail line will be made.

If the rail project does not proceed, why not put the trail on top of the rail bed? Why the rush? It seems the only thing standing between demolition and destruction is the requirement for Ministry of Environment and Department of Fisheries permits.

Around Shawnigan Lake, we love our wilderness; yet, bit by bit, we are losing the precious ecological systems that we have left.

In this time of climate crisis and ever diminishing biodiversity, we cannot afford to keep carving up ecosystems. These are the systems that cool the earth, produce our oxygen, purify our water and give us the gifts of nature.

Let us steward them with respect.

Kathy Code
Shawnigan Lake

Inspect those homes before they go on sale

Finance Minister Selina Robinson wants to enact a three-day cooling-off period prior to completion of a home purchase.

Why not enact legislation that every home must be professionally inspected prior to its sale? The inspection can be done by the homeowner before going on the market and/or by the purchaser.

The issues with buyer remorse is that they did not get a chance to have an inspection done prior to completion. The purchaser does not have to accept the homeowners’ inspection and can have one completed by the inspector of their choice.

Arizona and other states have this requirement legislated.

This is a simple way to cool down the market, ensure that buyers are somewhat certain that they are buying a quality home, or have knowledge of possible issues that could affect their offer.

Mike Copp

Think of dinosaurs before starting the car

The “dinosaur” letter of July 23 regarding Deuce Days seems to have hit a raw nerve among car lovers. The issue isn’t one of how much money such an event brings to Victoria’s coffers, it is a question of changing thinking and eventually behaviours around burning fossil fuel.

Is it any wonder the inconvenient truth of climate change remains a back-burner issue?

Time for change is evaporating before our eyes. Mainstream society desperately needs a change of behaviours on fossil fuel consumption.

Something to think upon when that ignition key is turned on.

Guy Mathias

Health care based on luck and worry

Re: “I found a family doctor … on the Lower Mainland,” column, July 24.

I just turned 70 years old, and my wife just turned 69. My wife and I have been taxpaying British Columbians since our early 20s and for most of our life we have been lucky enough to have a doctor.

We lived in communities where my work required us to be, and always managed to find a physician in these communities as we raised our children. We were fortunate to have no health issues and only required a doctor during my wife’s pregnancies and for routine checkups. We were not a drain on health care, neither were our children.

A few years back, we moved to Victoria to be close to our two daughters. The move required us to give up our physician.

We could not find any doctor accepting patients in Greater Victoria. We have found a clinic that has been able to assist us in renewing medication as required, plus assist us in any health issues, but will not accept us as new patients, so this is acceptable but not secure.

We don’t know if or when a real big health issue might come up that would require a family doctor, or when our health luck might change.

We keep hearing from doctors on how solutions they suggest aren’t being heard by our provincial leaders, and our leaders seem to try to come up with solutions that aren’t ­acceptable by the doctors.

Part of the solution seems obvious. Talk to each other and come up with an acceptable solution that works. My wife and I no longer have all the time in the world to wait.

We are assuming that little is being done to solve this until a new premier is selected.

In the meantime we must clutch our lucky charms and hope our health holds out. It seems as though, like Charla Huber’s doctor, our physicians are leaving for greener pastures, and we are left without doctors as we age and worry.

Leslie Leyh

Do these deaths count as dereliction of duty?

Can the Ministry of Health and the College of Physicians and Surgeons be taken to court for dereliction of duty now that patients are dying as they wait in ER for treatment?

Dr. Paul Fenje Jr., MD

If all else fails, use cash … or maybe not

“Experts” advise keeping some cash in case digital banking systems fail. But that is false security. I suspect almost everyone has been unable to buy something because a business has lost electronic services.

You can hold an item displaying the price tag in one hand, wave a fistful of cash in the other and tell them to “keep the change,” but it does no good. Managers state “our system is down” and usher you out the door. The response would be the same if you tried to pay with gold coins, cut diamonds or a freshly killed chicken.

A bank note is “current” if it was issued under the Bank of Canada Act. A “tender” of money is legal if it is made in coins or notes that are ­“current.”

Every transaction relating to money in Canada must be carried out in our currency. This is why our bank notes are referred to as “legal tender” for settlement of any debts, which includes purchases. Yet vendors refuse to sell an item with the excuse “our system is down.”

Alanne Gibson

Bayview Roundhouse information available

Further to a reader’s recent query about the status of Focus Equities’ Bayview project, including the Roundhouse redevelopment, a complete explanation is provided in the June 23, 2022, letter from Ken Mariash of Focus Equities to the City of Victoria.

The letter is posted at on the Development Tracker under the address, 251 Esquimalt Road.

Joanne Thibault
Yellow Sheet Construction Data


• 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.