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Letters June 11: Drugs and risks; growth in Saanich; enforcement on trails

People stroll and roll on the Lochside Trail in the evening. TIMES COLONIST

Send the right message about drugs and risks

As I watched college-age kids partying, peeing and doing drugs in a downtown Victoria alley, I wondered how many of them will soon become the human wreckage we pass daily on our sidewalks.

This thought came to me: Adults with fully developed brains are telling kids and young adults, those with still developing brains, it’s legal and at least relatively safer to try these drugs because we provide systems to prevent your death by overdose alone in an alley. We have systems to provide you with safe drugs if you become addicted.

No. We need to tell these developing brains, not quite cognitively at their peak decision-making ability, these drugs are illegal, you could be arrested, and if you take them you could die alone by overdose in an alley.

The adults need to provide all the guardrails and penalties possible to put a warning gong in a young developing, prone to poor decision-making brain, that might stop them from trying these highly addictive drugs in the first place.

A really harsh warning. They will destroy your life. They will kill you. We won’t make the landing softer and safer for you.

Lisa Tindall


Enforcement needed on region’s trails

While walking the E&N Rail Trail near View Royal elementary with my dog at 3 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon in October, he was hit from behind by an e-bike. I had him under control on a short leash and was as far to the right of the trail as possible. A cyclist was approaching in the opposite direction and the e-bike rider split the middle between that cyclist and me.

Except for minor scrapes my dog was fine. My vet said my dog is far from being the only victim of e-bike hits.

I’ve warned my neighbours not to walk the Galloping Goose or E&N trails during busy commute times regardless of whether they have dogs or not. There are just too many inconsiderate e-bike riders who refuse to slow down and warn pedestrians of their approach.

I’m not anti e-bike. In fact, I’m pro e-bike. I think they’re a brilliant way to reduce congestion on our roadways. I’m an e-bike rider myself.

Unlike so many other operators of e-bikes and e-scooters I see, I warn pedestrians when approaching and slow down as I pass them. One woman with her dog on the E&N in Langford remarked to me last week that I was the only person who’s given her that courtesy.

The bike I ride is a pedal assist one, with a maximum motor assist speed of 32 km/h. It’s also a reasonable size. Many of the faster e-bikes I see are larger throttle assisted e-bikes capable of higher speeds.

Until speed enforcement starts to occur on the E&N and Galloping Goose trails, experiences like mine and that of the jogger will continue to increase. I also feel more regulation of larger throttle assist e-bikes that are being sold should take place.

It would be a real disappointment if the inconsiderate e-bike users result in a ban on their use on these trails.

Shane White


Urban containment should have the housing

I expected that “one size fits all” provincial legislation on housing would have exemption opportunities. There are many different-sized communities with more than 5,000 people, and their staffing and budgets are all struggling.

In a letter to Saanich in September, the housing minister stated: “While the province is setting targets to ensure current and future housing needs are being met, it is up to the District of Saanich to determine where new housing is most appropriate, including protecting rural, agriculture and environmentally and culturally sensitive areas in your municipality.”

But the minister, responding to council’s request to not add secondary suites outside the urban containment boundary, stated that he “cannot support exempting the District from the requirement to permit secondary suites or detached accessory dwelling outside the UCB because it contradicts the small-scale multi-unit housing (SSMUH) legislation’s core purpose: to support gentle density in communities.”

Isn’t the minister contradicting his September letter?

Saanich has an urban containment boundary for many reasons, including aquifer and water table capacity, water needed for farming, properties on wells and septic fields, no transit routes or stores for groceries, significant tree canopy for climate change but possible fire issues, and the fact that any density, even suites, will create more greenhouse gases as residents travel to and from services.

Surely when the minister supports “gentle density in communities” he means where water capacity is available in case of fire and the sewer system will need to be expanded at extreme costs to all residents. Also, there would be equity for accessing transit and groceries.

Rural Saanich lands outside the UCB are needed to protect and enhance agriculture. Saanich has a temporary farm worker housing policy to address the labour requirements of agriculture, while protecting the agricultural land base from increased non-farm use.

Premier David Eby, Minister Ravi Kahlon and Saanich MLAs should reconsider the value Saanich places on maintaining our UCB and controlling growth where services are.

Judy Brownoff



B.C. Hydro rate plan is for nightowls and EVs

B.C. Hydro’s new optional residential rate plan offers a discount of five cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for electricity used from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., and a surcharge of five cents per kWh for electricity used from 4 to 9 p.m.

There is no discount or surcharge on usage from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m.

Time-of-day pricing applies year-round and every day of the week.

The normal rate for usage is $0.1079 per kWh. Thus the option implies a surcharge of about 46% during the peak hours, and a similar decrease during the wee hours. They are aiming this option at people who may charge electric vehicles (EVs) overnight and/or might run major appliances at night.

For everyone else, the new option is absurd. Why should anyone who works normal hours wish to pay 46% more during the usual time to heat/cool the house, cook dinner, have a shower, etc.?

For people who live in multiple unit buildings, there are very likely restrictions against doing laundry, running a dishwasher, etc., during the overnight hours!

I hope that B.C. Hydro does not eventually intend to impose this new format on all customers.

Roel Hurkens


We all need to decide where our loyalties lie

Re: “Provincial politicians need to decide where their loyalties lie,” editorial, June 7.

There is a world of difference between election cycle politics and true public service. Election cycle politicians are at best only interested in short-term local projects they can take credit for before the next election.

Public servants work toward a better future for us all. Since the children are our future, perhaps we should focus on them. Not only politicians, but all of us must decide where our loyalties lie.

Graeme Gardiner


A quick explanation of no-fault benefits

Your readers might be wondering why no-fault insurance was invented. The troubles of my friend Joe will clarify.

Joe’s car was T-boned by another car that ran a red light. Both Joe and the other driver had insurance.

However, neither insurance company wanted to pay unless their insured driver was proven to be at fault for the collision. The insurance companies sued each other back and forth for months. Joe did not receive any money.

Joe was seriously injured. He could not work. He lost his house. His marriage broke up. His life was ruined.

If he had been carrying no-fault insurance, Joe would have been compensated by his insurer in accordance with his policy. The insurance companies could sue each other as long as they wanted — leaving Joe out of the squabble.

The no-fault principle has clear benefits for drivers. It is too bad the implementation here in B.C. is scrambled up with minor considerations.

David Stocks


Be careful about sources for news, information

Re: “Free speech is indispensable to social justice and democracy,” ­commentary, June 6.

The timing of this piece was brilliant, falling on the 80th anniversary of D-Day. I believe, as Calvin Sanborn writes, that free speech by definition must accord the entire political and social spectrum. It is the only way social and political change can succeed. In this era of “alternative truth” there is a flood of misinformation and deliberate disinformation being published as “free speech.” Social networks and mass media promote sound bites and outrage as “news.” The average citizen is left shaking their head at the media noise and factual confusion.

My 20-something daughter gets all of her “news” on social media. And she thinks she is well-informed on current events. Well-sourced investigative journalism is a luxury we can only admire in its passing.

Murray Leslie


Eventually, we will all embrace EVs

Re: “Many buyers still shying away from EVs, poll finds,” June 7.

The fact that the majority of car buyers are shying away from EVs is easily explained by the Technology Adoption Curve. When considering new technologies, people have different approaches.

Innovators and Early Adopters account for about 16% of the population, and I suggest most of those people are already in, using EVs and hybrids for some years.

The next group, the Early Majority, is still concerned with range, charging infrastructure, and vehicle cost. As all of these factors improve, many of the Early Majority will begin to participate.

The Late Adopters will follow, and the Laggards will hang on to their gas cars as long as possible.

As it was with credit cards, home computers, and cellphones, it is only a matter of time and further refinement before the benefits of EVs outweigh the concerns for most people.

Howard Robertson


Don’t vote for those already on pensions

Re: “Don’t vote for the switchers,” ­letter, June 8.

A larger problem I have is with the politicians who, after a career with a provincial (or federal) party and collecting a lucrative pension would run for a federal (or provincial) party to collect another lucrative pension after a minimum of six more years.

Joe Hronek



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