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Letters June 15: Those bike lanes are a pleasure to ride; rail line to Port Alberni would make a big difference

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Protected bike lanes at Government Street and Wharf Street in downtown Victoria. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Government St. bike lanes a pleasure to ride

I am writing to express my appreciation to the City of Victoria for completing the Government Street bike lane project between Humboldt and Michigan.

As an avid cyclist, I had the pleasure of riding along this newly established route, and, I must say, it was an absolute joy in both directions.

One aspect that particularly pleased me was the newfound safety that this bike lane offers to all cyclists, ­especially our dedicated government workers.

It is essential for them to have a secure route to commute to work. Knowing that they can now rely on this well-designed and partially protected bike lane makes me proud of the city’s commitment to fostering alternative modes of transportation.

Barry Lycett

Oak Bay

Modern railway would encourage commuting

The closure of Highway 4 to Port Alberni and the west coast of Vancouver Island, due to a forest fire, has caused a great deal of disruption to that area.

Think what a difference it would have made if the rail line to Port Alberni were functioning again. The Island rail system is a necessary piece of infrastructure now and into the future.

Let me give one example of many. Available land for building on the south Island is extremely limited.

What developers are forced to do (and encouraged by ideologues at the municipal and provincial levels) is to knock down perfectly good single-family houses to build multiplexes and apartments so as to squeeze more people into the same space.

The result is that only rich people will be able to afford single-family homes, middle-class people will not.

A modern railway running along the Island Corridor with frequent service, would enable those middle-class families wishing to do so, to live in the small towns up-Island and have a comfortable and safe commute to Victoria.

Kenneth Mintz

Victoria

Larger school districts are dropping the police

A letter-writer suggested that the only reason a student might be “traumatized and harmed” at the sight of an officer in their school would be because “they are already guilty of a crime and are afraid of being caught.”

At the most basic level, being at least vaguely intimidating is central to how the police maintain their authority. Those thick-soled boots and dark uniforms are there for a reason. And the guns? We hope they don’t use them, but we understand that even their presence has a deterrent effect.

But of course they do use their weapons, and more than ever before. Last year more people were killed by police in B.C. than in any other province, including Ontario, at almost triple the size.

We had 23 police shootings — that’s 20 more than the entire United Kingdom in the same year.

Canada set a grim record for the most number of police-shooting deaths ever in a single year, and the increase is far outpacing our population growth. And that’s just deaths, not the more complex forms of police violence.

Such as was described in a RCMP Civilian Review and Complaints Commission report issued in February, which found systematic lack of investigation into the sexual harassment and abuse of Indigenous girls by members of the Prince George RCMP.

There was video evidence, provided by a whistleblower.

Last year, the Toronto School Board voted to end their police program after many students, particularly Black, ­Indigenous and students of colour, reported feeling uncomfortable and even intimidated by the police presence.

The year before, Winnipeg did the same after an independent report found the same.

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is not madness — it’s ignorance.

Mayana C. Slobodian

Centre for Criminology and ­Sociolegal Studies

University of Toronto

What follows decision on police in schools?

The school board has decided that students should not have to learn that police can be trusted guides for getting through life. Apparently, learning to trust police can cause trauma for some students. The school board insists that students must not be traumatized.

Now, some students are planning to appeal to the school board for relief from having to learn trigonometry. Trigonometry teachers will not give good marks to students who do not provide “correct” solutions to problems on tests. “Correct” is obviously a racist, eurocentric, and colonial construct that causes trauma in some students. Surely, the school board will use the same logic it used about police to remove trigonometry from schools. Next, the students plan to get rid of chemistry. School is going to be much more fun when actual learning is no longer required.

David Stocks

Saanich

Get rid of democracy, keep cranes running

I find the logic provided by both the province and local governments that removing public hearings on rezoning applications is a way to speed up the approval process and more quickly meet so-called housing demands, to be grossly offensive. It seems they consider that democracy is too slow when it comes to development. Democracy, according to this dubious logic, can be thrown out of the window, in order to keep the cranes running on time.

Sasha Izard

Saanich

Without a family doctor, a pharmacist is essential

Re: “Patients deserve more medical attention,” letter, June 9.

Patients should have follow-up? Most of us do not have a family doctor. I don’t, and I rely on my pharmacist in Cook Street Village to at least help rule out the reason for my symptoms.

I have rheumatoid arthritis and COPD as primary diseases, but no family doctor. Pharmacists have advised on medications and given me important information, including help with prescriptions. The doctors who say pharmacists should not have this ability only further the chances that my diseases will cause more harm due to lack of medical intervention.

Anne Marie Andrews

Victoria

SEND US YOUR LETTERS

• Email letters to: letters@timescolonist.com

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

• Subject to editing for length and clarity. Provide contact information; it will not be published. Don’t send as email attachment.

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