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Letters June 18: Sooke traffic jams; free speech suppressed; don't focus on cyclists' attire

Highway 14 at Glinz Lake Road, looking east, on a Thursday afternoon. VIA DRIVEBC.COM. June 13, 2024

Sooke traffic is only going to get worse

Traffic in and out of Sooke has become so bad that we waste on average three hours a day sitting idle.

Sooke being one of the few municipalities that are still “affordable,” coupled with the fact that the city was instructed by provincial and federal governments to densify residential areas, this is just going to get even worse.

A new apartment complex just opened up to tenants along Sooke Road, and they approved a mega-building at the corner of Sooke Road and Church Road with 90-plus apartment units that is expected to start construction this year.

Unless they do something now, we will be stuck in traffic even longer.

This is unacceptable and the province needs to act now, not in three years after they’ve done the usual foot-dragging and swept this issue along with all the ­others under the rug like they all seem to be doing nowadays.

Considering there’s an election coming, they really should get their act together.

With the ridiculous cost of housing in Victoria and Langford, if they keep doing nothing the only option left will be to leave the province.

Edmonton is starting to look quite appealing, for you can get a detached house there for $600,000, you’d pay $900,000 or more for the same here in Sooke and $2 million in Victoria.

The politicians don’t care, they can afford this crazy cost of living. Average Joes like us cannot.

Sooke Road is not municipal ­jurisdiction, it’s provincial, so this is not a Sooke problem.

Our government is disconnected from reality.

Sam Goulet


Focus on the people, not on their attire

Re: “We all need to do better on our trails,” letter, June 14.

The writer is correct that we all need to do better on our trails. But why the reference to “Lycra-clad” bikers (more appropriately cyclists).

The uniforms people wear has nothing to do with improving safety. Lycra is the chosen material in serious cyclists’ uniforms as it is the most comfortable and aerodynamic, especially over longer distances.

Every sport has their own particular uniform. If you want to really improve things, focus on the problems, not the people and what they wear.

Al Niezen


Denying right of others to have their voices heard

Re: “Rally called to protest Victoria event,” June 13.

It seems “1 Million Voices for Inclusion” wants guardrails around what may be included, and that appears to exclude free speech.

Their efforts to shut down a Conference Centre event have been rejected by the City of Victoria, so now they plan to protest. That is indeed their right, free speech and all. And it’s also the right of the speakers at the event to speak and to be heard.

I’ve checked the event website and see that the speaker list includes a scientist, lawyers, doctors, engineers, journalists and entrepreneurs.

As stated in the article, it also does indeed include one Brian Peckford — actually the Honourable Brian ­Peckford, former premier of Newfoundland and the last surviving drafter of, and ­signatory to, Canada’s 1982 ­Constitution Act that enshrined our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It’s Section 2 of our Constitution that guarantees us our freedoms of religion, of conscience, of thought, of expression, and our freedom to assemble and associate.

So the “1 Million Voices for Inclusion” wish to deny one of the framers of our Constitution, as well as other accomplished presenters, their rights and the rights of those who wish to attend? Strange way to be inclusive, isn’t it?

Dolores Bell


Public needs a say in official plan

I am delighted to hear that Victoria city council have agreed to send the proposed Crystal Pool replacement project to a public referendum, clearly an appropriate process for such a monumental expenditure. Meanwhile, an even greater shift in public policy, the amendments in the Official Community Plan, are being left to a deeply flawed public consultation process in a foreshortened time frame.

Please let us have a referendum on the OCP.

The question might be, “Do you want four-storey or six-storey buildings in all neighbourhoods on all streets or, none of the above? Please answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’”

Ken Roueche


Saanich’s rural areas report water shortages

Re: “Urban containment should have the housing,” letter, June 11.

Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff had a ­letter on June 11 raising the water supply issues in rural areas outside the Urban Containment Boundary.

More than 70% of rural residents rely on groundwater from wells. During the summer, even deep wells like ours (500 feet) can run dry.

Ours has several times, so we installed a 2,000-gallon tank which is filled at a cost of $400 per delivery.

Unfortunately, wells are going dry in the summer more frequently. In the past four years, our bulk water supply company has experienced many calls from people who have never had dry wells in 30 years, but now do.

Possibly this is due to more wells being drilled and/or less precipitation. In any case, it makes more sense to increase housing where there is secure municipal water infrastructure already in place.

Lynn Husted


Thanks, Elizabeth, for spilling the beans

On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to thank Elizabeth May for doing what no other federal employee or politician has had the gumption (or security clearance) to do: Assure us that, despite all the evidence about foreign interference uncovered by Parliament’s National Security and Intelligence Committee, there is nothing much to worry about with our current parliamentarians.

After reading the unredacted committee material, she’s concluded that no sitting MP has been unduly influenced.

Such a relief, Elizabeth!

Then again, I think I’ll wait to hear it officially through proper channels before I rest easy. Why my MP chose to share her conclusions at a press conference in this way is beyond me.

Howard Brunt

North Saanich

Shelbourne bike lanes will reduce parking

The City of Victoria is forging ahead, full speed, to install protected bike lanes along the Shelbourne Corridor.

But no one has addressed the “elephant in the room.” On any given day, there are 50 to 60 vehicles parked on street, likely more in the evenings.

Where are these supposed to go? Were the residents consulted?

Compounding the problem, in the future, is the reality of higher-density development along that stretch of road. The city’s propensity for approving projects with sub-par off-street parking allowances will make parking problems worse.

When will the city remove its dogmatic blinders and consider a more holistic approach to these issues?

Brian Kendrick


Hey, Uber drivers, maybe do the math

Labour Minister Harry Bains recently announced new regulations to provide “fairness, minimum-wage measures and basic protections for app-based ride-hailing workers.”

People working for Uber can look forward to a rate of 45 cents a kilometre.

However, Canada Revenue Agency allows for 70 cents a kilometre for the first 5,000 kilometres and 64 cents a kilometre after that. The accounting will tell you that the Uber driver is actually losing 20 to 25 cents a kilometre.

A lot of the ride-hailing drivers seem to realize something is wrong only after they have blown a head gasket or a wheel bearing. And there is no money to cover the repair.

It is the Uber driver who is subsidizing the Uber promise of “safe and affordable” transportation.

A lot of Uber drivers would be better off if they stayed home and simply sent a cheque to Uber.

If the NDP bought into the Uber pitch that ride-hailing creates jobs, then this has got to be the stupidest make-work program in history.

Owen Brandon


Saanich needs to act on Interurban Road

I really wish that Saanich hadn’t adopted the unfortunate name “Vision Zero” for the road safety improvements. To me it means “Zero Vision.”

Here’s an example. Neighbours along Courtland Avenue, a dead-end street that runs west off Interurban Road just south of Camosun Interurban, have been asking for a controlled crosswalk for some time now. The sidewalk for Interurban runs on the east side of Interurban and there is a blind corner just north of Courtland that makes crossing the street a “Russian ­roulette” gamble at best. Apparently, somebody has to be injured or killed before a controlled crosswalk will be installed.

But maybe I shouldn’t complain. After all, the traffic will now go 40 km/h. But wait! On this stretch of Interurban between north of Camosun and the light for Interurban, Wilkinson and Hastings roads, traffic is backed up almost a kilometre quite a few times during the day. Nobody goes 40!

Perhaps something should be done about that light.

There was an open house with plans to improve that notorious five-way light more than a dozen years ago. We could solve two problems at once. Eliminate the long exhaustive (pun intended) wait to get through the light and install a controlled crosswalk at the corner of Courtland Avenue and Interurban.

Louise Beinhauer



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