Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Letters June 22: Vandalism at Stonehenge; having a say in the Official Community Plan

In this handout photo, Just Stop Oil protesters sit after spraying an orange substance on Stonehenge, in Salisbury, England, on Wednesday, June 19. Just Stop Oil via AP

Today’s progressives want to deny the past

As a lifelong progressive who has marched, sat in, and even been arrested while exercising my duty to protest, I am moved to horror by the images of so-called activists vandalizing Stonehenge in support of their no doubt worthy cause.

How does it benefit future generations to erase the great accomplishments of the past? In what way does alienating the rest of the human race aid the fight against climate change?

We live in a time where fundamentalists of all stripes have been emboldened to destroy the monuments of past greatness.

When the Taliban in Afghanistan destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001 and ISIS destroyed the temples in Petra in 2015, it was hard enough to accept that humankind are still as destructively moronic as Oliver Cromwell was when he pulled Stonehenge down in the 1650s, but at least we can blame it on fanatics dedicated to a primitive cult.

The additional damage done to Stonehenge in the name of preserving the future is an entirely different kind of evil for which no punishment is adequate.

Stonehenge is not a monument to any pharaoh or would-be prophet; it is mankind’s oldest recorded use of science to understand the universe around us. It should be carefully restored from the abominable damage the jihadist Puritans inflicted, not spray-painted by some feckless individuals in the name of their latest cause.

Progressives in my day worked for racial equality, women’s rights and fair wages, but the movement seems to have been hijacked by people determined to denigrate every past achievement as colonialism and oppression.

The extremists on the right want to return us to the dark ages by restoring white supremacy and male control of the uterus, while the extremists on the left seem determined to erase our memories so we can’t recognize the Stone Age when we get there.

I begin to understand what my grandmother meant when she told me she had lived too long.

David Lowther

Mesachie Lake

Consult about Official Community Plan

Re: “Public needs a say in official plan,” letter, June 18.

The City of Victoria is developing its Official Community Plan, an overarching strategy that will determine the shape and direction of this city for decades to come.

In spite of the huge significance of this document, council has decided to get it done as quickly as possible — by December 2024 (even though provincial legislation does not require updated OCPs until Dec. 31, 2025).

Asserting (without consultation) a “One City, One Plan” approach, council has also decided to ignore the disparate geographic, cultural and other characteristics of individual neighbourhoods (which are so well known and integral to Victoria’s character and charm that T-shirts which list the individual neighbourhood names have been a hot commodity in some quarters).

And it has set up a “survey” that only allows answers from a closed list (as paraphrased by the earlier letter-writer: “Do you want four-storey or six-storey buildings in all neighbourhoods on all streets?”).

And then, notwithstanding “consultation,” there are, apparently,no-go areas: I attended a city workshop in James Bay in which one of the people at my table pointed out that the development proposals outlined by city staff ignored a huge section of this particular neighbourhood, the cruise ship docking area, a concrete wasteland for a significant part of the year.

This is in spite of the fact that this is land, within the city, owned by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (which is not a government body), over which it has zoning authority to control the type of activities which are carried on, and where it could enforce noise and other bylaws, should it care to do so.

I echo the previous letter-writer in calling for a serious consultation process, unlimited by imposed boundaries, with those of us who live here, about the type of city we would like to see in the future.

Jennifer Button


Remember, a bicycle might fall sideways

Re: “Looking for cyclists to explain their thinking,” letter, June 20.

This cyclist is talking from a driver’s perspective as well. I agree with most of the criticisms that give the majority of cyclists a bad name.

One thing I would like to explain is that when coming to a stop sign at a minor intersection, a cyclist is actually safer to slow right down, look both ways to see that the coast is clear, then proceed.

Why? Unlike a car, a bicycle falls sideways when there is no forward motion. To start pedalling again from a complete stop, you have less control to manoeuvre if a car comes barrelling along.

Sometimes cyclists are criticized for not signalling when, actually, they have. But after you signal, you have to grab the handlebars again to make the turn safely, especially if going downhill where braking is required. A car’s turning signals stay on through the turn.

From a driver’s perspective, here is a criticism that has not yet been mentioned: a cyclist coming from a side street barrels into a right turn onto the crossroad without looking up, or signalling, or slowing down.

How the heck is an approaching driver going to know the cyclist is not going to proceed straight through the intersection?

Paul Sullivan


Yielding, not stopping, is better for cycling

Re: “Looking for cyclists to explain their thinking,” letter, June 20.

The author invites letters from the cycling community that defend their bad habits such as ignoring stop signs. OK, here’s one.

The “Idaho stop” first became law in Idaho in 1982 and has since been adopted by a dozen or so other states. It allows bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs.

The result is a significant decrease in bicycling injuries, motivates more people to cycle and, to the delight of drivers, encourages riders to take safer low-traffic streets.

So, here’s to the introduction of a “B.C. Stop.”

John Farquharson


Know rules of the road no matter who you are

As someone who uses the multi-use paths like the Galloping Goose almost every day, the letter about class 1 e-bikes not being the problem, it’s joggers, class 2, and class 3 e-bikes that are, was a hot take I couldn’t handle.

The one thing I agree with is that people need to learn the rules of the road. This goes for all users of the paths.

If you’re on foot, stay to the right side of the path so bikes can pass you. This is especially important if you have headphones in and can’t hear anything around you.

Cyclists, and everyone else not on foot, give people as much room as possible when you pass them. Many of the trails have a dotted yellow line. That means you can cross over to that side of the trail to pass people in your lane when it is safe.

If it is not safe, slow down and wait until it is! There’s no reason to pass someone with only an inch between you while going full speed.

This is especially important in the many school zones along these trails. I don’t care if you’re late for work, training for the Olympics, or whatever.

If you hit a kid when you’re going 30 km/h, it’s going to be very bad.

We all share these trails. If we all use them respectfully and follow the rules, then maybe we’d be more inclined to wave and smile back to the guy from Ontario.

James MacKenzie


Money spent on SOLID could have better uses

I’m confused. The City of Victoria is teaming up with the Society Of Living Intravenous Drug Users (SOLID) to duplicate downtown services and fund a new club house for an organization that actively allows both its staff and clients to consume drugs on site.

Victoria taxpayers are on the hook for $2.1 million that, frankly, could be put to better use.

The hours of SOLID’s new access hub are the same as Our Place’s downtown Community Centre (why not open 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. instead?); the services it is promising to deliver are less than what Cool-Aid, Island Health and Our Place already provide; and the organization is basically party central.

What does this solve? Nothing.

If that money had been given to Our Place, for example, it could open its Pandora Community Centre 24/7, which would provide much-needed washrooms, showers, overnight shelter beds, and access to trained addiction specialists.

If the city wanted to make a bigger difference, and actually work to solve homelessness, it would partner with Our Place, Cool-Aid, Island Health and Umbrella to transform the empty space at 930 Pandora into a true resource.

By working with established local charities, this space could become a complimentary hub of recovery services, improved hygiene services, laundry, shelter beds, supported housing (sober floor, couples’ floor, women’s centre, etc.), monitored storage, social enterprise, low-income banking, and more.

We need to stop reinventing the wheel and start funding the ones that are already spinning.

K.K. Kendrick


Be careful about promises to cut our taxes

So Conservative Leader John Rustad wants to cut taxes, does he? Whose taxes? The same folks who Gordon Campbell cut taxes for back in 2001?

The 25% tax break he gave the wealthy and business took 25% of the province’s revenue away and left the rest of us living in an austerity program that went on for almost the entire 16 years the B.C. Liberals were in office.

And if you cut taxes, what pays for all the services the government provides? Private enterprise, so get out your wallet folks, taxes might not go up but you will pay more and more out of pocket.

Apparently privatizing our health system and turning it over to for-profit enterprises will most certainly work out well for all those Americans companies that have been fighting to be able to access Canada’s health system. But it won’t work out well for the majority of B.C. citizens who won’t be able to afford those services, and who also won’t be able to access any of those services in our tax-funded system because who in their right minds would continue to work in a system that paid less than a private one?

Sure, there will be those souls who will continue to follow their principles, but it won’t take long for the system to collapse without funding and workers.

Privatization of our entire society has always been a major plank in the Conservatives’ platform and they won’t stop with health.

All they want from us average folks is our vote, after that we will become an afterthought. Just like we were under Campbell, Christy Clark, Bill Vander Zalm and Stephen Harper.

Alexis Thuillier


Donald Trump by another name

Re: “What Rustad is pitching: Tax cuts, nuclear power, fire Bonnie Henry,” ­column, June 20.

Reading this I thought “if I substituted the name Rustad with Trump, I could be reading a U.S. news story!”

Dangerous indeed.

John Stevenson


Pools really matter in some communities

Before I completely retired a few years ago, I was fortunate to travel to Iceland every September for 10 years to teach at a small university in the Westfjords.

I was always struck when I travelled around to various small communities, that whenever I came into a new town the first thing the locals would ask you, with a proud smile on their face, was “Have you been to our pool yet?”

Jamie Alley


Next time, stop when the police want to you stop

Re: “VicPD sued after e-biker who ran red light is hit,” June 18.

If I understand the rules of the road correctly, bicyclists are required to follow these rules. When you see or hear a police or fire vehicle behind you displaying lights and/or sirens you are required to pull over until they pass you.

This e-biker admitted to running the red light.

He/she did not pull over and stop when they saw/heard the police vehicle behind them.

The police vehicle is allowed, by law, to stop a bicycle in this manner.

I don’t think the biker has a leg to stand on. They ran the red light and they did not stop. If they had followed the law and stopped they would not have had a problem (other than maybe a small fine).

Suing is just a money grab.

Darlene McDonald



• Email: [email protected]

• 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.