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Letters June 23: Recycling building materials sounds easy, but it's not; why young MDs avoid family practice

Work crews demolish a house on Beach Drive in 2018. A letter-writer says most recovered materials from deconstructed homes are unsuitable for reuse in new projects. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Deconstructing is not cost-effective

Victoria’s mayor and councillors have shown their true hand about affordable housing and how they plan to help. They think they know better than builders because they can wear a hard hat for a photo op.

The $20,000 cost of recycling building materials will not be paid by builders. It will be paid by consumers.

It is naïve to think that builders wouldn’t be salvaging if it was cost- effective and environmentally helpful.

This council is clearly ignorant of anything to do with building. The reason old houses are bulldozed and taken to the dump is obvious to anyone who builds. It’s cost-effective.

Deconstruction would cost the builders multiple times that of bulldozing the house, assuming we could find employees to do such work, which we cannot, for even better, cleaner building jobs. All these costs would be passed on to the consumer, otherwise we just wouldn’t build.

Further, I would love to see those councillors and mayor trying to work with reclaimed wood. I imagine presenting my framing crew with 50-year-old atrophied 2x4s. You’d never see trucks leave a site so fast.

Try putting a drywall screw into it without pre-drilling and watch them snap. You get it? We’ve tried it and it doesn’t work. While you’re saving the environment, remember the job taking twice as long to complete and all the wasted gas and power of getting to the job site everyday.

Couldn’t you please try to fix areas that you can handle before making the housing problem worse? If you can’t manage that, stick to the ping-pong tables and crosswalk painting — at least they don’t hurt people trying to buy a place to live.

And if you’re looking for ideas: Since we’ve been waiting more than five months for a building permit on one of our jobs in Victoria, why don’t you discount the fee for every week it takes you to get the job done?

That would help the market, and wow, it would look like you really care.

Tim Murphy

No real solutions, so we throw money

Re: “B.C. offers cash incentives to entice graduates to work as family doctors,” June 21.

Health Minister Adrian Dix has come up with a new solution to alleviate the problem British Columbians face today with the critical shortage of family physicians.

The solution: Throw money at the problem and it will go away. Forget about asking the medical profession about meaningful solutions from within; there is simply no problem that money won’t fix, and in typical government fashion, Dix has followed a path of all too many politicians and is opening the money floodgates once more. Voila! Problem solved one again.

I look at this plan as little more than a government form of indentured servitude and ask why a young physician would remain in family practice once that obligation is fulfilled? I see nary a hint of how family physicians are going to be relieved of, much less compensated for, the untold hours they spend dealing with bureaucratic paperwork.

I see nothing about the sorry state of the compensation paid to family physicians in private practice which is well below national levels — in short, I see nothing that would lead a young physician to remain in family practice once the “obligation” is completed.

We already have hundreds of qualified physicians certified in family medicine who are not practising in the field now for reasons that are obvious and that should be well understood by Dix.

Rather than consulting with the medical profession at large, yet another plan conceived in the halls of all-knowing government is presented to us as a panacea to our problems. Little wonder I, along with thousands of others, shake my head at the ineptitude of this government.

No real solutions to a medical crisis, the UPCC model hasn’t worked, we have a frivolous, say scandalous, billion-dollar museum project, we are seeing massive cost escalations of small highway upgrades and the list goes on. Do we really have to wait until 2024 to put an end to all of this? I don’t think I am alone in saying that I have had more than enough.

James P. Crowley
North Saanich

Fleeing for the exit is sure to continue

Re: “B.C. offers cash incentives to entice graduates to work as family doctors,” June 21.

According to those who attended the June 15 meeting, Health Minister Adrian Dix told them in no uncertain terms that the contracts he offered were what doctors wanted and that modernization of the existing system that most still prefer to work under was not an option.

He refused to listen to their concerns about the damage such uninformed unilateral action was causing to primary care and the wider health system. Dix continues to champion a home-grown, government-knows-best model that has demonstrably failed to provide health care to British Columbians at several times the cost of proven alternatives (more at

Dix brags about his quick action and big investments. He is silent about results. Experts despair at the massive resources being poured into exactly the wrong places.

His message did not instil confidence in the future of health care in B.C. Those newly graduated doctors are likely to join those already fleeing for the exit. They won’t risk their own health or that of their families.

Mark Roseman

Work together to solve doctor crunch

Re: “B.C. offers cash incentives to entice graduates to work as family doctors,” June 21.

Bureaucracy must not rule in this situation, on either side — there are people desperately needing medical care.

It is time to for at least once to showcase that various groups and organizations can forget their “procedures” and perfectionist tendencies and just get together to solve a problem. This is no time for either the professional organization’s worries about following procedures, or the provincial government’s, but to work closely together on this issue.

Both sides need to do something, and to polish up the side issues as they progress with solving the problem. Show us that bureaucracy does not rule.

Janet Doyle

Government’s idea will not bring more doctors

Re: “B.C. offers cash incentives to entice graduates to work as family doctors,” June 21.

Sadly, this initiative will do nothing to improve our family-practice physician shortage.

Our issues are:

1. We do not provide enough medical school slots to graduate the number of FP physicians we need. These 175 newly graduating FP residents had already planned to work in FP. Loan forgiveness for these new FP residents, while nice, will do nothing to increase the inadequate number of graduates. Only more medical school slots can do this.

2. We have created a work environment where our beloved and needed FP doctors do not wish to continue to practise. What does this announcement do to address this? Nothing.

The Ministry of Health needs to have honest and respectful dialogue with the Doctors of B.C. to determine what is most needed, and provide it.

I would suggest that doctors should be paid for as many issues as they provide care for during an appointment, rather than being capped at one. This puts them in the unsatisfying and unfair position of either providing partial care, or working for free.

Let’s dump boondoggles like the World Cup and work with our family-practice physicians.

Maureen McAleese

What is happening to our civilization?

What is happening? No family doctors. Hospitals overloaded. Endless drug deaths. Sidewalks and parks despoiled by homeless bums. Passport office breakdowns. Chaotic airports. Cancelled ferries. Potholed roads. Unaffordable housing. Housing shortages. Sky-high rents. Road rage, random violent attacks and a lack of civility everywhere.

Food insecurity and empty shelves. Employers begging. Can’t buy a new car or order an EV. Polarized politics. Self-styled identity groups building barriers. We are splintering into tribes where no one any longer understands what the other is speaking about. The centre is gone.

Heat domes, droughts, floods and fires. Plague. Stock-market crashes. The scourge of social media. Discredited, embattled religions. Inflation. War. Climate change. The intractable problems multiply and worsen by the day. We can’t get any major project planned or built.

Governments dumbfounded and stumbling. Bureaucracies unprepared. Universities spinning like tops as central bankers fiddle. Liberal democracy waning while China looms large. A lucky few party on.

I want my city back. I want my province back. I want my country back. They aren’t coming back. Civilization is crumbling and we don’t know what to do about it. Or how to do it. Everything has changed utterly. Good luck to us all.

Brian Mason

The mayor in drag? It's a great message

Unlike one letter-writer’s understanding of work, I was so impressed to see the front-page photo of the mayor of Victoria in drag as she officially raised the Pride flag at Victoria City Hall.

I saved the picture for my grandchildren. A good part of a mayor’s work is promoting true community and inclusivity. What a clear, concrete message the mayor portrayed.

Greater Victoria has made much progress, but we still have far to go before all peoples know they are valued.

Karen Fast

Please, B.C. Ferries, drop the single-use items

Why is B.C. Ferries still using paper products and plastic cutlery in the cafeterias (implemented during COVID), when the Capital Regional District is sounding the alarm on the lack of capacity at the Hartland Landfill?

It’s time for B.C. Ferries to return to using reusable cutlery and plates for eat-in customers, and do away with food services in takeaway format.

Switching back to reusables is a business decision B.C. Ferries and customers can feel good about, and I’m sure it would represent a significant cost savings for the corporation.

Maggie Skaarup
North Saanich

Plastics a major problem for the environment

The federal government’s ban of certain plastic products is to be commended, but it’s only a small step in the right direction. Much more is needed to prevent this “safe and inert” material, as the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada calls it, from inundating the environment, not only landfills, but also the oceans and the atmosphere, and from accumulation in our bodies.

Annually, 230,000 tons of nurdles, lentil-sized pieces of plastic that are a raw material for almost all plastic products, fall onto the oceans from container ships. These plastic lentils are easily mistaken for food by all kinds of marine wildlife, usually with deadly consequences.

As microplastics, they have been found on top of the Alps, in the Antarctic, in the Arctic and in the air we breathe. As discarded plastic products, they litter seas and rivers around the world.

Plastic material that most of us diligently put in the blue box is not all recycled. According to the latest estimate by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, only eight per cent of discarded plastic was recycled in the U.S. In Canada, it’s only nine per cent.

According to Consumer Reports, the popular notion that recycling is widespread and a proper solution to plastic waste is no more than a messaging campaign designed and paid for by oil and gas companies and by the beverage companies.

In industry there’s a concept called “product stewardship,” which requires that a producer takes the main responsibility in making sure that their product is safe for people and the environment through all stages of its useful life and its final disposal.

The CIAC does not appear to have taken that role, and only now they argue that “innovative technologies like advanced recycling are available to manage [plastics] effectively.” Why haven’t they already taken a lead role in designing and implementing these technologies?

If they exist, now is too late for the products being banned. Hopefully the CIAC will now take a different approach and become less part of the problem and more part of the environmental solution.

J.G. Miranda

Money not only reason to oppose World Cup

It would appear the several letters about hosting World Cup games were focused on one issue, economics.

While I agree with opposing the World Cup games over financial concerns, there is another greater issue. It matters not who hosts the games, as the carbon footprint is the same, but B.C. should not be part of facilitating this type of sporting event and the enormous waste of fossil fuels and the corresponding greenhouse gases created.

The residents of B.C. have experienced what climate change really has in store for us. Either oppose the hosting of the games and other unnecessary sporting events, or prepare for the next climate catastrophe.

Mike Wilkinson

Apple in the garbage before entry allowed

My backpack was searched when I arrived for the Cirque du Soleil show and I was forced to throw away my apple in a garbage can. What a waste of food, what a waste of money, what a show of corporate greed.

Come on, was my apple really a threat to the concession stand’s profits? I went to the arena for the performance, not for dining out.

I brought an apple so that I could eat it while walking home from the show.

This was insulting and a hit to the pocketbook. Groceries are expensive. We’re constantly being told to not waste food, to eat healthier and to be more environmentally conscious, but it’s OK for a huge corporation to do the opposite.

If you’re going to force people to throw out food, at least have a compost bin.

Bonnie Reszel


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