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Letters June 24: Why Langford needs to spend; skip the second-guessing of police

Langford council has had to provide a much bigger subsidy to the Langford Aquatic Centre. TIMES COLONIST

Langford needs to spend so it can catch up

Re: “Langford council is spending too much, raising taxes too much,” commentary, June 20.

This commentary doesn’t address how much Stew Young cost Langford.

No long term planning left the city without adequate infrastructure to support the rapid growth. This will cost taxpayers millions to correct.

Bringing the Y to Langford was a vanity project. The agreement with the Y and Westhills put all the risk on the taxpayer. We will have to spend millions to purchase the facility or increase the subsidy to the Y.

Millions more were spent to purchase the property at 3680 Trans-Canada Highway and then do remediation work to stabilize the hillside and renovate one of the buildings on the property. This property serves no purpose for residents of Langford and sits behind a locked gate.

The Finney Road extension and the large waterworks along it cost more millions. This project was then abandoned before completion.

I am sure there are many more examples of the previous council’s “principles of fiscal responsibility.”

Jeff Magee


Police don’t need second-guessing

Re: “Better approach needed to stop those e-bikes,” letter, June 21.

Apparently, the writer has attended the Justice Institute and has years of police experience. No?

How about being trained in ESP? How is a police officer supposed to know why someone would fail to stop for them?

The Independent Investigations Office is responsible for investigating the police, so why not let them do their job to see if there was misconduct by police?

Monday morning quarterbacks are one of the reasons why good candidates might not choose to become a police officer.

The job is challenging enough in a world that seeks video clips for 15 minutes of fame instead of supporting police and assisting them.

Darcy Eggleston


Victoria’s health system is in terrible shape

I was infuriated when I read about the inability to get a private-pay MRI machine into a Hillside location in Victoria.

I was enraged when I read about the gentleman being treated for seven days in the hallway of one of our local hospitals with the possibility of losing a leg.

I am so tired of reading the glorious results spewed by the NDP government about how “vastly improved” our medical system has become in the past year under the existing government. Medical conditions in Victoria are still at an all-time low.

It is ludicrous that the NDP government would rather see people suffer with pain for a year or more waiting for provincially covered MRIs rather than allow a private pay MRI location to operate.

It is absolutely galling that the NDP government would pat themselves on the back about “improving conditions” in our hospitals when reports of seven-day hallway hospital visits have to be aired in the newspaper to allow the true conditions to be made public.

Barry Hersh


Families do not belong in high-rise buildings

The proposed development for the Nellie McClung library site is an unbelievably bad design, running counter to all the published authoritative studies of how to build affordable family housing.

Studies clearly state that the principal reason for the social disintegration which happens in low-income high rises is the presence of families with the inevitable disruption of younger children.

The primary recommendation is that families should be accommodated in smaller, low-rise buildings with adequate surrounding recreational space; high-rise accommodation should be smaller single or double apartments with no family presence.

Saanich council is clearly unable to imagine the environment in an 18-floor building full of young children with no recreational space inside or outside the building and a local infrastructure incapable of supporting that number of low-income families.

Many cities have made this mistake in the past and have demolished those buildings to make space for the construction of a more rational design of affordable family accommodation.

The publicly-owned McClung site is a golden opportunity to create the right kind of affordable family accommodation.

The entire site should be low-rise affordable family accommodation, moving the library to within the Lambrick Park re-development.

It should not become an ill-conceived example of replacing reason by the political advantage of building a large number of “housing units.”

Saanich council must re-consider this plan before we rush into building an irreversible problem for the future.

Alec Mitchell


Maybe council houses could ease our crunch

Before Margaret Thatcher came to power in Britain, there were council houses. These were well-built, identical houses, constructed in estates in the cities and in small developments in the country villages.

They were built with government funds and rented to people earning less than an agreed amount. The local councils collected the rents and were responsible for the upkeep of the properties. They were very popular and ensured that lower paid people had low-cost, quality homes.

Why did they disappear? Thatcher realized that many of the houses were reaching an age where the cost of their upkeep was increasing, but more importantly she understood that council house occupants voted Labour.

She offered the renters of older houses the chance to buy them at a knock-down price, thereby saving money and changing Labour voters to property owners who subsequently voted Conservative. Just to make the point, the new buyers painted their front doors in bright colours to differentiate themselves from their council house neighbours!

Our next five-year-government should give serious thought to a Canadian version of council houses. It would prevent developers who receive funds to build low-cost housing ending up building high-cost housing which does nothing to help the present crisis.

Barry Mathias


Give credit to decrypters for ending the war

Trying to pin down a turning point in the Second World War in Europe to a single event is a dubious undertaking.

Several key battles together led to the defeat of Nazi Germany.

But if there was a single factor that was instrumental in the allied victory, then the decryption of nearly all the cyphered German war communications has to be among the top candidates.

The “Ultra decrypts,” as they were called, revealed to the allies almost everything about the German war effort, from the highest command decisions to the location of U-boats.

Revealed only in 1974, the role of the codebreaking successes at Bletchley Park in ending the war remains understated.

Paul Walton


Soviets lost many more in the war effort

A June 13 letter makes appropriate corrections to statements about the Allied invasion of France in 1944, and its contribution to the end of the Nazi regime.

While I consider the Russian political system abhorrent, it should be noted that the Soviet Union lost 8.7 million military personnel and 17 million civilians in the Second World War. Estimates indicate that a quarter of the entire Soviet population were killed or wounded.

These figures dwarf the casualties suffered by Western nations, and suggest an explanation for some of the deep seated distrust which still exists between Russia and the rest of the world.

Albert Macfarlane

Port McNeill

Let’s cull the seals to restore nature’s balance

Re: “Cowichan estuary log booms provide perch for seals to prey on salmon, study finds,” June 13.

Seals do find log booms to be a handy perch in the Cowichan Estuary and other areas, but the main problem with seals and sea lions eating massive amounts of salmon is their population has exploded in the past 50 years.

The population of harbour seals has been increasing since hunting ended in 1967 and their numbers are now estimated to be 100,000 or more.

When I was a kid there was a bounty on harbour seals. The time for a seal and sea lion cull to bring their populations back to historic levels is long overdue.

Dennis Thompson


Doubling population linked to climate change

A recent letter drew attention to the scope of the increased population of the world since mid 20th century.

In fact, according to population projections and reports, anticipated global population could reach 16 billion by 2072, or thereabouts.

Following the rise (doubling) from two billion in 1927 to four billion in 1974, 47 years, a further doubling to eight billion in 2022, 48 years.

So a doubling, once again, to 16 billion in 2072 is not impossible but is certain, sooner or later. The first indicator might be a possible increase to nine billion in 2034, though the UN has declared that a decline in birth-rates will mitigate the rate of increase.

The adverse conditions associated with climate change have followed the increased population.

Colin Servis


Government office space as housing opportunity

The recent report suggesting that, maybe, 45% of federal government office space could be converted to housing makes for interesting reading.

However, while this may increase the supply, it will do nothing for affordability unless government is willing to “donate” the buildings, as has been suggested for local government-owned land.

Such donation, accompanied by similar programs from lower levels of government – with appropriate safeguards against short-term flipping and developer profiteering – and revival of co-op rent-to-own housing programs, could provide significant inventory at affordable prices and contribute meaningfully to our national housing crisis.

Roger Love



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