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Letters June 28: Repairing our health-care system; all disabled people deserve better from B.C. Parks

The emergency room at Victoria General Hospital. TIMES COLONIST

Horgan’s challenge: Fix our health care

I recently lost my wife to cancer. With the rare exception, all of the doctors, nurses and specialists we encountered are kind and compassionate people doing terrific work. The overnight nurse in the emergency department at the Royal Jubilee Hospital is a gem.

The health-care system itself needs a lot of work. Here we have a lovely woman, in pain and extremely exhausted, being shunted from one specialist to the next, and each specialist requires another blood test, MRI, etc.

And each test requires a wait or an appointment, to the point where my wife needs support just to sit in a chair. This isn’t just inefficient, it’s cruel. We don’t treat our pets like this.

So I say to Premier John Horgan, before you step in another steaming cow patty, why don’t you hire some very talented systems analysts who will be completely independent of the health-care system?

Let them have a go at this, and follow their recommendations. If you are looking for a lasting legacy of your time in office, get this fixed.

Bert Vandenberg

Learn from others to improve health care

The method of needing referrals is a real roadblock to being seen by a specialist.

In Germany one can phone the specialist directly to make an appointment, and waiting times are very short. I was envious to hear from my brother how well it functions.

I suggest that our health ministers look to other countries how it is done there. It’s no shame to learn from others.

Something has to happen. Nobody can deny that things have to change and I don’t really see an improvement anywhere in the health-care system so far.

The COVID vaccinations were done in an efficient way because it had to be implemented from the ground up.

Our health care needs a total overhaul.

Karin Hertel

When is disabled not disabled?

We have an issue with accessing programs through B.C. Parks, which has a policy allowing specified persons with disabilities to camp for free for up to two weeks at each park each year.

My husband has been disabled and unable to work since 2015 due to a connective tissue disease, and most recently he had his right leg amputated above the knee.

One would think that this would be considered a disability. However, because we do not receive or qualify for benefits from the B.C. Ministry of Social Services and Poverty Reduction, apparently he is not disabled, so if we want to enjoy a camping trip in B.C. Parks, we have to pay full camping rate.

We are unable to use most of the facilities in the park, including most trails, beaches (he needs a power wheelchair to get around), washroom facilities, etc.

Why is there not a reduced or free rate for all disabled people? Is this discrimination against particular disabled people?

We have many daily challenges in life and enjoy an occasional trip to the great outdoors to relax and recharge. It would be nice to get a break on this small pleasure. Shouldn’t all disabled people be able to enjoy the same benefits?

We have written to the government, and have not received a response yet from B.C. Parks, which apparently administers the program.

Kathy Mitten

Speed bumps and humps get the message across

I strongly applaud Saanich council’s potential speed-reduction bylaw. However, heinous pedestrian deaths will continue until councils act on residents’ demands for solid, affordable, effective traffic-calming obstacles.

Those include signed speed humps and bumps — called “sleeping policemen” in Britain — plus S-curves.

As a homeowner with a 30 km/h limit and a chicane on my street, I can testify such barriers to ignorant, dangerous drivers are the only tools that really work, though reducing speed limits sure does help police collar speeders.

Sadly for their victims, reckless motorists pay little or no attention to signs, curb bump-outs, lights and other warnings. Merely saying “Sorry I killed your child” doesn’t cut it after the fact.

Peter W. Rusland
North Cowichan

Enforce and educate to make roads safer

The amount of speed enforcement can only be described as next to non-existent. On any one day you can see vehicles going 80 km/h or more on Douglas Street.

The same mentality exists on the Trans-Canada and the Pat Bay highways. How many time have you driven on these roads at the speed limit and been passed as if you where standing still?

This is not the fault of the police. A lot has to do with politicians who think they may be criticized for the enforcement.

The police do not have the people to have sustained enforcement. Blitz enforcement does nothing but prove there is a problem and nothing will be done about it.

Drivers and pedestrians both have to pay much more attention to their surroundings to reduce accidents. They cannot do what they want, when they want.

I know some people feel the police are the bad guys. Get programs in schools for Grades 10 to 12, with police input, to point out the ramifications of poor driving habits. Maybe some of it might even rub off on the parents of those students.

Otherwise there will be no change in spite of the reduction in speed limits.

Ed Iddins

Keep the speed limits, increase enforcement

I am somewhat concerned over the push to reduce city speed limits to 30 km/h.

Like most experienced drivers, I can drive at 50 km/h without looking at my speedometer. In order to maintain 30 km/h I am constantly checking my speed, which could well be regarded as distracted driving.

It would be far more productive to increase signage and enforcement in the vicinity of school zones, parks and crosswalks.

Doug Row
North Saanich

Alto and Andrew should work together

Thank you Charlayne Thornton-Joe for 20 years of superb service to the citizens of Victoria. All the best wishes in the next chapter of your life, may it be full of health and happiness.

The announcements by Mayor Lisa Helps and Coun. Sharmarke Dubow not to run in the next election, with others that may follow, stands to shake up city hall. Change is good, Victoria.

But with councillors Marianne Alto and Stephen Andrew both running for mayor, we will lose one of them. That should not happen.

They are both solid councillors, who lead from the middle, often providing a voice of opposition to the extremists.

Alto and Andrew should sit down in support of each other and decide who will run for mayor. An alliance when required, not a political party.

The move would be in the best interest of the city, which is in desperate need of change.

As Thornton-Joe so kindly said: “It has been an honour to serve the Victoria community throughout my time on council.” It has been an honour to have your leadership on council. Thank you.

It would also be an honour to have the leadership of both Alto and Andrew. It would be a shame if both are not sitting on council after the Oct. 15 election.

Bill Currie and Liz Macdonald

Evangelicals to blame for abortion ruling

Every year about 100,000 Americans die because they cannot afford to get the health care they need to actually survive.

Where are the hypocritical fundamental American Christians on this issue?

They deny universal access to health care when Jesus — their leader — specifically says to unquestionably share your resources with those poor folks in need.

The overturn of Roe v. Wade on religious grounds simply highlights the profound ignorance of American evangelicals.

Robert H. Brown, MD

No flyover, thanks, a simple light will do

So the Keating Cross Road flyover project will cost us $77 million. Can we really afford this, particularly when you look at all the major highway-restoration projects throughout the province that will cost us billions? Don’t forget the new Pattullo Bridge and the upcoming Massey Tunnel.

On top of these major capital road projects, new schools and seismic upgrading is taking place and of course a billion-dollar museum and a health-care system that is in dire need of repair. Who will pay for all of this?

I am not an engineer, but I have some 43 years of driving experience, almost entirely in the Lower Mainland, so I do understand traffic flow or the lack thereof.

Can the Keating flyover project not get away with a simple left-turn signal? I know engineers hate turn signals, but we already have several on the Pat Bay Highway that I do not believe will be going away any time in the near future.

A northbound left-turn signal onto Keating X could easily be synchronized with the Island View lights, minimally impacting the southbound flow of traffic on the Pat Bay Highway. Vehicles turning south onto the Pat Bay off of Island View light might be mildly disrupted, but this light would allow the vehicles to turn left safely onto Keating X Road.

This light would also slow traffic down when it is heading onto Keating X, versus vehicles “flying” off of the Pat Bay Highway. This option to me seems so much more practical and less expensive for the times we are in.

Gabe Roder

Cyclists, pedestrians share responsibility

Re: “Lochside Trail bikes pose hazards,” letter, June 24.

I agree with the letter-writer who says cyclists should ring their bells more, and that some go too quickly around pedestrians on the Lochside Trail and elsewhere.

However, pedestrians also contribute to dangerous conditions. Very often they walk two or three abreast, which makes it difficult for a bike to pass.

Even when I ring my bell repeatedly they often either ignore the signal or remain oblivious to it. Sometimes I get hostile reactions when I ring.

Pedestrians would help if they kept to the right as much as possible and were more aware that cyclists need some room to pass safely.

Cyclists should accept responsibility for safely on the trails, but so should pedestrians.

Ed Janicki

Cartoon was ‘cute,’ but misleading

The June 23 Raeside cartoon was cute but inaccurate and irresponsible.

The E&N Rail Trail, like every other rails with trails program, and there are many worldwide, features a paved trail that is safely separated from the railway.

I am an active lifelong cyclist and live near the trail. Join me and see for yourself.

And that’s the beauty of the Island Corridor Foundation’s plan to revitalize the Island’s railway as it includes such trails and also accessible trains with bike space on board.

The best of all modes of transportation working together. I belong to Capital Bike, the Island’s largest cycling organization, and most members l know, like me, support rails with trails.

Yes, there is a vocal minority in the cycling community that want the rails ripped up. But if that happens, we lose any right to a trail.

That’s because if the rail is not returned to service the land it sits on could likely be reverted to the First Nations, according to the B.C. Court of Appeal.

And without revitalized rail we will be at the mercy of cars and trucks and their pollution, congestion, delays, and accidents.

Allowing that to happen would be far more foolish than the cartoon.

Norah Macey

First the museum, now axe old-growth logging

When Premier John Horgan discovered 67 per cent of residents opposed the proposed new museum, he did the right thing and cancelled the project.

I’m waiting with bated breath for him to listen to the wishes of 90-plus per cent of British Columbians who are calling for an immediate end to old-growth logging, and again do the right thing.

Paul Nicholson

Price of gas rises, price of gas falls again

When gas prices shot up dramatically, the oil companies, the government and others blamed the war in Ukraine, summer blend and high demand among other reasons.

Last week the price of a litre of gas came down about 15 cents.

There is still a war in Ukraine, summer is almost here and by the numbers of vehicles on the roads, demand must still be high.

Not that I am complaining, but if these same conditions exist, why did the price of gas shoot up initially?

William Jesse

Victoria police, thanks for finding my scooter

My mobility scooter was recently stolen. A neighbour said to me: “The police are hopeless, you’ll never get it back.”

She was wrong. Not only did the police find the scooter in less than 10 days, but at all times they were helpful, not hopeless.

At 850 Caledonia St., VicPD headquarters, everyone was friendly and considerate, especially the constable who not only called me with reassurance, gave me her telephone number as well as the number to call for grocery delivery, but she also phoned after the scooter’s recovery to make sure I was OK.

To all those who disparage the Victoria police, please think again.

Pat Mortimer


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