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Letters June 3: Land off Douglas should be developed; Sidney right to pause building of bike lanes

Vacant land off Douglas Street, the former site of Mayfair bowling lanes. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Large parcels of land should be developed

With the high cost of living and housing in the capital region it is depressing to see available land and properties unused and not developed.

I was a Saanich councillor from 2008 to 2014 and met then with representatives of Loblaws out from Toronto to discuss the possibility of developing the old Mayfair Bowling Lanes property between Douglas Street and Oak Street.

It is a perfect property for developing both residential and commercial units, it is on a transportation highway and it is zoned for high-density use.

Going by the property again today, I saw it sits abandoned and apart from rudimentary planning proposals over the years. Saanich and Loblaws seem unable to come to any agreement on how and when to develop this substantial property.

The Douglas Street corridor has had some recent upgrades such as rapid bus lanes but would really benefit from LRT (which only needs a 18-metre-wide path) and would cut traffic congestion, which will only get worse with increased vehicular traffic. Portland is a good example of how the Pearl District was developed with a great LRT system to service the commercial sector.

Saanich and Victoria seem to lack vision on how to energize this main corridor that affects both municipalities, but developing large available properties would be a good start rather than letting them sit vacant.

Paul Gerrard


Oak Bay’s priorities for heritage preservation

Oak Bay’s heritage of post-war homes for families is long gone. Instead, Oak Bay now has mega-mansions.

I am looking forward to seeing the heritage plan to protect those homes and their unique characteristics.

Nick Workman


Pausing Sidney bike lanes was right decision

As a regular bike rider in, through, and around Sidney, I applaud the decision of the town to take a pause on building more bike lanes.

In the many years I have had the pleasure of biking there, I have never once come anywhere close to feeling unsafe.

In large measure this is because many of the main roads are wide, drivers of both motor vehicles and bikes are generally courteous and careful, and why rush when there is so much to look at and enjoy.

This said, previous councils made the same mistakes as other municipalities (particularly true for Victoria) by approving far too many multi-storey condominium buildings without requiring adequate parking on site.

So, it’s no surprise that finding a parking space can be a challenge on most days as density has increased.

Fortunately for all of us who reside here on the Peninsula, our current mayor and council actually seek input and listen to residents who believe that the current balance between housing density, bike safety and parking is more than adequate for the foreseeable future.

Howard Brunt

North Saanich

That warm May weather provides more evidence

Victoria just recorded its warmest May ever, based on record-keeping at Victoria Gonzales going back to 1899.

Six of the 12 monthly records for the warmest average monthly temperature have now been set since 2015: February 2015, April 2016, May 2023, June 2021, August 2022 and October 2022.

By contrast, the last time Victoria broke a record for the coldest average monthly temperature was more than 37 years ago, in November 1985.

Just more evidence that our planet is warming.

Steven Murray


Cougars aren’t the only risk that we face

Twenty-seven people have killed by cougars in United States and Canada in the past 100 years.

Thirty-four people were killed by dogs in Canada since 2000. In the U.S., 30 to 50 people die from dog attacks each year

More than 2,500 died in automobile accidents in B.C. from 2010 to 2019.

Maybe we had better all stay at home. Driving to Whiffin Spit and walking where the dogs run free could be very dangerous.

Whoops … on the Island we average two intimate partner homicides per year, so maybe home is not safe, either.

This is not to ignore the problem posed to humans by cougars, but to put it into perspective. Life is risky, but our perception of what is risky can be skewed.

Rosemary Jorna

Otter Point

In Canada, we are free to say what we think

Re: “Frequent flyer points and a bit of health care,” letter, June 1.

When I read letters like this I don’t despair. I reflect on how fortunate I am to live in a country where people are free to say what they think. Even when they can’t.

Newspapers are also free to print all this nonsense. It doesn’t get any better than that. Have a nice day.

Doug Poole


Putting leashes on dogs would make park nicer

I was pleased to read that Saanich is planning to limit off-leash dogs in their parks. As a daily user of our local park, I have been knocked to the ground by a pack of dogs chasing each other, have had my lawn chair urinated on, and been menaced numerous times by growling, lunging dogs.

Too often the owners congregate in a group chatting with little attention to or control over their dogs. The on-leash requirement would significantly enhance my ability to freely enjoy the park, and I fully support this approach.

Mark Pocock


Fragile park areas must be protected

Re: “Saanich considers requiring pets to be leashed in parks,” May 31.

While most dogs off leash in PKOLS (Mount Douglas Park) are well behaved around other dogs and walkers, there is one consideration that was not addressed in the article.

PKOLS is unique in that it is a natural area for many native species of plants, shrubs, trees and countless birds. For more than 30 years a group of committed volunteers have worked tirelessly to preserve and enhance this fragile ecosystem.

Members of the PKOLS-Mount Douglas Conservancy have dedicated countless hours to removing invasive species and replanting appropriate native plants, increasing the number and variety of birds that nest in this park.

However, with the increased number of dogs off-leash in the past few years, the hard work of these volunteers is beginning to be seriously impacted in many areas of the park.

Dogs have trampled plants, chased birds and destroyed fragile fenced-off plantings. Owners are also not aware where their dogs defecate, leaving feces in underbrush areas where volunteers are working.

I applaud the proposals outlined in the “People, Pets and Parks” strategy. There are important and fragile park areas in our city that will be seriously damaged and possibly destroyed if dogs are allowed to run free in these areas.

Joan Cowley


Just a bit late to think about the end product

Re: “Biosolids could be headed to ­Richmond and to quarry near Nanaimo,” May 31.

Given the Capital Regional District’s sewage treatment facility was the largest financial undertaking it has ever made, one would think they would have figured out what they were going to be able to do with its end product, before starting the project.

Simply undeliverable!

Bruce Cline



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