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Letters June 5: Don't let your dog spoil beach experience; real culprits are humans; eating well and saving money

Don’t let your dogs spoil the experience To be or not to be: to leash or not to leash dogs in public spaces.
Unleashed dogs play near the pathway between Cook Street and Clover Point in Victoria. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Don’t let your dogs spoil the experience

To be or not to be: to leash or not to leash dogs in public spaces. There’s a reason why we, as a community, take opposite views on dog restrictions, and it’s primarily based on our personal experiences.

Here’s mine: Almost every day I walk on Cordova Bay Beach. I am not a dog owner.

Dogs happily greet me, and I, them. Most owners have their dogs under control. But there’s also the dogs who tear up and down the beach, barking incessantly. Loud shrill screaming ear-splitting barks or deep throated aggressive barks, depending on the breed.

Unfortunately, that’s not a rarity. One dog starts another off, and so it goes. And it can go on a long time.

Granted, most owners aren’t so inconsiderate. As one owner told me, “If that was my dog, I’d have him off the beach immediately.” But others don’t care.

That’s why we, as a community, share different views about dogs in public spaces. That’s also why there are environmental concerns about unleashed dogs on federal wildlife lands.

Because of the few who spoil it for the many considerate owners, I’m in favour of maintaining the status quo at Cordova Bay Beach: No dogs on beaches, May 1 to Sept. 1, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

But if that goes by the board — please don’t let your dogs’ behaviour spoil the beach experience for the rest of us, dog owners and non-dog owners alike.

Sarah Clarke

Cordova Bay

The real culprits are the humans

Saanich’s People, Pets and Parks proposal argues that off-leash areas in parks should be limited due to associated habitat and wildlife damage. Unfortunately environmental degradation correlates strongly with the number of humans, rather than the number of dogs, on Earth.

This results from consumerism and economic systems which do not value nature resulting in habitat destruction, imprudent land use, pollution and climate change.

Saanich’s rapidly increasing population will magnify all these factors, leading to further environmental degradation regardless of whether dogs are on-leash or not.

In general, ecological problems require interventions that have impact at the population level and while restoring small pieces of habitat may make you feel better, it can divert resources from more impactful strategies.

Having said that, habitat damage should be minimized where possible and the potential environmental damage caused by off-leash dogs in Saanich parks could be prevented by limiting access to sensitive areas during sensitive times.

In addition, I would suggest that efforts to decrease noise from people, vehicles, helicopters, seaplanes and freighters (noise travels a very long way in water) should be added to their plan as noise pollution from human activity has been shown to be harmful to wildlife including bird reproduction.

Aidan Byrne


Fragile ecosystem should not be an off-leash area

I have never met a dog I have not liked. Dogs in urban areas should be on leash except on private lands and areas that are designated dog parks.

None of our natural areas should be thought of as dog parks. This holds especially true of PKOLS, Mount Douglas. This park is a natural wonder with fragile ecosystems and is home to many creatures.

This is not reflected in our treatment of it. That anyone thinks that it is ethical to use any part of this special place as a dog run shows a clear lack of understanding of how truly rare and special this place is.

Deborah McEwen


It’s possible to eat well — and save money too

Re: “Healthy food increasingly out of reach for Island’s poorest, says report,” May 27.

People with no housing have the real nutrition problem, but those with a cooktop and fridge can lower cost and increase their nutrition very simply.

Unfortunately, many people are ­victims of the food hoax which states that ordinary food is “laced with pesticides and is not safe.” You are warned that to be “safe” you must eat “organic.”

This sounds plausible and most people do not have sufficient knowledge to see through such sciency twaddle and accept what they are told. In fact there are strict limits on which pesticides may be used and the times at which they may be used. “Non-organic” food is perfectly safe.

The funniest thing last month was the rhubarb in my local store.

Turn right to the “organic” section, the rhubarb was $3.99 per pound. Turn left to the “real” vegetables and the rhubarb was $2.99. The funny thing is that rhubarb is not attacked by anything, it is all unsprayed.

So what do I eat?

First I avoid ready-to-eat convenience food. I buy raw and cook it. This is ­simpler than fancy cookbooks let on: boil, fry, microwave or roast – you learn rapidly.

For starchy foods I buy potatoes, rice, dried beans, lentils, and oats. From flour I bake bread. Protein comes from eggs, chicken legs and thighs, pork and pink salmon bought whole, head off. The latter is just about the highest quality protein available and has the lowest price.

I eat lots of fruit and buy oranges and bananas but also grow apples, plums, nectarines, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, and peas.

Treats include bacon, tins of baked bean and the occasional chocolate bar. One cannot live without chocolate.

To sum up, I eat well, I have a wide seasonal diet of delicious, nutritious, safe food at low cost. What do I do with the money I save? I donate it to the less fortunate.

You can do the same.

Joe Harvey


Several ways to save money while eating healthy

Re: “Healthy food increasingly out of reach for Vancouver Island’s poorest,” May 28.

To eat well one must have knowledge of vitamins and minerals and discipline to avoid foods with too much salt, sugar and fat. Further more, reading the nutritional facts provided on the outside of food packages helps.

Cheaper food, including dried beans and peas, can be obtained at bulk-foods stores. Also food at dollar stores are more reasonably priced. Food banks provide free food.

A dietician has suggested that a small amount of protein at each meal is recommended. Too much protein at one meal prevents the absorption of calcium.

Fruit and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals.

Audrey Lomax


New cancer centre, but something is missing

It’s good news Nanaimo is getting a new cancer centre. How do they plan to staff it?

Barbara Abercrombie


Either way, those sheep are going to die

Re: “Sheep kills mounting for Metchosin farmers as cougar attacks surge,” May 28.

I am surprised the big bad wolf wasn’t included along with the bears, ravens and even dogs.

Baby lambs are defenceless, gentle, cute and playful. Sheep give birth to these adorable lambs in the spring and they are slaughtered in the fall, not even close to being one year old.

What is the difference if the farmer slaughters the lamb for their profit or a wild animal who needs to eat to survive kills it? Either way the lamb dies. Why is the cougar the bad guy?

Farmers clear forests to ranch livestock beside sparse forests left for wildlife to try and survive with less habitat, food and water.

I suggest the farmers go cruelty free and plant crops that would feed more people and no animals have to die.

Connie Mahoney


Limit vehicle size, weight to reduce greenhouse gases

We know that the Earth’s natural resources are limited, and that harmful emissions add to climate change. So, we got the bright idea to eliminate harmful emissions from the tailpipes of Canada’s fast-growing fleet of vehicles by using electricity instead of gas and oil.

To do this we need to cut forests and dig holes to get to the copper, cobalt and lithium (limited natural resources) we will need, and we will have to build many new power stations to meet the resulting huge demand for electricity.

All that takes a lot of energy, much of it the sort that produces harmful emissions. And what about the resulting increase in labour when there is already a growing shortage.

Eventually we end up with lot of redundant gas-powered vehicles that we need to park somewhere or recycle, but that takes a lot of energy too.

Today the pickup truck appears to be the most sold family car in Canada. An electric one will take the same energy to build as a gas-powered one and will cause the same wear and tear on our roads.

It will also take more electricity and batteries to drive than a smaller electric car. Would it not be a lot smarter to limit the size, weight and power of our current gas-powered automobiles when owned for personal use?

Net result, a huge reduction in harmful emissions at a fraction of the cost of changing Canada’s vehicle fleet from gas and oil to electricity, and with a most likely much lower reduction in harmful emissions.

Vince Devries


Military helicopters should help fight forest fires

Due to climate change, forest fires are becoming more of a problem every year.

We need to have more resources available to react quickly and effectively. And Canada’s military has helicopters that are being used mostly to prepare for war.

Although this is a necessary and difficult task, during heavy forest fire season these resources could be better used for fighting the more dangerous and potentially immense forest fires.

Helicopters may be used with buckets or belly tanks and other uses. And the skill to do these tasks is similar to military tasks.

An experienced pilot who also flew water bombers in B.C. for 10 years, Peter Lauren has tried to convince the federal and provincial government to implement this idea for many years.

The governments have given him little or no response. Understandably it will not be easy to accomplish this.

The military will be reluctant because they are heavily tasked, understaffed and underfunded. The federal government will be reluctant because forests are a provincial responsibility.

And the provinces are often reluctant to ask for support from the federal government. But perhaps this could be accomplished to work smoothly through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre.

In order to convince the governments to do this, the public has to contact many different politicians and officials to show support for an idea that is overdue for implementation.

As many people as possible have to contact public servants and tell them to get this done.

If we all get together, we can convince our governments to work together a little more to be more efficient and effective.

Fred Trudell and Peter Lauren


Think of the many doing their duty in Ukraine

For more than a year all of us have been following the senseless and cruel war in Ukraine.

In mind and prayer many have been standing still in what doctors, nurses and other medical staff are doing to save lives.

But what about firefighters, coroners and morticians who are also constantly doing their duty – actually, more than their duty, as there is never any letup.

Christian Mons


Health benefit line item is hard to swallow

We were out for a late lunch the other day. When we got our check we noticed there was a charge called B.C.H.T.

We checked today and found out we’re paying for the staff’s health benefits. Why do we have to pay this?

We strongly disagree with this. We will never go there again.

Bill and Irene van Schagen



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