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Letters June 8: Give clean-energy grant to (non-electric) cyclists; applause for View Royal mayor; communities already saturated

Carpenters work on a multi-unit housing project on Erskine Lane with Victoria General Hospital in the background in View Royal. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Give that $1,500 to help those using clean energy

Instead of giving $1,500 to motorbike buyers (whether it’s gas or electric powered, it’s a motorbike), the same amount, if not doubled, should be given to those who use truly clean energy for transportation.

Year round, I use my pedal bike and expensive footwear to commute to work, to get around the city, for errands, for exercise and for travel.

Give the regular hourly wage earner, the no-car-owner, the renter (that’s me!) the $1,500 instead.

Bonnie Reszel


Higher density will bring more people here

Re: “View Royal mayor calls for 6-month pause on new development,” May 6.

I applaud View Royal Mayor Sid Tobias for taking a stand against the province’s disrespect of municipal official community plans.

This idea that we can increase density and build like crazy to solve the housing crisis is wrong-headed. All that it will accomplish is more people moving to the area.

Prices won’t go down because developers build for profit and are not interested in affordable housing.

We will slowly erode our quality of life until the Greater Victoria area is on par with places such as Mumbai. We need to nix this growth mania at all levels of government.

Although I am a longtime NDP voter, they have lost my vote.

Kim Christensen


Those two mayors are showing common sense

Re: “View Royal mayor calls for 6-month pause on new development,” May 6.

At last, someone has the common sense to hit the pause button on the provincial government’s Housing Supply Act. Thank you to both View Royal Mayor Sid Tobias and Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog.

How ludicrous is it that the province holds municipalities hostage simply because they won’t approve developments that hugely increase density under the guise of building affordable housing.

To say that if you build it, your municipality will be rewarded with extra cash for amenities such as bike lanes, recreation centres and infrastructure is a slap in the face to every taxpayer in the province.

And once these new projects are built, how does the province propose that municipalities deal with all the increased strain on not only fire, police and ambulance services but also hospitals and schools?

I certainly haven’t seen any new hospitals being built in Greater Victoria that can accommodate our ever-increasing population. And that would certainly apply to all the communities listed on that order-in-council.

To quote Peter Finch’s character Howard Beale in the 1976 satire Network: “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!”

I can hardly wait for the next election.

Shirley Waldon


Communities are already at a saturation point

The B.C. government is coming ­unacceptably close to using discriminatory bullying tactics when it comes to housing.

First, short-term rentals were foisted on stratas without any consultation or apparent consideration of negative impacts on these homeowners, including security concerns and having enough ­resident owners to serve on strata ­councils. All this without any requirements for Airbnbs to shift to longer-term rentals.

Now the government has compiled a list of 47 communities for not approving housing construction fast enough.

I wonder if this apparent single-minded attack on these communities even took into consideration the capacity of their water supply, power grid, policing and security, number of schools and hospitals, wastewater treatment, recycling, transportation system, etc., to absorb an ever-increasing population.

I’m reminded of high school chemistry and what happens when one more particle is added to a super-saturated solution: The solution falls apart.

Given the present turmoil in too many of the listed communities, it appears that their capacity to deal with population pressure is already at a saturation point.

What are the government’s plans to increase the various infrastructure and other capacities of these “naughty” communities to prevent a complete collapse when more and more housing to accommodate an increasing population is required of them?

Susan M. Woods


Housing is not for profit; it is a place to live

My parents returned from serving Canada in the Second World War, and bought a modest house in the suburbs where they raised their three kids.

This was our home, it was not a commodity or an investment vehicle used to maximize profits.

To solve our deepening housing crisis, we need to return to seeing our homes as the places where we live, raise our families and build communities, not as profit centres to build private wealth.

Jamie Alley


Schools should address distorted perceptions

The decision by the Greater Victoria School Board to end the police-liaison program should be examined, and exposed, in terms of its fatal flaws in logic.

Apparently this is the line of reasoning that the board applied:

Premise 1: Students and staff feel unsafe when they see police liaisons in their school.

Premise 2: Feeling “unsafe” is traumatizing students and staff.

Conclusion: We must take police liaisons out of our schools so students and staff are not traumatized.

The problem with this reasoning is that neither premise has been demonstrated to be true, therefore the conclusion is invalid.

But let’s entertain the possibility that there really might be an issue. Assuming we might conduct research to determine actual numbers of students and teachers who feel unsafe, what numbers should suffice to end a liaison program?

Five per cent? Ten per cent? Thirty per cent?

Then there’s a more fundamental question that should be considered. If it’s true that a handful students or teachers feel unsafe, is it logical that their “feelings” should lead to the cancellation of programs that are proven to improve safety in the community?

Available research from the University of the Fraser Valley into police liaison programs shows “for the most part with the understanding that there will be exceptions, students will feel safe, be engaged, have a positive educational/academic/school experience, will be more likely to be deterred from crime, and will not be victimized.”

The reality is that police liaisons are not creating threat situations in schools. They are reducing crime and enhancing community safety.

To whatever degree any students or teachers are perceiving a threat to their safety, their perception is incongruent with reality.

As institutions of higher learning, schools should be looking at ways to address distorted perceptions, not enabling and perpetuating them.

Jim Grove


Reducing the exposure to a police career

It seems to me that exclusion of police liaison officers from schools also removes the opportunity for positive influence, including the students’ consideration of a future of a police career.

Harold McCarthy


Public transportation should be free for most

News of the free rides on B.C. Transit on Wednesday started me thinking about a new transportation model.

One that’s supported by B.C. Transit, TransLink, ICBC and the government, in which all public transportation services are free to any B.C. resident who does not own a personal motorized vehicle or is registered as a second driver only.

This “fund shifting” strategy for taxpayer dollars could reduce vehicle needs and infrastructure spending.

Brad Munro

Brentwood Bay

Under that heavy hand, democracy suffers

B.C. has gone too far.

Legislation must apply equally to the entire province. So when B.C. applied a Speculation Tax on certain municipalities but not others, then threatens to undermine democracy by over-riding democratically elected local councils, red lights flash.

B.C. is not alone in a housing crisis. That doesn’t justify singling out municipalities that are already fully developed, already significantly densified, already struggling with taxes and renewing infrastructure.

Rezoning is impotent; it is property owners who decide if densification is worth it, not the municipality or provincial government, which are mere “enablers.”

B.C. revealed its real intent and that is to treat private property as if it was its own, to force private property owners to become pawns of social policies.

Private homes are a core Canadian value; ownership and occupancy must not be at the whim of government. What next? Will B.C. withdraw municipal grants and ignore municipalities that don’t co-operate ? Will B.C. propose to confiscate private property for social housing?

Or is this a mere ploy to distract us from so many other mismanaged, centrally controlled public services such as B.C. Ferries, the health system, Site C and more?

Regardless, the heavy hand of this provincial government lacks respect for democracy. Nothing short of equal treatment for all British Columbians can be tolerated.

Enough. Stop this ill-considered nonsensical shift to focused autocracy, usurping municipal authority and meddling in private property.

Rick Lee


We’ve seen enough, so fire the board

Re: “Oncologist driven away, and we all suffer,” letter, June 6.

This contributor has confirmed why the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons a.k.a. “the medical cartel” needs a ­complete overhaul and modernizing of its policies and regulatory framework.

They create the regulations, so their response to why this practicing ­physician was punted from his practice is  ridiculous; particularly noting that he was already working here for several years.

The college board should be terminated and the government should assign an administrator to straighten out this outfit.

This will take considerable willpower and courage but it is decades overdue and of critical concern now, contributing to the challenges both physicians and those who require their unique services face in this province.

Enough is enough!

John Stevenson


It could be worse, Bernardo could be here

Paul Bernardo has been transferred to a medium security prison by the Correctional Service of Canada. Federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says he can’t do anything about it.

Across the country, Canadians are outraged. But here in Victoria, we should breathe a sigh of relief that he wasn’t transferred to William Head.

After all, it wouldn’t be the first time that a vicious killer was sent to that sieve of a prison.

Ian MacDonell



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