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Letters March 16: Impose this tax to pay for police; these people are vulnerable; don't cut parking

Victoria Police Department headquarters on Caledonia Avenue. June 2022. TIMES COLONIST

Put a tax on alcohol to pay for police

Re: “Victoria council floats $1.7M cut to draft police budget,” March 14.

A suggestion I have made before is once again timely. It’s time to bring a form of user-pay to support the costs of the Victoria Police Department.

The nightly mayhem associated with alcohol service, in what is the capital region’s entertainment centre, is costly to police. A per drink tax of 50 cents, rising in stages to $1, would provide tens of millions to support VicPD.

Are there downsides to this approach? Yes, there would be more pre-drinking by the young partier cohort. Some of the revenue could be shared, with Saanich PD and RCMP, to weed out some of the woefully intoxicated riding B.C. Transit to the core on Thursday to Sunday nights.

Would some establishment see a drop in alcohol sales?

Yes, but after more than 40 years of relentless promotion of alcohol by all levels of government, isn’t it time to see a return to more responsible use of this product? I think it is.

On another note, why is Save On Foods Memorial Centre still using thousands of single service beer cups at every event? Well, Mayor Marianne Alto and council?

Fin MacDonald

James Bay

Victoria council should spend on our safety

Re: “Victoria council floats $1.7M cut to draft police budget,” March 14.

Victoria council is determined to make the city an increasingly dangerous place to live and visit.

Businesses continue to be vandalized, while stranger-on-stranger attacks are far too frequent.

By inadequately funding the police, crime and social costs are rising. Fewer people are venturing downtown and businesses continue to be driven away or closed down.

How does not spending on public safety and the health of its citizens make sense?

Or maybe, Victoria councillors are pouring through Marvel comic books, expecting a super hero to save the day, cape and all!

As usual, merrily floating down Dysfunction-by-the-Sea!

Bill Currie


A pay-for-parking compromise

Re: “Parking restrictions help downtown business,” letter, March 14.

Victoria council might consider free parking on lots and in garages, and paid parking on the streets in front of merchants and businesses.

Margaret Wood


Think again about ‘the most vulnerable’

I liked the juxtaposition of the headlines about Victoria council denying the police budget requests, and a Nanaimo man who was reclaiming stolen goods being assaulted and shot by men in a homeless encampment.

Yes, I know Nanaimo is not Victoria, but it could just as well happen here.

To further the picture, there was also Coun. Stephen Hammond’s opinion piece and letter to the provincial government, prompted by the four-hour meeting where Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto and council would do nothing to help alleviate the violence and home intrusions ­Hammond was pointing out around Tiny Town near Royal Athletic Park.

Hammond tried to stand up for the affected residents and was outvoted, criticized by his woke colleagues for not subscribing to their world view, and called various names.

Who are “the most vulnerable”?

Is this some sort of woke ­competition? The people whose homes are being invaded near Tiny Town and other ­homeless shelters are not “vulnerable”?

I appreciate the compassion for the homeless and addicted but isn’t there some compassion for the victims here?

When activity becomes criminal and violent, does compassion mean we let it continue?

Richard Volet


Possible new slogans for downtown Victoria

I’ve been inspired by Victoria city council and I’d like to propose a new “Shop Downtown” campaign:

Come on downtown … we hate your car so it will cost you more for parking.

Come on downtown… you should avoid certain streets for safety.

Come on downtown… we still have some open stores.

Is there a chance the council themselves could do better? Maybe we could talk about it … I’ll meet you at the mall.

Mike Mitchell


A thousand bicycles would save us millions

Re: “Those not using cars are saving us money,” letter, March 14.

The letter says the subsidy for free parking in Greater Victoria is likely $500 million a year. That is more than $1,350,000 a day, or $56,000 an hour over a 24-hour period.

Therefore, I propose a parking meter that takes credit cards.

A parking charge of $200 an hour would be in order, 24 hours a day. As for the trucks and other delivery vehicles, they should pay their fair share, let’s say a hundred bucks an hour for using the streets.

I’m sure that wouldn’t make any difference to the price of food and goods, especially when deliveries by bicycle will be totally free and like the letter says, save 75 cents in health costs for every five kilometres driven.

I can see an enormous fleet of a thousand bicycles delivering downtown and mall goods and groceries every morning, rolling in from the ferry, saving hundreds of millions every year in health costs.

Kim Harrison


As downtown declines, the wrong time to cut

Sometimes the stories all run together.

I was walking along Douglas Street and thought to myself how slummy downtown has become; then reflected that Douglas Street isn’t the worst downtown street.

The other night a police officer was stabbed with a needle while saving the life of someone who had overdosed. It is becoming very common to learn about people being assaulted, often stabbed, in downtown Victoria.

The supportive housing facilities are repeatedly being used as bases for serious criminal activities. Just what is being supported? And the new local sport seems to be smashing the windows of downtown businesses and the library.

It is only a matter of time before the landlords are forced to invest in metal roll shutters to protect their properties; or perhaps just watch the businesses fold their tents and move elsewhere.

Many are complaining about having to pay to park downtown at night. Why would they want to come, free parking or not?

And the mayor and the all new city council has decided to cut $1.7 million from the draft police budget. You would think that they would look at the downward plunge this city has been taking these past years and learn from the mistakes of the last council.

“The more things change, the more they remain the same” — Alphonse Karr.

Ian MacDonell


Explain the logic behind reducing parking spots

Victoria council members seem to think that cars will just disappear by charging more for parking. A rather punitive approach.

But the irony is that they are reducing on-site parking for the Harris Green development.

Another redevelopment at the former Times Colonist building is also proposing limited parking.

Seems to be some very strange logic going on here. Perhaps someone could explain it for me.

Floyd Martin


Lower speed limits need enforcement to work

Yet another municipal council, this time in Saanich, believes that reducing speed limits somehow yields safer roads. Despite this fad fallacy’s pervasiveness across many B.C. municipal councils, ICBC’s own statistics show that accidents per licensed driver have steadily increased for years. What explains this apparent paradox?

Easy: drivers who break the law face no meaningful consequences.

In the 1990s, if a driver sped regularly in Greater Victoria then they could expect to be pulled over sooner rather than … never … because back then police actually enforced traffic laws.

Today — aside from well-publicized traffic enforcement “blitzes” — police do not enforce traffic laws with nearly enough dependability to elicit widespread compliance.

Our own apathy taught successive generations of drivers that obeying the law is for suckers.

So go ahead councillors, lower speed limits along the Cadboro Bay/Cordova Bay corridor and elsewhere.

But drivers who break the law won’t suddenly slow down because a new number appears on signs they already ignore; these drivers will not comply until police force them to comply.

Doug Stacey


Let’s find better ways to recycle and reuse

Re: “Nearly half the waste going to ­landfill could be recycled, CRD report says,” March 10.

When I read the above article, I get so frustrated.

I tried to visit my favourite secondhand store in Fairfield the other day and found it closed down. Likely due to high rent.

I think if we really want to get ­serious about recycling the reusable items thrown in landfills, we need to give vast rental discounts to stores that are willing to re-sell those much desired items.

We have to support those who are ­willing to resell these items and/or connect persons with their needed items for free.

As a society, we continue to admire and seek those cheaply made items from the big box stores, that are often made of such poor quality they fall apart and are garbage within a year or two.

We have to give funding to persons interested in providing centres for ­recycling.

In the bigger cities (outside Canada) they actually give financial incentives for companies to recycle their wood products instead of demolishing their homes as we continue to do.

Hats off to the company that was recycling by moving a home or two from a development property to First Nations land.

Let’s get creative and find ways that can not only sustain the people who are interested in creating sites to gather customers but also sustain the land and air that we want to preserve.

Kim Creally



• Email letters to:

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

• Submissions should be no more than 250 words; subject to editing for length and clarity. Provide your contact information; it will not be published. Avoid sending your letter as an email attachment.

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