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Letters March 24: Late-night police patrols are vital; province must keep Point Ellice House open

Victoria police officers patrol the area around Our Place. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Plan to cut late-night patrols is wrong

My heart sank when I read the headline about Victoria council’s 11th-hour budget cut for the patrol of police officers during late-night hours.

This administrative manoeuvre gives little regard to public safety in an already-declining downtown. People like me used to feel safe walking around town to dine out, to be entertained, to shop and to visit friends who also live in the downtown core.

Now I fear venturing out, especially on my own, to enjoy all the amenities of in-town living without having to use a car.

As a 76-year-old Asian woman who cannot outrun someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and who is intent to cause me harm because of my race, gender and/or my refusal to hand over money, I feel genuinely at risk when I am downtown after dark.

This has happened to me on two occasions: once when I was returning a book to the Central Library, and the other on my way to meeting a friend at the Odeon shortly after dark.

Consequently, I avoid going downtown unless absolutely necessary because it is not only unsafe, but I do not want to subject myself to further verbal, and potentially physical, abuse from people who are untethered to civility.

I beseech city council to not to cut the police patrols at night. If anything, our police department must be better funded to provide the necessary training and recruitment for the force to make up for its attrition.

For the sake of all — homeowners, renters, nearby locals, tourists and workers — people who keep the downtown economy afloat all need late-night patrols.

Angela Bassage


Stay out of downtown if patrols are reduced

Victoria is cutting the budget for the late-night police task force.

As Police Chief Del Manak says, this will have a huge impact on public safety in our downtown on weekends.

For the sake of $220,000, watch for an off-the-page increase in violence, risks to the public safety, mischief and other crimes being reported in the Times Colonist. Meanwhile I shall spend my weekends elsewhere.

Carol Hale


Don’t let heritage sites fade away

The historic Point Ellice House, a unique museum showcasing the Victorian heritage of Victoria and British Columbia, is closing.

This site, one of the treasures of our city, is owned by the province and, in time of increasing inflation yet general largesse by the government, has been shortchanged in the funding necessary to operate.

The site operators, the Vancouver Island Local History Society, have pleaded and begged for increased financial support from all levels of government, but to no avail.

But this is a provincial responsibility. The province pays lip service to the importance of heritage preservation — it has created statutes and reports about how it is necessary for heritage sites to be protected and conserved for future generations — but when it comes to funding, it is silent.

We call upon the government to act now and ensure that sufficient funding is available to keep Point Ellice House and all other provincially owned sites open for the education of our citizens.

These heritage buildings are a legacy that reflect the shared history of all British Columbians and should not be allowed to close and wither away in hidden neglect.

They have a story that needs telling.

Ken Johnson


No, we can’t recall municipal politicians

Re: “Too much acrimony at Victoria council meetings,” commentary, March 22.

I just checked the Elections B.C. website and there is no recall available for local politicians.


Lia Fraser


More information needed on candidates

Come to think of it, I know little or nothing about the backgrounds, education or work experience of Victoria’s councillors. No wonder that I deeply regret most of the votes I cast.

For example, one councillor — who will go un-named — reportedly said that polluters should pay. Sounds reasonable: Therefore, people who wish to drive their bikes or cars downtown should be forced to pay generously for parking.

That is a recipe for failed downtown businesses and a deserted downtown.

I knew exactly nothing about this person’s fitness to serve, and I’m embarrassed to say that I voted for him.

So, couldn’t candidates for future elections be encouraged to provide a CV, or bragsheet, listing their education, work experience and reasons why they see themselves as a valuable member of council?

Volunteers could be recruited to review the brag sheets and point out, publicly, any inaccuracies or fibs.

Eric Manning


Victoria must act on the governance report

Re: “Too much acrimony at Victoria council meetings,” commentary, March 22.

Although I have not been happy with either the previous Victoria council or the present one, I was very much dismayed by the content of Coun. Marg Gardiner’s commentary.

The fact that the MNP Governance Review of the past council has not been addressed is very disturbing and shows a lack of responsible leadership on the part of the mayor and other councillors.

I have read the MNP Report Summary (easily found on the web) and found it quite damning.

Eighty per cent of the respondents to the survey found the council to be tone-deaf (my term) to the needs of the city as a whole. In order to have a progressive, well-governed city that is responsive to the needs of all of its citizens, there must be good governance.

The MNP report was highly critical of the governance processes of the past council and, apparently, this council continues to have poor governance processes.

In fact, the MNP report not even being considered by this council is in itself poor governance.

It’s time for the mayor and council to listen to the citizens and to act responsibly and co-operatively.

Michael Shepherd


Analysis vital before lowering speed limits

Re: “Lowering speed limits can reduce fuel efficiency,” letter, March 22.

It was with considerable interest I read this letter, which provides an excellent analysis of the effect of lowering speed limits using empirical and other objective data.

Hopefully our provincial and local political leaders and their staff take sobering note of this analysis as they pursue their misguided initiatives to lower various speed limits to 30 km/h.

R. Cary Corbeil

Former B.C. deputy superintendent of motor vehicles

Speed bumps don’t delay ambulances

My summer job, 1963-1970, was driving an ambulance in Toronto.

Hardly any calls needed high speed/flashing lights/siren/hard driving.

Speed bumps would not matter.

Paul Brigel, retired GP


For many, Canadian citizenship is fake

Re: “Citizenship demands more than a click,” letter, March 21.

The letter sends a heartfelt message, but overlooks the shortcomings of Canada’s citizenship rules.

Whether our loyalty oath is sworn virtually or in person, it’s essentially meaningless because Canada allows dual citizenship.

Anybody who swears loyalty to more than one country simultaneously is lying to at least one of those countries. As long as Canada turns a blind eye to these obvious fake pledges of loyalty, how the oath is administered doesn’t matter.

Whether a heartfelt ceremony or the click of a mouse, Canada’s loyalty oath is meaningless as long as Canadian citizens can hold multiple citizenships at the same time.

S.I. Petersen


Finally, we have found a diet that works

Remember that line from the movie When Harry Met Sally — “I’ll have what she’s having”?

That’s my reaction to reading about the Edmonton elephant’s amazing diet in the March 22 edition. Down 326 kilograms in three months.

Yes, I’ll have what she’s having.

Anne Moon


Village at Cordova Bay is part of living history

Kudos to Jack Knox for his piece on the joint Tsawout-UVic field school looking into W̱SÁNEĆ land use in Cordova Bay, including a village at what is now Agate Lane Park.

I was also pleased — and not surprised — to see that Mavis Underwood is involved. She has been a tireless supporter, not only of her own W̱SÁNEĆ people, but of Indigenous causes generally, from the Run for Justice in the 1980s to all that she is involved in today.

Her comment in the article about her people’s history not being over reminded me of what the late Gabe Bartleman said when the W̱SÁNEĆ presented a copy of their tribal map to the law school in 1991: “We weren’t the Lost People … We truly have a history.”

More than 30 years later, this map continues to be displayed in the main foyer of the law school, reminding us of the history of the ground we walk upon and the people who belong to it.

The Tsawout-UVic project promises to write an important new chapter in that history.

Hamar Foster, professor emeritus

University of Victoria


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