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Letters March 30: Victoria council's pay; housing density; leave those leaves

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City council after after being sworn into office at Victoria City Hall on Nov. 3, 2022. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Beware councillors selling used cars

Re: “Still time for sober second thought by Victoria council,” commentary, March 28.

What Victoria Coun. Stephen Hammond is ultimately trying to convey to each and every citizen of Victoria is this: He wouldn’t buy a used car from Coun. Jeremy Caradonna, and neither should you.

Trevor Amon

Victoria

Don’t waste money over council salaries

Re: “Still time for sober second thought by Victoria council,” commentary, March 28.

Thank you to Coun. Stephen Hammond for his illuminating words regarding the 25 per cent pay raise Victoria councillors allocated themselves.

Something that was missing from the opinion piece was information on the other careers or jobs the councillors hold, and their remuneration.

I recall that most councillors in the past in addition to their council work were either entrepreneurs, or had other employment such as contract work for UVic or the province or other ventures.

Coun. Geoff Young was an economist. Mayor Peter Pollen had an automobile dealership. This would be important for the public to know.

It’s a bit of a waste of taxpayers’ money too to hire an independent firm to look into remuneration in other similar cities or municipalities. Anyone could just pick up a phone and ask!

Annie Weeks

Victoria

Time to reflect about that pay increase

With the overwhelming public disapproval of city council’s 25 per cent self-given pay raise, it seems timely that their next council meeting isn’t until April 4.

Let’s hope this provides the members of council time to absorb the public’s extreme displeasure with their arrogant action and decide in a state of humbleness (it’s a good trait!) to reverse their misguided decision.

It takes courage to admit their error. We’ll see, won’t we?

John Vanden Heuvel

Victoria

Victoria council deserves all the outrage

The recent self-serving vote by Victoria councillors to increase their remuneration is rightly generating public outrage.

Coun. Jeremy Caradonna tries valiantly to cobble together a justification to give himself and his council colleagues a 25 per cent raise midway through his contract. He fails.

In granting themselves the raise, council omitted the MNP consultants’ full recommendation. It states that a cycle for review is necessary for future councils. It does not recommend the council in office grant itself a mid-term raise. By doing this, the mayor and council are causing a great deal of public concern.

This will not be forgotten by voters when the next election occurs.

It strikes a bad note for this tone-deaf council. Neighbourhoods, meanwhile, wait years to get a new crosswalk painted.

Then there is the issue of the recent Official Community Plan renewal survey. Citizens should not bother trying to fill the survey out, rather they should read the commentary in the Times Colonist.

The survey is a biased piece of work, guaranteed to make Victoria a “flat city” with no more distinctive neighbourhoods and six-floor buildings anywhere. The plan would remove the charm of Victoria forever.

Suzanne Longpre

Victoria

Higher pay OK — for one unified district

Two recent articles point to a continuing problem and solution in Greater Victoria:

One was Stuart Stark’s excellent commentary on the deterioration of downtown Victoria; the other was the report on the 25 per cent wage increase the Victoria councillors have awarded themselves.

Against logic and any semblance of efficient governance, the Victoria region is divided into 13 fiefdoms. Thirteen mayors and sets of councillors, planners, administrators, etc., etc., etc., all drawing salaries and duplicating each other’s efforts. Redundantia are us!

One well-paid mayor and group of councillors and the attendant administrators would be vastly less expensive and much more efficient in the administration of the region’s planning and use of our tax dollars.

There is a good reason why virtually every large city of the Capital Regional District’s size in Canada has long since amalgamated regional districts and seized the many efficiencies associated with a single governance model.

Businesses have done it for centuries and do so daily — why? Because it works. One well-paid mayor and council with a unified administration would be vastly superior in attracting top-tier talent to these important roles.

Terry Medd

Saanich

Oak Bay residents, go for density

Re: “Oak Bay residents face 9.68% property tax increase,” March 26.

This tax increase and the infrastructure deficit is a direct consequence of Oak Bay’s resistance to density. More density would have increased the tax base and brought about more robust and modern infrastructure. I hope this can demonstrate to Oak Bay residents that density is a necessary good thing.

Tasos Stamadianos

Victoria

Just leave those leaves rather than pay a fee

Re: “Already giving free labour, now we have to pay,” letter, March 25.

I commend the writer for keeping their yard and adjacent public property free of debris, free of charge to the Saanich taxpayer.

I don’t know where I stand on the new yard-waste disposal fees, but if Saanich isn’t going to pay for your hard work, maybe leave debris where it falls.

There is a reason we call them “leaves,” after all. If a leaf falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? More importantly, who is responsible for raking it up?

Kevin Hampton

Saanich

All that money spent, the problem continues

In three weeks we will be expecting a visitor to Victoria who has expressed a desire to walk the streets and “have a look around.” I am not excited by this prospect, if only because I will be embarrassed for my city.

The homeless are everywhere, and no one is doing the right thing to end it.

I say “the right thing” because there are plenty of people doing the wrong thing — people who are supposed to know what they are doing. Yet they still spend other people’s money like water on a winter day in fruitless efforts to patch the dike, doing nothing to fix it. For them, optics are everything.

No one is doing anything effective to end homelessness.

In the past two budget years, the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness has received a million bucks from the city alone to solve the problem ($126,661 in 2021 and $816,607 in 2022), and $4.23 million from the Capital Regional District since it was created in 2008, and the problem is worse than ever.

This organization decides to do something, it doesn’t work, so they plead for more money to do the same thing that didn’t work the last time. It is an endless spiral of failure.

Pleading publicly for the powers that be to actually fix the problem is a hopeless task. My guest will just have to lump it.

M.D. (David) Hansen

Victoria

Saanich parking plans will cause problems

Saanich has historically been a predominantly family friendly area. It looks like this is changing.

Council is either being incredibly naive to think the new plan to seriously reduce parking in new builds will work for families or it is purposely trying to drive them out. (Pun intended.)

Can you as a parent imagine trying to walk, bike or bus home with a week’s groceries for a family of four? How about delivering your kids and all their accompanying supplies to day cares or schools on your way to work?

Day care providers trying to get several charges safely and efficiently to school and back to day care afterward? How about in inclement weather?

And how about taking kids to all their evening sports events and practices, especially if parents, who are probably both working, have different kids in different activities that might not be close by?

I could go on, but anyone putting any thought into the dilemmas this will pose for families just trying to live their already hectic lives will see the problems they will be facing with these new rules.

Why can’t Saanich council? Or … can they?

Kathleen Worth

Saanich

Medical aid in dying as a treatment of choice?

Re: “Saanich man, 87, spent nine days in hallways at Victoria General Hospital,” March 20.

Eric Roberts’ unfortunate misadventures reflect well on its considerate staff and dismally on the health and financial policies of successive governments of differing political persuasions that consigned him to hallways for most of his stay.

And Mr. X is just a precursor. The real challenge, dealing with the baby boom as we age, is yet to come.

It is hard not to suspect that our health and financial planners believe their ace -in-the-hole is not a working health system at all, but a working death system, with so-called medical aid in dying as the treatment of choice.

Steve Weatherbe

Victoria

Special thanks to  Saan Pen hospital

Recently my husband and I visited the Emergency Department at Saanich Peninsula Hospital with our three-year-old granddaughter. I want to say a huge thank you to the entire staff there.

Every person we encountered, from the intake staff to the doctors and nurses on duty, treated our granddaughter with kindness and care.

She is on the road to recovery now, but I need to acknowledge how much their compassion meant to us. Thank you again!

Judi Klubi

Central Saanich

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