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Letters, March 7: Woolly mammoth attacked; what to do with sewage biosolids; increase handyDART fares; Peter Pollen Park is too brown

Perhaps they attacked the wrong target Re: “Climate activist smears museums iconic woolly mammoth with paint,” March 2.
The wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Perhaps they attacked the wrong target

Re: “Climate activist smears museums iconic woolly mammoth with paint,” March 2.

Oh, the irony: a revered model of a victim of climate change 10,000-plus years ago, and thus not caused by humans, assaulted in the name of human-induced climate change.

David Mattison


Don’t give publicity to protesters with paint

I think it is appalling that some self-styled climate change activists smeared paint on a museum mammoth.

It does not bring awareness to, but brings discredit on their cause.

I would call on this newspaper and all news media to embargo any coverage of any causes linked to such wanton vandalism.

The only way we will put a stop to such mindless, childish behaviour is to force the organizations they claim to belong to to disavow them.

Toss them out, discredit them, disgrace them. You can force such groups to purge activists who pursue illegal activity by denying the group media exposure.

I am not necessarily against any of the causes, but after 30 years in the news business, I might just be a bit grumpy and have had enough of the toddler-like tantrums these whiners and professional protesters get up to.

Greg Middleton

Salt Spring Island

Dilute the biosolids, use the ocean tides

I was very interested to read that the Ministry of Environment requires ­biosolids to be heavily diluted and I got to thinking that there must be a better way than trucking it all the way to Nanaimo to dump on the land.

Considering the sewage plant’s lovely oceanfront location

I have a thought. It might be simpler and cheaper to build an underwater pipeline out to sea and pump the solids out where they would be thoroughly diluted and dispersed by the strong Pacific tides twice a day.


Martin Hill


It’s time to raise fares for handyDART

When I started at handyDART in 1988 the fare was 75 cents and by 2011 it was $2.50 an increase of about eight cents a year.

Twelve years later it is still $2.50 — if the same formula had been maintained the fares would be $3.50.

When Saanich Coun. Susan Brice was the Capital Regional District member in charge of transit about six or seven years ago, she reported that a single ride cost $9.70.

Now with wages and fuel skyrocketing I’m sure a single ride is over $11. It’s time that riders pick up more of the cost and not the overtaxed public.

Dennis Bourne


Grass at Peter Pollen Park should be watered

For the past three years, Victoria has not watered the grass at Peter Pollen Park at Laurel Point.

Tourists arriving in Victoria, whether it be on the Coho or Clipper ferries, Harbour Air or Kenmore seaplanes, plus many whale watchers look at the dead grass on their way into the “City of Gardens.”

I have spoken to the City of Victoria each of the past two years. They say that they are planning to plant some shrubs and trees sometime in the future.

Last year, I asked if, in the meantime, they could at least water the grass until such time as the new plantings occur. Whoever I spoke to said they did not even know if there was a water source there to water.

Please, City of Victoria, fix this problem. It would be nice to have some green grass for our tourists this summer!

Glen Steer


Address climate woes as the top priority

There are a host of injustices and inadequacies that badly need fixing. However, there is no point in fixing them if they preclude efforts being made to save us from extinction, which appears to be happening aplenty.

The B.C. government has set aside funds to keep ferry fare increases to no higher than three per cent per year, while hybrid electric ferries must fall back on diesel power for lack of the necessary funding to supply adequate clean electric energy to charge the batteries in these vessels.

This is not only a waste of money spent on the electric motors and batteries, but much more importantly, ignores an opportunity to reduce the climate and health harms caused by burning diesel, which will accumulate to worldwide extirpations and extinctions.

Yet another instance of government irresponsibility from election success orientation and voter misdirection. Massive climate problems must be tackled first, or we die.

G.R. Evans


Where is due diligence on spending?

Re: “$224M care facility OK’d for Royal Bay,” March 3.

I don’t disagree with the need to provide more long-term-care facilities, obviously the demographics of an aging population require it, but the cost of $224 million for a 306-bed facility at Royal Bay comes with the price tag of $732,000 per bed.

The article reports that the Summit long-term-care facility on the former Blanshard School site in 2020 cost $86 million for 320 beds. That averages $286,750 per bed.

Talk about inflation! Has the price of labour and materials nearly tripled in three years?

And worse, it was reported in the Times Colonist, March 1, that Cool Aid’s 54 supportive-housing unit project at 3020 Douglas St. will cost $72 million — that averages $1,064,583 per unit. I guess due diligence is out the window when spending a $5.7-billion surplus.

As a long-time NDP supporter, these acts of fiscal irresponsibility provide me no pleasure, but are a gift to the B.C. Liberals. Spending a surplus when projecting deficits for the next three years is fiscal and political malfeasance.

Wayne Cox


Blame the ferry loss on a bad tax decision

Re: “No Sidney-Anacortes ferry for at least 7 years,” March 1.

The coverage of Washington State Ferries’ decision to effectively terminate the Sidney-Anacortes ferry misses some important background.

In 1999, a right-wing activist in Washington state put an initiative on the ballot that sought to repeal the state’s motor vehicle excise tax, which funded Washington’s transportation system, including the ferries.

The shortsighted initiative passed but was overturned by the courts. Nevertheless, the state governor and the legislature decided in 2000 to repeal the tax.

The result is neglect of Washington’s transportation infrastructure, including the ferries. That is the reason the Sidney-Anacortes route lost one of its two boats in 2019 and the other one is barely limping along, which has been cited as a big reason why no Washington State Ferry has visited Sidney since 2019.

There is a great deal of talk about the loss of tourism to the Sidney area, but those ferries ran in two directions.

Perhaps the people who promote tourism in Washington state, particularly in the Anacortes area, should be loudly reminded that cutting access is not a good way to encourage people to visit.

This would be a good topic for the next meeting between our premier and the governor of Washington state.

Chris Gainor


Government knew he would turn 65

I applied for old-age pension in August 2022. Hadn’t heard anything, maybe I’d made a mistake or something got lost, so I recently made an inquiry.

No issues, I was politely told, it usually takes four to six months. Really, I was born in this country, they had 65 years to get ready.

Something or somebody isn’t working.

Frank Buruma


Stadacona Park safety, homes for those without

I have lived in an apartment near Stadacona Park for seven years. I moved here to have a good place to live and walk my dog, but after my dog and I were threatened by two people camping in the park, I am now afraid to even walk on the sidewalks around the park.

I am in my 80s and shouldn’t have to walk in fear around a park that I can’t use, and the homeless should not have to live in a park.

The City of Victoria needs to provide housing and support for the homeless — not costly bylaw/police raids — so everybody can go into the park for recreation and feel safe using it.

Helen Schmidt


After decisions like this, we will need cocaine

After reading the announcement that Health Canada authorized the production and sale of cocaine in B.C., I checked the date to see if it was April 1.

Still only March, I tried contacting Health Canada to talk to someone. After seven calls to five different numbers, always being respectful I gave up and just banged my head against the wall.

I might need some cocaine to numb the pain.

Gerald Marantz


Size of the deficit is not the real problem

It amazes me at the wailing of letter writers criticizing the budgeting abilities of the B.C. government (and other levels, too) when they propose budget deficits.

While some writers may be politically motivated in their criticisms, others are just perhaps ignorant of the messy truth of negative balances.

Having dabbled in the dark arts of economics in my university years it was drilled into my inquisitive mind that deficits were not the problem. They only became a problem if they ballooned as “as a percentage of GDP.”

Not an overly technical economic term meaning all the stuff we produce. In B.C. we produce a boatload off stuff (pun intended) and the government’s spending remains very reasonable in relation to its GDP.

If and when the critical letter writers find the debt to GDP equation untenable they can then espouse the very popular program of raising taxes on everyone to bring the deficits down.

I don’t think there will be a flood of those missives! Oh well, the dark arts remain my passion.

Max Miller


Quick explanation of housing types

Reporting about B.C.’s housing affordability crisis muddies the conversational waters by using four terms with distinctly different meanings interchangeably.

Affordable housing is housing whose price is determined by what it costs to build it. This is in contrast to “market rate” housing, whose price is as much as the person who controls it can demand.

Subsidized housing is housing whose occupants are provided “subsidies” by government or an NGO to be able to afford to pay the price demanded to reside in it.

Supportive housing is housing whose purpose is to provide “supports” to people with special needs. Whether a particular supportive housing facility is “affordable” is complex and depends on many factors. Cadillac long-term care facilities provide expensive supportive housing to people who can afford it.

Supportive housing whose purpose is to house low-functioning people with little or no money is funded such that residents are asked to pay as little as possible, generally zero, to dwell in it.

Social housing is the least-well understood term of the four. It is called “social” housing because in addition to being “affordable” (see above), it promotes social cohesion by integrating households from all walks of life and all levels of affluence in economically mixed communities.

Constructing social housing is financed by the public (otherwise known as “government”) and managed on a not-for-profit basis by a provincial ministry, municipal department, or NGO.

Canada had a robust social housing program from the Second World War until 1993, when Ottawa withdrew ­funding and the transformation of housing from dwellings where people live to vehicles for extraction of economic rent from the productive economy was complete.

Canadian neighbourhoods since 1993 have become increasingly segregated on the basis of affluence, and social alienation has become much more widespread in Canada since then.

Drug addiction, for example, and other symptoms of hopelessness and social isolation are flourishing as social housing has all but disappeared.

Bill Appledorf



• 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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