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Letters May 28: Who benefits from inflation; rights of Pandora Avenue residents and businesses

Tents on the 900 block of Pandora Avenue in April. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Government benefits from inflation

There are two major beneficiaries of inflation. The first are providers of goods and services who practice opportunistic pricing, a polite term for greed/gouging. The second is all levels of government.

Governments benefit as most tax levies are percentage based so as the taxable cost of the product or service increases so does the tax take.

Consequently governments have no incentive to reduce inflation. It is interesting to note the only significant action any government has taken to reduce inflationary prices is in the food sector.

This is purely an exercise in optics as there are no taxes on most food products, so no tax hit.

Governments are also a major contributor to inflation as the increased tax amount raises the final price of the product/service. A perfect example is the property transfer tax on the purchase of a house.

In Victoria, based on the May 2019 average cost of a single family home of $867,000 the transfer tax would have been $15,340.

In May 2024, based on the average cost of $1,295,000 the transfer tax will be $23,900, an increase of 55.8% for no additional effort or value, just the tapping of a few keystrokes.

Not only unjustifiable but hypocritical as governments continuously rail about housing affordability.

What are governments doing with all this additional tax revenue? Increasing the size of civil service.

Between 2015 and 2023 the federal government increased the number of employees by 40% with an average salary increase of 37%. In B.C. the number of government employees increased by 31% since the NDP came into power.

Have we seen a 30-40% increase in services to justify these levels? Methinks not.

Inflation is alive and well and here to stay as both beneficiaries have no motivation to take meaningful steps to reverse or slow it down.

The only solution is for us, the customer and voter, to say no!

N.G. Giuliany


Pandora Ave. residents, businesses have right too

Re: “Don’t ignore the rights of those ­living on Pandora Avenue,” commentary, May 22.

Dr. Shaun Peck appears not to have experienced living or operating a business in the Pandora neighbourhood.

Over the years, as the drug epidemic has spread, Our Place and almost the entire 900 block of Pandora has become a wasteland with “campers” (most of whom are drug addicts) spreading themselves, their belongings, their daily mountains of garbage, needles and free tents over almost every available square inch of what used to be grass.

And it’s bylaw officers’ job to clean up their mess every day. Our Place should be responsible for cleaning up their own mess.

Open drug use is the norm, with “safe consumption sites” on both sides of the 900 block. Nighttime screaming and vandalism occur frequently and in the early morning several months ago a murder occurred adjacent to our complex on the 1000 block.

No one feels safe going out or coming in after dark in our neighbourhood.

Regretfully, the rights of residents and remaining businesses on the 900 and adjacent blocks have been largely ignored by both Our Place and the City of Victoria.

Why are all these services clustered on one block in a residential area? Why is Our Place not charged with any responsibility for ensuring a safe neighbourhood, or for removal of drugs, needles, feces, garbage, and tents on their block and on neighbouring blocks?

Apparently, Our Place doesn’t have to take any responsibility for the nightmare that they’ve created.

How convenient for them. How devastating for us taxpayers.

Carole Small


Victoria council should learn to say no

Re: “Mayor warns developers to keep promises after townhouse project request,” May 24.

First, Victoria council gave up 28 trees, existing zoning, nine variances, and the character of a quiet neighbourhood.

They next surrendered the affordable housing component, the singular aspect that made the development palatable.

Finally, they capitulate on at least six more requirements, changes so radical that Mayor Marianne Alto said “the project now bears little resemblance to the original.”

And now the mayor issues a stern warning! What next? A slap on the wrist?

What are the takeaways here?

When push comes to shove, developers will always choose profit over people, and a council that is more concerned with politics than pragmatism is easily duped.

My advice to council: Just say no!

Tom Braybrook


We won’t see this much consultation again

Re: “Mayor warns developers to keep promises after townhouse project request,” May 24.

Mayor Marianne Alto says that her frustration at having to once again consider amending an already approved 18-unit townhouse project at 902 Foul Bay Rd. had her close to voting against the most recent version.

The developers must be quaking with fear and dread. Council has approved every change they asked for, three times, including abandoning four affordable units (whatever that might have meant). Alto is striking fear into their hearts.

The truth is, this will never happen again, because the new community plan will force this sort of things everywhere in Victoria without any consultation or approval by neighbourhoods or council.

The survey about the plan was a farce, with no choices other than the council’s desired outcomes.

Coun. Matt Dell showed complete and utter disdain for the residents he is supposed to represent when he said the previous council encumbered the project “with way too many requirements trying to get neighbourhood support for town homes.”

Who cares what neighbourhoods want? Not this mayor and council.

Richard Volet


Government action vs. entrepreneurial spirit

Canada is in the top 10 countries when it comes to the illegal export of stolen luxury vehicles to the Middle East and Africa.

This was achieved with no government incentives, grants, forgivable loans, subsidies and the like. The lesson to be learned is that if government gets out of the way then the Canadian entrepreneurial spirit has the ability to shine.

When this was brought to the attention of the government the commitment was made to put a stop to the practice. This will doubtless mean a few thousand more civil servants to be hired, money borrowed to pay for the program, an increase in the national debt, and higher interest payments to be made.

As to the success of the program, well, we can only go by past government achievements.

Brian Summers


Sidney Island deer kill was absurd, inhumane

Re: “Parks Canada defends $12 million deer kill on Sidney Island,” May 24.

Parks Canada’s Alice in Wonderland experiment to “restore” the Douglas Fir ecosystem by eradicating a few deer on Sidney Island is both absurd and inhumane.

Why would the federal government spend this kind of money to get rid of a few dozen deer on a private island populated by many very rich owners while Mayne Island has a real problem with an estimated 4,000 fallow deer.

The Douglas vir ecosystem stretches from Bellingham in the U.S. to Lund in B.C.

What happens on Sidney Island will have no impact on the larger ecosystem.

No animal rights group in Canada approves of this project.

The B.C. SPCA has few resources to deal with wildlife. Its so-called “monitor” was not present on the Island for most of the 10 days during the December helicopter hunt.

The fact that it is complicit in this project is a stain on its reputation. It should stick to puppies and kittens.

Parks Canada chooses its own definition of “humane” to rationalize its fundamentally flawed approach. Kafka must be having a good chuckle!

Robin Bassett

Sidney Island

Compromise needed in our governments

It does not surprise me that the conservative oriented B.C. United Party and the Conservative Party of B.C. are spending more time throwing barbs at one another than trying to work together in the best interests of British Columbians.

Conservatives are their own worst enemies. Unlike Liberals who are motivated only by grasping power and holding onto it at all costs, Conservatives are motivated by principles that often conflict with one another.

I think that B.C. United leader Kevin Falcon’s proposal to not run candidates against Conservative candidates and vice versa makes perfect sense.

He wants the Conservatives to run candidates in 47 ridings and his party to run candidates in 46 ridings. That way, free enterprise candidates have a chance to win enough seats to defeat the NDP and form a coalition government.

Coalition governments are becoming commonplace all over the world including our own federal Liberal / NDP coalition government in Ottawa today that has been functioning for several years.

In many ways, coalition governments could be much more effective than majority governments. It could be much healthier to have a variety of points of view given equal respect and consideration so that necessary compromise can be achieved.

Paul Arnold


Put leadership ahead of personal gain

How disappointing that John Rustad and Kevin Falcon would not come to an agreement. Their unwillingness to work together has guaranteed another NDP provincial win.

Instead of their playground antics perhaps they might consider working together for the benefit of the province. We need to put true leadership ahead of personal gain if British Columbia is going to move forward.

Charmaine Lovell


We don’t want them running our province

And these are the kind of personalities and values we want running our province? Looks like the slippery slope into the nasty politics south of us!

John Stevenson


Those cardboard clips make all the difference

In observance of plastic free day, May 25, I went to a big box store in Langford to buy bread.

The three loaves I bought came in individually wrapped in plastic bags with the brand logo. They are all packed together inside one large clear plastic bag, obviously used to expedite the check out process and to make sure you buy at least three.

But fortunately for us all, in an effort to make a difference, the bread bag clips were made out of cardboard.

I felt so much better knowing I had done my part keeping those nasty plastic bread bag clips out of our landfill or our ocean.

Paul Hartigan

North Saanich

Millions wasted in Surrey policing fight

We can only hope the Surrey policing saga is over. The mayor has already shown a willingness to waste public money for a court case on behalf of the RCMP.

Maybe one day we will get answers for this mayor’s obsessively futile commitment to the RCMP. Long after the writing on the wall dried.

By we, I mean not only Surrey ­residents, but all residents of British Columbia.

This drawn-out fiasco has wasted ­hundreds of millions of dollars of provincial and city money.

And the province is promising even more to wrap the ordeal up. Funds and resources that could have gone toward addressing the multiple crises facing the province (housing and homelessness, school programs, health care, overdoses and toxic drugs, youth engagement) and building a foundation for durable community health and safety going forward have been squandered. They can never be recouped.

Enough is enough (it’s already been too much). We can only hope that this fiasco is over, lessons are finally learned, and we can get down to finding real solutions to community health and safety.

Dr. Jeff Shantz

Department of Criminology

Kwantlen Polytechnic University


Fear in neighbourhood, but not much impact

The residents of Russell Street in Vic West who are concerned about a pending supportive housing project should recall the upset a few years ago when a former nursing home on Vancouver Street at Rockland was to become Mount Edwards Court supportive housing. Parents pulled children out of Christ Church Cathedral School and fear gripped the neighbourhood. Now that it’s been in place for a while, what is the impact?

Nothing, nada, zilch. A few folks sit and chat outside, and say “hello” if you look at them as you walk by.

Gerald Rotering

James Bay


Prima donna Messi’s no-show in Vancouver

Lionel Messi has committed the business equivalent of the “prima donna dive.” His contract with Inter Miami is worth up to $150 million and his career earnings will reach an estimated $1.6 billion.

One would think that is enough incentive to take a trip to appear before 50,000 fans in Vancouver.

Fred Kardel



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