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Letters May 3: Controlling downtown bedlam; a dual Nobel winner; hospital parking woes

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A letter-writer suggests late-night violence in downtown Victoria is exceeding the ability of the police to control it. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Encountering bedlam downtown at night

We went to the ZZ Top concert, which we thoroughly enjoyed, and after the concert decided to walk to Douglas Street to catch a bus home. My wife said we should have a nightcap somewhere, so we walked south on Douglas only to encounter total bedlam.

Groups of kids threatening to kill one another, police driving in all directions trying to control it with no success.

I was born and raised in Victoria and have never been so disgusted to see what this city has become. We will probably not be going downtown at night anytime soon.

I feel badly for all the businesses that have to deal with this. No wonder downtown is dying.

Brock Carbery
Oak Bay

Marie Curie’s awards must be remembered

Re: “Rounding life’s second curve a hard road of self discovery,” April 30.

The article states that Linus Pauling was “the only person to win two different Nobel Prizes.” Pauling did, in fact, achieve that remarkable achievement, but he is not alone.

Marie Curie won Nobel Prizes in Physics (1904, with Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel) and Chemistry (1911, solo).

Her work with radioactivity (a term she coined) caused her premature death but has been a great benefit to medicine. She refused to patent her work to allow further work to proceed freely.

Steve Dove
Victoria

Tell outsiders about our housing shortage

The situation in Victoria respecting refugees from Ukraine is indeed becoming a tragic dilemma.

It seems that many people here are able and willing to provide only very temporary housing to incoming refugees — but then what? Evicting such a “tenant/guest” would be, for many reasons, out of the question.

Regardless of how motivated a refugee is to live independently, doing so takes much time and money.

I found a similar dilemma months ago when I had a small suite for rent and received numerous inquiries from couples from the Philippines where at least one person in each case was registered as a student at UVic or Camosun.

As a landlord, the usual vetting methods of an applicant for tenancy were difficult if not impossible.

None of them had jobs waiting that paid enough to afford anything approaching market rent. Evidence of savings can’t be relied upon unless the applicant pays several months’ rent in advance, which is illegal here — for good reason, since it would invite scammers.

The situation is made worse by the provincial tenancy laws that are strongly biased against landlords. Are foreign students not warned ahead of time about the severe shortage of accommodation here?

Ruth Robinson
Victoria

Government must help with mitigation

We’ve likely lost the opportunity to stop climate change. But climate mitigation and the opportunity to improve situations for people affected is something that can be done.

The flood in Abbotsford caused immense hardship and damaged the most important food-producing region in the province. Will Abbotsford be ready for the next flood?

The mayor has said what it will cost to build dykes and pumping stations. Problem is, the municipality can’t afford it.

Only the federal government has the means to help Abbotsford and, more broadly, address the massive and growing infrastructure deficit across the country. Surely lives and livelihoods will be prioritized ahead of the budget deficit.

Kip Wood
Nanaimo

Ferry reservations are a cash grab

B.C. Ferries charges a $17 reservation fee if you’re lucky enough to be on a run that allows that service.

It started as a system that was available to 20 per cent of capacity, but has evolved into a system used for the normal traffic sailings to 90 per cent of capacity.

If 90 per cent are paying the fee and 10 per cent are paying the approved fare rate, then it feels more that the approved rate plus the $17 is now the new fare.

As far as I know there has been no $17 fare increase approved, so either lower the dedicated space for reservations to 60 per cent or make it free, but this is a cash grab by manipulating a system designed to secure travel times for those who need the certainty into an unauthorized fare increase.

This will give those not able to access or plan their trips a reasonable chance to access services at the rate that is approved for the sailing.

Tony Maude
Salt Spring Island

Make hospital parking easier, and free for some

We are all aware of the financial strains on the health budget, but we are also aware of the marvelous work done by hospital staff, particularly in the past two COVID stress-filled years.

Hospital parking fees should be abolished for all staff working in our hospitals, and also the hospital parking fees should be abolished for all holders of a disabled permit.

The cost of introducing this would be a minimal charge on the health budget, which would be more than compensated for by removing that expense from the hard-worked hospital staff.

I also noted, when having to go to Saanich Peninsula Hospital, the considerable distance the staff (and visitors in some cases) had to walk to pay the meter, get their ticket, walk back to their vehicle to put the ticket on the dash and then walk to the hospital entrance.

I fail to understand why this could not be eliminated by having numbered parking bays and using the same system that is in use at the Royal Jubilee Hospital and Victoria General Hospital, where one enters the parking bay number in a machine at the hospital entrance.

Considering how much the parking company makes on its charges, the only costs would be for some tins of white paint and the labour to paint the numbers, and to install new meters at the main entrance and the emergency entrance.

Ed Buscall
Brentwood Bay

Refundable coffee cups better than a fee

Making coffee cups a refundable recycling item is a better option for waste reduction than charging a 25-cent fee for single-use coffee cups, and the Diverters Foundation is the reason why.

Charging for coffee cups will not effectively reduce the number of cups being thrown in the garbage. It only creates a barrier for low-income residents of Victoria who want to purchase a hot beverage.

If coffee cups were made refundable at recycling depots, it would encourage people to recycle them, which would reduce waste. An example of this concept at work is the Coffee Cup Revolution, which provides refunds for coffee cups one day a year, and was brought to Victoria by the Diverters Foundation.

The Diverters Foundation supports low- and no-income members of the community through various waste-diverting programs and job opportunities.

Diverters check recycling bins for correct sorting and create more room by effectively organizing items. Members of the Diverters Foundation also collect refundable containers and return them to local depots.

There are already people in the community who are actively working to ensure our waste is sorted correctly and recyclables are being recycled. Making coffee cups refundable would help financially support these members of our community while also keeping cups out of the landfill.

The refunded money would directly support low- and no-income community members as well as the local economy. As a resident of the Victoria area, I propose making coffee cups refundable as a method of waste reduction instead of the 25-cent charge.

Laura Greene
Victoria

Let the beat go on in our school system

If you are one of the lucky people who was introduced to music early, you know you will always have a friend and an extra love in your heart.

Why is it our educators have so little regard for this essence that can enrich every human soul? Those cancellers who prune band from the school curriculum are in serious need of schooling in the humanities themselves.

If there is one thing that pays guaranteed dividends in building stronger people and more cohesive societies, it is the appreciation of this life force.

Don’t believe those administrators who say we lack funds, instruments, space or tutors; these bean counters can find funds when the strike forces make noises. This time, the parents deserve some priority.

Can we hope that the designers of our children’s educations will pause and reconsider?

No life should miss knowing the beat of our mother’s heart is extended in many forms. Music’s harmonies must be included in and beyond the classroom — or how will the beat go on?

Have a heart and keep the music playing.

Russell Thompson
Victoria

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