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Letters Nov. 19: Island needs a reliable transport corridor; few options for another route

Letters to the editors from our readers
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Crews repair a section of the Malahat damaged by heavy rain and flooding. Work has progressed enough to allow for single-lane alternating traffic 24 hours a day. B.C. TRANSPORATION MINISTRY. Nov. 18, 2021

We have problems that must be addressed

So where and to whom do I submit my ferry receipt for getting back home from the North Island after the Malahat (which my federal tax, gas tax, provincial tax dollars and multiple “transportation reviews” supposedly go to) is completely shut down and washed away?

I am a farmer in North Saanich who never took CERB, works hard for my family’s income and is required to travel a single lane corridor to get to and from where I live just to make ends meet.

Sure, previous governments made it that way — it’s not my fault. But now it’s yours, so stop avoiding what’s in your face. We need more roads; electric vehicles will use them, too. It’s a transportation corridor.

Sorry, Premier John Horgan, that things aren’t well with you. Sorry, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, that you don’t like the West Coast.

We are washed out, under water, no way to do or get to our jobs. And now no way to head east to find a place to collect CERB as the water is too high.

No farms, no food, no transport, no cities … no cities, no votes, so who’s going to elect you next time?

Stop trying to solve the world’s problems, solve your country’s problems — and stop using political innuendo to escape the tough questions.

Jay Krzywonos, farmer

North Saanich

Not many options for another route

Yes, the Malahat has been shut down again. By now a few will be demanding a wider highway, more and bigger ferries on the route or a bridge.

All three solutions will not help significantly, especially if a cost factor was included. A wider highway will do little. If the debris and water can cross the current road, why would anyone think it could not cross more lanes?

Also a wider highway would mean cutting further into a high and, at times, unstable slope, resulting in the potential for more incidents.

A solution would be a second alternate route. More and bigger ferries may help, but not solve the problem. There is a limit to the size and number of dockings per hour the current docks can handle.

A new dock farther out the peninsula would make the crossing shorter, but still would be inadequate for hundreds of cars an hour.

A bridge across would be prohibitively expensive for the number of cars per year on the Malahat, just the maintenance cost per year would be significant.

At a fast guess, for the cost of building a bridge, start with a billion plus and 10 years before it is built, and that is optimistic — expect the time and the dollars to be much more.

The best solution may be to just suck it up and recognize there will be the occasional day that travelling up and down the island is not practical.

Norm Ryder

Central Saanich

If we build a wave, surfers will catch it

Have we had enough bickering about Clover Point? On the positive side, the water in the Clover Point and Ross Bay area is well used.

Most days I see plenty of kiteboarders and wingfoilers as well as paddleboarders on calmer days. However, I have only seen a surfer there once in 25 years.

What if we could change that? A small artificial reef or even a rock placed in the right spot to create a consistently surfable wave would unite Victoria’s surf community and possibly create a whole new one.

It doesn’t need to be a huge wave or a costly endeavour to produce, only consistent. An “all ages, all abilities” wave would be just fine.

Imagine the reduction in emissions if surfers from Victoria didn’t have to drive to Jordan River, Sombrio or Tofino to catch a wave. A surfable wave would be great for attracting locals and tourists as well, benefiting local enterprise.

I am not a marine engineer (obviously), but I’m sure there are many of them in Victoria who could advise on the feasibility of this idea, and where it would work best with minimal disruption to nature.

I invite the council and their Twitter mobs to put the division and identity politics aside, and let’s build something awesome that excludes no one. It could just be #TheWave that brings Victoria together.

Geoff Mason

Victoria

Council again straying away from its mandate

Re: “Victoria council mulls giving annual grant to First Nations, based on tax revenue,” Nov. 6.

Is Victoria city council straying into areas of provincial and federal significance and responsibility?

Our council members have once again stretched the electoral mandates they were given to run the city in a fiscally responsible manner.

The coming municipal election will be most interesting.

Peter Foran

Songhees-Vic West

Convert rail line to a bus corridor

When did the dream of owning a ­single-family home become out of fashion? Out of one side we hear how we must do something about the housing situation in the capital region.

Out of the other side we hear of the need to pursue the agricultural land reserve in areas that are clearly not agricultural, as we watch lots being blasted out of rock and high-density housing reach for the sky.

We’re not short of land, yet the “gouging” price of a vacant, modest-size lot is fast approaching $1 million.

Can anyone explain why we cannot convert the Island rail-corridor to a single and in some areas, a double-lane bus route that would open up the length of the Island to a vast corridor of housing opportunity serviced with reliable commuter transportation?

And, please don’t fawn over us waiting for the train to arrive. I’ve used trains to commute. They are unreliable and expensive.

A single-lane, uni-directional rail corridor will never be a suitable commuter corridor. Whereas a single-lane bus corridor could respond to variable traffic volumes and schedules using the Island Highway as the return route.

A decent high-speed bus corridor in complement with properly engineered community plans would create a swath of opportunity for thousands of families on the Island that are now being sardined into high-density housing.

Larry Olsen

Victoria

Our town is losing its appeal to tourists

Once again I read with sadness about the goings-on in our once-beautiful city.

I grew up in London and spent most of my wet weekends visiting all the museums and art galleries there. They were beyond magnificent.

When I came to Victoria I expected to see a tiny and very provincial museum. Was I ever surprised at how marvellous all the exhibits were, showing in detail the history of this lovely province.

My children and grandchildren used to love going there. Now it will be a shadow of its former glory.

Victoria is touted as a “tourist town.” First they closed the wax museum, then the beautiful Crystal Garden, both so easily accessible to the tourists and locals alike, and now this.

What is next? Will they want the owners of Butchart Gardens to get rid of all the “offensive and old colonial trees and shrubs?”

As a tourist town, relying on tourist money, we are going rapidly down the drain.

Victoria is becoming a smaller and uglier version of Chicago or Toronto, without the big-city amenities, just those many new and unattractive highrises.

All is not totally lost, as we still have many beautiful trees lining our boulevards and for that I am truly grateful.

To the powers that be, please wake up and stop all the chaos before it is too late.

Genie Carson

Victoria

Hey, drivers, don’t blame Fairfield residents

Drivers, it is not our fault that you have been shuffled off Richardson Street and now have to use St. Charles and Warren Gardens to make your way between downtown and home.

I know that the hold-ups and near misses on this narrow street are a cause of frustration, but please slow down and accept this blight that has been put upon us.

Tearing off and blasting your horn is not the norm. Again, take your problem to City Hall, and not out on the people who had no part in this change.

We did not invite this chaos, so please remember we have lots of new young families on these two streets as well as older members of the neighbourhood.

Thank you in advance.

James M. Scott

Victoria

A double standard in a restaurant visit

My family and I went to a local restaurant. We were pleased to provide our proof of vaccine at the doorstep as some of us are caregivers and strive to reduce COVID exposure.

We had trouble hearing the server explaining what we were eating. He lowered his mask without our consent and was a foot or less away.

We asked if he had been vaccinated, out of concern over risk of exposure, but he couldn’t respond. Then the manager reprimanded us for asking about the vaccination status, without an apology for his server’s behaviour having put us at risk.

I understand about privacy matters, but we customers had to prove our vaccine status at the doorstep. We have no idea if we’re scanned at the doorstep by someone who themselves are unvaccinated.

Isn’t this a double standard that makes the whole safety check a nonsense process?

Can there be a way of providing public access to a list of restaurants whose staff are vaccinated?

The very plausible scenario of non-vaccinated staff vetting consumers into a restaurant and serving us after is akin to a wolf in sheep’s clothing scanning vulnerable sheep into a pen deemed safe from wolf attacks.

This is lulling customers into a very false sense of security. Baaah indeed.

Jacqui Walker

Malahat

If you’re not ‘woke,’ then maybe you are ‘ignorant’

When did “woke” become a bad thing? The dictionary meaning is “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).”

Why is it used as an insult?

I hope I am woke. I certainly try to be woke.

If a person is not “woke,” what are they? Perhaps “ignorant” would be a good place to start.

Alan Thurston

Victoria

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