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Letters Nov. 30: Create separate spaces for anti-vaxxers; strangers come to rescue in cycling crash

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A pro-vaccination demonstrator tries to counter anti-vaccine protesters on Pandora Avenue in September. A letter-writer suggests separate spaces for vaccinated and unvaccinated people could calm the waters of the ongoing debate. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

No vaccinations? Make space for them

I believe we should accommodate non-vaxxers, give them their own lifeboat so to speak; that way everyone gets what they want. Allocate a fair share of resources and facilities to be run by and for those choosing to opt out of the vaccine effort.

For example, restaurants should be free to choose but required to make the choice public, so all of us can make informed decisions where we go.

Either opt-in — everyone possible vaccinated, employees and customers. Or opt-out — no vaccine requirements for anyone. Important caveat, employees opting-in to vaccination but working for employers opting-out must have guaranteed unemployment benefits so no one feels pressured into an opt-out environment.

Allocate a hospital to provide employment exclusively for the unvaccinated health-care workers, I’m sure they’re willing to do the work.

Make that the primary resource for unvaccinated COVID patients, many of whom will likely feel more confident in that setting.

Select one office building for non-vaxxing government employees, no need to lay them off.

Are more examples needed? I’m sure accommodations such as these would keep all of us happy.

Malcolm Dew-Jones
Victoria

When will we run out of Greek letters?

Omicron variant. Check.

I have finally reconciled to the fact that this virus will keep mutating until either we run out of Greek letters or until we run out of science-denying fools.

I don’t know about you, but I know which scenario I prefer.

Sandy Szabo
North Saanich

Many thanks for help after a cycling accident

On Friday afternoon I was cycling south on the Galloping Goose Trail and was hit by a car while crossing Ardersier Road.

A nod of gratitude to a fellow named Jim who was cycling 50 feet behind me and stopped to give assistance and comfort. And two passersby, Monique and Darryl, who came running to offer first aid and remained at the accident with me.

And Carl, a Saanich medical officer who just happened to be in the area and who stabilized me and waited until the ambulance arrived.

A big thank you to these civic-minded individuals for their concern, care, and comfort. I am lucky to have experienced some of the unknown wonderful people who live in our city.

Steve Rothfels
Victoria

The Salt Spring route? Good luck making it work

The idea of a bridge to Salt Spring Island is a non-starter. Besides the people who have dynamite stashed in case someone tries, there are many other problems.

How much property are you going to expropriate? Whose houses are you going to bulldoze? Whose property are you putting the access roads and on-ramps through?

All very expensive and with multiple lawsuits involved. The bridge would have to be two-lane as there is no point building a four-lane bridge into a two-lane roadway. One accident would close the bridge for hours.

The roads here are two lanes and very narrow and winding. Lots of blind corners and hills.

Every summer we are inundated with hordes of cyclists who have no intention of allowing any car to get past. Be resigned to grinding along in low gear burning up loads of petrol.

We do not want your pollution. Bridges do not maintain themselves, they must be maintained at considerable expense.

Try another idea, perhaps an inland bypass over the Malahat. It would probably be cheaper.

Kerry Butler
Salt Spring Island

Heavy rainstorms are hitting new targets

Atmospheric river or pineapple express — whatever term you use, this is nothing new. This has been hitting the west coast of Vancouver island and the mainland above the Island forever.

Ask any old West Coast logger like me. These huge rain storms are very common. Also they are not just in the winter.

When working on the west coast at the north end of the Island I had many of these storms to deal with.

On one occasion we were working in extreme heat and on early shift. Our thoughts were that any day we would be sent home for fire season.

At 1 a.m. as we were getting ready to go to work a wind started to blow that was extremely warm for that time of the morning. The older crew members knew what was coming.

The rain that followed destroyed many roads and bridges. We were shut down for extreme rain, not heat, in the middle of August.

The year of the major Kelowna fires we went to work only to find that our rain gauge that we used for safety was completely full from the rainstorm during the night. It had rained more than seven inches — nearly 180 mm.

This was when logging in the entire province was shut down.

I am not a climate-change denier. The only thing that is different now is these big storms have changed where they hit hard. They are hitting areas that can’t handle it, unlike the west coast of the Island.

This is just one more thing in an upside-down world.

Tim Young
Sooke

Better transit would help on the Malahat

Every day I see multiple suggestions to bypassing the Malahat, including bridges to Brentwood and Salt Spring Island. The people who live in these regions and also North and Central Saanich live there for many reasons, and most love living in the quiet suburbs.

To suggest that the traffic be moved to these areas to support Victoria residents or commuters from other areas of Vancouver Island is absurd.

There was a suggestion for frequent transit buses with reasonable fares from Victoria to Nanaimo. This makes much more sense in the wake of climate change and would also make me consider travelling this mode to visit my daughter in Duncan. Wouldn’t it be delightful to just sit and enjoy the ride?

Also, with all the damage done by recent storms, our money would be better spent on repairing the dikes on the Lower Mainland, highways in the Interior and helping all the people whose homes were flooded or burned during this year’s weather.

Let’s get our priorities in line with the current and changing climate conditions. Yes, improvements need to be made to keep this corridor open, but we need to be reasonable in our expectations. Money doesn’t grow on trees.

Eileen Cannon
Victoria

Typical response to something positive

Re: “Cost of sick leave will be felt by all,” letter, Nov. 27.

The writer assumes that his employees are liars and will use their paid sick days inappropriately. As a patron, I like to know that the businesses I support aren’t staffed by sick workers afraid to lose a day’s pay or worse. One wonders how he, as an employer, has fostered a work culture so toxic that his employees feel the need to lie.

Sadly, his response is a typical bourgeoisie response to something positive for workers.

Sean Gimbel
Mill Bay

Businesses should cover those health costs

Re: “Cost of sick leave will be felt by all,” letter, Nov. 27.

The business owner said any sick leave costs would have to be passed on to the end user, the consumer. I believe he is quite correct that these costs will be passed on to the consumer, but let us apply some thought to this problem.

He states this employee entitlement will cost him “in excess of $100,000 annually.” That is a considerable payroll if his costs for paying sick leave will be in excess of $100,000.

That this “medium-sized business” is unable to spend just over $8,000 a month to keep its workers safe and prevent the spread of this disease, smacks of a primary interest in keeping its profit as it is. I am sure your correspondent is far from alone in this desire.

Business owners naturally plan to make a profit, but surely they also have a duty to their workers, a duty of safety and of decent working conditions.

If businesses plan to pass on their costs for this basic need, to prevent the spread of COVID amongst their staff, to the end consumer, they abrogate their responsibility for the health and well-being of their workers.

This, in a nutshell, is how the rich get richer and the end user, the consumer, gets poorer.

Linda Richardson
Sidney

The city where they love being green

Re: “Langford sets green concrete blueprint for Canada,” Nov. 26.

You’re pulling my leg, right?

Langford, the same city that never met a tree it was willing to protect or unwilling to cut down?

Bob MacKenzie
Langford

Privacy violated on a return to Canada

On Nov. 20 my husband and I arrived at Vancouver International Airport from London-Heathrow.

At the passport control, we were asked why did we go to London and what did we do. The passport officer told us that the system had selected us for random COVID-19 testing.

We had the required documents ready for presentation, besides the valid passports. They were proof of a pre-entry molecular test (negative, done on Nov. 19) and the ArriveCAN app.

Nobody asked for these documents.

At the registration station we had to give our full names, home address, phone number, email address and passport number.

There was a keyboard for us and a screen that showed what we typed in. This screen was also in full view of everyone else waiting their turn to register.

This element in a procedure is unacceptable and we felt that our privacy was heavily violated. We were in a rush to catch our flight to Victoria in a very short time, but otherwise we would have refused to provide our personal information in this manner, no matter the consequences.

We just hope that this way of displaying travellers’ personal information will be reconsidered immediately in order that we all feel confident that our privacy is respected and protected when providing our personal information to the Canadian government.

Nina Frankl
Saanichton

Make it easier for them to understand

While reading a recent item dealing with the new, non-binary leader of the Green party, I became a little confused when the text suddenly started referring to the person as “they” — the plural form of the third-person pronoun.

It appeared that the story had suddenly started referring to a group of people, instead of the original subject of the piece. It took me a little while to realize that a new standard was being used, whereby people who identify as neither fully male nor fully female are referred to in the plural.

This, it appears, is because the word “they” does not specify a gender in the same way that the words “he” and “she” do. I did note that there is a small problem with this approach, in that it’s both confusing and ambiguous.

Why not invent a new third-person pronoun to deal with this situation? If we adopted the word “se” in place of “he” or “she,” we could use it whenever we wish to avoid indicating a gender. We’d also need to invent a word for the objective case, and for the possessive. These could be “ser” (for “her” or “him”) and “ses” for “his” or “hers.”

Noting that Canada is a bilingual country, it’s apparent that there’s an even greater need to adopt this approach in French. The plurals of the third-person pronouns in French have a gender; “ils” and “elles” are both gender-specific.

If we were to create new pronouns in French, we could use “ille” and “illes” as the new subjective pronouns. The indirect object and reflexive pronouns are the same in both genders, so that’s not a problem.

But we would need a new word for the singular direct object pronouns, which are currently “le” and “la.” Perhaps the new word could be “lu.”

I think the hasty adoption of my proposals would keep everyone happy, and allow for clear and unambiguous writing. After all, it didn’t take very long for the honorific “Ms.” to become generally adopted.

Bob Johns
Chemainus

Follow the path set by the politicians

The hybrid formula shows that the Liberals and NDP are prepared to lead by example of paying people not to work.

Ed Bird
Victoria

We’ve already seen this highway devastation

It seems that the Ministry of Highways never learns from their mistakes.

In 1975, the Yellowhead Highway between Prince George and Prince Rupert had just been completed at great cost. A major storm event that year, similar to the present event, had a major impact on the newly completed road, particularly bridges and culverts.

Bridges in high-energy streams were constructed with concrete piles supporting the bridge spans in the middle of the stream, but the abutments were not resting on piles and were supported by the highway fill only.

In spite of their erosion protection, the flood waters washed away the abutment fills and collapsed the bridge decks at both ends, leaving the bridges without access from either side.

Many culverts also failed in the floodwaters and left canyons where road fill once existed.

Recent pictures of the Coquihalla and other roads affected by the floods showed the same result as the 1975 flood affecting the Yellowhead Highway.

In other words, the bridges were washed out in similar fashion by unprotected abutment fills and the bridge decks hanging from piles driven midstream which survived the erosion. Deja vu all over again.

When will they ever learn?

Brian Dane
Nanaimo

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