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Letters Oct. 7: Mourning the loss of Shelbourne trees; election choices vital in Gulf Islands

A letter-writer suggests future generations will shake their heads at cutting down mature trees on Shelbourne Street to facilitate construction of bike lanes. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Trees help protect us from the sun

Re: “Trees fall along Shelbourne as improvements start on busy ­Saanich corridor,” Oct 4.

I’m as much in favour of bike lanes as anyone else, but future generations will shake their heads and wonder how on earth we thought that removing hundreds of mature trees would be considered an “improvement.”

With the scorching sun of the coming decades, local residents will take little comfort in the knowledge that three saplings were planted elsewhere in Saanich for every tree removed.

Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat.

Jonathan Stoppi

Election is important for the Gulf Islands

Thousands of holidaymakers enjoy the natural beauty of the Gulf Islands every year, but do they know how they are governed … and how at risk they are? The Oct. 15 election includes the election of trustees for the Islands Trust Area, which covers 13 major islands and 450 smaller ones between the mainland and southern Vancouver Island.

On each major island, two elected trustees, along with a third elected on another island, form a governance body called a Local Trust Committee. They are responsible for all land-use decisions in accordance with the Islands Trust Act, established in 1974 to limit development on the islands and preserve and protect their unique ecosystems.

This election is a pivotal one as the pressure for development on the islands increases, in conflict with their limited natural resources, especially freshwater, and limited services such as health care and ferry capacities.

Concern about affordable housing has emerged as land prices escalate. This presents a dilemma for islands where urban solutions, such as multi-unit developments and secondary suites, may stress resources beyond capacity.

Many concerned residents have come together under the banner of “Friends of the Gulf Islands” to highlight the need to put the ­natural environment first when land-use decisions are made, ­especially as the impact of climate change intensifies.

Without true stewards of the natural environment among elected trustees, we fear the ­ever-increasing pressures of ­development will overwhelm our precious Gulf Islands.

Trustee candidates’ responses to a questionnaire on this issue can be found at

Jennifer Margison
Galiano Island

Province is following the federal lead

Les Leyne’s Oct. 5 column is largely a restatement of B.C. Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon’s ­disingenuous mantra that the ­current provincial government is the sponsor of a so-called “catch and release” policy for repeat offenders.

This glib mantra wilfully ignores the simple fact that the current bail system is wholly dictated by federal laws, established by the federal government as well as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As such, the B.C. Attorney General is obliged to administer these laws accordingly.

Falcon’s insincere assertions are both wrong and very unhelpful.

Dan Rowe

An affront to judicial independence

I was astonished to see a Liberal MLA suggest that judges should be told what to do with frequent offenders.

He knew better and was just babbling nonsense.

The rock-solid basis of our ­justice system is founded on the independence of the judiciary.

The Supreme Court of Canada has clearly stated the principles of release following charges of ­criminal behaviour.

They are well known by anyone with a law degree or even a common understanding of bail provisions.

Places where the government of the day can tell judges what to do are not liberal democracies, but the likes of China and Russia.

It would be appropriate for the MLA in question to withdraw his nonsense and apologize to B.C.’s judiciary.

Bill Williamson

Put children first for a better future

Time and again, all we do is react to problems arising from past political strategies, designed only to win the next election.

We will never make progress until we focus on a better life for our children, because they are the future.

Imagine what a generation of healthy, well-educated children could accomplish.

Instead of political conflict, they would choose dialogue, and collaboratively search for ­solutions.

Crime, drug use and unemployment would significantly diminish.

Ask any loving parent what kind of society they want for their ­children. Then ask them to rise above primitive tribal politics, and proactively get the job done.

Graeme Gardiner

To build up, build next to Hancock

Re: “There is just one choice: We must build up,” letter, Oct. 5.

Well said by the writer. Most ­people could agree. However, the crux of the problem is where to place these now-acceptable “mini apartments.”

Everyone can support the idea until one is suggested next to your own single-family small home. One columnist, Trevor Hancock, has publicly stated at Saanich council that he would be proud to have a three-storey multi-family unit built next door to him.

I suggest that next door to him would be the most appropriate place to “build up.”

Max Miller

Political mud and the loss of decency

Re: “A quick lesson for Pierre Poilievre,” letter, Oct. 4.

Slinging political mud at someone who has spoken out against a threat of rape only shows how uncommon common decency has become.

Scott Clark
View Royal

Continue to fight for the natural world

Re: “Build oil refineries to secure energy supply,” Oct. 5.

When you’re retired and well-off like the letter-writer and his idol Gwyn Morgan, you want continued growth of the industrial-capitalist world so that your lifestyle and investments are protected, at least until you die.

To heck with the overheating planet, the mind-boggling loss of the world’s flora and fauna, etc. and the generations of humans to follow who have to deal with this mostly Big Oil-caused mess.

The reason that there are supply issues is that the fossil-fuel industry controls the game and wants high prices. So, we don’t need new oil refineries, we need every human to live with a lighter footprint and consume in a more ­sustainable manner.

If followed, demand for all things made from fossil fuels would drop, almost overnight. The fossils would slowly and inexorably lose control.

Other forms of energy would find their way and the environment would slowly recover.

By the way, the dictionary defines an ­environmentalist as a person who is concerned with or advocates for the protection of the environment, which in turn is defined as the natural world.

The question I have is: If you don’t stand for the natural world, what do you stand for?

Dave Secco


• Email:

• 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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