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Letters Sept. 12: Crossing the street is dangerous; future of Centennial Square fountain deserves more scrutiny; climate and immigration

It’s too dangerous to cross local streets On Wednesday, Sept. 6 at about 5:40 p.m., I got off the bus at Interurban and Chesterfield. Another pedestrian followed me.
The fountain at Centennial Square was built in the mid-1960s and features artwork in the middle that was created with thousands of tiles. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

It’s too dangerous to cross local streets

On Wednesday, Sept. 6 at about 5:40 p.m., I got off the bus at Interurban and Chesterfield. Another pedestrian followed me.

As we approached the marked crossing area, we noticed the many vivid bouquets attached to and surrounding the electrical pole, marking the death of a pedestrian there a few nights earlier.

I pressed the button and checked to see the lights above me were flashing. Traffic was steady, but all approaching vehicles were a significant distance from the crosswalk. I paused to see if oncoming drivers had noticed the flashers.

A car sped through the crossing, the driver either oblivious or in a hurry.

I’m a driver, too. I know that pedestrians sometimes underestimate their visibility. They cross without waiting for their go-ahead, they wear dark and non-reflective clothing at night, they wander off sidewalks and into oncoming traffic.

But here, it was daylight, and drivers heading south, as this one was, did not have the sun in their eyes. The flashers were activated.

Not one, but two pedestrians waited at the crosswalk, making ourselves as visible as possible. And we stood at a place conspicuously marked by a recent casualty.

In a region that wants to promote active transportation, it shouldn’t be this dangerous to cross the street.

And no, I didn’t catch the offending driver’s licence plate number. They were going too fast.

Susan Olding


More scrutiny is needed before fountain is lost

Re: “Centennial Square fountain in peril,” Sept. 10.

A price tag of $58,000 to $84,000 (an engineering firm’s 2016 estimate) to remediate Victoria’s historic Centennial Square fountain seems reasonable when viewed alongside the consulting and design fees of $750,000 already approved by council to re-design the square.

The comparison between restoring “the first major piece of public art — modern public art — to be commissioned and erected in Victoria” and replacing it with a children’s splash park, functional for a fraction of the year, deserves some scrutiny and public input.

Is there no other suitable spot for splash parks in downtown Victoria? Will replacing the fountain with a splash park succeed in transforming Centennial Square into the safe-to-visit family friendly destination our council envisions?

Soressa Gardner


Volunteer your time at Heritage Acres

Re: “Revving up for history at Heritage Acres,” Sept. 10.

I regard Heritage Acres (also known as Saanich Historical Artifacts Society or SHAS) as one of Greater Victoria’s hidden gems. Most people (including many who have lived on the peninsula for decades) know SHAS only as a glimpse of the model train track as they whiz to or from southward destinations and are surprised that there’s a whole world behind the train.

As a retired physician, I have volunteered with Heritage Acres for about three years and get to do a lot of things (riding/fixing tractors, building bridges/trails, moving/restoring the 1921 Cunningham log gas station, etc.) that I never had the opportunity to do as a doc.

I am humbled by the breadth of knowledge of the “old-timers” there — they have been generous and patient with teaching me about everything from how to crank up a steam engine to working an Alaska mill.

There are so many of us who fuss and wonder how to use our time in retirement. Come to Heritage Acres and volunteer your time and knowledge and join a wonderful group of enthusiasts! You won’t regret it.

Lloyd Hildebrand


Climate, immigration balance is needed

Immigration policy is difficult if we wish to reduce the harms of global warming, while behaving humanely.

Highly skilled immigrants are good for our immediate economic prospects, but deprives often poor countries of skills they paid to produce. The Philippines, however, encourage the export of their trained nurses, who send significant money back home.

Allowing poor unskilled immigrants is humane, but will raise their material consumption and emissions significantly, thus further stressing our planet’s resources and overheating us all.

While business and most politicians’ interests are served by “bigger is better,” others’ reactions are mixed. Few seem primarily concerned with the big picture of resource and climate health.

That includes whether those blocked from emigration will with many small but growing individual footprints, push their homelands beyond sustainability, or alternatively and creatively, contribute to more sustainable ways of living.

Policy lines resulting in happy survival, or death by fire, flood, famine or pollution, and the limitations of the environment and human aid are not well defined. Neither are the implications of different strategies for world population numbers .

Social justice demands higher living standards in poor societies. However, reduced reproduction rates must not lag, which they very likely will, despite efforts to give women education, control of contraception, and the freedoms they deserve. To these, we should contribute much more, anyway.

Canadians should routinely admit persecuted individuals and minorities, and those with medical issues we can cure or manage where the countries of origin cannot. The rest is mostly uncertain.

Glynne Evans


Enough health excuses, please give us results

Many years ago, an air force unit I was assigned to had as its motto: “Results, Not Excuses!”

I can’t think of anything in recent memory that has incensed me quite a much as the recent remarks of Health Minister Adrian Dix that the situations we face at emergency rooms are the “new norm,” and as he pronounced at Surrey Memorial Hospital, that it is the fault of the previous B.C. Liberal government.

Dix has had this portfolio for the six that the NDP has been in power. Before the NDP coming to power, my wife and I had a family physician, we were able to get timely treatment when required, as was the case with most individuals.

Since then we have watched a steady deterioration of the health-care system under the watch of this minister.

Today, we have no family physician, access to timely treatment is wishful thinking and there is little likelihood of that ever changing since it would appear that what we see is the “new norm”.

There is a long-held principle in the military that you are responsible for that which happens on your watch. I would suggest that in B.C. politics, that is definitely not the case, but rather the responsibility of a government that has been out of power for almost a decade.

Like an untold number of British Columbians, I despair at what I see with our collapsing medical system and the strict adherence to a broken utopian socialist dream that precludes any alternatives such as private sector involvement.

Perhaps in Dix’s view, it is better to go without medical care, never mind the suffering and possible mortality, than to allow or even consider any other possible avenues of care.

The fact that he can openly blame a government long out of power for the debacle that has happened largely on his watch is unconscionable.

In the real world that would be grounds for summary dismissal long before this, but not so with politicians.

I suggest that Dix place a sign above all Ministry of Health offices that states “Excuses, Not Results!” That is certainly what most of us see and have to live with, unfortunately.

James P. Crowley

North Saanich

European ideas and North American culture

Re: “We need a community conversation on urban issues,” commentary, Sept. 9.

I am admittedly a Victorian who, as the author says, likes to “rhapsodize about their visits to cities in Italy, Spain, Portugal and other places far denser than Victoria.”

But herein lies the problem … it’s difficult to build a European-like city with our North American cultural attitudes.

Yes, European cities have high density and that is part of their charm, but they live very different lives than we do. They don’t drive as much and their transportation of choice is walking, biking, taking a bus, train etc.

Most households don’t own a vehicle. This is in comparison to North American culture where not only does every household have a vehicle, but every person in that household has a vehicle!

And not just a utilitarian, small, easy on gas (or electricity) vehicle that is easy to park, but a monstrous SUV or truck which the owner feel reflects their very identity, while simultaneously keeping their kids safe from imaginary dangers on the drive to school. And then they expect to drive it as fast as they want, to where they want, where they can then park for free! Stopping at red lights and stop signs is strictly optional.

So this is the conundrum … .we want to densify, but densifying within North American cultural norms leads to chaos, un-livable/unsafe neighbourhoods, traffic congestion, and excessive noise and air pollution.

Maybe it’s time we all became a bit more “European like” for both our health and the health of the planet.

Jennifer Kolot


A conversation when monstrosities arrive

Re: “We need a community conversation on urban issues,” commentary, Sept. 9.

I loved the flowery prose of the author and the “pixie dust” he was “not” trying to spread, however he failed to address the elephant in the room and the large amount of its dung that was spread.

“Livability and visual delight” are not the reaction of homeowners next to infill housing that places a nineplex, three-story monstrosity on a corner lot in Saanich next to reasonably small single-family homes.

I don’t know or care where the writer lives but those next to these developments really do care about the compromised “house owner entitlements” inflicted upon them.

There is no “code” involved when a homeowner states that they fear the parking problems and visual decay of the new neighbourhood parkade!

It’s really them entering the “community wide conversation” the writer is promoting. It really comes down to the real crux of enlightened density … it depends on whose ox is being gored!

It’s critical their voices are respected.

Max Miller


Marginalized citizens and bad opioids

How much longer are we going to submit our marginalized citizens in North America to the attack of China and Mexico that supply North America with fentanyl-laced opioids?

Bill Hinds

North Saanich

Get used to the ailments that come with age

So a 70-year-old man can’t walk his dog? So operating rooms can’t keep up with all knee and hip replacements that are being demanded — and in my opinion oversold?

Ten years ago, I was told that both my knees were horribly damaged and needed immediate replacing. It was left up to me to decide which to do first.

One was replaced. Ten years later both knees are equally painful and stiff. I never saw any reason to get the second one done.

I am almost 80. I am old. I walk my dog, I live in a three-storey house, get on with daily life. It hurts. I limp. I take pain killers. Life is not perfect.

Surrender gracefully the things of youth!

F.R. Kordoski


Make it easier for people to sign up for MAID

At one time, I supported medical assistance in dying out of a sense of principle, now I support it out of a sense of urgency. Two months ago, I was faced with the need to place my 91-year-old husband in a home for those with complex care needs.

It was a heart-wrenching decision and one I regret having to make every day. But circumstances and urgings from those in the field convinced me this was the right move.

Since that time, I have visited most days and always come away feeling distressed, defeated and discouraged. Almost without exception the clientele have severe dementia; many loll about in chairs, heads down — hopefully sleeping — while others wander about like caged tigers.

Aside from a caring and dedicated staff, no one appears to be happy and few appear to receive any visitors. And at almost $13,000 per month, the cost is prohibitive for most while the waiting list for government care is two years or more.

Surely there has to be a better way to meet the end-of-life needs of our no-longer-competent loved ones than warehousing them until their natural end, which can come painfully slow.

If we had the ability to avoid this often prolonged leave-taking, we would choose to do so. And yet the foot-dragging regarding advance request for MAID goes on and on.

There will be those who oppose this on religious or other grounds; the care home operators for sure. And the small but vocal group who worry about change of mind at the end.

But no one suggests this should be mandatory. And wouldn’t it be better to listen to the desires of those who made their feelings known while still mentally competent, than risk not having the ability to do so at the end?

Ivy Pye



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