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Letters Sept. 20: Those annoying car alarms; in search of child care; we need more electricity; no need for Saanich's planning staff

The lower car deck on the B.C. Ferries vessel Coastal Celebration. TIMES COLONIST

Silencing car alarms on B.C. Ferries

Surely the persistent issue with car alarms going off on B.C. Ferries is solvable by awareness raising and education.

Strategically placed signs informing why and how to disengage car alarms should make a difference. So might instructions accessible via a QR code printed on the ticket stub.

The B.C. Ferries experience would be much more pleasant for passengers and pets stuck on the car decks, as well as those ashore or on the water in the vicinity of the incessantly beeping ferries.

Peter Keller


Housing land? There is some in Oak Bay

Need more land for housing? There is lots between Cattle Point and the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, enough for a duplex or two and a few townhomes.

Robert Irvine


Balance human rights with those of our dogs

The growing friction between people that do not own dogs and those who do is becoming quite apparent. Several recent articles highlight two areas of concern.

The first is the amount of space designated for dogs to run free in parks and the second is dogs running free in sensitive ecological areas and wildlife sanctuaries.

Human attachment to dogs began nearly 30,000 years ago. Originally domesticated for work and hunting, dogs eventually became pets.

Psychologists suggest that humans feel empathy for dogs because they see them as vulnerable. It is no surprise then that studies have shown the physical and mental health benefits of human-dog relationships.

Dog ownership is on the rise and spiked during the pandemic. Humans are social animals and when social interactions were cut off because of Covid-19, people turned to dogs for companionship.

As humans become more isolated from each other due to technology such as mobile phones, social media and working from home, expect an increase in the number of dogs as human interactions become virtual or non-existent. Dogs are here to stay.

The real issue that has led to this confrontation is that dog owners more often than not feel closer to and more empathy for their dogs than other people or other animals.

This leads owners to believe that dogs have equal if not more rights than humans or other animals, even endangered ones.

This is a distorted view because all creatures have value and should be accorded basic protections. As with most complex problems, a negotiated compromise will be required to ensure that the rights of humans and dogs are observed.

Dogmatic positions on either side are not helpful (no pun intended) and a calm, rational approach will eventually solve the issue.

Richard Smith


Centennial Square needs a pavilion

What Victoria’s Centennial Square needs is an attraction that will draw people downtown all year round, not just in the summer months.

Many communities in the city would love to have a large, attractive, covered pavilion in the downtown core suitable for music, dance and cultural events. These activities are an essential component of every city.

A pvilion would be a massive draw to the square for people from all walks of life and would be a welcome addition to the city, helping to revitalize the downtown core.

This multicultural venue would make all groups feel welcome. With this pavilion, music or dancing in the square or other cultural events could take place even when the weather is not optimal.

A well-constructed and attractive venue covering a smooth surface, similar to Robson Square in Vancouver, would be a positive development that everyone would enjoy.

Dance and other cultural activities could take place from early spring to late autumn and an ice rink in the winter would keep this venue open all year.

This facility would fit nicely just down the steps from the fountain next to McPherson Playhouse.

The year-round venue would ­eliminate the need to truck in large stages for ­various events and would make ­putting on such events much easier for the ­various community groups that want to share their culture with everyone in the city.

This pavilion would also be a valuable legacy appreciated by everyone for many years to come.

John de Pfyffer


Times are tougher for today’s parents

When my mother sent her children to school in the 1980s, things were different. It was common for only one person in a household to work outside the home. My mom was a trailblazer being a mother who worked full-time.

Luckily, she and my father (who also worked full-time) could afford a nanny to care for my siblings and me before and after school.

Nearly 40 years later, my oldest son is starting kindergarten. Now, most households rely on two incomes to make ends meet and yet, school starts at 8:45 a.m. and ends at 2:37 p.m., and there are fewer instructional days per year.

I work from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. My husband works from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Despite lining up in the middle of the night to submit our application, there are no before or after school care spots available to us. We can’t afford a nanny.

So how is our family coping? Sometimes I start work late, leave work early and then make up the hours after my kids are in bed or on weekends.

Other times we rely on family or babysitters. But what if my employer wasn’t as understanding, or my job wasn’t as flexible?

What if our family members lived elsewhere? What if we couldn’t afford babysitters? We are struggling more than coping, and I can’t help thinking about all the other families out there who aren’t as fortunate as ours.

Fiona Fiddick


Where will find all that electricity?

Re: “If we want energy for all we need to stop wasting it,” column, Sept. 17.

How much electricity is available in B.C. to expand Trevor Hancock’s ideas of “all electric”?

Research this before promoting more use of electricity that might not be available, yet. B.C. Hydro tapped out at 15,000 megawatt consumption a few years ago, that was peak production during summer months.

Assume we all convert our consumption to electric heat only, no consideration about EVs, just heating. Convert the use of natural gas heating calories to electrical amperes.

That would reveal the need for a much larger electricity supply. Site C is already spoken for by industry and future conversions.

In seven years B.C. Hydro predicts a need for another 15 per cent of 15,000 megawatts will be needed for your electrification of B.C. That is 2,250 more megwatts. Where will that come from? Another site C or fossil fuel generators?

Canadians are not afraid of change, only the cost and the end result. Canada is not important on the world stage: we are 0.05 of the world’s population so no matter if we electrify until the cows come home, if the rest of the world does not lead the way or at least keep up to us, then what is the point?

J.I. Hansen

Power engineer, 44 years experience

North Saanich

Saanich, get rid of the planning staff

Recently Saanich council approved a 58 unit project on Tyndall Avenue. Municipal staff — the people with the required education and knowledge — had recommended that the project, as it stood, be rejected.

In defending the decision to ignore their staff’s recommendation, Coun. Colin Plant was quoted: “If all we ever did was follow policy and never applied what we think is the community’s desire, then there really wouldn’t be a need for council.”

The community’s desire, though, was to send it back for a redesign. Council ignored everyone but the developer, it seems.

The Times Colonist has also reported that Saanich is predicted to increase property taxes by eight per cent this year following last year’s seven per cent increase.

Councillor Zac de Vries explained the increases away as “…meeting increasing expectations and needs.”

These “expectations and needs” are being driven by the rapid densification of Saanich, thanks to de Vries and his associates on council.

The solution to both situations?

Saanich should fire or retire all their planning staff. Council members are ignoring them anyway, and the money saved on their salaries would negate the need for big tax increases.

Michael Laplante



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