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Letters Sept. 28: Kudos for Dallas Road off-leash fence; answers needed on gas-price hike

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People walk their dogs near Clover Point. A letter-writer says the fence along the Dallas Road off-leash area is no obstacle to dogs, but keeps owners from retrieving a wayward pooch. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Love the fencing and signage, please extend it

Hello and hooray to Victoria council and the parks department for the fencing and signage along the Dallas Road pathway, east and west of Cook Street, creating a fenced area for off-leash dogs. I’m hoping the fencing will be continued to Mile Zero.

I’m in favour of off-leash areas and support the new fencing so that safety and security can be provided to the walkers along the paved pathway.

I have been knocked over twice by dogs. The last time, in 2020, I wrote a letter of concern as I was knocked down by two happy dogs playing all around the pathway who ran into me from behind.

I was 73 then, and hurt my elbow quite badly and my hand was badly scraped. I could not have avoided this as they ran into me from behind.

Off-leash fenced areas are common in large cities so that dog owners and walkers can coexist in safety. Again, with some research with the Royal Jubilee Hospital emergency department and letters to the Times Colonist, it is clear that safety is an ongoing issue with dogs in the Dallas Road area.

Council should consider completing the fencing to Douglas Street/Mile Zero so that the boundaries are absolutely clear. The city, in promoting healthy living, must be seen to be doing their utmost to prevent such accidents that so often occur on the pathway.

Margaret Arthur
Victoria

Why did gas prices skyrocket overnight?

Why are the headlines in every news outlet not screaming about the overnight 21-cent increase in gasoline prices? Bringing a litre of gas up to $2.099? That is $7.90 per U.S. gallon, while in the U.S., gas is selling for $3.72 per gallon.

Currently, a barrel of Western Select, Alberta’s oil, is selling at $70 and a barrel of Brent crude is selling for $84 a barrel. Both prices have dropped over the past six months and in the U.S. the cost of fuel is now around the same amount it was last year.

What are the reasons Canadian refineries and retail outlets have jacked up the retail price almost to the high it reached earlier this year when the cost of their base material has dropped precipitously?

From the viewpoint of most customers, this is nothing more than a massive ripoff intended to keep the obscene profits of earlier this year flowing into the pockets of the oil and gas companies, their CEOs and shareholders, while pushing inflation higher and higher, and picking the pockets of those least able to afford it.

Alexis Thuillier
Sidney

Welcome to the 1950s with Oak Bay suite deal

Re: “Oak Bay gives greenlight to ­secondary suites,” Sept. 25.

Oak Bay homeowners are now permitted to build a secondary suite and rent it out to someone who needs a place to live. However, they must register the suite with the municipality, and the homeowner must live on the property. Oak Bay, it seems, just made a socially progressive leap forward into the late 1950s.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Victoria has been tripping all over itself to provide safe and secure housing for its working people. Thousands of them are in precarious tenancies brought on by soaring rental costs and market pressures that lie well beyond the control of the province, let alone the small city of Victoria. Many are homeless already, despite holding full-time jobs, due to the lack of basic housing availability in the region.

In addition to providing housing for those who work within its bounds, Victoria shoulders the additional housing burden for many who work or study in Oak Bay, and can’t afford to live there due to its historic unwillingness to house its own. Reminder: the University of Victoria is in Saanich and Oak Bay, not Victoria.

Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch is quoted at the end of the article: “I’m very glad we got this across the finish line this term.”

I would suggest that in regards to housing fairness, community sustainability, and regional responsibility, Oak Bay has finally reached the starting line. How quaint.

Trevor Moat
Victoria

How about free bus passes for seniors?

At a time when so many are struggling with the higher cost of living, I suggest it is time for all local municipal councils to give back to seniors by providing free bus passes to those over 65.

Many seniors have paid property taxes all their adult lives. Let’s help them now.

Joanne Wiggins
Victoria

What does Europe know that we have to learn?

With the long and sordid history of the drug addicts, mentally ill and homeless on Pandora Avenue, Vancouver’s east end and virtually every city in Canada, I have questions for the social scientists, poverty “experts” and government politicians and bureaucrats.

I am on an extended trip through Europe. The past month, I have visited Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. In four weeks I can count only three people that appeared to need help: Two elderly women asking for a financial handout, and a drunkard slouched on the street with his bottle of wine.

One has only to take a short walk on Pandora to see the hundreds of people openly doing drugs, aggressively panhandling and violently attacking citizens on a routine basis.

Where are all of the drug addicts, mentally ill and homeless in Europe? Did Europe give them all one-way tickets to Canada? Are Europeans not susceptible to mental illness or addictions?

If not, what are Europeans doing that Canada can learn from? Are we so concerned with the civil rights and “freedoms” of the downtrodden that a solution cannot be found?

As a layperson, I do not pretend to have solutions to the many social problems facing our society. However, it is clear that the Europeans are doing something right in dealing with the social problems, compared with the costly and obviously failed policies that B.C. and Canada stubbornly continue to promote.

Are we as a society too proud to learn and apply the successes of other countries, rather than blindly following the failed policies that have resulted in the blight we see at home on a daily basis?

It boggles the mind that our provincial government is suing so that the homeless can set up tent cities in Beacon Hill Park. I have not seen one tent in any of the parks in the European cities I have visited.

Peter Davis
James Bay
(Currently in Split, Croatia)

Blame the tax formulas, not the landlords

Re: “Increasing rents when tenants leave is an injustice,” commentary, Sept. 21.

The argument that rents should not be increased when a tenant leaves has other consequences. For example, I have a rental accommodation, and during the period of low interest rates I did not raise the tenant’s rent for five years.

The tenant moved out when I had a family member move in. That single-occupancy tenant paid less rent than the tenants who were there previously, as I reduced the rent for a single person versus a couple.

The rental restrictions as envisioned by the writer will bring about maximum allowable legal increases and force landlords to find creative ways to recoup expenses from the tenant.

The dripping irony in all of this is that my reduced rent actually fell into the area of below-market rent, exposing me as a landlord to negative taxation issues due to my showing of goodwill. If I were a commercial landlord renting below market, my bank would seriously be looking at calling my mortgage.

It’s not all the landlord’s fault, particularly when governments tax property on highest and best usage, not current usage. That’s why our affordable housing buildings are getting torn down and densified. It’s the government property tax formula that’s forcing the landlords to sell or upgrade.

There are a couple of solutions to the housing issue for some people. Yes, people are entitled to have a safe, secure place to live; perhaps they should stay in their family home until they can afford to move out and not expect the taxpayer to subsidize their move out.

That’s how many previous generations did it. That’s how my kids are doing it.

The other solution is perhaps some should prioritize how they spend their money. $300-a-month cellphone bills and $4 lattes seem excessive.

Doug Coulson
Saanich

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• Email letters to: letters@timescolonist.com

• 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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