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Letters Sept. 28: Sometimes, don't consider all sides; build a performing arts centre at Ship Point; no love for Garry oaks

Ship Point in June 2020. The area is mostly covered in paved parking lots. It hosts a variety of cultural events, such as music festivals and water-based sporting events. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Don’t consider both sides when all are not safe

Re: “Thoughts on a protest: We have a responsibility to listen,” commentary, Sept. 23.

The commentary makes a harmful “both sides” argument in response to a recent counter-protest against an anti-trans rally at the legislature.

A “both sides” argument appears to take a balanced approach, while undermining the efforts of those whose rights are being threatened.

The writer said he generally agrees with the counter protesters’ message of protecting trans kids, he doesn’t agree with their angry tone. In this view “both sides” are at fault for not keeping good order in what he imagines to be a fair conversation between equal but opposing viewpoints.

And that’s a problem, because these viewpoints are not equal. The safety of trans kids in schools comes first. Conversation can only happen when trans kids aren’t being attacked.

Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” that the greatest enemy to justice for African Americans were not members of hate groups, but white moderates.

The latter refused fully to support the Civil Rights movement because of its tone and disruption of good order. ­Standing up for trans kids, we need to be careful not to mistake good order for justice.

It’s OK for trans kids, their families, and friends to demand the safety of trans kids in schools comes first. And we stand up for racialized kids, disabled kids, girls, refugees, religious minorities, so that every kid is supported and feels safe.

Lyndon Sayers


Garry oak trees are just nuisances

Who in Victoria who love Garry oaks actually have one or more in or near their yard? They should be considered a ­nuisance tree with all the mess they ­create.

Homeowners should have the choice to get rid of them from their property, those who want them should do the clean-up of city streets and sidewalks.

Keep them in a park!

Wayne Sutton


Performing arts centre for Ship Point

Re: “We need a better plan for the renewed Ship Point,” letter, Sept. 26.

The plan for Ship Point shows a real lack of imagination and will likely be little used, especially in winter, and will ­potentially become a boring and squalid place.

When Victoria hosted an open house at Ship Point a couple of years ago, I attended and discussed my proposal for a new performing arts centre with the planning department representative in attendance. I followed up with a descriptive letter to council. I received no reply. Seemingly, the plan was etched in stone.

Our Inner Harbour is a special place already surrounded by structures that could be described as “jewels,” all the way from Laurel Point around to the new bridge, including the Legislature, the Royal B.C. Museum, and the Fairmont Empress Hotel.

The final jewel in the Inner Harbour crown could be completed with a new performing arts centre at Ship Point. Picture a beautiful artistically designed structure incorporating the walkway and a large plaza overlooking the harbour.

In the 1960s, Sydney, Australia, embarked on construction of a futuristically designed performing arts centre on its harbour, a plan that was met with relentless controversy and even derision.

The city persisted to opening in 1973, creatively raising funds through lotteries and other sources, and today the Sydney Opera House is one of the most recognizable urban landmarks in the world.

Forward, imaginative and innovative thinking is required. Victoria needs a new performing arts centre and the aging Royal and McPherson Theatres could be decommissioned as part of the overall plan. The benefits with this opportunity would be immense.

Maybe my proposal is infeasible or too ambitious. Maybe not. But, either way, it’s time to put on some thinking caps, think big and use this singular opportunity wisely.

Tony Palmer


If we fine dog owners, we should fine parents

Re: “Birds need protection from eager dogs,” letter, Sept. 26.

No, dogs should not chase birds but if dog owners are fined, let’s fine the parents who let their children chase birds. Double.

And for the record, herons live here year round and therefore shouldn’t be considered a migrating bird.

Julia Pollard


Birds get amusement by playing with dogs

Re: “Birds need protection from eager dogs,” letter, Sept. 26.

I have two dogs, I am usually on the beach with them more than once a week.

There are many dogs on the beach, very rarely have I seen a dog chase a bird. There is no point – they cannot catch up to the bird, and once the bird is airborne, it cannot be touched.

There is a peculiarity to watch, when walking with dogs on a beach, look for it. Most birds will fly away from the dog, land on the shore, they seldom go back to where the dogs have come from.

These birds are playing games with the dogs, thinking it is funny. The one bird to watch is the blue heron, he will fly only a short distance, land, wait for the dogs to approach, fly again, these birds know what they are doing, very clever.

Rob McKenzie


Our parks should be free to all users

Re: “Parking fees at more regional parks back on CRD agenda,” Sept. 26.

I am vehemently opposed to parking fees in public parks. Such fees would be a barrier to some and a deterrent to ­others who wish to enjoy our beautiful parks.

Our parks are publicly owned and should be free to everyone. Perhaps an alternative source of funding could be from the successful B.C. Parks licence plate program (you know the beautiful licence plates with bears, lakes and mountains) which raises money for the Park Enhancement Fund.

We know spending time in nature is good for our mental health – doctors are even prescribing nature walks! — so please keep them free and accessible.

Rosemary Michie

Shawnigan Lake

Give the taxpayer a break in CRD parks

Re: “Parking fees at more regional parks back on CRD agenda,” Sept. 26.

Maybe the Capital Regional District should consider giving the average taxpayer a break on the parks. We, the taxpayers, have been subsidizing free camping in the parks for the unhoused, free and subsidized housing, and the list goes on.

Maybe the use of the CRD parks, which we already pay taxes on, could just be free. as it is now.

Maybe give the taxpayers a bit of a break, eh?

Felipe de Marco


User fees do not belong in regional parks

Re: “Parking fees at more regional parks back on CRD agenda,” Sept. 26.

The Capital Regional District is at it again with an 8.93 per cent budget increase proposed for 2024. How many workers’ incomes and seniors’ pensions are increasing by 8.93 per cent?

In addition to direct taxation, the CRD is proposing to resume its previous plan to raise revenues by increasing parking fees to $7 a day by 2026 in nine additional parks.

It is deemed that parks such as ­Devonian, East Sooke, Elk/Beaver Lake, Horth Hill, Matheson Lake, Mill Hill, Sooke Hills Wilderness-South Access, Sea to Sea, and Witty’s Lagoon can be accessed by transit (my dog on a bus?), walking or cycling as a disincentive to motor vehicle use.

This is outrageous. Our parks should be funded through property taxes but with constantly higher tax increases the bureaucrats are proposing other revenue options (user fees).

The logic put forward is that vehicle parking fees will help fund trestle renewal, trail widening and lighting projects that are mainly used by walkers and cyclists. So much for their user fee theory!

The CRD should not be picking the pockets of the already over-taxed citizens. It should refrain from user fees, otherwise the cyclists will have to pay a fortune to ride over a trestle.

Wayne Cox


End the subsidies, bring on parking fees

Re: “Parking fees at more regional parks back on CRD agenda,” Sept. 26.

I support parking fees everywhere, not just parks. Car use is heavily subsidized — through free storage (parking), pipelines, injury, climate change damage, collision damage, social isolation — by non-drivers and tax revenue.

And many trips are a trivial, short distance, with one occupant, clogging roads for those who need it such as people with a disability, delivery drivers and emergency workers. Paying the true cost of driving would rationalize car use. It might save us paying for more $100 million interchanges that immediately clog with induced demand.

We should also consider connecting parks with trails, so getting in a car isn’t necessary to go there.

Lister Farrar



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