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Letters Sept. 7: Hail to the (police) chief; how many people really have COVID?

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Victoria Police Chief Del Manak directs traffic during Monday's walk. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST. Sept. 5, 2022

Praise for Del Manak’s help during school march

I participated in the march from George Jay school to honour the brave Chinese children who refused to be segregated 100 years ago.

One of the many highlights was the sight of Victoria Police Chief Del Manak, running from one intersection to the next to direct traffic. Thank you, Chief, you’re the best!

Lucy Waldo
Saanich

Curious virus accounting makes it meaningless

I sit here happily coughing, knowing that I have just had my first negative COVID‑19 test in two weeks. In two days, I fully expect my second negative test, so I can consider myself cured. I will continue to wear a mask in public places, as a matter of course.

Funny, no one but my friends knew that I had COVID. I contracted it in Alberta, then drove home, isolating myself along the way.

There is no requirement to notify the government if you have COVID, so I didn’t. Yet I see that the Ministry of Health still publishes the COVID numbers as though everyone who gets it, reports it. Trust me; they don’t.

So how reliable are these numbers? Not a bit. They are a figment of a statistician’s imagination.

If you go to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website, the explanations are all there, but with such holes in the data collection as there are, the only figure that counts is the mortality rate, which counts the number of people who died with COVID in their bodies, not because of it.

The numbers available show cases going down, when it is highly probable that case counts are going up. If the people think COVID is receding into a bad memory, they will not be as careful as they were before. Witness Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta.

And more people will get sick.

M.D. (David) Hansen
Victoria

No, those doctors are not working part-time hours

Re: “Access to health care in Victoria is at a third-world level,” commentary, Aug. 31.

I feel for the plight of the writer regarding their woes to access primary care. I know the story intimately.

I would, however, like to correct what might be a common misconception, in the notion that “numerous B.C. doctors only want to work 2½ or three days a week.”

There is a vast difference between time spent on direct patient care, and on indirect patient care. Working in a clinic three days per week means five days’ worth of work, spread out over seven days, as a physician cannot ignore the EMR results over the weekend. Those two extra days of work are unpaid, which is part of what has created the current crisis.

This time does not include inpatient care, palliative care, long-term care, home visits, medical administration, teaching, leadership endeavours, committees and continuing medical education.

Not to mention picking up a shift in a walk-in or urgent care clinic, or the local ER. This is starting to sound like eight days a week!

Unfortunately, a primary care physician has to work seven days per week, no matter how many days they are in the clinic. I urge the letter-writer and others to exercise empathy and understanding in this regard.

Dr. Andrew Kwasnica, family physician
Shoreline Medical
Sidney

How did we get to this point?

Re: “B.C.’s health-care crisis in two ­examples,” Sept. 1.

I agree that in a society with a publicly funded, socialized medical system, the government ultimately must accept responsibility for endemic failures.

And these failures seem to be widespread across the health care system in B.C., from a dearth of family doctors to overwhelmed clinics and emergency wards to dangerously delayed surgeries or specialist follow-ups to overcrowded and understaffed care homes.

But I can’t help but feel these are all symptoms of a much greater and widespread problem that is greater than the ability of any particular government to address. Many of these issues plague provincial governments across Canada and have plagued public systems in Britain and Europe as well as the very expensive private system in the United States.

When I read stories ranging from the above mentioned health-care problems to the overdose crisis, the growth on homelessness, the disparity of wealth distribution to the madness and division that has afflicted political discourse to the growth of conspiracy theories, I sometimes feel like I am listening to a radio broadcast of a bunch of blind experts describing an elephant by feel.

Perhaps I am overly optimistic because of the recent gathering of scientists in Vancouver looking for the Theory of Everything explanation reconciling relativity and quantum physics, but I can’t help but hope there will be some academic or journalist will do the work of detailing how we got to this point in history.

Was it the pandemic or demographics? Was it four decades of politicians attacking government bureaucracies or voters losing interest in politics? Was it persistent pressure to cut taxes or governments passing the buck? Was it all of this and more?

I await the conference of sociologists, political scientists and historians gathering to discuss their theory of everything.

Gerry Klein
Maple Bay

Column missed key questions about council

Re: “Don’t blame Victoria for other governments’ failures,” column, Sept. 4.

Columnist Trevor Hancock failed to read the still very fresh MNP analysis by these well-respected, independent business consultants of the governance failures recorded by the outgoing Victoria council. No big deal, really, as he suggests council is accountable for none of the failed efforts to deal with the multiple crises that the new council will have to confront.

He also fails to recognize the extent to which the failed, provincially imposed, regional governance model contributes to Victoria council’s importance when dealing with serious issues that cross jurisdictions — municipal, provincial or federal. A council speaking for a community of 89,000 will always be weaker than that which represents 400,000, managed by a committee (the Capital Regional District) not a regional government.

He fails to comment on the energies of the council devoted to areas of sole jurisdiction of the province or federal government. He overlooked abject failure of the council to guarantee public safety, transit and transportation, or leadership on the overlap and duplication of services across the region.

We all pay a significant and ongoing cost for our collective failure to persuade the B.C. government that the status quo, here and in Greater Vancouver, has failed residents and taxpayers, the people of B.C. and indeed the country.

John Treleaven, chair
Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria

Fighter pilot call signs all about camaraderie

At first, my pilot call sign was “Badger.” A tenacious creature, that. And I appreciated the simile. Then they made it “Stone.” You’d think I smoked a joint or two, but it was because of my never-smiling expressionless face. Or at least I should hope.

We had others: “Little Stone” (gotta wonder why); “Rookie” (that one’s easy); “Brick” (as in hard); and “Muzz” (good for the name of the end of a gun[ner]).

Leave our fighter pilots alone, in their decisions about nicknames. It has nothing to do with woke opinion, everything to do with camaraderie.

T.L. Pedneault-Peasland
Saanich

David Eby is right about involuntary treatment

I’m not a supporter of Eby or anything else NDP, but I am a strong supporter of common sense and I like Eby’s view on the involuntary treatment idea, mainly because nothing else is working.

In fact, besides the involuntary drug treatment, please include the same for the thousands of mentally ill that are stuck in the same mud as the addicts.

As the incoming premier, Eby can finally lead the way in helping these poor souls, by building a care centre for these people who have no other place to go for help. Get them off our streets, out of silly hotel rooms that are dead ends and into a safe place to heal.

This is a monumental challenge: The Charter would have to be overridden and hundreds of millions will need to be spent. In the long run, hundreds of millions will be saved and thousands of lives may be changed for the better.

It all sounds like a dreamer having a dream, but anything would be better than the nightmare we are living with today.

Most of all it requires leadership, and Eby’s courageous recent comment could set a whole new and important path to positive change.

Jim Laing
Saanich

We need green space and low-rise buildings

There’s nothing wrong with development, densification or affordable housing, provided the results don’t look like a 19th-century penitentiary, which is beginning to be the case in the Capital Regional District.

I fear that Victoria is about to learn the hard way that tourists will not flock here to stroll down dark concrete canyons enlivened only by the occasional fast-food outlet. They can do that in their own unfortunate cities.

Who could ever imagine that replacing a unique, historic and attractive city centre with concentrated high-rises was a good idea?

In the suburbs the administrations don’t appear to have realized they are facing the same issue. Many cities built clusters of high-rise “affordable housing” in the past century. Almost all of these are now decrepit and in line for demolishing or have already been torn down.

For example, Birmingham, England, built almost 200 of these; now essentially all have been demolished, to be replaced by low-rise, livable buildings with adequate green space.

In Saanich, our administration is behaving like the council of a derelict town in the middle of nowhere anxious for development, any development, just to stay afloat. We’re not that town; we are one of the most desirable pieces of real estate in the country and have no need to rubber-stamp every development proposal that comes through the door.

There are already a few dreadful mistakes under construction; time to call a halt and think about what we’re doing. Build more affordable housing, by all means, but make it low-rise buildings well-separated by greenspace.

The CRD has more than enough land to make that possible. If a developer can’t live with that, advise them to take their business elsewhere; others will soon apply.

Change the zoning regulations and design criteria to make that position clear; do it now before it’s too late.

Alec Mitchell
Victoria

Make 902 Foul Bay a public park

Re: “Townhouse project heads to fall hearing,” Sept. 3.

Here’s an idea for dealing with the property at 902 Foul Bay Rd. Why doesn’t the owner of the lot, Aryze Developments, donate the property to the City of Victoria to be turned into a public park?

That way, the mature trees, the shade, the protection for wildlife and the carbon sink would be preserved and Luke Mari’s name could be on the park sign in perpetuity. A win-win for all!

If Mari’s generosity does not extend that far, perhaps the city could do what it should have done in 2016: Buy the lot and perform the same public service, thus adding to its meagre stock of parkland.

And it could choose any name it wants. How about Canopy Park? Or Redfern Urban Forest?

Barbara Abercrombie
Victoria

Want the greenest building? Don’t build it

Victoria Mayor Lisa Help has said “buildings account for nearly half of all greenhouse gas pollution generated in the city.”

It’s a bit ironic that her legacy to the city is probably the most massive and rapid building boom that it has ever seen.

Although I salute the move at last to try to prevent unnecessary C02 emissions in newly constructed buildings, let’s take the claim that these proposed future buildings will be zero-carbon buildings with a bit of scientific skepticism.

The actual construction of those buildings, the forestry, mining, manufacturing and shipping involved, as well as the vast carbon-intensive supply lines and energy it takes to support city life, are all not carbon-neutral and will not be anywhere near it in the timeline being suggested.

If anything, the construction industry that has been consulted on this seems to be trying to greenwash its own image yet again through environmental PR without following through on the basic logic of the situation: The more we build unsustainably and endlessly through a growth-based model, the more damage will be caused to nature and the life-support systems that we depend on.

Bulldozing trees for more high-rises is not the solution, it is the problem.

As someone once said: “The greenest building is the one not built.”

Sasha Izard
Saanich

Nanaimo has other roads that need to be fixed

This narrowing of Metral Drive in Nanaimo causes congestion on all the intersections. What happens on garbage day?

Do the bikes need a separate path than the baby carriage and walking paths? Who maintains the grass and trees?

Maybe look at Pipers Lagoon and Hammond Bay Road where there are no sidewalks or even gravel sides to walk on.

The taxes paid by Hammond Bay residents should warrant a sidewalk.

Grant Pilon
Nanaimo

The brand of the car was not relevant

A recent edition had a story about an erratic driver, likely impaired and not co-operating with police. The driver caused several accidents and was eventually stopped. This is clearly a case of a driver-caused incident.

The use of the brand name Tesla in the headline was misleading. Would it have said Ford or Kia if not a Tesla?

This type of misdirection in the press is one of the root causes of some of the social and governance strife in our country.

Mike Williamson
North Saanich

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