Letters April 1: Ban intoxicants in new housing; real COVID infection numbers; unfair restrictions

No drugs, no alcohol in new housing, please

In explaining the decision to fast-track approval of new social housing — bypassing public hearings in the expedited process — Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says: “The question isn’t, ‘Do you want these homes?’ The question is: ‘These homes are coming, how can we make them work for everybody in the neighbourhood?’ ”

The answer is simple: Make them drug- and alcohol-free.

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As a rule, most people aren’t opposed to social housing. They are, however, tired of their neighbourhoods being collateral damage in the ongoing and ever-expanding efforts to house people living the chaotic and dysfunctional life that is chronic addiction.

The familiar refrain that it’s easier to help someone out of their addiction if they are housed first is hard to swallow as more and more of the “housing with wrap-around 24/7 supports” that is being built seems designed more to support people in their continued “safe” use of drugs rather than to support them in their efforts to get off of drugs.

Recovery is not an easy path.

But it is possible and made easier if the right infrastructure is there. That means not only treatment on demand, but safe, secure drug-free places to live once someone has started their journey.

Bill Cleverley
Shawnigan Lake

Show us the numbers on COVID infections

My wife and I had lunch Sunday inside at a restaurant that was following all of Dr. Bonnie Henry’s protocols — masks, hand sanitizer, social distancing and even sanitizing the tables and chairs after customers left.

It is obvious that these protocols don’t work if Henry feels she must shut down all indoor dining.

It would be interesting to see the infection numbers that she used to justify shutting down these indoor gatherings.

It would also be very interesting to see the infection numbers resulting from visits to Walmart and Costco that have allowed them to stay open throughout the entire pandemic.

Al Skiber

Make restrictions fair, and target them

I’m all in favour of B.C. imposing “circuit breaker restrictions,” but have to ask: why the long delay? They knew the case count was increasing weeks ago. Why the wait?

I also feel this one-size-fits-all policy is wrong. For months the driver in the case count has been Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Why not impose stricter measures in those areas and other hotspots?

It seems they are punishing everybody for failures that occur elsewhere. Why should a restaurant in Williams Lake or Fort Nelson have to face the same restrictions just because virus transmissions are occurring elsewhere in the province?

Also, publish case numbers occurring by business sectors so we can make sense of why restrictions for certain types of businesses are needed. Why the sudden about-face on religious gathering?

Why do they think the rules in place yesterday won’t work next Sunday? Where are the infections actually happening and why? Target those locations and causes.

Why are we still allowing travel? They say no non-essential travel, but there’s no enforcement. B.C. Ferries is still operating as normal, air travel both in and out of province is still allowed, hundreds of tourists and travellers from other provinces are still arriving with no restrictions, United States travellers are still coming in with no effective control on their travel, and police are reluctant to ticket large groups protesting without masks.

In short, why try to control some areas of possible infection and then leave other obvious high-risk activities free from effective restrictions?

I support restrictions, but only if they are fair and targeted at businesses and activities that actually are contributing to the spread of the virus. A year in and the government should have sufficient data available to support targeting high-risk geographic areas and activities.

Barry Kimble

Our government is doing its best

Re: “B.C.’s pandemic course change looks desperate,” March 30.

I was disappointed to read Les Leyne’s attack on our political and health leaders. He complains about the swiftness of the closure of Whistler/Blackcomb, and then lists all the reasons why such an action is valid.

What would Leyne prefer — a few days’ delay during which hundreds more could become infected, some of whom would die?

Leyne should stop trying to undermine this administration, which is clearly doing its best during an unprecedented pandemic. Difficult decisions are being made by our medical experts, and it is time for Leyne to stop his endless complaining.

He should instead be encouraging us all to work together to fight this virus and to follow the wise counsel of our medical experts.

Bert Slater
North Saanich

What will be left when the trees are gone?

Kudos to Adrian Raeside for his cartoon March 30, showing a huge slice of old-growth fir mounted in a museum, with a father explaining to his children how broken government promises have led to the extinction of B.C.’s old-growth trees.

Premier John Horgan won the election promising to adopt the 14 recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review, released last September.

A key recommendation is that immediate action be taken to defer logging in areas with significant old-growth trees.

For some mysterious reason, this recommendation doesn’t apply to the Fairy Creek watershed — the last intact old-growth valley on southern Vancouver Island.

In a year or two, when this irreplaceable watershed is destroyed, what then? The loggers will still be out of a job, Port Renfrew will have lost a whack of tourism potential, and the NDP government will still have failed to plan for a sustainable second-growth forest industry.

Susan Gage

Make room for bikes in this car culture

There have been so many anti-bike-lane letters lately that I want to add my voice to the fray.

I am a 78-year-old woman who sold my car and bought an e-bike a year ago. I now rely on my bike as my main mode of transportation.

As I move around the region, I am always looking for the safest route to get where I am going. Bike lanes are much, much safer than pedalling on roads without, safer for me and safer for cars.

I am therefore in support of any and all bike lanes that the region wants to install. In a culture where cars dominate the roads, I would ask their drivers to move over a bit and let bikes have some room on the road, too.

Patricia Johnston


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