Letters April 3: Maritime museum location; real estate prices

A perfect spot for maritime museum

The arrangements to create a facility for the maritime museum in Langford appears to have fallen through.

Now is the time for a downtown Victoria site, on the waterfront and reflecting the early maritime history of the city, to be selected.

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Such a site exists and is just awaiting a determined effort by the city council and our citizens — the Gold Rush Warehouses, also known as the Northern Junk buildings, are vacant and on the waterfront.

Located at the eastern entrance to Old Town Victoria, adjacent to a public dock, this would be the ideal space and could easily be converted to use as a museum. Publicly owned lands lie immediately to the north and could be available for outdoor exhibits.

Ken Johnson

A context is needed, not a poor analogy

The government’s lockdown action lacks a vital area when making such a sweeping imposition: context.

For example, Dr. Bonnie Henry simply spouted a list of the numbers that constitute the latest COVID-19 cases without any context.

It is easier to paint everyone the same brush; that requires no context and makes all parties equally guilty. Gym operators, who practise rigorous, anti-COVID protocols, get no respect.

If there is an age demographic that carries the bulk of the new cases, prohibit THEM from using restaurants and gyms; that would require leadership. Young people were mentioned, but without context.

Instead we are told that the system needs a “circuit breaker.” What is that? A poor analogy, that’s what.

Robert Popple
Nanoose Bay

Thanks to wonderful young people

I want to voice my appreciation for all the young people who have been so friendly, patient and kind while working very hard in the coffee shops and grocery stores I visit regularly.

The staff at my hairdressers and the few local shops I gone into have also been very caring and attentive to safety. My spirits have been lifted many times this past year by our short conversations.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Vivian Welling

Back and forth, back and forth

I would be interested in hearing an explanation as to why the AstraZeneca vaccine is being curtailed for those less than 55 years of age.

What about those who are older than 55? Are they to roll the dice when they take this vaccine and hope that they do not develop blood clots that have killed others around the world?

This is irrational. It might have been a very good idea if we had insisted that the pharmaceutical companies conduct extensive trials in advance of foisting their medicines on us. Between that and the back and forth of lockdowns, shutdowns and shutouts, I wonder why any of us are still sane.

Jennifer Chapin

Environment loses in quest for consensus

As a biologist, I found the recent op-ed “Islands Trust is choosing the wrong priorities” quite poignant.

In particular, the comment “that when everything is prioritized, nature, with no voice of its own, always loses out.”

This statement resonates with my 45 years of conservation advocacy around the province and across Canada. When you only search for balance and consensus, the long-term health of the environment suffers.

On some occasions, balance and consensus is the right approach, but on others leadership is needed and the decision must be taken to protect nature as the priority. Remember our health is inextricably linked to ecological health. And when pressed, nature bats last.

Bob Peart
North Saanich

Real-estate prices will sort themselves out

There is a lot of political posturing out there right now, all across the country, about how “we” have to do something about the nine per cent increase in house prices in the past year.

I begin to wonder if these influencers and commentators really have a handle on what is going on.

People have decided, collectively it seems, that living in a small apartment when they are to be confined there for days and weeks on end (the COVID factor) is not a happy life. So, they will put whatever they can afford towards living in a detached home with more space.

In the real-estate world, no one is twisting anyone’s arm to buy these properties and pay these prices. Purchasers are volunteering to do this because they have a good motivation and the financial ability to do so.

They will never pay more than they ultimately want to. If they do not have the motivation or the ability to pay at these prices, they will not. It is that simple.

Greater Victoria in particular has a net increase in population, in people wanting to buy a house. People want to live here. More people, coupled with a static housing supply and exceptionally cheap money, will increase the prices paid for the houses.

There is pent-up demand for scarce properties. Ergo, the prices rise. This is simple economics. These prices that seem to keep some people out of the real-estate market will sort themselves out without government intervention. Stasis will return by itself; it always has.

M.D. Hansen

Plenty of revenue from bad drivers

I do not see the logic in building a new casino. If one needs new revenue for various levels of government, then there is already a very large and active gambling system already in place.

It is called the road network, and every day hundreds if not thousands of local drivers gamble with the rules of the road, not stopping for red lights or stop signs, excessive speeding, using electronic devices, etc.

If only there was more enforcement by traffic police, they could tap into this large network of drivers who apparently are very willing to pay large fines for potentially endangering the lives of fellow citizens.

For example, a radar trap on north Quadra Street or the Pat Bay Highway would net large numbers of speeders, and recently police issued about 40 tickets for distracted driving at one intersection in a matter of an hour or two.

Let’s tap that resource first.

Roel Hurkens

Hey Saanich, outlaw backyard chickens

I read, with great interest, the article about Qualicum Beach no longer allowing backyard chickens. Good for them!

My fondest wish would be for Saanich council to also reconsider allowing this practice.

I have been subjected to my neighbour’s noisy, smelly and ill-cared-for birds for more than five years.

I have made multiple complaints to council, as well as animal control and the SPCA. The only time the owner cleans the coop is when the SPCA inspects and tells him to do so.

The last time was over a year ago.

I gathered a petition of more than 10 of my neighbours complaining about the noise and smell. All to no avail.

By the way, it is not just roosters that make a lot of noise. The poor hens that are confined in their small coop, and often go without food or water and can be very loud for hours at a time.

I live in a building adjacent to the coop. My only outdoor space is a balcony that I once enjoyed. No longer — the smell coming from the filthy coop is overwhelming.

I can’t even open my windows for fresh air.

Tracey Pretty

Queen Charlotte had European roots

Re: “Everyone is related to everyone if you go far back enough,” commentary, March 28.

I certainly agree with the general tenet of the opinion expressed by Lawrie McFarlane. But I do not agree at all with the statement that among Queen Elizabeth’s ancestry “were several Black ancestors, among them Portugal’s Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), who stemmed from her family’s African branch.”

Queen Charlotte was a duchess from Mecklenburg-Strelitz in North Germany, not from Portugal.

She was married to King George III at 17. Though this consort of King George had in her ancestry a Portuguese noble woman in the 15th century and even further back this lady had another Portuguese ancestor in the 13th century, her African Ancestry Myth, according to the article in Wikipedia, is exactly that: a myth.

It was based on a portrait of her which mischievously described her with thick lips and wide nostrils; these, though, do not provide any evidence for an African heritage.

On the contrary, “dozens of portraits and descriptions describe her as a typical Northern European woman” … “there is no evidence that her distant Portuguese ancestor Margarita de Castro e Souza was from a “Black” Portuguese noble family.”

It is more than far-fetched to state that she was “Black,” as anyone who likes to look at her many portraits can testify.

Queen Charlotte’s name was given to the “Queen Charlotte Islands,” now Haida Gwaii, a nearby sea channel and the village on Haida Gwaii; her great interest in gardening and botany led her to found the famous Kew Gardens.

Hermann Helmuth


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