Letters Aug. 13: Ferry’s plastic trouble, mass shootings, acute care

Denman cable ferry’s plastic problem

Re: “Robot to probe plastic pollution from Denman Island cable ferry,” Aug. 8.

Serious concerns with the outer plastic cable coating wear for Denman ferry have been brought up to B.C. Ferries since at least 2015.

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At a Denman-Hornby Ferry Advisory Committee meeting on Oct. 21, 2015, a B.C. Ferries official responded to concerns about the failing plastic coatings by stating, “even if the plastic cover does fail [mid span], that does not indicate cable failure,” and goes on to say, “the [plastic] cable cover is not required for the operation of the system.”

Out of concern for this wear, former B.C. Ferries chief engineer and B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union Ship’s Officers’ Component president Eduardo Munoz brought up concerns to B.C. Ferries and Transport Canada, including pictures that show plastic abrasion as early as 2015.

The concern of plastic abrasion of wire rope is also raised in a 1996 Transportation Safety Board report m96m0152 which states, “… that the [plastic infused] cable failed because localized wear and corrosion of the exterior strands of the cable had reached such an extent that the remaining strands failed in overstress.”

Moreover, entry-level marine engineers know that cable ferries’ movement over the cables causes friction which in turn causes wear, and, in this case, wear on plastic coated cables in the ocean means plastic in the ocean.

I am not entirely sure a robot is required to solve this mystery … although we are sure there is cleanup needed.

Dan Kimmerly
Ships’ Officers’ Component president
B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union

‘First Nations’ versus ‘First Arrivals’

Re: “They were here first, so acknowledge that,” letter, Aug. 9.

The term “First Nations” does no credit to the first settlers of Canada when comparing them with the ancient civilizations of the Aztecs, Maya, Greeks, etc. The original “First Nations” would soon have perished in local warfare, starvation and disease.

The expression “First Nations” is quite unlikely but very Canadian. These nice people should be accurately known in Canada as the “First Arrivals.” That puts us all together in the country we love and foster.

Michael A. Ross

Mass shootings and America’s inability to act

So … yet more mass shootings in the United States! On TV you see the shocked faces of officials trying to provide the details.

One can be heard to say in incredulous tones, “Why is this happening? This is America! This shouldn’t happen in America!”

America is the only country in the world where these events occur on a regular basis. And if Americans were honest with themselves, they would know exactly why these things continue to happen. It is time to amend the Second Amendment back to what it was intended for when the Constitution was written.

How many guns does anyone need? Do they really need assault rifles? Can the branches of the U.S. government not even get past universal background checks?

And don’t excuse Donald Trump from responsibility, despite his statement of standing with all Americans against these cowardly acts. Racism has always been a part of the fabric of America, but Trump has given it his approval with his “send them back” and “our country is full” comments. Now it is open season for mass shootings.

Right now it is a lottery: El Paso, Texas, then Dayton, Ohio. Which city will be hit tomorrow or the day after? Which school, mall, church or public office will be next? Spin the wheel and see.

Marty Adams

Computers are fed by humans

Re: “Humans are behind those ‘computer errors,’ ” column, Aug. 2.

Thanks to Geoff Johnson for pointing out the important difference between human errors and computer errors.

For too many people — children and adults — the modern computer has come to be seen as the ultimate source of intelligence.

Knowledge is not the same as intelligence. Computers can only process, sort and regurgitate data fed to them by human beings. They cannot make decisions on their own because they are dependent on us.

Perhaps some people cannot follow this reasoning because they rely too much on computers to do their thinking.

Sylvia W. Preto

Make more efficient use of acute-care beds

Re: “Island Health takes aim at mushrooming deficit,” Aug. 11.

It is encouraging to see Island Health intends to make some significant changes to address the deficit and as well to address those issues that need to be changed.

One of the most high priority changes is the need to reduce the 29 per cent occupancy of acute care beds by patients who no longer require acute care but cannot be released because they can no longer care for themselves. Most of these beds are occupied by seniors who are placed on waiting lists for transfer to a care facility and in the meantime stay in hospital, sometimes for several months, because of the shortage of long-term care facilities.

We know that the number of seniors is increasing in Victoria and other parts of B.C. so the development of more of these facilities will go a long way to resolving the shortage of acute-care beds.

In addition, recruiting and hiring more nurses is a no brainer. Nurses are the backbone of the acute-care hospital, often providing services above and beyond the call of duty.

Nothing feels better than waking up after surgery to find a nurse bending over you taking care of your needs and offering reassuring words of comfort.

My thanks to all who are addressing these issues and I look forward to seeing the proposed changes implemented as quickly as possible.

Dorothy Mullen

Constant denial and nuclear war risks

The annual pleas of Hiroshima sufferers are in the indistinct background again. Younger people, used to successes of nuclear deterrence over the decades, barely consider the possibility of, or the planetary devastation risked by the use of nuclear weapons.

Some twisted logic legitimizes that there can be a winner of a nuclear confrontation. National governments are hardly becoming more stable, and previously signed international agreements on weapons and delivery systems fall by the wayside.

No politicians in competition for high office in upcoming federal elections either here in Canada or the U.S. even bring the topic up. How is this possible?

Canada could go some distance by becoming a signatory to the 2017 United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, but alas, how many of us have heard any kind of discussion about this appropriate and timely consideration. To date, 70 countries and 23 states have signed. Sadly, this topic isn’t even on the prime minister’s radar.

“Like lemmings to the sea.”

Neil Finnie

Clean-fuel standard’s actual cost

Re: “Scheer drives home a weak point,” letter, Aug. 4.

Andrew Scheer, the federal Conservative leader, said that some Canadians cannot afford an extra $100 per month that the proposed federal clean-fuel standard would impose.

When a letter writer calculated the costs to Canadians of an extra 11 cents per litre for the proposed federal clean-fuel standards, and said that you would need to drive 9,000 kilometres per month to hit that $100 increased fuel cost amount, did he take into account that the clean-fuel surcharge on gasoline would, in turn, raise the costs of everything we consume?

All goods and services would rise in cost because of the new clean-fuel standard.

I suspect that the costs to Canadians would be well over the $100 estimate that Andrew Scheer mentioned.

Bill Wilson

Why cost of ICBC car insurance is so high

Re: “Victoria jaywalker who witnessed crash gets $98,000 award for ‘nervous shock,’ ” Aug. 9.

Wow, $98,000 for “nervous shock.” The next accident in a scramble crosswalk might result in dozens of lawsuits for hurt feelings.

The blame for ICBC rates lies squarely with lawyers and judges.

Arthur Duhame
Campbell River

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