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Letters Aug. 6: This could kill Old Town; natural gas helps with climate change

Gold rush buildings are key to Old Town If approved by Victoria city council, the proposed redevelopment of the historic properties on Wharf Street will effectively write the requiem of Old Town Victoria.
The rezoning and heritage alteration efforts for the gold rush-era buildings on Wharf Street have been contentious and “in process” for more than 10 years. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Gold rush buildings are key to Old Town

If approved by Victoria city council, the proposed redevelopment of the historic properties on Wharf Street will effectively write the requiem of Old Town Victoria.

As defined and first protected some 50 years ago, the heart of old Victoria has barely survived constant pummelling since then.

The two 1860s commercial buildings have long been recognized as precious memorials to the era of sailing ships. They were actually built in part from ballast stones carried in ships’ holds.

In recent years, Victoria has been on the path to Manhattanization. Please spare Old Town from this irreversible fate.

Douglas Franklin

People in Asia are also concerned

Re: “Herd stupidity on climate awareness,” letter, Aug. 4.

I enjoy reading the opinion pieces and responding letters regarding the back and forth on the role of natural gas in our steps toward fighting climate change.

However, it is unseemly and could be considered a racist attitude when both sides assume the Asian peoples’ regard for the climate is any less than ours.

We all suffer from “herd stupidity” if we assume China and other coal-burning countries are less concerned for the future of the planet.

Let them decide how to step toward cleaner air and less CO2 burning up the atmosphere. Given their industrial, social and economic strength, shown every day, they will likely make smarter choices than we will.

In fact, they may lead our combined herd to safety. Just sayin’!

Max Miller

Green solar panels made with coal power

I’d like to ask the Gwyn Morgan haters whether they’d like the Chinese-produced solar panels they are advocating for to be made with energy that comes from coal, as they primarily are now, or natural gas?

The Chinese are laughing at us while their emissions continue to grow as they build hundreds of coal-fired power plants.

Morgan’s proposal to increase the use of natural gas is a very real compromise.

Yet, the irresponsible all-or-nothing position of the radical environmentalists will destroy our economy, while we painfully attempt to transition to their “net zero” fantasy.

Funny how they don’t talk about that part, though.

G.K. Schick

Clover Point forecast: Wind, wind, wind

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps misses the point.

1. Clover Point is probably the most spectacular viewpoint in ­Victoria.

2. It is also the most exposed and windy. Wind predictions for the next few days (the middle of summer) are:

Today 28 km/h, Saturday 16 km/h, Sunday 22 km/h, Monday 11 km/h, Tuesday 14 km/h, Wednesday 14 km/h. It is not surprising that this area is sought out for its strong winds by kite sailors and para­gliders. Not so much picnickers — even in summer. Not to mention seagull-feces-fouled picnic tables and benches.

3. It is the only location in Victoria where people in cars can get up close to the water in comfort and enjoy the view and elements from all vantage points (west, south and east). Many of them do not have the luxury of waterside homes. A trip to Clover Point is special for its views and ambiance. Over the years I have viewed motorists at Clover Point sipping a beverage, listening to music, reading, conversing, kissing and more.

4. Most people want to stay in their cars (mostly gas powered, but increasingly electric), essentially using them as comfortable, climate-controlled easy chairs.

5. The charm of Clover Point is not silly “play features” — such follies and fripperies can be located elsewhere. Its unique location brings people close to nature and the wild elements, and the infrastructure, the road, is already complete and paid for. Leave it as is.

My parents were able to enjoy the semi-circular drive of Clover Point hundreds of times over the decades, stopping at various vantage points to enjoy the views and activity on the water.

Helps should give greater consideration to the wishes of the people of Victoria and not her own self-righteous agenda.

Liane O’Grady

Controversy brings cars to Clover Point

The controversy over limiting cars on Clover Point seems to have had one positive effect: It appears more people than ever are visiting the point, to count the number of visitors.

So, there you have it. People are getting out of their cars to walk the point. And wasn’t that the point?

Ira Shorr

Not as many people enjoying Clover Point

My preferred mode of transportation is bicycle. I’m lucky to be still fit and able.

Despite Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps’ ideological diatribe (bikes good, cars bad), the facts do not bear out her argument.

I frequently, most often by bicycle incidentally, pass by Clover Point. I have observed that the use of the area is much down in numbers since the changes.

On a typical summer weekday afternoon, there would previously have been 10-20 cars parked, with at least 10-20 people on the grass area with kites, or just walking around the grassy area and down to the beach.

Now when I go by I usually see three or four cars, and a few people around. Often I see no one.

The changes have obviously deterred people who used to drive down there to spend a bit of time. No one needed any amenities; the natural space, including its views and wind for kite flying, and the parking, were the attractions.

Some bike infrastructure is good; the change to Vancouver Street is excellent. Although, I would point out that the council’s original plan on Cook Street would have been a disaster, and they thankfully, in a rare show of responsiveness to the public, changed the plan to the present one. The Dallas Road bike path has also turned out well.

I would also mention, in regard to the climate crisis, that more people are driving electric cars (powered by B.C. Hydro clean energy, which does not contribute to global warming) every day.

Richard Volet

Helps right on Clover Point, Beacon Hill

I agree with the sentiment and arguments in Mayor Lisa Helps’s blog post on Clover Point.

We need more car-free and car-restricted spaces in Victoria. The original plan for Clover Point, prepared by city staff, was terrific. The one we have ended up with, an ill-advised compromise with the hope of pleasing everyone, is a convolution.

The same process of compromise is unfolding in Beacon Hill Park with the move to reopen more roads to vehicle traffic. That would be a step backward.

Even more roads should be closed permanently at Beacon Hill. Vehicle traffic detracts from the enjoyment of nature and the beauty of the park.

Where else can we expect to find much-needed car-free spaces if not in our parks?

Don’t back off, Mayor Helps.

Brian Mason

No racing after dark in the park

There’s been a lot of discussion about the silly changes to Clover Point and their negative effect on elderly access — with most of which I find myself agreeing.

No one, however, has commented on its impact on our youth — no longer able to park and “watch submarine races.”

Did Lisa and Ben even consider this group who, too, have lost a valuable resource?

George Manning

Picnic tables in wrong spot at Clover Point

Clover Point is underused and will become more so in the winter months. There will be no one at the picnic tables, as there is pretty much now.

Why were the picnic tables not put in the grass area in the middle of the point? This would have made far more sense and the roadway and parking would be used again. This would benefit all users.

Instead of Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps sitting on her bicycle at the top of the hill with her rose-coloured glasses on and patting herself on the back and marvelling at the amount of pollution that has been saved by restricting vehicle traffic to the area, she should go and see all the vehicles idling at the intersections on Fort Street and Pandora Avenue.

I went to a mayor’s meeting when the bike lanes were put in and brought to her attention the amount of vehicles waiting to make turns onto the intersecting streets while through traffic goes on green and the turning traffic waiting idling for their light to go green.

I suggested all motor vehicles go on green and let the bikes and pedestrians congregate and after a time the turn light would go red, and they proceed. Better traffic flow and less pollution.

She thought this was a good idea, but as of today nothing has changed. Change the lights and save the pollution, and then pat yourself on the back.

Tom Sims

Westshore Velodrome is ready to serve you

Jay Lamoureux represents the kind of well-spoken, bright young athlete that we can all be proud to have representing Canada at the Tokyo Olympics.

Jay is also appreciative of the opportunity he had to excel in the sport of track cycling thanks to the Westshore Velodrome, a legacy of the 1994 Commonwealth Games.

Cleve Dheensaw’s recent article touches on the challenges the Greater Victoria Velodrome Association faced in ensuring that this outstanding facility would be available for future generations of athletes.

The velodrome was shut down on Aug. 28, 2008, and re-opened in July 2011. Over the past 10 years, at least up until COVID-19, we have had steady growth of programs, including the youth coaching program that Jay benefited from.

We have built up a fleet of rental bikes and offer instructions for cyclists of all abilities to improve their skills in a safe, fun setting.

Our community is enriched by having a diversity of recreational opportunities and I hope that the velodrome remains part of this for many years to come.

Michael Cooper, former president
Greater Victoria Velodrome Association


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