Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Letters Dec. 2: A premium for building in B.C.; taxes paid for valuable services; tired criticisms of photo radar

Seaspan’s shipyard in North Vancouver. TIMES COLONIST

Paying a premium to build ships in B.C.

The recent cheerleading in support of shipbuilding in B.C. by writers, including the chief executive officer of Seaspan, continues to ignore two factors: current and near-term shipyard capacity and the premium taxpayers are compelled to pay for home builds.

Seaspan has contributed hugely to modernizing shipbuilding and repair on the West Coast, largely on the back of the national shipbuilding program, funded by all Canadians.

The capacity of its yards to take on further work while it completes federal ships under contract might not allow new B.C. ferries to be built here in a timely fashion.

It is clear that we pay an economic premium to have ships built here. We support highly paid jobs in the industry, which is laudable, but our shipyards are not as productive as others by international standards.

So let’s applaud our shipbuilding industry, but as taxpayers we should insist that it competes with other builders for business on a fully competitive basis.

We may well be willing to pay some premium to build in B.C., but to what level?

David B. Collins


Obey the speed law, know who has vehicle

Re: “Photo radar has many flaws,” letter, Nov. 29.

The letter has a few of the same old tired excuses as well as a new one.

A photo radar ticket is not an Orwellian tax grab. It is a penalty for breaking the law.

There is no right to disobey the law. Drive within the speed limit and there won’t be any “tax grab.”

Next, an owner is responsible for their vehicle. If you are unaware of who is using your vehicle, you have far bigger problems than a mere speeding ticket; you might end up being held liable for a fatal crash.

Be aware of who is using your vehicle. It is up to you to ensure they will use it properly. If they don’t, it is up to you to collect any fines they incur.

It is not the government’s problem.

Finally, the truly amusing theory that some government employee is manufacturing fake tickets. What a joke!

All motor vehicle office computers are monitored. If any employee accesses information on any vehicle owner for any reason other than a legal and legitimate one, they are called on the carpet.

Some are disciplined, and some are soon looking for another job.

Due to “me first” attitudes prevalent today, the safety gains that began in the 1980s have been reversed. The motor vehicle accident and fatality rates fell steadily until the early 2000s and then began to climb back up.

They have reached the point they were 40 years ago. Although there is no provable link, it is worth noting that the rise in collisions and fatalities started about the same time that cellphones became popular.

Bob Etheridge

Brentwood Bay

Those taxes help pay for many services

Re: “Government greed on top of inflation,” letter, Nov. 29.

The letter writer said he paid PST and GST that totalled $12.60 on a purchase of $104.99 and that the “government did nothing.”

He drove to the store on a paved and maintained roadway, went into a business with modern infrastructure, and travelled on roads patrolled by law enforcement, with a health-care infrastructure available should he have an accident, and he was provided a public education that garnered him a good vocation that afforded him an opportunity to work hard and to earn a reasonably secure income.

That is only a small part of what he and other citizens provided each other by paying taxes for all the benefits we share.

And lastly, there is less expensive dog food.

Robert Patterson

Lake Cowichan

Deer culls protect the environment

Whilst I abhor the coming deer cull on Sidney Island, I feel it is necessary and wish to point out that in the U.K., ­Richmond Park and Bushy Park have deer culls twice a year.

Otherwise, ultimately, the soils would soon be laid bare.

H.N. Allen


After Sidney Island cull, what will be the target?

Our planet has been overrun and destroyed by eight billion dangerous two-legged plastic-producing animals. Now we are planning to exterminate a little bunch of fallow deer on Sidney Island.

Rudolph, and Santa’s eight reindeer, better watch out. You’re probably next!

Cheera J. Crow

Brentwood Bay

Subsidized housing was the best choice

Re: “All taxpayers involved in providing housing,” letter, Nov. 30.

The letter is most excellent and should be required reading for anyone involved in politics in Canada today.

I am old enough to have lived in newly built subsidized housing (it was the early 1990s) and I shudder to wonder how things would have turned out for my mother, my sister and me if we had been left to the mercy of landlords and the market they hold captive, with a political culture that serves them and them alone.

Joe Marrie


Herring population is not consistent

Re: “Herring solution starts in the north,” letter, Nov. 29.

The letter misses that the herring population in the Gorge Waterway varies considerably. A few years ago there were far more than today — I doubt commercial fishing caused a decline.

I read that herring seek spawning places when water temperature reaches a threshold, and for some reason prefer the Campbell River area.

Keep in mind that herring spawn on vertical surfaces in estuaries, but pilings are not good as they are so rigid that eggs are laid on top of eggs which suffocates the first layers. That was shown by installing netting in Squamish. Activists there incorrectly claimed reducing exposure to creosote was the reason, but suffocation is a well known phenomenon.

Yes, herring will shift to a different waterway to spawn if numbers heading to their preference cause crowding.

Watch for fishers on the bridge in late January into February, and check how many mature females are caught heading out to sea — and whether or not they have spawned. Food may be limited — many juveniles go in but seem hungry enough leaving to be caught (females won’t eat until outbound, unlike salmon they can spawn another year).

And don’t forget Esquimalt Harbour.

Keith Sketchley


A wise investment by our government

Re: “Short-term rental ban will cost ­millions of dollars,” commentary. Nov. 23.

The commentary addressed the recent changes in the short-term rental laws, however it was incomplete.

It claims that Victoria will lose $221 million over 10 years due to decreased spending, but these rentals will still have renters contributing to the local economy.

For argument’s sake, assume an average occupancy of two people, and the standard income of a person to be $35,000. If we take the numbers of only 300 suites out of 600 (which is also arguable), that means the renters have a potential of earning $21 million, or $210 million over 10 years.

The vast majority of those earnings will go into the local economy, making the difference between short- and long-term rentals negligible. You would be hard pressed to construct 30 rental units in Victoria for $11 million, let alone 300.

Sounds like the NDP made a wise investment at bargain prices.

Greg Clark

James Bay


• Email: [email protected]

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

• Aim for no more than 250 words; ­subject to editing for length and clarity. Provide your contact information.