Letters Dec. 2: Heritage buildings, a thank-you to ICBC, housing needed

New driver’s licence in just nine minutes

I renewed my driver’s licence at the ICBC centre in Saanich. I arrived at 8:35 with no appointment. Clear signage directed me to the green line, where I stood alone for fewer than 30 seconds.

Then a courteous clerk directed me to an available wicket where she quickly processed my renewal. During our interaction the clerk mentioned that the office has been very busy.

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She said that had I not arrived right when the office opened, it is likely that time spent in the queue would have been much longer.

After I paid the renewal fee and posed for yet another terrible photo, the clerk directed me to the exit at the far end of the building, smiled under her mask, and bid me good day.

A whole nine minutes passed from the time I left my vehicle to enter ICBC’s office until I returned to my vehicle to go home. Given the combination of good timing and ICBC’s diligent COVID-19 mitigations, any concerns I had about excessive delays in renewing my driver’s licence were completely unfounded.

Thanks ICBC!

Doug Stacey

Esquimalt

Stop destruction of heritage buildings

The proposed redevelopment of the Gold Rush-era warehouses on Wharf Street does more than threaten the old city skyline, as Martin Segger warns (Nov. 29 in Islander). It would be another devastating blow to the old-world ambience and charm of the city — like the regrettable building of the Regent Hotel and other (to use Prince Charles’ phrase) hideous carbuncles on the city scape.

We really must put a stop to the destruction and replacement of unique heritage buildings.

Victoria’s old buildings are treasures; like old growth forests, when they are gone, they are gone.

The Reliance Properties proposal seems to try to circumvent this problem by burying the old buildings within a modern new structure. But does anyone really believe that this is a good faith attempt to preserve historic buildings?

Will carbuncle culture once again triumph in our beleaguered city?

Gary Bauslaugh

Victoria

Really want private insurance?

The same private insurance sector that is promising a competitive panacea of cheap auto insurance if the ICBC monopoly is broken, is currently shafting condo owners with outrageous premium increases.

And ironically, public insurance may offer the only reasonable resolution.

Dave Nonen

Victoria

Plan to keep family as safe as possible

My thanks to columnist Charla Huber for her perspective on the COVID-19 restrictions.

COVID is a scary virus with scary possibilities, made even more frightening by having to live through it without the support of our communities.

Charla’s experience of learning how to accept her scary life event and its repercussions gives us a roadmap for making it through these next weeks and months.

So, I plan to think on her example and use my nine months of COVID experience to help plan how to keep my family, myself, and others as safe as possible.

Sharon Prindle Collins

Sidney

Do not lengthen the Christmas break

Provinces with a large number of daily COVID cases are contemplating extending the length of the Christmas break. Is this logical? Does it make sense?

Travel is being discouraged, yet lengthening the Christmas break would encourage travel. Extra stress was put on families when schools closed early in the pandemic and parents had to work and stay at home.

Extending the length of the Christmas break would be expected to increase family stress.

Let’s hope the B.C. government does not follow the misguided approach of other provinces that intend to length the break.

Louise Manga

Victoria

Councillors rejected much-needed housing

I hope the four Victoria councillors who effectively torpedoed the Cook Street condo project are proud of themselves. By all counts this was a reasonable and well-planned use of space which even had social benefit attached to it.

God knows, the city needs more accommodation of all standards and levels, so it is unconscionable to sink a 48-unit project just because it did not include social housing.

And I doubt Aragon Properties will rush to advance a project in Victoria again anytime soon.

These four councillors may hope for some type of Utopia but if they wish for more social housing to be built, perhaps they should devote their efforts to achieving just that in another context or place rather than killing a project that would have supplied much needed units and added economic benefit to the Cook Street district.

Why on Earth are these shortsighted people elected to council?

David Collins

Victoria

Missed opportunity for two exam rooms

The Victoria Health Co-operative and the Creating Community Wellness Society have been working assiduously to add medical services to the health and wellness activities we already provide at the Cook Street Village Activity Centre, 380 Cook St.

We had good reason to believe that the city council vote last Thursday would give us access to two exam rooms to provide primary health care services to the many seniors and others in the area who have no nearby, predictable access to these much primary health care services.

In addition to many discussions in the past, we had provided a letter and voice recording to council before the meeting reinforcing the need for this space. We are extremely grateful to the four councillors who voted in favour of the development that would have enabled us to use this space.

This location, or something similar in the same area, is urgently needed.

We would very, very much appreciate any ideas. Anyone who has suggestions, please, please contact us.

Vanessa Hammond

Chair, Victoria Health Co-operative

Cullen testimony is like an earthquake

Living in a seismic zone, we are all aware that a major earthquake can hit us at any time with little or no warning.

The preview of the initial report from the Cullen Commission has already sent serious tremors through the political establishment of this province, the RCMP, and related agencies with responsibility to curb money laundering in B.C.

While we anxiously await publication of the initial report and further evidence from key witnesses, the pandemic gives me time to take the advice to watch public testimony already delivered, available on the commission website. I have done so periodically and can attest to the care with which commission lawyers are building a detailed picture of how we arrived at this point.

While most of us are watching The Crown and or The Queen’s Gambit, further testimony by commission witnesses will be the next “must see TV “ for British Columbians and soon there will be a true earthquake.

John Treleaven

Sidney

Transport Canada is out of touch

If letting B.C. Ferries passengers remain in their cars in the first wave of the pandemic was a good idea (and it was), then it’s still a good idea in the second wave. Transport Canada’s arbitrary rescinding of that permission over the past months defies common sense.

To reach the upper decks, passengers have to crowd up narrow stairways or squeeze into elevators. And when they arrive there, they must wander around looking for scarce seats not ribboned off, while entire areas of the ship are closed entirely.

But no, instead of doing the sensible thing and reverting to early-pandemic regulations, Transport Canada is exploring fines and other “enforcement options.”

Another doozie of an example of federal regulations arrogantly out of touch with local Canadian conditions!

Dennis Danielson

Sidney

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