Letters Dec. 23: Pandemic punishment; Woodwynn win-win; housing density

All are affected by this pandemic

Re: “Punished because others reckless,” letter, Dec. 18.

In the face of the deadliest pandemic in more than 100 years, with ever-increasing numbers of new cases being recorded daily around the planet, I am quite happy to be home with my wife, theoretically out of COVID’s way.

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Talk to a health care worker before declaring this is not a crisis on the island. Suggest that to a family who has lost a loved one. See what kind of reaction that brings.

We have seen our treasured daughter only once in two years, because of this pandemic. Our only son, who lives in this city, we see once every couple or three weeks, only outdoors. As he is a tradesman, he is well outside our bubble and we don’t want to take the chance and nor does he want to give us anything.

This is affecting us all. These measures are for the good of every­one, the responsible, the reckless and even the brain-dead pandemic deniers. With any luck at all this will be a once-in-a-lifetime event. But I doubt it.

Jay Bowles
Brentwood Bay

High praise indeed for CHEK’s Upside

While I congratulate the 10 winners of VIATEC’s COVID Heroes awards (“Capital tech community honours COVID Heroes,” Dec. 18) I am mentally kicking myself that I did not nominate The Upside in the arts category.

This nightly display of humour, good cheer and mayhem on CHEK-TV’s local news sees weatherman Ed Bain and sportscaster Jeff King pull out every zany trick in their repertoire as they take our minds off the pandemic.

Their lack of self-consciousness as they dress in outrageous costumes and put themselves in silly situations is just what this COVID-weary community needs.

They are my COVID Heroes.

Anne Moon

Get tougher about masks on buses

For those dependent on public transit during the pandemic, the situation on B.C. Transit is hardly reassuring.

Today, this senior rode on a bus with six others — one unmasked, two with masks worn under the nose.

I understand that there are indeed some who cannot tolerate masks. But conditions medically warranting such exemption are relatively few. And albeit certainly not the norm, some clearly hale young folks and additional others using buses board with misguided attitudes of defiant non-compliance.

Focused messaging, both debunking misinformation that masks impede oxygen levels and the normal in-out exchange of breathing elements, and stressing the critical importance of masking on buses, is needed.

This could also be integrated into the automated pandemic-related announcements on B.C. Transit. Furthermore, in our milder climate, a policy of usually having the top windows — on buses having these — open for fresh air cross-current seems sensible now.

Also, why are passenger capacity limits, in effect earlier on, restored to pre-pandemic ones — with busloads of 20-plus passengers, including some unmasked, not unusual.

And why are bylaw officers not spot-checking on B.C. Transit and enforcing pandemic rule?

Given B.C.’s high per capita rate of infection compared with other provinces, and that realistically, we’ve many months of necessary vigilance ahead before we’re immunized and can let our guard down, it’s time to address busing risks, and consider implementing a measure requiring/allowing those who cannot mask to present a provincially issued piece of identification denoting physician-certified masking exemption.

Bat-Ami Hensen

Rules are simple; just follow them

What is wrong with some of the people in Victoria? Why all the nit-picking in regard the rules governing this COVID thing?

We all know that you can’t make a rule that governs everyone in all circumstances. We also know, that we shouldn’t even need any of these rules.

We all know what we all need to do in order to beat this thing.

The very few real rules are very simple. Why do we need laws and fines and threats in order to follow them?

We should all be wanting to keep our families and friends safe and healthy. And yes, we all live under different conditions and circumstances, but for the most part we can all follow the rules.

Stay clean, keep your distance and wear a mask. And no gatherings, for any reason.

Lyall Eriksen

Consider number of exterior contacts

Although further clarification on health-order exceptions (e.g. grandparents can provide childcare, single-person households are allowed one or two contacts, grandparents who provide regular care for their grandchildren can spend time together over the holidays, etc.) can be found by reading the health orders and associated webpages on the B.C. government website, doing so also raises questions.

Understandably, health authorities want to curb recklessness over the holidays. And it’s common sense, supported by information from health authorities, that the way to curb virus transmission is for everyone to have minimal contacts.

However, the combined community exposure of individuals in one household could potentially be greater than the exposure risk of individuals in a small core bubble which includes more than one household.

Consider: children in school/daycare vs. children staying at home, parents working outside the house vs. those who work from home/don’t work/are retired, etc.

Using the vague threat of enforcement to restrict gatherings of those in already highly restricted and health-safety-conscious situations does next to nothing to stop potential community spread and rather forces blind obeisance to technicalities, seemingly ignoring the possible negative mental-health consequences for those whose diligence has already significantly isolated them thus far.

Rather than one blanket restriction, a more fair and specific set of restrictions would consider the number of exterior contacts when defining allowable members of a “core bubble.”

This would more effectively target those attempting to take true risks, and wouldn’t unfairly penalize those who have already gone above and beyond in being careful and conscientious.

Kiiri Michelsen

Woodwynn deal could be good for all

The Tsartlip First Nation has acquired Woodwynn Farms. One form of taxpayer funding goes to another form of taxpayer funding and First Nations end up with a fine piece of property, courtesy of more taxpayer funding.

First Nations claim it was their land in the first place, and no one can legally argue that point.

Is there a good way to use this land that might benefit everyone in our community, including the new owners?

The answer is yes, and is ­provided by Tsartlip councillor Paul Sam, who spoke of his ­grand­father’s use of the land many years ago, growing fruits and ­vegetables — a perfect idea, thank you!

This will provide meaningful jobs for First Nations members and provide fresh, locally grown products for our area. The farm market enterprises in this area are making tidy profits and the forecast for food prices are spiralling.

This land is 78 hectares, so lots of room to produce good volume and great revenue. We look forward to a First Nation success story — coming soon!

This is an opportunity to do something that could be a win-win for all.

Somebody tell me I’m not dreaming.

Jim Laing

Higher density means more housing

It is easy to sympathize with the residents of the Tri-Way Mobile Home Park. With the current shortage of housing, they have few options of where to move and those options are expensive.

However, the reason there is a shortage of housing in the first place is that there hasn’t been enough development, causing prices that are over what is warranted by the local income.

So what is the proposed rezoning?

If the rezoning will increase the density of the area, the change will be difficult for current residents, but will increase the supply, which is the only sustainable way to bring prices down.

Rafael Ávila de Espíndola

Landfill no answer to cutting waste

Our organization, the Creatively United for the Planet Society, fully endorses the call for stopping the expansion of the existing landfill at Hartland by aggressively pursuing zero waste approaches as proposed by Jonathan O’Riordan in his recent commentary.

The Capital Regional District’s slogan is Rethink Waste. This means the CRD is committed to considering zero waste approaches and new technologies, such as the proposed waste to energy facility being analyzed by Esquimalt.

So far the CRD does not walk the talk.

It will take much of this decade to rethink waste comprehensively. Accordingly, the CRD should postpone any request for landfill expansion until 2030 and give the people of the region an opportunity to step up to the plate and show the CRD that reducing landfill waste is achievable.

Frances Litman, on behalf of CreativelyUnited.org


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