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Letters Dec. 4: Is B.C. too attractive? Cyclists, turn down the lights

Premier David Eby speaks during a press conference in the rotunda at the legislature in Victoria, Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. CHAD HIPLITO, THE CANADIAN PRESS

We have many problems, with more people coming

When is the water bucket full? Premier David Eby is proud to tell us the hundreds of thousands of people have moved to B.C. in the last two years.

And yet this government cannot even provide services that we had 10 years ago to our previous population.

He wants to override elected municipal government building policies and put four to six residences where one used to be to make room for all these new people, even when our local governments have not planned for this.

Is this still a democracy? I won’t even try to get into the mess of policing in Surrey.

Remember when our health minister was trying to get elected and promised a doctor for every person in B.C.? We all know how that promise turned out.

Our health care is in a mess and yet the ambulance system, ferries, nurses, hospitals, ICBC, roadways and just about every service this government controls is a mess.

I feel bad for the people who want to live here and can’t afford to do so (it’s called free enterprise) and would control our already bloated local population.

I know why the governments need more people, it’s for the taxes collected to provide for their already bloated expenses.

Ken Evans


Those flashing lights are inconsiderate

Cyclists must be seen on the road. They should not be funny looking road hazards.

Flashing white lights on the front of bikes are a bad idea. They are blinding and inconsiderate to other cyclists and pedestrians. They are distractions to motorists.

Some people cannot ride on the Galloping Goose in the evenings because there are too many flashing white lights.

Motorists can see solid lights and tell where you are, what direction you are going, and how fast.

I have cycled for decades in Victoria and still get blinded by fellow cyclists with their flashing lights. Please be safe and courteous.

Duane Lecky


That money should go to alternative energy

Pathways Alliance has proposed “a $16.5-billion carbon capture and storage network,” Nov. 28.

Never mind that the environmental and economic viability of carbon capture is widely questioned. How far would that $16.5-billion go for alternative energy projects? Where is the wisdom we need in these times?

Bruce Whittington


Surrey police battle is all about politics

When Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke referred to the emerging Surrey municipal police as the “NDP police force” she at last revealed her true colours.

She is fighting a provincial election on the backs and at the expense of Surrey taxpayers. She complains about the suspension of the police board in Surrey by the Solicitor General acting under the Police Act.

The Surrey police board came into being in 2020 solely as a result of the anticipated transfer of policing in Surrey from the RCMP to a municipal police force. The RCMP does not permit police boards.

Indeed there will be no police board if the transition ever occurred back to the RCMP in Surrey. Police boards exist in all municipal police jurisdictions in B.C. and provide valuable input into local policing.

The mayor objects to municipal policing. Her own party along with the Greens and the NDP through a committee reported almost two years ago that the RCMP should be replaced throughout British Columbia by a local and provincial force.

The RCMP police most local jurisdictions within British Columbia and are subsidized at the 10 or 30 per cent level by the federal government.

Staffing levels are perpetually deficient in the RCMP. The crime severity index, an independent statistical measure of effective policing regularly shows that municipal police forces promote safer communities.

There is a report (that unfortunately none of us will be able to see) prepared by the director of police services, an ex-police officer that was used by the Solicitor General and shown to the mayor to justify the change.

Locke knows exactly what it says. So does the now-exasperated Mike Farnworth.

Donald Skogstad


Follow the housing lead of other countries

The letters of criticism for Premier David Eby and his government’s housing policies and plans are missing the important thing that is at the centre of such controversy: The need for more affordable housing. And of various types of housing.

Why do we not have workers available for convenient services, from automobile maintenance (just try to get a reasonably soon appointment) to medical appointments and why are we seeing many closures of retail businesses and restaurants?

No technicians, doctors, nurses, retail or restaurant staff can afford to live here. And if they can manage to live here, somehow, they sure can’t afford to eat out or spend on clothing, or household items. It is obvious that many workers have left for Alberta and other provinces.

Our NDP government has taken steps to encourage more medical training and availability here, and has enlarged opportunities for renting strata units to families with children.

Allowing owners of large residential lots to add extra living space for purchase or rental can also permit design innovation and architectural variety to a neighbourhood — our province is not short of such talent.

We can see how nations like Denmark and France have combined single-family houses, small multi-unit residences, and even well-kept factories and small shops in the same neighbourhood.

In Århus, Denmark there are treed areas with homes sheltered by shrubbery along with occasional specialty shops, small groceries, and even coffee-roasting facilities … harmonious and attractive.

There will always be nay-sayers, but these new plans and policies will improve our economy.

Closing down needed change will result in a few wealthy residents living out their lives having to find health-care abroad or south of the border, no thriving small businesses, few youthful residents to brighten the scene.

Janet Doyle


Smaller families, bigger homes are hurting supply

We constantly complain about housing availability and costs, but we ignore the root causes of our current housing situation. In recent years society has become more demanding and less tolerant.

From 1951 to 2021, the average household size in Canada has dropped from four to 2.5 and the average house size increased from 1,000 square feet to 2,000 square feet.

During that time, Canada’s population grew from 14 million to 37 million. If the household size had stayed at four, and the house size had stayed at 1,000 square feet, the number of homes needed to house our population would be about 9.25 million with a total of 9.25 billion square feet.

However, due to the decrease in household size to 2.5, we now need 14.8 million homes. And due to increased per person space demands we now need 29.6 billion square feet of living space.

Lifestyle choices have resulted in a 60-per-cent increase in demand for homes, over and above the increases needed due to population growth, and those homes have to be twice as big.

Why are we surprised we can’t build our way out of this housing shortage?

S.I. Petersen



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