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Letters Feb. 16: Condo insurance trouble; protecting a fragile democracy

Condo owners should take responsibility Re: “ Condo owners need help in dealing with insurance crisis ,” editorial, Feb. 14. This editorial is not well-advised. Condo owners need to help themselves, not have government intervene.
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An aerial view of downtown Victoria.

Condo owners should take responsibility

Re: “Condo owners need help in dealing with insurance crisis,” editorial, Feb. 14.

This editorial is not well-advised. Condo owners need to help themselves, not have government intervene. Many condo owners for years have refused to properly maintain their buildings and put in place mitigating programs, preferring to keep their strata fees low.

However, this only passes the deferred maintenance costs on to future owners or, when the roof does cave in, have the insurance company pay for their maintenance and lack of mitigation.

The B.C. government recognized this and requires condo owners to obtain depreciation reports every three years. These reports identify required maintenance currently and in the future, which in turn drives the strata fees to fund maintenance and future reserve requirements.

Some condo owners have refused to even get these reports, knowing what they will highlight. However, this dysfunctional behaviour has resulted in these condos now having difficulty in obtaining insurance or at much higher costs as insurance companies move to cover their risks.

For the well-run condos that have diligently contracted depreciation reports and kept well maintained buildings, they are able to obtain insurance at competitive rates and deductibles.

For those in difficulty, it is up to these condo owners to obtain depreciation reports and then get their buildings in order so they can acquire reasonable insurance and be able to sell their units.

Rob Moore

Government insurance for condo owners?

Read the editorial, then replace strata councils with “car owners” and condo owners with “car drivers” and it’s déjà vu of automobile insurance complaints that caused the NDP to bring in ICBC.

If they now expand the mandate of ICBC to include condo insurance, will owners be as happy as car owners/drivers?

Terry Prentice

No taxpayer help for condo owners

Condo insurance rates are soaring for a myriad of reasons. I expect we, the taxpayer, will be expected to bail them out of what must be a horrendous predicament.

But why? When condo prices were flying through the roof, other than property taxes, did they offer to share their windfall with the people of the province?

No, they pontificated that they were the wise and skilled investors. While we, the lessers, could have done the same.

As one who has paid home insurance for 50 years, this reminds me of those who choose not to have insurance, and when catastrophe arrives, no problem, appeal to the balance of the population or, better yet, start a Go Fund Me page.

Not a brass farthing from me.

Whitney Moyer

Injecting violence into protests

I have no issues with peaceful protests. We are a free country and people have the right to stand up for what they believe is right. However, there seems to be an element that makes it almost a profession to infiltrate protests and take them over into violence and disruption.

No group should be allowed to disrupt train service, commerce, or infrastructure. They are alienating any support common folks might feel for their cause.

The northern B.C. LNG pipeline will provide jobs to a lot of people, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. The pipeline should satisfy environmentalists by reducing the amount of coal shipped overseas for fuel.

It has been approved by the tribal councils and their communities. Those are the voices we need to hear to put this whole situation into perspective and under control.

Wendy Darbey

Hypocritical response from premier

I find it very hypocritical that the leader of the provincial NDP, a party that historically represents unionized workers, should claim that it’s unacceptable to block entrances and prevent people from going to work. Animal Farm?

Margot Johnston

It could be because of all that snow

Received some pics from family in St.  John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. They haven’t seen any protesters. Wonder why.

Donald Lang

Protect democracy, a fragile beast

I’ve long held sympathy with our First Nations citizens and generally support the objectives of reconciliation but events of the past few days have caused me to reflect on the details of this process.

Does reconciliation mean a statistically small number of unsatisfied citizens are allowed to break the law, intimidate people, paralyze our transport system, cause widespread personal and economic hardship in the name of “freedom of speech” and lawful protest?

Democracy is a fragile beast, dependent upon the rule of law and consent of the majority. The majority of British Columbians are waiting for the government and police to make clear that our laws will be enforced and institutions supported.

Carol McGinty

Construction work is causing us grief

Road work on Douglas Street is horrendous. Who are the people who orchestrated this chaotic bottleneck? Don’t they take into consideration people’s tolerance to frustration in such delays, not to mention the economic ramifications?

Road work in the Victoria region, although necessary, is an economic deterrent to doing business in this popular city.

Personally, I am considering leaving the city due to the constant delays due to various construction projects which seem to be not managed well.

Bennett Guinn

Sewage biosolids should not be spread

Re: “CRD allows spreading of sewage biosolids at Hartland Landfill,” Feb. 13.

I needed to check my blood pressure on reading that the Capital Regional District board approved the spreading of biosolids at Hartland.

Biosolids are not just poop. They’re a concentrated mass of nasty stuff that includes chemicals and pharmaceutical agents that find their way into our sewage system.

I and other CRD directors (both current and previous) strived for years to avoid this particular outcome, a decision born of out-dated thinking and lacking ingenuity and enterprise. The late Vic Derman would be reeling.

Before spreading this toxic fertilizer, how about a call to today’s informed industry to bring forward guaranteed alternative solutions that will protect our environment, community and, ultimately, our tax dollars.

Graham Hill
Former mayor of View Royal

Remember the history of the watershed

Sewage biosolids should not be spread over the watershed at the site of Heal Lake and what is now known as Hartland Landfill.

Heal Lake and its watershed area existed for eons, until the Capital Regional District drained the lake in 1991 to turn it into the Hartland Landfill. In these ensuing 30 years, so much has been forgotten. The emptied lakebed revealed hundreds of well-preserved trees, believed to be almost 10,000 years old, felled by a tidal wave after the glaciers melted.

An integral part of sound watershed stewardship is remembering the history and wholeness of a place and all it entails. Protect it.

Miyo Stevens

Highway spending priorities compared

Interesting to note that on the 10th anniversary of the 2010 Olympics, the government of the day spent $650 million to build a new Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler. All this for the chosen few to show their skills in winter sports.

But the present government can’t seem to find the funds to upgrade our dreaded Malahat highway on Vancouver Island.

G.A. Johnson
North Saanich

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