Letters Feb. 16: Drug-crisis solution; downtown labyrinth; council’s spending priorities

A simple solution to the drug problem

Re: “Province urges decriminalizing; overdose deaths hit record high,” Feb. 12.

Several years ago the Times Colonist published a letter I wrote, offering a solution to the drug problem. Obviously no one paid attention. Let me try again.

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I’m tired of paying for the war on drugs from one pocket and enabling drug use from the other, and if my understanding is correct, “decriminalizing” means that users will still buy drugs illegally, but will have a safe place to use them, and help will be at hand when it turns out they are poisonous.

Or users will be supplied with substitutes that they don’t consider strong enough, and will continue to buy and use whatever they can find.

That’s dumb. The government should go into the drug business. The basic materials (opium, cocaine, whatever) are dirt cheap at the source. The province should set up contracts for the raw materials, produce the final product, and make it available to all registered users on an ability-to-pay basis.

No need for safe injection sites, no worry that users will not find substitutes strong enough. And since everyone will have all the drugs they want or need, at a price they can afford, crime will go down and dealers will be out of business.

But of course that would put all sorts of people out of a job, so I don’t suppose it’ll happen anytime soon. Someday it will.

Ian Cameron
Brentwood Bay

The labyrinth called Victoria

By many I might be considered elderly, but at 70 years I am a reasonably good driver.

We used to go into the inner core of Victoria for several reasons, but in the past few years we tend to avoid any reason to enter the labyrinth of downtown.

The one-way streets were always easy to navigate, but now with bus lanes, bike lanes, no left turns, no right turns, the confusing mess is not on my list of enjoyable activities.

Every week there is another uproar over the latest changes proposed by Victoria mayor and council to the map grid that is Victoria, which doesn’t instil confidence for out-of-town visitors.

I have heard that delivery truck drivers if given a choice, avoid the downtown core during the 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. work day due to the chaos.

Victoria council, stop complaining about loss of visitors to the city core, you created the mess.

Mike Wilkinson

There are other spending priorities

To spend close to $20 million (probably a lot more with cost overruns) on widening the Galloping Goose, and now another $250,000 to put benches on Clover Point, is, at this time, totally irresponsible.

How many mobile homes or container homes could be built for the homeless? How many mouths could be fed?

Capital Regional District board members and Victoria councillors, give your heads a shake.

Mike Woods

A snowbird says we should leave it alone

While sitting in my living room, due to COVID-19, reading the Times Colonist in -45 degree weather, I happened on the articles regarding the future of Clover Point.

As a snowbird from Saskatchewan, we have spent 31 winters in Victoria and visited Clover Point once or sometimes four times a week. Why would any person wish to close this beautiful green space to vehicles? It would be a sad day for seniors and people with disabilities, who often spend an afternoon at this spot.

I have often observed some of the residents of your seniors homes, enjoying the view from their bus. Why would you want to destroy this privilege?

Where are visitors going to park, and especially seniors and people with health issues which limit the distance they are able to walk? The hill would make it impossible for some people to enjoy the beauty.

Come on Victoria, remember you have a large senior population, make it enjoyable for all and leave room for automobiles, we can’t all ride bikes.

Wanda Forsyth

After the cars, get rid of the dogs

It’s been an education to read all the letters about the evidently contentious proposal for Clover Point.

I find the debate puzzling when so much of the Dallas Road park immediately west of Clover Point has already been ruined and rendered largely inaccessible by turning it into a dog run, with barely a peep from anyone.

I guess we can adapt to almost any situation. I’ve been avoiding Clover Point for years because of having to walk the gauntlet of dogs to get there and then dodge the cars if I do manage to make it.

Carry on council, and get rid of the cars. Then, take on the dogs.

Brian Mason

Let the people have the best views

Given the letters on the Clover Point subject, you would think the city wants to put in a grow op or, even worse, some social housing. They want to put in a space for people to eat and connect and perhaps meet someone different than themselves. What is so wrong with that?

Before the sewer project that area was a car park where the cars, not the people, got the best views. I walked behind those cars for years with my dog praying that no one would back up and kill us both.

As for the wind and cool temperature, that is the Pacific Ocean out there. Wear some warm clothes, it isn’t Skaha Lake.

Paul Best
James Bay

There are many problems for Victoria to fix

Victoria has many problems, but Clover Point is not one of them. Clover Point is unique in that it is accessible to everyone; the young, old, disabled and able-bodied. Leave it alone.

Council’s time might be better spent dealing with the horrendous condition of downtown. Day after day we hear reports of stabbings, vandalism, theft from businesses, arson, and assaults on innocent people who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sadly for us, there are too many wrong places in the downtown now.

Maybe council could focus on their own conduct? Over the past few months, we have seen some questionable conduct from council members.

Council members who recuse themselves, only to then stay in meetings and continue to make arguments. Council members who implore us all to stay home and follow public health guidelines while they sneak out of the country.

Council members who are supposed to be in meetings yet are somehow photographed standing in the middle of a park. Council members asking how multiple votes were recorded because they weren’t there or weren’t paying attention.

Then when valid concerns are raised, they spin a fanciful tale.

Finally, we have council members speaking out about their Zoom fatigue. I wonder how many people are suffering from Victoria council fatigue? Unfortunately, for us, there is no relief in sight.

Sandi Love

Taxpayers bailing out negligent oil, gas firms

Re: “B.C. opens latest round of funding to clean up dormant oil and gas wells,” Feb. 12.

The International Monetary Fund estimated that Canada gave the oil and gas industry $43 billion in subsidies in 2015-2016.

What did the oil and gas industry give back to the taxpayers? They left us with such a huge environmental problem that we had to provide a further $1.7 billion in April to deal with these so-called “orphan” oil and gas wells.

Let’s at least be honest enough to stop calling them “dormant” and “orphaned” and call them for what they are: “abandoned wells” left by the oil and gas industry that doesn’t want to cut into their profits by being responsible for their clean-up, even after the subsidies.

Jim Pine

More calls for police, and more serious as well

Re: “Why is our regional crime rate so high?,” editorial, Feb. 6.

I retired from Victoria’s Police ­Department in 1998 after 28 years of service.

A portion of my final time was spent examining statistics that included both the local call load and comparisons with federally mandated reports from other provinces.

The federal stats consistently demonstrated a rising crime rate and decreasing solution rate east to west. Victoria calls were on the high side.

I don’t know if this continues to be the case, and in any event, I suppose criminologists have the answer to why. But I also spent time supervising members who responded to those calls.

When I retired, the officers on the street were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of calls for service. This was made worse by their increasing seriousness and the requirement to handle tasks atypical to policing and made worse by lack of appropriate resources that could take over.

The “to be expected” result was not attending calls judged to be less urgent and lacking evidentiary value. A prime example from the editorial was types of “property crimes.”

I was quite glad to leave and feel disquiet for the psychological well-being of those still there.

Bob Blackie
North Saanich

Many reasons to object to housing project

The recent article about neighbourhood opposition to the proposed development of 902 Foul Bay Rd. was unbalanced and inaccurate.

There were three paragraphs on neighbours’ reasons for opposition to the development, but 12 paragraphs to the developer’s arguments in favour of the development.

The developer referred to the two beech trees as non-native and said they would be replaced with new native species. There was no mention that the beech trees are beautiful, very large, and more than 100 years old — not to mention that they would likely be replaced with saplings.

The developer claims that the average three-bedroom home in our neighbourhood cost $2.1 million. We find this hard to believe since our well-maintained three-bedroom home was assessed at under $1 million.

(In any case, the median price would be a more accurate measure, since the average price can be distorted by one or two very expensive homes.)

The developer repeatedly stresses the affordability of the proposed townhouses. But our understanding is that the qualify ing income will be a minimum of $163,000 a year — so many, if not most, families looking for a first home would fail to qualify.

The developer claims that the townhouses will be “perfect” for kids. Really? With 18 townhouses crammed on a small lot, where exactly will children be able to play?

Finally, the developer complains of “families being displaced” out of neighbourhoods. No one is being displaced. Those of us opposed to the development simply want a development that is of ­reasonable size and that does not unnecessarily destroy trees.

Ed and Cindy Feher

We are too lenient on repeat offenders

Re: “Why is our regional crime rate so high?,” editorial, Feb. 6.

I think the editorial board is missing a few key points in terms of having a comprehensive analysis of the situation.

First, the question to ask is “how” not “why” the crime rate is so high? It is not difficult to explain.

B.C.’s laws are too lenient on repeat offenders. Criminals are well aware of this, and thus are migrating to B.C. from across the country.

“Catch and release” is the methodology being employed for many repeat offenders, with crimes as serious as drug trafficking, assault, murder, robbery and the countless break-and-enters that B.C. residents have had to contend with both before and during this ongoing pandemic.

I have been the victim of such crimes, as have many of my friends. These remain unsolved crimes and no charges have even been laid!

The solution is to abandon this ineffectual approach and ensure that those who are repeat offenders are where they belong — in jail. Then, any so-called rehabilitation programs can be implemented while the community is protected from the violence and danger that these individuals pose to civil society.

A key part of citizenship involves not only rights, but responsibilities. Those that are repeat offenders are failing to live up to their part of the bargain in terms of the rights we enjoy as Canadians.

Carol Auld

Thanks to those who helped this veteran

I wish to extend my sincere thanks to all the folks who came to my aid when I suffered a bad fall in the 1900 block of Oak Bay Avenue.

I am a 94-year-old veteran of the Second World War. The passersby and staff of a local business assisted me and called EMS in order to get me help and transportation to the hospital.

Bless all of you and thank you again.

John Tough
Oak Bay


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