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Letters Feb. 17: Restore train service to help with housing crunch; little communication on new tower; celebrate air force's 10th

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A letter writer suggests that restoring train service on the Island would help ease the housing crunch by making it easier for people to commute to and from areas where housing is less expensive. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Without profits, the economy would falter

Re: “Housing for people matters more than profit,” letter, Feb. 15.

Is a business supposed to lose money?

Is a hotel supposed to purchase land, invest in improvements, then allow people to stay for free? How dare the landowner, investing millions, intend to profit off visitors in order to pay the banks off!

I don’t understand the vilification of landowners who, using the rules of the day, invest in a property that caters to tourist dollars.

Horror of horrors, that might encourage tourist dollars to be spent in the area for housing, entertainment, food, etc. which results in profit, which is then taxed by the government!

Using housing to generate a profit is as old as time (wasn’t there no room at the inn when Jesus was born?), and is not why housing is no longer affordable. Housing costs are as simple as supply and demand.

If the supply of for-profit housing was excessive, then profits can’t be made. An unmet need is being satisfied.

Hotels are one form of for-profit housing. Many people prefer other forms. Although there may be many issues with the legitimacy of the gig-economy in-home business model of renting rooms like a hotel, doing so “for profit” isn’t one of them.

It’s not politically correct to suggest that demand growth has caused the affordability crisis (that would be incorrectly taken as anti-immigrant and thus racist), and supply growth is bad for the environment (think of the carbon dioxide! The poor owls!), so we’re stuck vilifying anyone who is trying to cater to a business demand and not go bankrupt and pay taxes.

Yes, it’s true, businesses are in business to make a profit. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be much of a business, would it?

If you can’t turn a profit, you can’t hire workers (who pay income tax) and you can’t pay business taxes.

Profits aren’t necessarily evil, they’re a necessary component of our economic system.

Tom Younger

Victoria

Restore the train to ease housing crunch

It beggars belief that so much disruption in so many lives is occurring to accommodate more housing in a city bursting at the seams, when the most obvious solution has been shut down and disregarded.

That solution is a commuter train up the Island. The land is there. Most of the right-of-way is there and the rest negotiable. Some of the stations are still there.

It would mean folks could live in Duncan and farther, commuting to Victoria for work. It would take the strain off the Malahat and would be available transport even when there are closures on the Malahat.

It would ease the Colwood crawl. It would mean so many who can’t afford Victoria house prices would have a hope of home ownership.

On top of that, it would bring prosperity in the way of tourism all the way up the Island as far as the train goes. Tourists love trains.

It is so frustrating that this most obvious and multi-purpose solution should be ignored.

There was even a railway bridge into downtown Victoria, and a nice little station at the Johnston Street bridge, before our clever planners took those away. Next goes the Roundhouse.

I hope it is not too late to make this amazing solution happen.

Theresa Moylan

Victoria

Like it or not, it’s been 100 years

Re: “Here’s a recount of the air force’s history,” letter, Feb. 14.

As stated, the Royal Canadian Air Force was established on April 1, 1924, which means April 1 this year will be its 100-year anniversary.

As to the approach, “then it wasn’t and then, it is again” and therefore does not deserve the 100-year designation, I wholeheartedly object. I rather imagine many long-serving airmen and their families will feel the same way.

Just because there was a name interruption, so to speak, it does not change the objectives and commitments of the organization or the courage of the members.

Many, like my father, served during the war and through the name changes. He would definitely call “bull crap” on the nit-picking.

On April 1, 2024, the RCAF will have been in existence for 100 years and recognition is well deserved.

Dawn Devereaux

Victoria

Little communication about that new tower

“If you go down in the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise …. ” You’ll certainly be shocked, today or soon, if you go to the summit parking lot in PKOLS Mount Douglas Park.

Saanich is taking a key part off that open area for a new communications tower. Structural standards require replacement of the existing one, but they do not require relocating it from beside the existing east summit location that has balanced park, engineering and commercial interests so well.

Neither do they require making it higher.

Saanich hides behind the motherhood issues of safety and security (CREST is up there), but those issues have nothing to do with the new location or height. Saanich has kept all information on a short leash.

What’s happening, and why, is murky. It appears that the finite plan will only be revealed when it is too late to be modified.

Historically, in B.C. Tel days, the communications facility was an illegal, commercial operation in the park, then in the hands of the City of Victoria. Hence, in the late 1980s, the last Social Credit government took the park back briefly, to allow subdivision of the communications site, and of the main roads, out of it.

This was to enable existing trespasses, not to expand them. Then, in the early 1990s, the new NDP government handed the remainders to Saanich.

I have been part of the Friends of Mount Douglas Park, now the PKOLS Mount Douglas Conservancy, for 35 years, and never has such political spin and bureaucratic stonewalling been as hostile, or at least patronizing, as on this project.

What appears to be happening is that the facility user/tenants have asked for a great deal more capacity than they have now, or may ever need, and would rather have the tower where they can drive right up to it.

Perhaps the builders would rather have a flat construction site, too. Costs be damned. Park be damned. Park users be damned.

This is no teddy bears’ picnic. It’s more like the foxes have taken over the henhouse.

Claude Maurice

Oak Bay

(grew up in Saanich)

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