Letters Feb. 25: Paying for parking at regional parks; madness at Clover Point

Parking at regional parks should remain free

A visit to a regional park is always an uplifting experience, and the role of our parks in our mental and physical health has become clearer to us during the past year than perhaps than ever before.

Our incredible parks in the Capital Regional District provide an opportunity to connect to nature and get exercise.

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Importantly, this enjoyment can be found daily without the barrier of parking fees. Parking is free in most of our regional parks, with the exception of Sooke Potholes and Thetis Lake during the summer season when tourists (who don’t pay taxes for park use) are amongst the visitors.

The CRD’s parks committee, which I do not sit on, began looking at new funding streams for parks in 2019, including potentially introducing parking fees. ­Residents already pay for our regional park system through a levy to the CRD.

In Central Saanich, the oldest regional park, Island View, is mentioned in the Regional Parks Committee Report as a potential location for pay parking.

As the parking lot is within Central Saanich’s road right-of-way, Central Saanich council has a considerable voice. At our meeting this week, all council members in attendance voted in opposition to paid parking at CRD regional parks.

This will be my position at the CRD board table.

Yes, there are costs associated with maintaining our incredible parks, but parking fees are not necessarily the way to fund our parks, and stakeholder ­consultation is needed.

Ryan Windsor
Mayor of Central Saanich and CRD director

Too much design clutters Clover Point

All of the options presented for Clover Point have significant flaws. They are cluttered and over-designed.

Planners and designers tend to get into the mindset that everything must be planned and designed and filled with features, but Clover Point has had all the features it needs for decades already — an open place with nice views.

Why do we need food trucks, lounge chairs, public amphitheatres, and all that crammed into the place? An open outdoor space with great views is enough already.

This shift toward trying to cram as many “features” as possible into our undeveloped spaces is a problem in ­general in the region right now, and I wish planners would back off a bit.

It seems like we’ve hired too many designers when what we need are ­minimalism-minded civil engineers to put back the sidewalk and parking spots after the work is done.

Walter Ash
Victoria

Stop the madness at Clover Point

I have lived in Greater Victoria for all my life, over that time I have always found Clover Point to be a place of solitude.

Now the mayor and council want to take what we have as a natural space and add items such as stone seating scramble zone, scooter track and floor games, public art play feature, etc. etc. etc.

This all takes away from the existing character of what has satisfied the public for decades.

Not everything in the city has to be changed in order to leave a legacy for the mayor and council. Please stop the ­madness, leave Clover Point alone, leave the parking as is for all to enjoy.

Oh, if the mayor and council want to change the site and add unnatural features, such as being proposed, there’s a ping-pong table on Humboldt Street that is unused. It could be relocated there.

If the city “needs” to spend $250,000 put a paved foot path (not bike) around the perimeter of the existing roadway, but that’s it.

Brian A. Belcher
Victoria

Try leaving Clover Point just as it is

Wow! Front page of the Times Colonist looks like we have two options for Clover Point.

Two graphics of the two choices, front and centre.

But wait! There’s a third option close to the end of the article with no graphic. This is to leave Clover Point as is for now.

Imagine that, leave it as is and have thoughtful consultation with residents of Fairfield on what to do with our park.

Let us reacquaint ourselves with the point which we haven’t had full access to for two years. Perhaps council could spend their time figuring out replacing the Crystal Pool first.

Mary Sutton
Fairfield

Tough climb back to fiscal health

Re: “O’Toole needs to lay out a route back to fiscal sanity,” commentary, Feb. 21.

Congratulations are due both Lawrie McFarlane, the writer of the “fiscal ­sanity” epistle, and to the Times Colonist for publishing the sorely needed corrective government action necessary to recover from the federal monetary mismanagement and unjustifiable fiscal excesses of our national government.

A needed best relative rating of the long-term value of our dollar is its comparison to the U.S. currency over an extended time frame. Many of us will remember when our currency was worth four or five cents more than the ­American dollar in the 1970s.

Those days of a strong Canadian ­currency are long gone. The immediately required fiscal action now necessary is to immediately minimize a further decline. The long climb back to a needed strong Canadian dollar will, quite frankly, be painful.

If a different federal governing party is required to initiate such drastic corrective action, so be it. Knowing we face a long-term problem, as voters supporting a consistent party policy, we could realize the benefits of a long-term fiscal policy over multiple federal elections.

Ron Johnson
Saanich

We are too gullible about the Site C dam

When will the John Horgan/NDP government release reports relating to the safety and ongoing costs of building the Site C dam?

Despite such reports being in limbo, building continues apace, and we continue to pour money into a project that to our present knowledge is neither safe nor necessary for this province’s energy needs, never mind its environmental impacts, which are colossal.

Is this the legacy, the blindfolded citizens of this province, are doomed to inherit from the present NDP government? How gullible are we? How tragic the possible outcome!

Dennis Watts
Sidney

Stop impeding progress, bring on the trains

Now that the NDP government has appeased the rich people on Quadra and Gabriola islands by giving them two brand new ferries each to serve populations of 2,400 on Quadra and 4,000 on Gabriola, how about giving the near 900,000 people on Vancouver Island an operating railway?

The money spent on the extra ­unneeded ferry for each of these islands would go a long way to restore rail infrastructure on Vancouver Island.

Since 2009, Vancouver Islanders have been promised a refurbished railway with so far no result. Former premier Gordon Campbell hated railways, so rather than approving the province’s share of the $100 million to refurbish the rail line in 2009 ($33 million), he spent $550 million on a new state-of-the-art roof for B.C. Place stadium when a new $30-million dome roof would have been adequate.

Railways are our future, not our past, and the politicians hell-bent on impeding progress with bike paths and tent cities need to be voted out of office.

Joe Dingman
Victoria

Unfair virus restrictions hurt churches

I live in Port Alice, with a population of 640 people. Much of Port Alice’s businesses disappeared due to the mill closing. And now COVID-19 is pushing us into further isolation as many social events and celebrations have been forbidden.

However, there is still life here. As well as a few amenities, our community centre is open and hosts the indoor adult walking club, yoga, mahjong, tai chi, and also frequented are the library, the golf club and the Legion.

The only places where people are ­forbidden to gather are our churches. Our congregations are very small.

We followed the COVID rules with hand sanitizers, face masks and social distancing. We sat one person at the end of each pew. Several pews were removed to accommodate the safe-distance ruling. We met for one hour every Sunday.

Then we were completely shut down.

Although there are restrictions, the Legion, the golf club and the community centre, with the blessings of health authorities, are open with their various programs. I am glad they are all open, as our small community has suffered many serious blows, not only to our economy but to our mental health.

Just as important to the people that attend these activities, so is the ­importance of corporate worship in our churches to the emotional well-being of those who desire to attend.

It is my hope that the health authorities will lift the ban on our churches so that we too, following all COVID rules, can meet on Sundays.

Norma Jean Bone
Port Alice

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