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Letters Feb. 28: NDP's fiscal incompetence; odds are you won't win; too long to wait for Saanich road safety

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Highway 1 in Saanich near Uptown. The time frame for Saanich’s road safety plan is too long, a letter-writer says. TIMES COLONIST

Fiscal incompetence won’t stop the NDP

When the NDP took control of the province in 2017 the debt was some $43 billion, and the NDP assumed a surplus of some $6 billion from the B.C. Liberals. It was spent in a heartbeat.

When David Eby assumed the premiership, the party came up with another surprise surplus of $6 billion.

Rather than pay it against the ever-expanding debt, as economists had proposed, Eby again scattered the funds across the province.

By 2023, NDP spending had increased by some 70 per cent, and the debt had increased to $103 billion.

In three years, the provincial debt will increase to $165 billion and the debt servicing charge will increase to $4 billion per year.

It should be noted that under the NDP’s union-dominated Community Benefits Agreement, every government building’s cost, for hospitals and schools, has more than doubled, and the time scale for completion of most has increased dramatically.

Out-of-control spending with the NDP seems to be the order of the day.

These figures appear to be the epitome of total fiscal incompetence; but seems the NDP will be elected regardless. What a shame it is.

HJ Rice

Saanich

Want to make real money? Stop gambling

Re: “The odds of you winning the ­lottery aren’t looking good,” David Sovka, Feb. 25.

This column was both humorous and informative. I would just like to correct Sovka’s mathematics, and particularly his understanding of probability.

He stated that there are 14 million tickets issued and therefore your chances of winning the 6/49 are 14 million to one. This is not correct.

To pick the first number in the 6/49 the chance is 1 in 49, the second one 1 in 48, the third 1 in 47, the fourth 1 in 46, the fifth is 1 in 45, the sixth 1 in 44.

To find the probability of picking all six numbers correctly you multiply those six probabilities — 49X48x47x46x45x44.

Your chance of winning the 6/49 is actually just over a billion to one, which is why the top prize is not won every week.

I suggest that people put their money in a savings account and leave it there. Even at one per cent interest you would make a significant amount over 20 years and you would not lose your principal investment.

If you are going to gamble look closely at the probability of your winning. Odds of five to one means you are going to lose 80 per cent of the time. Odds of a billion to one means that overall you are going to lose big all the time.

My grandfather and my father were bookmakers — they took bets on horse races. They made a good living for over 60 years from people who did not understand probability.

They invested the money they made. I suggest gamblers do the same.

Phil Foster

Saanich

Saanich needs new approach to road safety

Re: “Safety plan needs focus on walkable neighbourhoods, says advocate,” Feb. 24.

Saanich’s Road Safety Action Plan falls short by having an unreasonably long time frame (10 years), not proposing a budget, and having the vast majority of the “actions” focus on writing things rather than doing things.

The cornerstone of the Vision Zero approach is safe street design. That means adding infrastructure that makes serious injuries and fatalities less likely to occur, even if drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians make mistakes or break the rules.

Of the 31 actions in the plan, only five involve improving our infrastructure. The other “actions” are to write ­policy or to advocate to higher levels of government. This ratio should be reversed.

Despite this limited scope, the plan proposes a 10-year timeline. This is unacceptably long for an action plan whose primary goal is to reduce fatalities. Just like the Active Transportation Plan, this timeline should be halved.

Lastly, there is no proposed budget. Council should ask staff to report back on the total estimated cost of the capital projects proposed in the plan, and then direct staff to complete these projects on a reasonable timeline.

I’ve seen the results of Saanich’s “action plans” in my own neighbourhood.

We have had a “Tillicum-Burnside Action Plan” on the books since 2005, and in almost two decades the only real progress has been a quick-build bike lane on Tillicum.

Saanich has told us the funding mechanism is to wait for developers to pay for streetscape upgrades.

This is not a serious approach to road safety, and I hope council will take this new Road Safety Action Plan an as opportunity to change course.

Mauricio Curbelo

Saanich

Small covered barges would help the coast

Re: “Ladysmith heritage boats moving out of marina,” Feb. 25.

Any private company financing the proposed floating drydock also would need ongoing contracts to maintain the workforce.

I would suggest it be kept busy welding aluminum plate for building up a low-cost fleet of small covered barges suited for coastal trade and also for emergency preparedness. Such barges are relatively common in small ports that handle them as floating containers (400 ton/capacity).

Ladysmith would likely make an ideal harbour for the barges. A set of small tugs also would needed to push the barges around and into a larger barge-carrying vessels.

Certainly, giving serious consideration for a barge type-floating drydock could serve as a trigger for other ideas to grow maritime industries and other technologies needed to help us navigate the worsening weather conditions and prepare for emergencies

Dick Tennant

Coquitlam

A hint of what’s to come in the Land Act

Re: “Ladysmith heritage boats moving out of marina,” Feb. 25.

The provincial government is clearly at the tip of this reconciliation spear.

So I’m puzzled that the province made no attempt to accommodate the Ladysmith Maritime Society in the maintenance and display of their museum properties. The province is in a position to insist that the Stz’uminus First Nation work collaboratively with the Ladysmith Maritime Society.

I’m puzzled that the province was so disinterested in supporting a volunteer organization of 40 years which has done so much to preserve B.C.’s maritime heritage.

I’m puzzled (and disappointed) that I wrote to my MLA and the MLA for Ladysmith last fall, asking for some rationale, and received no response.

Perhaps there is a reasonable explanation, but it is past time for the province to explain its rationale.

Already there is a growing concern that this initiative of the province is a harbinger of what the Land Act, when passed, will look like in practice.

Mark Moore

Genoa Bay

Let’s go to Ukraine for better medical care

Upon reading of Canada’s latest funding to Ukraine I had a brilliant idea.

Instead of sending the funds directly to Ukraine, why not fly tens of thousands of Canadians to the Ukraine to see a doctor since they can’t get one here. That way every one’s a winner.

Or perhaps use that money to open four or five medical schools in Ukraine exclusively for Canadian students. Again, everyone wins.

Seriously, this is typical Justin Trudeau. Canadians at the back of the bus so he can get his mug on TV and plastered on the side of buses across the world.

Pathetic.

Alex Mackay

Victoria

Multi-murderers should not get parole

Why are multi-murderers given a discount? As we do not have a death penalty the only way we can punish someone for killing more than one person is by a longer jail sentence.

So why do we allow Robert Pickton to apply for early parole? A person who has killed once has no reason not to kill again, and do we want a man like Pickton walking the streets?

Vivien Tarkirk-Smith

Nanaimo

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