Letters Feb. 4: Victoria growth almost same as Langford’s; Dallas Road campers; flood danger

Blame government for GP fee disparity

Re: “Doctors’ association largely to blame for underpaid GPs,” column, Feb. 2.

Lawrie McFarlane complained about the relatively low payment for general practitioners in B.C.; he says responsibility for this lies solely with the provincial medical association. That is not correct.

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The agreements between the government and the doctors association have for years outlined a major role for the government in setting fees and has given it the ability to challenge and ultimately change any of the fees it wishes.

With the small and belated exception of the cataract fee, the government has failed to use this authority over the past 20 years.

Apparently, it would rather publicly blame the doctors for the fee disparities than do something about them.

Geoff Holter
Retired chief negotiator
B.C. Medical Association

Not true that nearly all growth is in West Shore

Re: “Langford No. 1 on top-10 list of fastest-growing cities of B.C.” Feb. 2.

An article discussing the latest municipal population estimates from B.C. Stats focuses almost entirely on the percentage increases, and only seems to feed the misconception that Langford and the West Shore account for nearly all the growth in our region.

In fact, the B.C. Stats numbers show that population growth since 2011 has been almost as great in the City of Victoria (+11,657) as it has been in Langford (+12,497), something that shouldn’t be a surprise given the forest of condo construction cranes in and around downtown Victoria.

The fact that the City of Victoria has been able to accommodate almost as many new residents as Langford, despite having virtually no vacant land on which to build, is particularly impressive. Overall, the core-area municipalities have accounted for the majority (52 per cent) of regional population growth over the past eight years, while the West Shore has accounted for 36 per cent.

It’s a similar story when it comes to new housing, despite discussion in the article about how easy it is to build in Langford. According to B.C. Stats, the City of Victoria issued building permits for 5,585 housing units during the 2011-18 period, more than Langford’s 5,350 units.

While Langford led Greater Victoria municipalities in housing starts last year, Victoria had more housing starts than Langford during five of the previous eight years.

Steven Murray
Victoria

Young asked questions, Isitt dodged them

Re: “City council debated pipeline declaration,” letter, Jan 31.

Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt insists that a debate was held about council’s decision to wade into a complex land-use issue 1,200 kilometres away, about which it clearly knows little and has no power over.

Yet it is plain to anyone viewing the official video that council did in fact pass its Wet’suwet’en motion in a shade under 20 seconds, with no councillor electing to question or comment on it when given the opportunity.

What is to be learned from the earlier “debate” that Isitt insists we watch, which also resulted in his motion being accepted?

Only one elected representative, Coun. Geoff Young, questioned Isitt’s opposition to both the rule of law and the application of police powers to clear a local office protest.

As the tape shows, Isitt ignored Young’s queries, defaulting instead to the usual rhetoric. Debate? Hardly.

While Isitt pretends to speak for Indigenous people elsewhere, consider the words of Haisla chief councillor Crystal Smith, a supporter of the LNG Canada project and pipeline, in a speech last week: “Poverty, been there. Suicide, been there. I don’t want our people to continue living that life.”

Stunningly, the mayor and every Victoria councillor, bar Young, appear ready to oppose this ambition.

Isitt wrote a PhD dissertation about the politics of protest. For him, the goal of political theatre is to “colour judicial reasoning.” That’s what this is about. Serving the community doesn’t come into it.

Stewart Muir
Victoria

It’s the perfect life, with an ocean view

Re: “New rules target Dallas Road van campers,” Feb. 2.

Since the City of Victoria is not enforcing its bylaw about not camping overnight in a camper-van or RV on Dallas Road, I’m assuming that it’s OK to camp there.

If that’s the case, I guess campers can also consume alcohol or smoke pot in their vehicle provided it’s camping, not moving.

Wow, such a deal. Instead of winter camping in Goldstream Provincial Park for $11 a night, campers get free, oceanside camping on Dallas Road while enjoying a Scotch or a toke.

Nice! Thank you Victoria!

Larry Howe
Victoria

Dallas Road parking rules are nothing new

I had implemented signage along Dallas Road in 2009, when I was a parks employee, saying, “Three and a half hour parking only,” as the parks bylaw states.

It was enforced with the parks officials, bylaw enforcement officers or police on a daily basis. The signs were removed for the construction of the new sewage pipe.

For the city to say this is a new approach is false.

Raj Sundher
Victoria

Forget single-use cups, switch to reusables

As we are all learning, single-use items do no good to the environment. In fact, all they do is help shorten the existence of life on Earth.

Every day I find items in the trash that could so easily have been avoided, or disposed of properly. Coffee cups are up at the top of the list. Not just the cup, but the plastic lid, too.

People either aren’t educated enough or just don’t care.

I carry something around until I find the proper disposal method. Paper cups are not recyclable or compostable due to the wax coating. If they were recyclable you’d likely need a change of clothes!

Whenever I go into a coffee shop, I notice that most of the folks enjoying a sit in drink have a paper cup. All coffee shops have mugs, and I find those more pleasant to drink from. If you know you’re not leaving, it’s not hard to say, “For here please.”

If you are on the run, keeping a thermos handy isn’t difficult either. Plus, your beverage stays hotter longer!

You may be thinking that it is just one cup, but there are millions of people thinking the same thing.

Think before you act and make the choice to improve your actions. Earth is our home and it’s crying for our help. I read a quote once “We are borrowing Earth from our children.”

Is a planet in despair really something you want your children and grandchildren inheriting?

Jenna Parsons
Victoria

In defence of the Victoria Symphony

Re: "Tchaikovsky concert opens door to fact, fiction,” column, Jan. 30.

Kevin Bazzana comes to quite a few conclusions in his preview of the Victoria Symphony’s upcoming Naked Classics presentation of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony. He even concludes that it will be a “salad of nonsense about the composer and his death.”

Speaking purely for myself, I am curious how he knows these assertions to be true. Yes, he viewed a trailer. Yes, there have been concerts by other conductors whose conclusions are heavy on drama. However, I was present at the dress rehearsal and found the presentation to be balanced and lacking in the overwrought hyperbole described by Bazzana.

I am even more curious as to whether Bazzana would do an article about a movie from having only viewed the trailer and from having seen previous movies on a similar subject.

Having heard the presentation, I urge anyone who is curious to dig deeper into the background of this piece to come to this concert. They will be rewarded with a well-researched and nuanced multimedia presentation followed by a committed and passionate performance of Tchaikovsky.

Kay Cochran
Victoria

Logging contributes to flooding in local rivers

Re: “Flooding forces dozens from homes amid state of emergency in Cowichan Valley,” Feb. 2

Simple hydro geography dictates that when you take away the forests and the roots and other plants that retain water on the land, rain events such as those this winter will result in increased flood surges in local rivers.

Look on Google Earth and realize that there are few places in the Chemainus River, Cowichan River or Kokisilah River watersheds that have not been logged repeatedly for over 100 years.

In my lifetime, the logging on the south side of Cowichan has seen two harvests. In some places land is being stripped of the forest for the fourth time. Surely, some will argue that this is a sustainable harvest level. I observe that trees that are only 30 to 50 years old are not the kinds of forest that will retain water, limit soil degradation, and return flows in streams to more normal levels in winter and that will be sustained through the summer months.

Streams that once ran year round are now often dry by June. More gradual flows are needed for salmon and other fish to ever have a chance of recovery.

Norman Marcy
Victoria

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