Letters Feb. 5: Goodbye pineapple express, sleeping on Dallas Road

Farewell, our beloved pineapple express

It seems the bureaucrats have done it again. To describe downpours such as we have recently experienced (of “biblical proportions,” according to one weather person), the wonderfully evocative term “pineapple express” is being replaced by the amorphous “atmospheric river.”

Apparently, consideration is also being given to attaching categories to denote the intensity of such downpours. But how much more colourful and intuitive to retain the customary terminology, and show an appropriate number of pineapples.

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Roger Purdue

Cadboro Bay

Dallas Road parking is about enforcing bylaws

According to reports about camping along Dallas Road, Mayor Lisa Helps claims that “housing is the issue” and that the provincial and federal governments need to give more money for housing.

There is a term for this sort of statement: “Causal fallacy.” One marvels at the audacity.

Recreational vehicles parked overnight on Dallas Road rather than in paid camping facilities is not a housing issue; it is a bylaw-enforcement issue, pure and simple.

The mayor announced several years ago that she would look the other way and the parking bylaws have not been enforced since. Hence the problem, which has grown exponentially since then.

Other governments are already spending millions on housing. The mayor says so herself when she wishes to take credit for making them do so. How much more money are they supposed to spend before the city enforces its parking bylaws?

This mayor and council need to get their priorities and job descriptions straight. Instead of enforcing city bylaws, a huge amount of time and energy are spent on issues that are none of their business, like pipelines and birth-control pills.

Parking bylaws are neither the responsibility of the provincial nor the federal government and are unrelated to housing availability or lack thereof. It’s up to the city to enforce them.

If this council does not wish to do so, they should take steps to rezone the area as an RV campground and hold the necessary public hearings. One can just imagine the outrage.

Chris Lawson

Victoria

Camping, yes — café or food truck, no

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

How ironic that one can camp overnight at Dallas Road, but in 2020 there is still no seaside café east of Ogden Point breakwater, and even food trucks are banned.

Only in Victoria.

Jonathan Stoppi

Saanich

Plant the trees, but on the park side

Recent reports about the badgering of campers along Dallas Road and news items outlining the destruction caused by “slumping” of the shoreline are ignoring a major travesty.

For as many years as I can remember, which is too many, a drive along Dallas Road and the visuals of the Olympic Mountains in Washington were second to none, with the exception of a walk along the paths.

Many people are not able or fortunate enough to walk the length of the waterfront, so the drive is the answer.

Between Cook and the Terry Fox memorial some horticultural planner has decided that the city’s urge for tree planting should be fulfilled on the ocean side of Dallas.

Can someone please explain why they would choose to block the immaculate viewscape with trees that will grow to destroy what has been a pleasure for so many?

Plant the bloody trees on the Beacon Hill Park side. As many as you like.

Tourists and locals alike will praise you for it.

Max Miller

Saanich

Building new pool elsewhere will add costs

The report to Victoria’s mayor and council outlining the potential locations for the city’s new Crystal Pool and fitness centre has once again come out. After 10 years of discussion, yet another location has mysteriously surfaced. I find myself asking: Will they ever get it right?

It is clear that the city needs a 50-metre pool and fitness centre. There is ample evidence to support this. It is also clear that a new facility is the best value for money.

Countless reports to the city have indicated the cost of refurbishing the current facility is similar to that of a new pool and refurbishing comes with no guarantees of a long-lasting facility. Refurbishing also has a higher annual operating cost than a new facility.

The key question the city should be asking at this point is how to keep the cost of building a new facility down.

The report to mayor and council that they will use for their recommendation does not identify the added costs for each location.

If the facility is built anywhere other than the southwest corner of Central Park, there will be additional costs for a detailed site analysis, geotechnical report, new design, the possible cost of the acquisition or leasing of land and the cost of terminating existing contracts.

At this point, one has to wonder, why are we even asking the question?

Susan Simmons

Victoria

Not a case of activist judges this time

Re: “Supreme Court’s TMX ruling is legislation by another name,” commentary, Jan. 26.

By attempting to link the Supreme Court’s decision in this case with its earlier decision on Section 121 of the Constitution in the interprovincial trade or “beer” case, Lawrie McFarlane is confusing your readers.

He is right that the Trans Mountain pipeline decision was correct, in the sense that the vast majority of lawyers would agree it is correct in law. But why he thinks the case has anything to do with interprovincial trade and Section 121 escapes me.

Section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867, which deals with Parliament’s authority, states that it has exclusive legislative jurisdiction over all matters that are expressly excluded from those matters that come within provincial jurisdiction.

Section 92, which deals with provincial authority, expressly excludes works and undertakings — such as pipelines — “connecting the Province with any other or others of the Provinces, or extending beyond the Limits of the Province” from provincial authority. Parliament may also declare a purely local work or undertaking for the general advantage of Canada and thereby secure exclusive jurisdiction over such works or undertakings, as well (see Sections 91 (29) and 92 (10(a) and (c)).

The issue in the Trans Mountain pipeline case was, in essence, whether B.C.’s Environmental Management Act (EMA) could modify or affect these strong and exclusive federal grants of authority in Sections 91 and 92. Thirty minutes after the end of oral argument, the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed B.C.’s argument that the EMA could do this, citing the unanimous reasons given earlier by the B.C. Court of Appeal. Translation: this was pretty much a hopeless case.

Nowhere in either decision will you find any reference to Section 121. Why? Because the issue was interprovincial undertakings, not interprovincial trade. Different issues, different sections of the Constitution.

In the “beer” case, the Supreme Court did nothing new. It simply said that it was unwilling to change the interpretation of Section 121 that had stood for a century and that the section did not prevent provincial legislatures from removing all interprovincial trade barriers. In other words, it’s up to you, elected provincial politicians, not us.

In TMX, the court confirmed, to virtually no one’s surprise, that Parliament has exclusive legislative jurisdiction over interprovincial works and undertakings — a result even McFarlane says is correct.

So there is no contradiction between the two decisions, and the court’s Trans Mountain ruling is not “legislation by another name.” Activist judges? Not this time.

Hamar Foster, QC

Professor emeritus

University of Victoria

Don’t blame stores for the plastic-bag glut

The person who invented plastic bags intended that they be manufactured of sufficient thickness that they could be washed and reused many times.

He was against trees being cut down to make paper sacks that went into the landfill.

I’m sure some people, as we do, still have some of the old ones that were put out by Sears, Eatons, Marks and Spencer, etc. that could be used many times.

The plastic industry has made millions with the “use once and throw away” policy. Maybe we should take them to court, not the grocery stores.

Elwyn Trafford

North Cowichan

Amalgamate now, get some fresh blood

It’s no wonder Victoria council members think they need a raise.

One just has to look at the time they spend passing resolutions on subjects that don’t involve the city. Perhaps they discussed these over their free lunch.

Amalgamation can’t come too soon — it’s an opportunity to get rid of a few fools on council.

Paul Ellegood

Courtenay

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