Letters Jan. 10: Cyclists maligned; doctor shortage; school hours

Cyclists unfairly singled out for damage

Re: “Selfish, obtuse cyclists are destroying trails and meadows,” comment, Jan. 8.

This article makes good points about how important it is for all citizens of Greater Victoria to be sensitive to their impacts on our local trails and parks.

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I would, however, argue that the author’s anger is unfairly misdirected, by singling out cyclists for being destructive to sensitive habitat.

Those who actively and frequently use the cycling trails in our parks and wilderness areas are probably among our best stewards of sensitive habitat. Most local cyclists who use these trails are very aware of issues like managing erosion and protecting the woodlands and trails.

The bottom line is that most of our local trails are built to handle the traffic and are sturdy and well-designed to carry even more bike riders, and others, than they currently do. They are often multi-use, and built to withstand horses, cyclists, walkers and joggers.

If we want to reduce our reliance on motorized vehicles, we need to expose even more kids and families to the joys of trail- riding, and we need more and better trails providing safer and more pleasant ways to get around.

The bonuses of riding in the woods can benefit the entire community: fewer cars — and in turn, more cyclists — on roads, good health benefits of brisk outdoor exercise and greater exposure to those spaces that can reinforce our love of nature and our wish to protect it.

Are there cyclists who lack common sense and are ignorant and selfish? Undoubtedly, but the goal shouldn’t be to restrict cyclists from our nature trails, but to do what we can to make trails and bike paths even more prominent and accessible for those wanting to enjoy the many outdoor adventures that Victoria has to offer. Singling out cyclists for uniquely destroying sensitive habitat is unfair and unproductive.

Alan Cassels

Tell B.C. to take rapid action on climate change

Today is the last day to respond to the B.C. government’s online climate change survey: engage.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/consultation/climate-ready-preparing-together

The questionnaire is apparently the government’s first step in deciding how to respond to the global climate emergency.

Curiously, although it asks us how much climate change we expect to see, and how well we think governments and regions are prepared for it, it does not want to know where we find our information, or what we are basing our intuition or prophesies upon.

The questionnaire does, however, ask for our gender, income level and postal code information. (Does that help them decide whether our opinions are important?)

There is no mention of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (an internationally accepted authority, which issues reports contributed by thousands of the world’s scientists) or its recommendations.

B.C. plans to follow up by releasing a “What We Heard” report in early 2020.

Later still, an “intentions paper” will detail the policy direction that the government will plan to use, to finally develop its climate preparedness and adaptation strategy. Not exactly rapid or far-reaching. Possibly a terminal case of far too little, far too late. While there’s still time, please tell B.C. to take rapid, far-reaching action.

Grace Golightly

Remind politicians about doctor shortage

Re: “Orphan patients want answers from Dix,” letter, Jan. 8

The letter-writer’s comments are a common refrain I hear from patients whom I attend at a walk-in clinic. I have written to Health Minister Adrian Dix several times plus to members of Parliament, and to presidents of medical associations with no adequate response to address the doctor-shortage crisis.

I would encourage you and other affected patients to email Adrian Dix frequently, complaining about the lack of family doctors and nurse practitioners.

I feel that the only way we can bring about change is for the public to complain and hopefully apply political pressure. The Medical Care Act of 1966 stipulated that medicare be comprehensive and universal. Our governments are not providing for comprehensive or universal care and this is “patient neglect.”

Many years ago, I could prescribe some medications and give a quantity to last a patient for a year. Then the rules were changed so that all prescriptions had to be refilled every three months.

This three-month rule for prescription renewal is onerous for the patients, as it requires frequent trips by the patient to the doctor and pharmacist. The system needs to be reassessed.

As a general rule, the quantity of a medication prescribed by a doctor depends on the medication and the patient’s illness.

Bob Browett, M.D.

Drug refills after my family doctor retired

At age 83, I find myself joining the ranks of displaced patients as my family doctor retires. I would like Health Minister Adrian Dix to know that I find that my pharmacy cannot refill my medications for a heart condition, which have been unchanged for years, until I go to a walk-in clinic and persuade a doctor to prescribe the same medications I have relied for 10 years.

As a previous letter-writer pointed out, pharmacists are perfectly capable of recognizing standard medications for stable heart conditions, and should be allowed to use their own judgment in these matters. The long-term solution to the present doctor crisis is to induce more medical graduates to go into general practice.

I suggest that if the provincial government offered to pay part or all of a medical student’s tuition fees in return for a contract to serve in general practice for six years or so, the doctor shortage would be largely solved.

John Winstanley

It’s not as simple as changing school hours

Re: “Change school hours; problem solved,” letter, Jan. 3

This is at least the third time that a Times Colonist reader has suggested that changing school hours would solve the problem of children going to school in darkness during the winter months.

If the solution is simply for children to go to school an hour later, then it should be obvious that teachers would have to change their hours of work accordingly, as would the administrative staff, the school janitors, and so on. In fact, the whole educational system would have to change its hours of work by one hour.

Now let's consider the parents. They would have to shift their day by one hour too, in order to prepare, deliver, and collect their children to and from school. This would mean that their employers would have to accommodate the parents’ change of hours too, as would public transportation services and everything else that is affected by the time-shift of a large part of the population.

The overall effect would be much the same as changing the clocks by one hour.

Martyn Ward

Ferry not efficient, use doubledecker buses

Re: “Use V2V’s ferry for a commuter service,” letter, Jan. 9.

Using an expensive ferry to carry “over 200 people” is no solution when the issue is getting thousands of people off the roads. The only viable economic solution continues to be doubledecker buses in dedicated road lanes — each of which could carry 200 people.

Roger Love

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