Letters Jan. 13: Bridge graffiti; Beacon Hill Park tenters; vaccines are not optional

Victoria should tackle the bridge graffiti

The graffiti vandals are at it again under the Johnson Street Bridge.

They just installed this on the week-end (see photos), and have marked out outlines for more. It appears to be a work in progress.

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The city has already had to paint over the public art mural it commissioned recently. I guess the assumption was that graffiti vandals would respect the art work and leave it alone. Obviously that was not the case.

The city needs more enforcement and should direct more funds for this in the 2021 budget. They spend more on artist in residence and poet than on graffiti removal.

There are many sites such as this that are repeatedly targeted and quite predictably. Why aren’t there cameras and frequent control officers/police patrolling these areas?

The city has hired upwards of 100 staff members in the past five years to attend to its ideological agenda while continuing to neglect its core functions. And many of the councillors live elsewhere and so don’t have to live with the deteriorating downtown on a personal and daily basis.

In addition, the stone walls adjacent to the bridge are spoiled by graffiti that has been there for ages. I recognize that access to remove these images would have to be by water but the city should be providing the means to do so.

John Amon
Victoria

Questions about Langford council

Why is Langford council so secretive?

There is an old adage in the justice system that says:

“Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.”

There are a hundred seniors in the Tri-Way Trailer Park who didn’t get to see how they were abandoned.

Was the mayor’s letter of commitment to them even raised at the decisive meeting since he was absent?

Meeting minutes issued much later aren’t verbatim so they will never know who held the “shiv” while their backs were turned. The meetings are over and the decisions have been made before citizens are informed. Audiotapes issued long afterwards reveal the speaker’s words but again, way too late.

It looks like that same “open and honest government” may be doing the same thing to the Fairway Neighbours Group.

Most other municipalities livestream and understand the principle of “justice being seen to be done.”

Why is Langford so resistant? What are they hiding and why?

Bill Williamson
Saanich

Put the tent inside Beacon Hill Park

The residents of James Bay have just learned that a community care tent has been proposed to be set up on Avalon at Douglas Street for the benefit of the tent dwellers in Beacon Hill Park.

City council has tried to slip this by the affected residents without any prior notice or consultation.

While the need for such a convenience is not in question, who in their right mind would think it a good idea to set it up between apartment blocks and condominium buildings predominately occupied by senior citizens?

Residents of James Bay have already lost the safe haven we previously enjoyed at the onset of COVID-19. We have instead endured threats, noise, safety issues with drug paraphernalia and theft of anything that was not nailed down (and some that was).

Mayor Lisa Helps promised this would be a short-term inconvenience and that the crown jewel of Victoria would cease to became a 24/7 tent city by March.

Instead, it grows daily. There must be a better solution than to plant this enterprise on the same street as some of the most beautiful little heritage homes in Victoria.

I know there is a trust that forbids the use of Beacon Hill Park for any such purpose, but since this trust is already being violated and the cost of remediation will eventually be in the millions, why can’t this structure be placed within the park on the hard surfaced area nearer Dallas Road or within the parking spaces outside the park in that same area?

It would be safer, as those using this convenience would not have to cross Douglas Street. I know there are those who will cry “NIMBYism,” but surely Victoria’s citizens who have long paid property taxes have a right to enjoy the peace and comfort of their homes.

I sincerely hope council will reconsider this ill-advised proposal.

Barbara Marshall
Victoria

Negative test and a vaccination

The U.S. medical system is in an acute crisis handling COVID-19. Canada is doing better, but is still in a position to do more, much more.

The extreme crisis of not enough nurses was proven in April/May in New York to be the biggest challenge and history has repeated itself in many areas of the U.S. today.

To the idiots who are not concerned about getting COVID please realize that if you go to a hospital you will likely be in a hallway for several days and you will not have a nurse at your beck and call (this includes parts of Canada that are hard hit, such as Alberta and Winnipeg).

The nurses are working double shifts in some cases, pushing themselves to the point of collapse and there is no end in sight in 2021 because not enough people want to take the vaccine and there is no way to get it out fast enough to have a significant impact until late fall.

Half of the U.S. population, with their brains firmly in the rear of their pants, are not willing to get vaccinated for whatever crazy reason that spews out of their mouth. There is no reason not to expect a full-scale disaster.

Let’s have a new federal policy when we open the border. If you want into this country, regardless of who you are or what country you are from, you must have a COVID negative test and proof of vaccination. No exceptions.

If you don’t like it, stay out of Canada. This has to include commercial truck drivers, airline crews, politicians, no exceptions.

Make it a requirement within Canada if you want to be on an airplane, even for a hop to Vancouver, to provide proof of a covid negative test and vaccination or take alternative transportation.

Give people 90 days notice of policy change so there are no excuses.

Ron Cain
Sooke

Travel to Somalia is not recommended

The Centre for Disease Control and Preventation ranks Somalia as a Level 4, which is the highest country ranking for COVID-19 spread.

It recommends that “travellers should avoid all travel to Somalia and East Africa”. Victoria Coun. Sharmarke Dubow, a Together Victoria candidate, not only ignored Dr. Bonnie Henry’s direction to not travel over the holidays, he also visited one of the countries at the highest risk level for COVID-19.

His carelessness and selfish disrespect toward the residents of Victoria, who have sacrificed so much during this pandemic, demand he resign from his council seat. An after-the-fact apology does not cut it.

This incident also sheds light on the need to re-examine the four-year terms for Victoria councillors and the lack of a mechanism to discipline or fire a ­councillor in extreme cases.

Once elected, councillors seem to have little accountability to the community and can pursue their own personal agendas, often to the detriment of Victoria.

Anthony Barnard
Victoria

One person’s opinion not worth all that ink

I am curious as to why the Saturday Times Colonist gave more than 16 prominent column-inches to “one Victoria resident” who would like to see Victoria Coun. Sharmarke Dubow donate his salary to unhoused people over his trip to East Africa.

Karmen McNamara is a triathlete and seller of non-medical masks who wants to be on Victoria council. Do those facts make her opinion on this matter worth so much ink?

We do not learn if she ran against Dubow and lost, or if she ran in a different election. We do not learn whether Dubow was on his allowed vacation time.

We do not know what the amount of such vacation pay would be for this part-time job. We do not know if he missed any meetings.

We do learn that “many people” have called for his resignation. How precise! How many more have not?

I live in Saanich so it’s not for me to say what should happen, although I think his decision was irresponsible. But it seems to me that the huge platform given to one ordinary Victoria resident is a head-scratcher.

Let her write a letter to the editor like the rest of us.

Vivian Smith
Saanich

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