Letters Jan. 20: Virus on the move; ‘Karens’ and labels; border closures

Smoke carries, so maybe the virus does as well

Is six feet, two metres, enough for COVID-19 safe distancing?

The other morning, armed with a small coffee and a sausage-egg muffin, I stopped at my favourite viewpoint at the Victoria Airport. A beautiful spot overlooking VI Helicopters and most of the taxiways and runways in use.

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Another vehicle pulled in beside me to also take in the views. The driver and lone occupant in his vehicle was at least 12 feet from me.

As I sat there with my window open I noticed the strong smell of cigarette smoke. It was the driver beside me, smoking in his vehicle with his window open.

Each time he took a drag and exhaled I would get a strong smell of the smoke. It was totally calm with no wind yet I could see the blue smoke drift across my windshield and the hood of my vehicle.

I could not believe the smoke could carry like that outside.

So then I began to think if the smoke and suspended particulates were staying that concentrated, would it be inconceivable to think the COVID virus and microscopic particulates could be doing the same?

I don’t know if they can, but it was an eye-opener for me to realize that even outside on a calm day, we might not be totally safe at six feet or even 12 feet distancing.

I felt so uncomfortable, I left.

Thomas McColm
North Saanich

Labels make it easier to ignore points of view

I think Charla Huber might be missing the point in her column about labelling people “Karen.”

Slapping a label on a person or their way of thinking — whether it’s “alt-right,” “bigot,” “conspiracy-theorist,” “radical liberal,” “privilege” — allows us to avoid the messiness of having to listen to what they have to say.

Maybe “Karen” is having a bad day and the situation she’s complaining about is the final straw (this is in no way to defend the woman in Central Park who called police because a Black man asked her to obey the regulations and leash her dog).

Maybe there’s a kernel of wisdom in an “alt-right” or “radical liberal” rant; maybe a “privileged” position allows for a broader view of an issue.

But that can be uncomfortable, so thanks to labels, we can avoid all that.

Why bother considering other people’s feelings or points of view, or even (heaven forbid!) that we may need to re-think our position, when we can just call someone a “Karen” and get on with our lives?

Drew Snider
Victoria

Close the border now, rebuild economy later

I’m sure most people appreciate what the tourism industry is going through during this COVID crisis, but I think this is being narrow-minded.

The main priority should be to get rid of the crisis as soon as possible, and then shift priorities to other things such as the tourism industry.

Vancouver Islanders have done what we were told to do to fight this virus and it has paid off, and we are still fighting it and it’s paying off.

Our lower rates of infection has shown this and we can’t let up now.

People from other provinces, such as Quebec and Ontario, where the rates of infection have been a lot higher, should stay in their provinces for their sake and ours, and the idea of snowbirds coming here for the milder weather or “because the rate of infection in their province is higher” is ludicrous and dangerous.

There’s no difference between closing the border to U.S. visitors and closing our border to visitors from other provinces; the virus can still spread from either visitors.

Close the eastern border and let’s get rid of the virus, then concentrate on rebuilding.

Larry Zilinsky
Saanich

Watch health risks, not business ledgers

Businesses are opposed to closing our borders to other provinces. I realize business is suffering, but having people from higher COVID-19 places is just plain stupid.

Ask yourself if people from Alberta or Ontario coming here will save your bottom line or cause you extra concern for your families.

Is any dollar amount worth you inadvertently taking it home to your family? The City of Victoria should give business a major break on rents and taxes, and maybe they will have to sacrifice one multimillion-dollar bike lane.

What is more important?

Carol Dunsmuir
Victoria

Why not make vaccines here in Canada?

Re: “Pfizer vaccine shortage will have ‘significant’ impact, Dix says,” Jan. 16.

With the slow rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine comes word that one of the manufacturers, specifically Pfizer, has slowed production while it expands its Belgium manufacturing plant.

With that comes a significant delay in shipments that affects everyone.

The federal procurement minister stated that it is an unfortunate delay, while B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix indicated that there is no change to the amount of Moderna vaccine allocated to the province.

Moderna’s vaccine is manufactured in the United States.

Why are both the Canadian and provincial governments relying on manufacturers who are out of the country?

Why aren’t our politicians lobbying manufacturers to build plants here in Canada?

And it’s not just for the COVID vaccine, but others as well. Surely in a nation as large as Canada we can do better than having to continually be relying on ­others.

It should be the other way around whereby we help supply the world with much-needed vaccines.

Shirley Waldon
Victoria

Fears of density as Langford changes

I have spent the past few days collecting signatures in relation to a zoning development application for two 11-storey buildings on Carlow Road and Costin Avenue in Langford.

The majority of residents spoken to have lived here more than 25 years. I have lived in Langford for 45 years and at my present location directly behind the proposed buildings for 30 years.

What I hear from residents is that they feel they have no voice. When they speak out at meetings, they feel their voices are not heard.

We realize there will be change, but in our neighbourhood we have had three new buildings in a two-block radius for a total of 310 rental units in a two-year period — a lot of change.

We want the heights reduced on this proposal to maintain some semblance of a neighbourhood feel.

Zoning changes in the area have committed the area to high density — so the properties we have paid taxes on for all these years are being looked at as commodities for developers’ gain.

Another building is proposed in the immediate area of 11 stories as well. We should not have to fight so hard, as the residents on Fairways have brilliantly fought.

There are other neighbourhoods in Langford that are also feeling the pressure of development, with the traffic, noise and light pollution.

People who are in opposition must call or write their councillors. It is time we are heard.

Bernadette Armstrong
Langford

Cyclists, walkers in danger on Lochside

So the Lochside Loo is back. It seems both the Capital Regional District and the District of Central Saanich have real concerns about the people’s need to relieve themselves.

Now if we can only get the politicians to be equally concerned about the safety of the increasing number of young and old who uses the trail between Martindale and Island View roads.

It’s scary to watch the cyclists and walkers trying to get out of the way of motorist who routinely exceed the 30 km/h speed limit. The time has come to construct a separate lane along that section of the trail to protect people from injuries or worse.

Carl Eriksen
Saanichton

Get solar panels to keep power costs down

Given the mess at Site C, my best advice to B.C. homeowners is to start booking solar panel installations on your roof or lawn. It is unlikely that B.C. Hydro rates will start going down soon.

Charles Krebs
North Saanich

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