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Letters Jan. 30: Trees cover, death in supportive housing, $14M for washrooms

Public bathrooms in Irving Park in James Bay. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Fundamentals first, then focus on housing

Re: “Let’s get on with creating more affordable housing,” commentary, Jan. 28.

Victoria, Saanich and Langford have been furiously building a mix of high density housing for the last decade. It hasn’t made a dent in solving the soaring cost of homes. Google it.

So what does an urban planner with a peripheral career in real estate suggest? Build more!

Who did not see that coming?

We have a doctor shortage.

We have a water shortage.

Urban tree cover is disappearing.

We have a broken regional transportation system. The new McKenzie interchange is already slowing down again. Check it out at rush hour.

We have only two hospitals for the region and one effective route connecting us to the rest of the island. We know there is an earthquake coming! We live on a mountainous island. What’s the plan to triage or evacuate this concentrated mass of humanity?

Local councils should have the courage and common sense to ignore these self-serving lobbying efforts. Focus on the fundamentals first.

Mike Laplante


Tree preservation is important

Re: “Let’s get on with creating more affordable housing,” commentary, Jan. 28.

The commentary recommends steps that might increase the supply of affordable housing. Unfortunately, the suggestions ignore other, more pressing, problems that face us.

For example, less than two years ago Canada was hit by effects of climate change that killed more than 600 people in B.C. and destroyed Lytton.

What caused this? Our misguided enthusiasm for cutting down trees and creating urban heat islands. The commentary fails to make this link.

It finds tree preservation laws “onerous,” and suggests that they are “weaponized to obstruct housing.”

What about the notion that people might value trees for their beauty, and their contribution to our environmental and mental health?

If we are going to build a habitable Canada, our planning must be based on a wider view of what’s good for our citizens and the environment we share — not a myopic drive to maximize the number of little boxes we can pack into a treeless concrete desert.

John Jones


Beautiful Victoria a densified utopia?

Re: “Let’s get on with creating more affordable housing,” commentary, Jan. 28.

According to the commentary, municipal development standards such as setbacks, building heights, parking, tree protection, etc., all must go as evil impediments to progress.

We won’t even mention those pesky, democratic rezoning hearings.

What about those who live in these transgressive municipalities and might want a say about these massive changes ? By all means have a seat at a figurative table, just be prepared to not to have any voice unless you agree implicitly

with planners and developers vision of housing density.

This dream of a densified utopia with affordable housing for all smacks of self interest and fantasy, and whatever its outcome, it will be built upon the bones of what made once made Greater Victoria such a beautiful place to live.

Jamie Masters


Where in Saanich can a dog run free?

Re: “Saanich seeks more input on dogs in parks,” Jan. 28.

Please allow me to use my 250 word limit to list the Saanich parks where dogs are currently permitted off-leash:

Agate, Allenby, Ambassador, Annie, Arbutus, Autumnwood, Balmacarra, Baxter, Beckton, Beckwith, Benson, Bernard, Bisley, Blair, Boulderwood Hill, Bow, Braefoot, Broadmead, Brodick, Browning, Bruce Hutchison, Brydon, Caldecote, Calvert, Camas, Camrose, Casa Marie, Catalina, Cecelia Creek Falls, Century, Charlton, Chatterton, Claremont Goddard, Colquitz, Commonwealth Place, Copley East, Copley West, Craigflower Kosapsom, Cranford, Cuthbert Holmes, Donwood, Doris Page, Doumac, Dunbar, Edge, Emily Carr, Estelline, Fairburn, Faithwood, Falaise, Feltham, Ferndale Forest, Fowler, Francisco, Glanford, Glasgow, Glencoe Cove Kwatsech, Glencraig, Gordon Head East, Gordon Head North, Gore Peace Memorial, Gorge, Gorge Waterway, Goward, Goy, Grant, Hampton, Harvest Lane, Hollydene, Horner, Houlihan, Hyacinth, Industrial Buffer, Jennifer, Kardum, Kenmore, Kentwood, King Alfred, Kings Pond, Knockon Hill, Konukson, Lambrick, Layritz, Leeds, Lochside, Logan, Lohbrunner, Majestic, Maltwood, Margaret Wright, Marigold, Matticks Wood, Maynard, McBriar, McMinn, McMorran, Meadow, Montague, Moor, PKOLS Mount Douglas, Mount Tolmie, Mount View, Normandy, Oakview, Onyx, Outerbridge, Panama Flats, Panama Hill, Parker, Parkwood, Peacock Hill, Perez, Phyllis, Playfair, Pondwood, Prospect Lake, Quappelle, Rainbow, Rainbow Ridge, Regina, Reynold, Reynolds, Rithetwood, Rogers Court, Rogers, Rosedale, Rowan, Rudd, Rutledge, Sayward Hill, Sea Ridge, Shadywood, Sierra, South Prospect Lake, South Valley, Springeridge, Stoneywood, Story Lane, Strawberry Knoll, Swan Creek, Taylor, Tillicum, Tolmie, Tuscan, Tyndall, Underwood, Valewood, Vantreight, Vic Derman, Viewpoint, Wedgepoint, Wedgewood, Wetherby, Wildflower.

I can count on one hand the parks where leashes are required. Keep this list in your pocket for the next time someone tells you they don’t have anywhere to run their dog.

Sherrie Masters


844 Johnson housing needs a complete review

Re: “Death at 844 Johnson St.,” Jan. 28.

For years, Victoria Police Chief Del Manak has been reporting on the infestation by the criminal element at the so-called “supportive housing” facility at 844 Johnson St.

The day Jamaal Johnson died, a police raid netted a bounty of methamphetamine, fentanyl, cocaine, cash and a loaded weapon. This raid was a repeat performance from a few weeks earlier when similar quantities of deadly drugs and lethal weapons were found.

Contrast Manak’s long-standing concerns with the experience of Johnson and the observations by his family, as reported in the TC, about the appalling conditions at the facility; halls thick with heroin smoke, filthy shower facilities, and an atmosphere of impending doom.

Jamaal had a lot going for him; a loving and supportive wife and daughter who never gave up on him, and who were eager for him to recover and come home.

Micheal Vonn, chief operating officer for the center lists a variety of supportive services supposedly available. They obviously failed Jamal Johnson and it’s doubtful that he’s the only one.

Nothing less than a complete review of the efficacy of this facility and the services they supposedly provide needs to be immediately undertaken by the funding bodies.

Immediate measures must be taken to remove those selling and/or pushing drugs in the facility, and a thorough health and safety inspection must be undertaken.

John R. Paterson


About those tanks we are sending to Ukraine

So, we are sending four Leopard tanks to Ukraine. I just hope that they are not insured by ICBC!

Ian Buckingham MMM CD


Developers should include parking spaces

Re: “We paved paradise, now it’s time to get rid of parking minimums,” commentary, Jan. 26.

Just because “we paved paradise” doesn’t mean we don’t need parking. The commentary fails to address a critical issue. Greater Victoria does not have an effective transit system that can be used as a replacement for personal vehicles.

The commentary notes that current “zoning regulations … were designed when the automobile was the dominant form of mobility.” However, it fails to note that our infrastructure (roads, residential areas, commercial areas, industrial areas etc.) are distributed in a way that presupposes individuals using personal vehicles.

The commentary cites cities that have removed parking requirements, but all of those cities have rapid transit systems.

Until Victoria has effective transit system which is a real alternative, personal vehicles will continue to be the preferred mode of transport, albeit they will be electric vehicles.

In the meanwhile, you can ask yourself how developers, contractors, the elderly, families etc. actually go to work, get the shopping done, get the kids to extracurricular activities, and generally conduct their affairs.

They use their personal vehicles. For the vast majority of people there isn’t, and won’t be, a real alternative. We will continue to need parking spaces equipped to support the upcoming fleet of electric vehicles.

Allowing developments to proceed without parking spots is simply caving into the pressures of developers who are trying to maximize profits without providing adequate infrastructure for the future.

Developers should build the required parking spaces and should be required to ensure the spaces are designed to support electric vehicles.

Ronald Bell


Turnabout needed on those new washrooms

Former premier John Horgan did a turnabout and scrapped his divisive $789-million rebuild of the Royal B.C. Museum and was thought better for it, so how about Victoria city council do the same and do a turnabout in spending $14 million to modernize 18 washrooms?

Surely more thought should go into a more cost-effective plan for spending our tax dollars.

Donna Craig


Anti-vaxxers don’t trust the government

It is easier to understand why anti-vaxxers do not trust any level of government advice when you consider that they are banning tobogganing and recommending two beers per week while decriminalizing crack cocaine.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to take these clowns seriously. I am vaccinated but I will continue to toboggan and drink beer whenever the mood takes me.

Martin Hill


Alcohol on ferries raises a concern

So, who is monitoring/deciding/accountable whether people who order up their couple of drinks on the good ship Lollipop have not already had a few too many, putting innocent people in harm’s way?

Keith Laxton


Canadian Cobra Chicken cull

I say a resounding yes to the plans to cull Canada geese, also known as the filthy and belligerent Canada Cobra Chicken.

I suspect if they were rats or snakes there would not be much opposition. These huge, ever-increasing flocks of birds are destroying farmland and polluting fields and streams.

Playing fields are awash with their excrement and this poses a very real health hazard. So I say cull away and make lots of tasty sausage.

R.L. McDonald


Check the full costs of the new religion

Re: “LNG expansion is a test for Eby,” letter, Jan. 18.

After a massive swing and miss at solving the housing crisis in one fell swoop we will be watching Eby carefully. Will he take the Justin Trudeau path of ridding our economy of any future by canceling anything not certifiably greenwashed, and send everyone packing for the sake of virtue signalling?

The writer indicates every pitfall of LNG with the usual lack of proof other than 40 years of hearing the same message over and over. Please include my arthritis and mention “Gwyn Morgan is the devil” next time for full effect.

Let it be said, again and again, by everyone the greenwashed would consider evil, there is nothing wrong with alternative energy, in fact it’s great and let’s keep doing what needs to be done to get it to the point where it is truly effective and efficient.

In the meantime perhaps could read someone like Bjorn Lomborg and get a clearer understanding of the facts. He isn’t a skeptic, but he does analyze costs and effectiveness of climate change costs and raises some interesting facts.

So good luck to Premier David Eby. Hopefully he’s not petrified by the rhetoric of the new religion that has Vladimir Putin holding Europe hostage, Trudeau playing the new messiah and the rest of us praying for some common sense.

Tim Murphy


Make it easier to enjoy the museum

What makes a visit to a museum interesting? For me, it’s the interaction with someone who knows something about the collection.

The last time I visited the B.C. Royal Museum, to see the Emily Carr exhibit, I saw these beautiful paintings on a “self-guided” tour.

A blurb beside each masterpiece had been prepared on a six by eight-inch index card that could only be seen with a pair of binoculars. Every time I got close enough to read the card, a security guard would politely ask me to back off.

Staff could sell me a ticket, give me the location of the restrooms and cafeteria but not say a word about the paintings.

Unlike Abe Lincoln, I am not an autodidact. I learn through contact with someone who knows their subject.

Where are the docents, the experts, the people who are enthusiastic about the collection? The Royal B.C. Museum has many deficits, poor layout, lighting and ambience.

These cannot be easily fixed, but by bringing back the people who are passionate about the collection, many of them can be overlooked.

We could put away our binoculars and have a fascinating time learning about the history, culture and achievements of the people of British Columbia from those who can bring the exhibits and artifacts alive.

David Allin


Runaway royals rescued by Canadian taxpayers

As an old-age pensioner on a budget, I was surprised to learn that Canadian taxpayers shelled out a good chunk of change to provide security for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex while they were staying at their rental mansion in North Saanich.

Poor Prince Harry. At that time, he was no longer receiving financial ­assistance from his dad and was down to his last $60 million, according to media reports. He really wanted and needed my help.

It would have been nice to learn that either Harry or Meghan had sent us a little thank you note. They did not.

Cheera J. Crow

Brentwood Bay

Trains are essential to our transportation

Re: “Rail corridor offers exciting possibilities,” commentary, Jan. 16.

The writer appears to have misunderstood just how awful the travel has become all over Vancouver Island, and why train service is also urgently needed to the Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo, the Comox Valley and Port Alberni.

Contrary to his claim that the area “doesn’t have as much need for rail transportation,” not as day goes by it seems without an accident or other blockage of the Island Highway, and increasingly on Highway 4, while congestion is becoming the norm. And as Vancouver Island’s population grows, it is only going to get worse.

Consequently those travelling particularly to Victoria face being late to work or meetings. Or worse, miss medical appointments.

For example, Royal Jubilee Hospital has Vancouver Island’s only cardiac catheterization and surgery facility. You cannot risk having procedures like angiograms rescheduled; having them performed when they are needed could save your life.

When I had an angiogram after a heart attack I was immediately admitted for a coronary bypass.

The railway can offer a safer, comfortable and reliable option to driving and buses; cycling is not a practical option for most people, over longer journeys, and in bad weather.

I took the train from Calgary to Golden (when it was still running) following leg surgery; the buses were cramped and I didn’t want to risk complications. When my wife was in RJH for an operation, one of her ward-mates had taken the train from Courtenay for his treatment.

Brendan Read


Facing too much abuse over face masks

The arrogant imposition of masks to enter all forms of health-care/care homes must end.

I am continually shocked and saddened to hear the abuse my wife is continually encountering by hospital staff and eldercare staff as she tries to care for a few longtime friends entering these facilities.

Even as she has her mask in hand as she opens the door, about to put it on, she is literally yelled at abusively by hospital staff, or care-home staff, that she didn’t have her mask on prior to literally opening the door.

Why are masks even required these days to enter a hospital or eldercare centre?

Stop the abuse and arrogance against the public, please.

John L. Krysa

Oak Bay


• Email letters to:

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

• Submissions should be no more than 250 words; subject to editing for length and clarity. Provide your contact information; it will not be published. Avoid sending your letter as an email attachment.

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