Letters July 10: cigarette butts, hiker safety, Langford forest

Time for a deposit on cigarette butts

Re: “Smokers, butt them out right,” column, July 7.

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Cigarette filters are a single-use plastic that does not degrade and, after the cigarette is smoked, becomes a little toxic bomb filled with the heavy metals and chemicals the smoker has just avoided.

Because smokers toss the butts everywhere, the butts then choke waterways, lakes and oceans, killing marine life, as well as poisoning wildlife. They are the largest portion of litter in our streets, parks and beaches.

Perhaps cigarette filters should be next on our list of single-use plastic items to be banned.

As a stopgap, a deposit could be required from those buying cigarettes with filters and people could collect and turn in the cigarette butts for a fee, like pop cans, as there is a company which can recycle them.

Lee Porteous


Remove downed trees to reduce the risk

Re: “Smokers, butt them out right,” column, July 7.

I agree with Monique Keiran’s observations about butting out cigarettes properly and the extent municipalities have taken to prevent fires.

I live in Colwood and I’m bordered by a park which has public pathways. The park’s large trees are greatly affected by the changing climate (dryness, wind, disease) and consist of a large number of dying or dead trees.

The municipality has taken down some of the trees but has left the remains beside the public pathways in the park rather than removing them.

Colwood and other municipalities require developers to keep green space with public access which then become parks subject to interface fire risks as the climate changes.

Municipalities should be proactive and develop interface fire strategies (removing fuel from parks rather then leaving it) rather than after a park fire.

This is the missing piece.

Terry Lim


Talk to smokers, but will they listen?

Re: “Smokers, butt them out right,” column, July 7.

Interesting article on cigarette butts being thrown out the window of cars. The writer tells about all the ill effects of the butts on the environment, and assumes that the people who do this really care or will even read the article.

My guess? If surveyed, the people who throw butts out the window might say they are concerned about climate change.

But the majority, as Rhett Butler said in Gone with the Wind, do not give a damn. They will carry on, business as usual.

Glenn White
Shawnigan Lake


Rather than recall,try a shorter leash

Re: “Watchdog group wants province to let voters fire municipal councillors,” July 9.

Upon my return to British Columbia in 1980, to live in Victoria, I encountered an unrepresentative city council. The mayor and majority of councillors were not Victorians, but rather made their residences nestled behind the Tweed Curtain in Oak Bay. But an election was never more than two years away.

Until 1988, the mayor and city council in Victoria were elected every two years. Starting with the 1990 election, the term increased to three years. In 2014 the term was increased again, to four years.

On Oct. 17, 1991, a Referendum on Recall and Initiatives was held provincewide in British Columbia. The results were overwhelmingly in favour.

The Recall and Initiative Act came into force on Feb. 24, 1995. Since then it has been used sparingly; only one MLA came close to being recalled — and he resigned when this outcome became obvious.

On the local level, a referendum on the Johnson Street Bridge replacement was held. Unfortunately, it did not prevent the biggest boondoggle in Victoria history.

Should the question be whether to extend recall to local government, or whether shorter terms would make council more accountable?

I would suggest going back to the three-year terms. This would have the effect of introducing more frequent accountability, while also curbing the imperial mindsets some members of council seem to cherish.

Fin MacDonald
James Bay


Stay alive while hiking by staying with others

Re: “Island hiker’s harrowing ordeal in Strathcona Park ends with rescue,” July 9.

Question: What was the biggest mistake the rescued hiker made?

Hint: Not checking the weather, not the gear, no, none of the usual mistakes.

Answer: He hiked alone.

He left the two other hikers, determined to reach the peak. As past president of the University of Victoria Outdoors Club, I’ve been personally involved with similar incidents, all because of hiking alone.

The first was in the early 1970s when a member got tired of waiting for two companions to finish fishing. She decided to head back to the same Kwai Lake camp in Strathcona Park.

The army eventually found her, barely alive. Today, as president of the Vancouver Island Trail, I know several hikers have expressed their intent to hike our trail this summer. This is an incredibly challenging trail into real wilderness.

One false step, one distraction, one sprained ankle, and you’re in serious trouble. Please: Never hike alone.

Ken Milbrath


Our climate thinking could help the world

I don’t think anyone except U.S. President Donald Trump denies climate change, but what I do believe is that the hysteria over climate change here in the Capital Regional District is way over the top.

Folks, with only 350,000 people in the CRD versus 7.7 billion in the world, we are not going to be the world environment saviours as suggested by many!

We here already do more than almost any area in the world to protect our environment, and doing 500 per cent more is going to do nothing in the big scheme.

What we need to do is take our achievements to the rest of the world and if China, India and the U.S. were to each reduce their climate footprint by five per cent, the world would be in much better shape.

Dennis Bourne


This place is not for dangerous criminals

Re: “Escaped criminals considered dangerous,” July 9.

With a brain full of expletives, ready to scream, I can only ask why would anyone in a position of authority put two dangerous prisoners into William Head prison — a place where rehabilitated criminals stay before being released.

Only those deemed no danger to the public are supposed to be there.

I can only hope heads will roll and that no members of the public are harmed due to this serious misjudgment.

Pamela Jackson


Langford has a chance to preserve its land

Re: “Residents tell councillors to block plans for Langford forest,” July 9.

I don’t know whether to be angry or sad that Langford councillors seem poised to let an opportunity to be forward-thinking slip through their fingers.

A piece of forest, ready-made, sits defenceless in the face of development that says it isn’t needed.

The councillors should not be blinded by the shiny bribes of amenities and low-cost housing, nor should they be fooled by offerings of green space that is really just space devoid of buildings.

This is an opportunity for Langford to think ahead and preserve something valuable that cannot be replaced.

Donna Richardson

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