Letters July 10: Heritage buildings; comics stereotype

Those old buildings are a visual gateway

Re: “Design conversation in Victoria monopolized by heritage preservation,” comment, July 9.

I am unsure how many heritage renovations Luke Mari has carried out, and I submit not many to write such a “heartless” article.

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The reason cities so often have soul is because of preservation of the past; Europe is a great example.

The Vancouver buyer of Northern Junk:

a) Purchased the buildings for about $1.1 million.

b) Left them to rot.

A developer with soul and sensitivity to the city of Victoria would realize the buildings and their associated history are a visual gateway to the Inner Harbour. Recognize this and have some soul, and you can still make a buck on your original $1-million purchase price.

Chris Le Fevre

Modern structures are just blemishes

Luke Mari levels a blast at heritage preservation in his op-ed and calls for a design conversation that includes topics ranging from reconciliation to safety to modernization.

He incorrectly implies that heritage preservation excludes some or all of these principles. There are obviously misconceptions on both sides of this conversation.

There’s good reason Victorians vigorously defend the Inner Harbour and Old Town heritage preservation. The modern structures that have infiltrated this area are architectural blemishes. Think of the Regent Hotel and the building that houses ICBC, both on Wharf Street. The Inner Harbour and Old Town deserve better in future design conversations.

Steve New

Comic perpetuates stereotypes

Re: Pooch Café comic strip, June 27.

In a Pooch Café comic on June 27, the appearance of a ghost is blamed on “a sacred Indian burial ground.” This comic is offensive for several reasons.

First, “Indian” is an inaccurate colonial name for the Indigenous peoples of Canada and has long been replaced by First Nations.

Second, the characters concluding that the haunting is due to an “Indian burial ground” is prejudiced. The word “poltergeist” stereotypes such spirits as malevolent — an oversimplified plotline that has appeared widely in popular culture, leading it to be called the “Indian burial ground” trope, whose modern-day use perpetuates racist stereotypes.

In addition, the trope and comic assume the use of burial where, in fact, Indigenous peoples in Canada had varied mortuary practices. The comic is an inappropriate caricature of the diverse cultures of the First Nations of Canada. The ghost also appears to be wearing feathers — another racist stereotype.

This flippant depiction of First Nations cultures and disregard of Indigenous sacred sites is racially offensive and has no place in our newspaper.

Kireni Sparks-Ngenge

Time to invest in provincial parks

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the cracks in many of our public systems, and B.C. Parks is no exception.

B.C.’s provincial parks have been chronically underfunded since the early 2000s, with minimal resources to manage nearly 15 per cent of the land in the province.

This lack of funding has caused many issues within parks. Park rangers are few and far between, leaving areas with no one to monitor for illegal activity such as wildlife poaching and dumping. There is decades worth of maintenance and planning to do, to keep up with demand for outdoor recreation while safeguarding nature.

As B.C. reopens our communities and green-lights local travel, camping and hiking in provincial parks provide one of the most affordable and spectacular ways to explore the province. To keep these places open safely, we must invest in them.

Investing in parks means investing in community well-being.

Terry Stein

• Email: letters@timescolonist.com

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