Letters July 11: Maritime Museum; encourage tourism; go cashless

Maritime Museum belongs on harbour

Re: “Maritime Museum of B.C. charts course for Langford,” July 10.

I appreciate the decades of complications associated with this museum but in the end our inability as a society to develop a professional and stimulating B.C. Maritime Museum where it belongs is truly perplexing.

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Again, no matter what, this museum should be located at Victoria Inner Harbour, ideally in the historic CPR Steamship Terminal, or at Ship Point across the Inner Harbour.

Our maritime history is of national significance and must be celebrated in the marine heart of our capital city.

Jacques Sirois

Encourage tourism by dropping prices

A senior from the northern part of our Island recently wrote a letter saying he had wanted to take his wife in their small motor home for a tour of the mainland, but was disappointed at B.C. Ferries’ decision to eliminate a discount for senior motorhome travellers.

In the past week, the Times Colonist carried a multi-page advertisement about Destination B.C., and on July 8 ran a story on the front page about hotel workers protesting their joblessness due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I understand their situation because my daughter worked in that industry.

What I don’t understand is why B.C. Ferries, Destination B.C. and the B.C. Hotel Association don’t do something together to make it affordable.

I wanted to once again drive around B.C.’s wine country for three weeks and enjoy the labours of one of our finer industries.

Here’s the catch: In spite of some Okanagan hotels opening on a limited basis, they are not discounting their rates. That’s foolish. Very foolish. If tourists from outside the province can’t come to spend their money, and Islanders are punished for being Islanders, what’s the point?

Mainland B.C., outside of Vancouver, has many beautiful places, but if the hospitality industry can’t recognize their problem and fix it with incentives for us to visit them, they’ll be dropping like flies.

T. Lorne Pedneault-Peasland

Library services must be restored

I am writing because I find it outrageous that our vital public library services have not been restored.

Libraries serve our communities’ most vulnerable populations, and keeping them closed is denying access for kids who have been out of school, workers who are unemployed, persons with disabilities seeking supports and scores of other key community members who are otherwise unable to access internet services, learning supports and other resources.

B.C.’s reopening plan states that libraries could have opened in May, yet while coffee shops, restaurants, schools, salons, dentists and far more invasive and interpersonal services have reopened, library services remain suspended.

Frankly, it’s pathetic and shameful that local governments have failed to restore libraries when things like gyms and bars have found ways to operate. Seems like local politicians are saving money by denying serves to those least able to advocate on their own behalf.

Please do the right thing and restore our library services

Morgan Attwell

Richardson Street a vital thoroughfare

Re: “Bike lanes improve quality of life,” letter, July 9.

Unfortunately, this has gone way beyond just bike lanes.

In the case of Richardson Street, it is about the elimination of a vital residential connector for the Fairfield/Gonzales and South Oak Bay neighbourhoods.

The result of this will be countless drivers scurrying down quiet, narrow residential streets, attempting find the most expedient route to home and other destinations. I have talked to at least 100 of the residents to be affected and almost all are fearful of this outcome.

And the fact that this was expressed as not a concern by one city transportation planner at the winter open house is alarming. He actually suggested that I divert through these streets, once the no-left-turn off Cook Street is instituted.

This plan is going to be highly disruptive to the residents of the affected neighbourhoods. The pity of it all is that cyclists and cars co-exist quite nicely as it is, with mutual respect as the order of the day.

A significant number of those contacted were totally unaware of what is to be imposed upon them.

Brian Kendrick

Remember the need for new housing

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

I agree. This obsession about heritage preservation by many Victoria residents is obstructing a balanced advancement of city development.

I blame mainly the arrogance of those people putting heritage conservation above all other needs not because of what they want our society to do, but because of what they want to appear in front of their peers.

They should find some other toys to upgrade their egos or rescue their self-importance.

I just would add to the arguments exposed by Luke Mari the dramatic need of new housing in Victoria.

Densification is required today for ecological reasons to say the least, and adding higher buildings would meet the rising housing demand, which has pushed prices to ridiculous levels.

House owners might be happy about it, but they should take into account the needs of the less fortunate.

If we have this homeless crisis in Victoria, the root cause comes from the obstruction to new developments or the imposition of unreasonable conditions which cause long delays and skyrocketing construction costs.

I have nothing to do with construction companies, I’m just a renter who is discouraged to buy a home in this crazy market.

Paul Paran

Balance is required in new development

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

Certainly a provocative column on the perceived role of heritage in our city and the muddled lament of the poor developer.

Northern Junk is over-scale and will be another brick in the wall that separates the city from the Inner Harbour and Gorge, despite the usual sop and panacea of a harbourside walkway, which the bulk of the population will never use.

The acknowledgement of heritage is as feeble as the reused marble used as seating in the barren plaza at the foot of 1515 Douglas St. More like tombstones for the demolished Moderne bank that once stood there.

That the city approves such a development as Northern Junk reflects badly on those who should be better balancing the needs of the community and the developer.

Developers, with few exceptions, are riding roughshod over the urban landscape and changing it, not with exceptional structures but with the usual tired concrete and glass-wall tropes, neither beautiful nor memorable.

Remember, most developers are motivated by maximum profit, despite assurances of the manifold benefits to the community of their particular project. Buildings endure for a lifetime (it used to be several lifetimes) and, in the rush to build in Victoria, are we leaving a legacy that future citizens will fight to maintain on the basis of “heritage” value? I doubt it.

Tom Palfrey

Economy should go cashless

The photograph on the front page of Friday’s Times Colonist showing the large amount of cash from the police raid on drug dealers demonstrates the usefulness of eliminating cash in our society.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many stores stopped accepting cash; we found how easy it was to switch from cash to credit and debit cards (or e-transfers).

Not only would it make life very difficult for criminals but it would also eliminate the “grey economy” and allow for complete tax collection, which we badly need with our enormous deficits.

At the same time, we need to make virtual currencies such as Bitcoin illegal; they are useful only for scammers, criminals, speculators and those who want to hide their transactions.

Kenneth Mintz

We need to bring back institutions to help mentally ill

Re: “Drug-addicted son ‘would have been better off in an institution,’ ” July 7.

Victoria and British Columbia can buy all the hotels they can, but none of it will solve the problems of the mentally ill.

I grew up in Weyburn, Sask., the home of the largest mental hospital in the British Commonwealth — 2,000 patients! In the early 1970s some “gifted” mental-illness doctors from New York advised the government of Saskatchewan and the City of Weyburn that the hospital would be phased out and the patients would be allowed to live in halfway houses and take their meds, as they “blended” back into society.

The government thought this was a great idea because caring for the mentally ill in a hospital was very expensive, obviously a very wrong decision!

That was 50 years ago and now we need to return to what helped the mentally sick: It’s called hospitalization and it will be millions of dollars less expensive than what government is doing now.

Someone in this government, either in power or Opposition, take the lead, stand up and put forth a motion to build a mental care facility for the people of B.C. It will eliminate most of the homeless and tent problems as well.

Jim Laing

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