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Letters July 31: Cycling networks and trails, health and welfare, and priorities for downtown Victoria

Cyclists and pedestrians make their way across the Selkirk Trestle Bridge in Victoria on Feb. 14, 2023. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

We didn’t have hard numbers when the work started

In his lofty demand for hard numbers to justify observations made by a letter-writer about the city’s cycling network, another letter-writer appears to forget that the entire system was built more on ideology than facts.

Had his lengthy list of demands for facts been imposed on city council at the time, we perhaps would not have the obvious problems and outrageous expense that exist in the finished product today.

R.G. Persson


Where are the priorities for downtown Victoria?

At the beginning of July I was thrilled to see Swatch opening on Government Street, filling one of the many empty stores in downtown Victoria. Kudos for someone willing to try something new instead of yet another souvenir shop.

I went downtown on Saturday afternoon and enjoyed the pop-up concert at the corner of Government and View Street. However, a block down View Street a group of addicts were openly smoking crack outside McDonald’s, and the Swatch store has a boarded up smashed window.

How can we expect entrepreneurs to exist in Victoria when their store is vandalized within a month of opening and drug addicts fill the streets frightening away visitors and residents?

When will our city and provincial governments realize that drugs and crime are destroying Victoria, and that putting on pop-up concerts is merely “fiddling while Rome burns”?

When will our governments prioritize public safety and peace, order and good government over “harm reduction” and the “trauma” of drug abusers and the criminal element that prey on them?

Alan Humphries


Staff shortages are hurting our health and welfare

On July 29, the urgent care clinic in Parksville was attended by only one doctor. No other doctors were available.

In other words, without his attendance, the facility would have had to close. Many of the patients entering this facility were from out of town because of closures in other parts of Vancouver Island, including Ladysmith and Campbell River.

Also, an X-ray clinic in Nanaimo had to close because one staff member failed to come to work.

I would hazard a guess that this shortness of people is due to staff fatigue due to being so short-staffed. I’m sure that everyone is aware of what’s been happening to our medical system, and much has been blamed on Covid.

However, I think COVID only exacerbated the problem, because we were short of medical professionals for several years beforeo the pandemic.

Of late, I’ve noticed that care for the elderly is diminishing at an alarming rate, as evidenced by many of our friends and neighbors having to aid those in their 80s and 90s who cannot care for themselves. The same can be attributed to the homeless.

This is evidenced by the lack of facilities for the elderly, the homeless and our youth, who can ill-afford the high cost of accommodation.

Perhaps the high compensation we are paying to too many of our Canadian executives should be re-examined, because too many are receiving exorbitant wages for questionable results.

The rich are becoming richer with each passing year, while the poor are getting poorer and poorer, and cannot afford essentials.

Yes, we are helping other countries, but are we punishing ourselves as a result.

Ron Gobeil


A simple message is planned for this epitaph

Mine will be simple! “Sorry, not a winner”

Mike Holt


Please, make Selkirk trestle smoother for all

As a frequent, long-term user of the Galloping Goose/E&N trail, I’d like to congratulate and thank the Capital Regional District for the recent decision to widen the overly-crowded stretches of the trails and separate into pedestrian and cycling paths. Long overdue.

As a diminutive cyclist, I would also encourage the CRD to consider replacing Selkirk trestle with paved lanes. The spine-crushing, bone-rattling aging wooden planks, reminiscent of the cheese-grater Johnson Street Blue Bridge is a safety hazard for cyclists and tripping risk for pedestrians.

Even a compromise with a portion paved for wheeled vehicles would be welcomed. It’s tough to distinguish approaching bridge users or hazards when your horizon-view changes every millisecond.

Sharon White

View Royal

No rave wanted in this neighbourhood

Re: “DJ party affected fragile Cattle Point ecosystem: UVic instructor,” July 29.

About the rave at Cattle Point, Andrew Elves says that educators like himself need to a better job.

He needs to be educated by suggesting Saxe Point would be a better venue. Saxe Point is a residential neighborhood, not a good place for a rave.

Donald Boyce

Saxe Point


Build a healthy neighbourhood for all

Re: “Victoria’s neighbourhoods need protection,” commentary, July 26.

The president of the Stadacona Centre Strata Council, representing s group of investment condominium owners in the Jubilee area, writes that Victoria”s neighbourhoods need protection.

This begs the question, who’s threatening their health and well-being?

Unidentified aliens from outer space, money-laundering criminals and warlords, sanctioned oligarchs on the run, predatory financial institutions or bloodthirsty global hedge-fund vampires and vultures?

No, it’s unkempt, unhealthy, unhoused people camping outside in a nearby public park. The story goes, since “those people” are not members of “our community,” the city should send them packing or incarcerate them – out of sight and out of mind.

Will this solve the problem? No.

These law-abiding citizens see no issue using the full force of the law to protect their right to peace, order, good government while at the same time depriving other community members of their right to a basic livelihood, access to appropriate health care, and a modest roof over their heads.

Victoria’s proliferation of luxury homes and investment properties suggests the interests of the privileged are prioritized and protected at the expense of the impoverished, whose needs are passed over while others are punished allegedly for their “poor personal choices.”

Some folks believe they live in a fairytale paradise by the sea. But there are no magic wands or wizards to eliminate this system-wide, socio-economic crisis, so we can all live happily-ever-after.

It takes courage to face inconvenient truths, not scapegoat others, and make serious changes needed to build a healthy, vibrant neighbourhood for all.

Victoria Adams


Plenty of evidence about neighbourhood woes

Re: “Victoria’s neighbourhoods need protection,” commentary, July 26.

Living in a house backing directly on Stadacona Park, our family and neighbourhood have been dealing with significant issues for over four years.

The glib and dismissive remarks by a council member stating that evidence presented is anecdotal is absurd. Perhaps the comment was taken out of context.

That said, our family has submitted countless videos of evidence of operational chop shops, open drug use, defecation in public, screaming and fighting at all hours, vandalism, theft, threats of physical violence, and the list goes on.

That is empirical evidence, not anecdotal. Undeniable, irrefutable, accurate, and on point.

Our videos and photos represent a fraction of what has been submitted by others. To ignore or dismiss this overwhelming volume of examples is inexcusable and to even hint at the use hyperbolic language by those filing complaints is simply disgraceful.

This is a neighbourhood park that has been under siege for years. As the greater community has accepted defeat of the Pandora strip, and wonder how far it will stretch, we are not prepared to also give up our family and neighbourhood parks.

Understood, is the very real issue of addiction and mental health. Not understood or acknowledged is the impact of mental health on those surrounding the park. Some have chosen to leave the community, and most others don’t use the park out of fear.

Housing those afflicted by addiction and mental health in our family-oriented parks holds an entire community hostage. Sheltering is not just about a place to house, as it invites every element into a community that we as a society deem to be unacceptable, and ultimately renders that space dangerous, lawless, and a haven for illegal activity.

The mountain of evidence provided to the city is empirical, not anecdotal. The community wants and deserves safe access and use of its parks.

Mark Wyatt



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