Letters June 14: Crystal Pool, Remembrance Day, reason to ride, baby boomers and more

Leave Crystal Pool in Central Park

Re: “After a long look at options, replacement for Crystal Pool might come full circle,” June 12.

As a former lifeguard at Crystal Pool, I have seen how important the facility is for the many marginalized and low-income residents of Quadra-Hillside and North Park neighbourhoods, and beyond. I support plans for developing a replacement facility next to the existing one in Central Park.

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While I understand the significant short-term impact of losing trees, basketball and tennis courts, a playground and exercise area, they are small compared with the massive loss of a recreation centre. Crystal Pool acts not only as a pool, but also a daycare, gym, summer camp, lifeguard/lifesaver training facility, and has many affordable fitness programs geared toward seniors. This hub of activity should be preserved, and a two-year closure, or relocation to a completely different part of town, is unacceptable.

Two years might seem like a lifetime, but it’s nothing compared with 50-plus years that a new facility at Central Park would give back to the people of Victoria.

Ethan Smith


Crystal Pool an election ploy

Re: “After a long look at options, replacement for Crystal Pool might come full circle,” June 12.

How naïve does council think the citizens of Victoria are? This is an election ploy. Original plans were scrapped just before the last election to appease a small group of people. Guess what? There is another election coming up.

During the original planning and discussions, there was lots of opportunity for the public to express their thoughts. It was only after plans were drawn up and $2 million spent that we heard concern about losing green space. This was never an issue as the tennis and basketball courts were to be built on the site of the existing pool when it was demolished.

Now that the North Park citizens realize they may not have a pool on their doorstep, they are changing their minds.

Margaret Taylor


One volunteer to police events

Re: “Veteran: Costs should be borne by the military,” letter, June 11.

There has been a great deal of media-driven fuss from the idea that Victoria council had suggested exploring the idea of the military paying for some of the costs associated with military events such as Remembrance Day.

Why are police required to “police” such events? The mood is always quiet and respectful during those very sobering moments.

If a police presence is required, why not have the military police, military reservists, city police, RCMP, firefighters and ambulance personnel, active and retired, volunteer their time to provide the security? These organizations are usually in attendance anyway.

Or is this an insane idea because it might offend some union because its members would be done out of a few bucks?

I’m retired. I’ll volunteer!

John Walker

Cobble Hill

Questioning moves by Victoria council

Re: “City to cover Canada Day policing shortfall,” June 7.

Once again, Victoria council has made the city a national laughingstock.

It goes from spiriting Sir John A. Macdonald’s statue away in the middle of the night, to exploring the idea of launching a lawsuit against major fossil-fuel companies because of climate change, to this “classy” move to study the idea of billing the Department of National Defence for the added police costs of blocking off a couple of streets for Remembrance Day services.

One wonders if our council represents a provincial capital that hosts a major military base within our region that brings economic benefit to the city. Or are they are a bunch of small-town parochial politicians who can’t see beyond the end of their pencils?

Hugh Stephens


The meaning behind a word

Re: “At least 95 massacred at village in Mali,” June 7.

Consider the word “massacre.” Most people would agree that 95 dead in one incident is a massacre. But the Boston Massacre saw five dead and two wounded. Not what most would consider a massacre. Likewise, the Tonypandy Massacre in Wales, infamous in British history. There were no deaths or persons wounded.

There has been controversy about the meaning of the word genocide and whether it applies to Canada’s treatment of native people, more specifically to native women who have disappeared over the years. The problem with words such as “genocide” is it’s too easy to use them to make a point, and they cease to have real meaning.

What is genocide? I agree the treatment of native people in Canada from earliest contact with Europeans to about 1970 was cultural genocide. But genocide, period? Is it in the same league as Stalin (at least 20 million); Hitler (six million plus); Pol Pot (1.5 to two million); the killing of Armenians by the Turks (800,000 to 1.5 million;) the U.S.A.’s treatment of native people? Do 20 to 40 victims on the Highway of Tears equal the estimated 4,000 Cherokee who died on the Trail of Tears? Maybe. But that’s the problem with Humpty Dumpty’s dictum: “When I use a word, it means whatever I want it to mean.” Which means that words have no meaning.

I never thought I’d agree with Andrew Scheer, but I do on this one. The use of the word “genocide” is a distraction. It pulls attention away from the point.

Ian Cameron

Brentwood Bay

Why do I ride? Let me count the ways

I like riding my bicycle whenever I can. I’d like to ride more, and will, as Victoria expands accessibility through quality bikeways. To be sure, I ride for the joy of it, but most often combined with shopping, events and appointments.

I ride in every season, and the fact I can is a main reason I retired from Alberta. I ride because I honour diversity, respect choice, believe in sharing and appreciate community.

I ride to take in the beauty, smells and sounds of our city. I ride to return a nod to others on bikes and folks walking. I ride because I like to smile.

Stuart Walker


Fiasco in making for motorists and cyclists

Re: “Our new bike network’s heavy toll: making so many people unhappy,” June 9.

I write not only as a resident, voter and Victoria taxpayer.

I write as one who has cycled the streets of Victoria on a daily basis for decades. I did so on the painted bicycle lanes — painted, not with concrete barriers.

Those painted lanes, whose only cost was the occasional repainting, were perfectly safe for cyclists.

They did not cost taxpayers millions of dollars and did not cause confusion to motorists or cyclists. They didn’t have a detrimental effect on businesses, pedestrians or motorists seeking parking spaces and, best of all, they did not create traffic disruption.

The new bike-lane construction is unnecessary, excessively costly and dangerous.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and council are determined to make the use of Victoria streets, by the reduction in traffic lanes, traffic obstructions and non-co-ordinated traffic lights, as difficult as possible for motorists, emergency vehicles and cyclists.

At the same time, they are also making the idea of going downtown as unattractive as possible, and are doing so at enormous cost when virtually every block in the city of Victoria requires repaving.

The planned work on Vancouver Street is the latest fiasco. It represents a new stage in the obstruction of movement within the city core.

Again, utterly unnecessary.


Gregory Peter Andrachuk


Road not so rosy for baby boomers

Re: “Baby boomers are the lucky ones,” letter, June 7.

The writer should consider the harsh conditions of many seniors’ lives instead of reiterating myths about rich boomers living high off the hog.

In her May 2015 report, Seniors’ Housing in B.C., B.C.’s seniors advocate found: “Half of B.C. seniors live on $24,000 per year or less and more than 50,000 seniors are living on $20,000 or less.”

As far as receiving “a massive windfall," I am still waiting for mine. With the miserly rates for Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement, I try to survive on an income 50 per cent below the poverty line.

A lot has changed since the good old days when previous generations set up those well-funded social “programs” in the 1970s. Decades of austerity measures, inhuman legislation and gutted social programs have thrust many boomers into worse hardship than their parents could imagine.

At tax time this year, the provincial and federal governments targeted the poorest seniors in B.C., trying to squeeze a few dollars from people who have nothing. They are turning a bus subsidy and a senior’s supplement into false income sources and using them to reduce seniors’ GIS, GST cheques and B.C. tax credits.

Doreen Marion Gee


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