Letters June 16: Tourist tax, council chaos, City of Garbage, climate and shooting range

Tourist tax to help climate

Every year at this time, I have a conversation with myself regarding the merits of tourism.

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I look forward to the energy and vibrancy the tourists bring to the city, not to mention the financial infusion into the economy. On the other hand, tourists are the main pollutants in the world today, causing global warming and climate change.

Perhaps it’s time to stabilize or even curtail the growth of this industry by looking south of the border to U.S. President Donald Trump and the threat of tariffs.

What about a tariff on all tourists entering the city via the cruise-ship industry starting July 1? If tourists continue to travel and pollute, then extend the tariffs to the airline industry and to those travelling on the ferry.

Eric Stopps

Victoria

United we pay, divided we argue

Re: “Victoria opts to keep funding Remembrance Day policing; Helps apologizes to veterans,” June 14.

Coun. Ben Isitt’s tabling of the question regarding the military possibly paying for costs associated with Remembrance Day was not only disrespectful and ill timed, it was the wrong question.

He states he is asking the hard question of why Victoria and Esquimalt taxpayers should cover the cost of Victoria’s celebrations when all municipalities participate.

The question he should be asking is: how do we get the Capital Regional District to amalgamate under one city council?

There is no reason for the number of municipal governments within the CRD, especially when larger cities in Canada can operate with a smaller and centralized government.

Victoria and Esquimalt would not be left footing the bill for all of the downtown celebrations if Saanich, Oak Bay, View Royal, Colwood and Langford were under the governance of one municipal government.

Rhonda Sheen

Saanich

Thumbs up

for council decision

Re: “Victoria opts to keep funding Remembrance Day policing; Helps apologizes to veterans,” June 14.

A few years ago, a friend suggested that some politicians want publicity so badly, they don’t mind if it is good or bad, as long as their names are spelled right.

I commend the Victoria mayor and council for continuing to fund Remembrance Day policing.

It demonstrates democracy works when governments listen. There is true respect for veterans and the sacrifices they made during war and in all times.

Robert Winkenhower

Victoria

You think Nanaimo had its problems?

Re: “Victoria opts to keep funding Remembrance Day policing; Helps apologizes to veterans,” June 14.

I am a resident of Nanaimo, and we’ve had our fair share of city council dysfunction over the past several years.

However, nothing compares to the hyperbolic overreaction of Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt to criticism of his ill-conceived motion relating to the funding of Remembrance Day activities.

The outcry to his motion across the country was because it was perceived, rightfully in my opinion, as a crass and petty economic complaint about the cost of honouring people who fought and gave their lives for our country.

The reaction wasn’t because of a “toxic political culture” organized by “conservative political organizations” trying to “undermine our democratic institutions.”

As a politician from the left, Isitt looks and sounds ridiculous trying to diminish anyone who disagrees with him by spouting the left’s equivalent of the alt-right conspiracy theory nonsense used by the likes of Donald Trump.

The outcry to Isitt’s proposal was a genuine and heartfelt response from the left and the right of the political spectrum.

John R. Manning

Nanaimo

City of Garbage

may be our future

Re: “Victoria then and now,” comment, June 11.

I agree with the writer’s thoughts on how our city has changed. It has always been a great pleasure to visit Beacon Hill Park and other areas that gave Victoria its name of “City of Gardens.”

This has tragically changed. City council has decided to let parts of Beacon Hill Park and other areas of our city resort to their “natural state,” while the tax dollars that should be going to maintaining these areas are now poured into providing more facilities for bicycles.

Recently, city council moved to provide a further $300,000 or so to allow the rapid completion of the bike-lane system while doing nothing to protect our dearest assets that, for many decades, have defined our city. This is extremely short-sighted and does not reflect the feelings of the majority of this city’s voters.

The writer suggests that we should “please cut the grass and keep the weeds down.”

Amen to that, but it does not go far enough.

The City of Victoria must start to honour obligations to residents and our once fair city by taking care of its most precious assets before they cease to have any intrinsic value and turn us into “The City of Garbage.”

This also applies to the lack of any real form of cleaning of the downtown and surrounding areas where streets and pathways are not cleaned and left covered in droppings from seagulls and geese.

Geoff. P. Williams

Victoria

Climate action

can improve

Victoria is hosting town halls to develop a “climate lens” for city policies. While Mayor Lisa Helps touts the city and herself as climate champions, much more needs to be done, starting with ambitious tree-planting.

1. Victoria’s boom is using huge amounts of cement. That industry is an extremely large CO2 emitter.

2. Manicured lawns produce more greenhouse gases than they absorb and Victoria has not banned harmful lawn and garden chemicals.

3. Barbecues produce considerable CO2 and we apply no restrictions.

4. Burning wood releases more CO2 than gas, oil and coal for equal heat, again, no restrictions.

5. Our urban forest is declining.

6. We are expanding bicycle paths but doing little to encourage zero-emission vehicles.

7. Gas mowers and blowers contribute CO2 and noise but remain unregulated.

8. City trucks with outdated pollution equipment emit more greenhouse gases and remain on the road.

9. Cruise ships and luxury yachts, emissions dodgers and polluters, are encouraged to visit.

10. We are expanding our airport to bring more flights.

Many believe our building boom is threatening the quality of life in the capital region, reducing greenspace and food-producing land, adding considerable greenhouse gases while wasting natural resources.

We are lacking a comprehensive sustainability plan.

Michael Bloomfield

Victoria

DND could share

its Nanaimo range

‘Re: “Unwavering DND reminds bikers and hikers,” June 13.

After I joined the military in 1953, I received training in marksmanship at many ranges in Canada. All have a large safety area behind the impact area.

There are rules to protect against someone being shot by accident if a bullet were to miss the target and travel into the safety zone. While live firing is in progress, no one is allowed in the safety area.

I have travelled to many countries for championship shooting events. Since my sport is competing at long range (300 to 1,000 yards) we are always on military ranges. The rules are rigid and followed to the letter.

However, in each of the countries, there are rules that allow the local population to be in the danger zones.

It is simple. If there is no shooting, there is no danger.

The United Kingdom has hundreds of ranges, military and private, that allow people to roam when the range in not in use. An area near Pirbright in England has four ranges that are in constant use by the military, but all shooting must be completed at a certain hour and the danger zone is given over to the population.

There are many days when the Nanaimo range is not in use. Maybe an agreement can be made between DND and Nanaimo council to let recreational users know when it is not safe to go into the danger zone.

Sandy Peden

Victoria

Bicycles belong

on Vancouver Street

You’d think the sky was falling on the hitherto unchallenged reign of “King Car.”

Because motor vehicles have had a monopoly on our streets for so long, the change is difficult as it diminishes that dominance.

Any policy that attempts to balance the two solitudes — motor vehicles and bicycles — will never provide a perfect solution to either side. But notwithstanding the city’s ill-advised “all ages and abilities” policy and the Fort Street cycleway, council and staff got it right for the most part.

As for Vancouver Street, it’s a unique, and formerly quiet, residential street in the midst of the city that has been overrun by motor vehicles as a throughway.

Meanwhile, Cook Street, the natural “downtown avoidance route” used by motoring James Bay and South Fairfield residents, has become encumbered by bicycles.

City staff and council should be commended for recognizing the folly of Cook Street as a cycle way and changing the cycling route to the most logical choice, Vancouver Street.

Dave Nonen

Victoria

Police should share resources

Re: “Don’t breathe easy if you’re sober, you still have to blow,” April 14.

If the Victoria police are so strapped for cash, perhaps they could borrow from the Saanich Police Department, who are so flush with funds that they can afford to have an officer sit in a mall parking lot and target seniors purchasing alcohol in the morning.

Patrick Weston

Victoria

Send us your letters

• Email: letters@timescolonist.com">letters@timescolonist.com

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 2621 Douglas St., Victoria, B.C. V8T 4M2.

Letters should be no longer than 250 words and may be edited for length, legality or clarity. Include your full name, address and telephone number. Copyright of letters or other material accepted for publication remains with the author, but the publisher and its licensees may freely reproduce them in print, electronic and other forms.m Tourist tax

to help climate

Every year at this time, I have a conversation with myself regarding the merits of tourism.

I look forward to the energy and vibrancy the tourists bring to the city, not to mention the financial infusion into the economy. On the other hand, tourists are the main pollutants in the world today, causing global warming and climate change.

Perhaps it’s time to stabilize or even curtail the growth of this industry by looking south of the border to U.S. President Donald Trump and the threat of tariffs.

What about a tariff on all tourists entering the city via the cruise-ship industry starting July 1? If tourists continue to travel and pollute, then extend the tariffs to the airline industry and to those travelling on the ferry.

Eric Stopps

Victoria

United we pay, divided we argue

Re: “Victoria opts to keep funding Remembrance Day policing; Helps apologizes to veterans,” June 14.

Coun. Ben Isitt’s tabling of the question regarding the military possibly paying for costs associated with Remembrance Day was not only disrespectful and ill timed, it was the wrong question.

He states he is asking the hard question of why Victoria and Esquimalt taxpayers should cover the cost of Victoria’s celebrations when all municipalities participate.

The question he should be asking is: how do we get the Capital Regional District to amalgamate under one city council?

There is no reason for the number of municipal governments within the CRD, especially when larger cities in Canada can operate with a smaller and centralized government.

Victoria and Esquimalt would not be left footing the bill for all of the downtown celebrations if Saanich, Oak Bay, View Royal, Colwood and Langford were under the governance of one municipal government.

Rhonda Sheen

Saanich

Thumbs up

for council decision

Re: “Victoria opts to keep funding Remembrance Day policing; Helps apologizes to veterans,” June 14.

A few years ago, a friend suggested that some politicians want publicity so badly, they don’t mind if it is good or bad, as long as their names are spelled right.

I commend the Victoria mayor and council for continuing to fund Remembrance Day policing.

It demonstrates democracy works when governments listen. There is true respect for veterans and the sacrifices they made during war and in all times.

Robert Winkenhower

Victoria

You think Nanaimo had its problems?

Re: “Victoria opts to keep funding Remembrance Day policing; Helps apologizes to veterans,” June 14.

I am a resident of Nanaimo, and we’ve had our fair share of city council dysfunction over the past several years.

However, nothing compares to the hyperbolic overreaction of Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt to criticism of his ill-conceived motion relating to the funding of Remembrance Day activities.

The outcry to his motion across the country was because it was perceived, rightfully in my opinion, as a crass and petty economic complaint about the cost of honouring people who fought and gave their lives for our country.

The reaction wasn’t because of a “toxic political culture” organized by “conservative political organizations” trying to “undermine our democratic institutions.”

As a politician from the left, Isitt looks and sounds ridiculous trying to diminish anyone who disagrees with him by spouting the left’s equivalent of the alt-right conspiracy theory nonsense used by the likes of Donald Trump.

The outcry to Isitt’s proposal was a genuine and heartfelt response from the left and the right of the political spectrum.

John R. Manning

Nanaimo

City of Garbage

may be our future

Re: “Victoria then and now,” comment, June 11.

I agree with the writer’s thoughts on how our city has changed. It has always been a great pleasure to visit Beacon Hill Park and other areas that gave Victoria its name of “City of Gardens.”

This has tragically changed. City council has decided to let parts of Beacon Hill Park and other areas of our city resort to their “natural state,” while the tax dollars that should be going to maintaining these areas are now poured into providing more facilities for bicycles.

Recently, city council moved to provide a further $300,000 or so to allow the rapid completion of the bike-lane system while doing nothing to protect our dearest assets that, for many decades, have defined our city. This is extremely short-sighted and does not reflect the feelings of the majority of this city’s voters.

The writer suggests that we should “please cut the grass and keep the weeds down.”

Amen to that, but it does not go far enough.

The City of Victoria must start to honour obligations to residents and our once fair city by taking care of its most precious assets before they cease to have any intrinsic value and turn us into “The City of Garbage.”

This also applies to the lack of any real form of cleaning of the downtown and surrounding areas where streets and pathways are not cleaned and left covered in droppings from seagulls and geese.

Geoff. P. Williams

Victoria

Climate action

can improve

Victoria is hosting town halls to develop a “climate lens” for city policies. While Mayor Lisa Helps touts the city and herself as climate champions, much more needs to be done, starting with ambitious tree-planting.

1. Victoria’s boom is using huge amounts of cement. That industry is an extremely large CO2 emitter.

2. Manicured lawns produce more greenhouse gases than they absorb and Victoria has not banned harmful lawn and garden chemicals.

3. Barbecues produce considerable CO2 and we apply no restrictions.

4. Burning wood releases more CO2 than gas, oil and coal for equal heat, again, no restrictions.

5. Our urban forest is declining.

6. We are expanding bicycle paths but doing little to encourage zero-emission vehicles.

7. Gas mowers and blowers contribute CO2 and noise but remain unregulated.

8. City trucks with outdated pollution equipment emit more greenhouse gases and remain on the road.

9. Cruise ships and luxury yachts, emissions dodgers and polluters, are encouraged to visit.

10. We are expanding our airport to bring more flights.

Many believe our building boom is threatening the quality of life in the capital region, reducing greenspace and food-producing land, adding considerable greenhouse gases while wasting natural resources.

We are lacking a comprehensive sustainability plan.

Michael Bloomfield

Victoria

DND could share

its Nanaimo range

‘Re: “Unwavering DND reminds bikers and hikers,” June 13.

After I joined the military in 1953, I received training in marksmanship at many ranges in Canada. All have a large safety area behind the impact area.

There are rules to protect against someone being shot by accident if a bullet were to miss the target and travel into the safety zone. While live firing is in progress, no one is allowed in the safety area.

I have travelled to many countries for championship shooting events. Since my sport is competing at long range (300 to 1,000 yards) we are always on military ranges. The rules are rigid and followed to the letter.

However, in each of the countries, there are rules that allow the local population to be in the danger zones.

It is simple. If there is no shooting, there is no danger.

The United Kingdom has hundreds of ranges, military and private, that allow people to roam when the range in not in use. An area near Pirbright in England has four ranges that are in constant use by the military, but all shooting must be completed at a certain hour and the danger zone is given over to the population.

There are many days when the Nanaimo range is not in use. Maybe an agreement can be made between DND and Nanaimo council to let recreational users know when it is not safe to go into the danger zone.

Sandy Peden

Victoria

Bicycles belong

on Vancouver Street

You’d think the sky was falling on the hitherto unchallenged reign of “King Car.”

Because motor vehicles have had a monopoly on our streets for so long, the change is difficult as it diminishes that dominance.

Any policy that attempts to balance the two solitudes — motor vehicles and bicycles — will never provide a perfect solution to either side. But notwithstanding the city’s ill-advised “all ages and abilities” policy and the Fort Street cycleway, council and staff got it right for the most part.

As for Vancouver Street, it’s a unique, and formerly quiet, residential street in the midst of the city that has been overrun by motor vehicles as a throughway.

Meanwhile, Cook Street, the natural “downtown avoidance route” used by motoring James Bay and South Fairfield residents, has become encumbered by bicycles.

City staff and council should be commended for recognizing the folly of Cook Street as a cycle way and changing the cycling route to the most logical choice, Vancouver Street.

Dave Nonen

Victoria

Police should share resources

Re: “Don’t breathe easy if you’re sober, you still have to blow,” April 14.

If the Victoria police are so strapped for cash, perhaps they could borrow from the Saanich Police Department, who are so flush with funds that they can afford to have an officer sit in a mall parking lot and target seniors purchasing alcohol in the morning.

Patrick Weston

Victoria

Send us your letters

• Email: letters@timescolonist.com">letters@timescolonist.com

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 2621 Douglas St., Victoria, B.C. V8T 4M2.

Letters should be no longer than 250 words and may be edited for length, legality or clarity. Include your full name, address and telephone number. Copyright of letters or other material accepted for publication remains with the author, but the publisher and its licensees may freely reproduce them in print, electronic and other forms.m

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