Letters June 18: First Nations offer guidance to all; how dense is Greater Victoria's population?

Esquimalt, Songhees chiefs show us the way

Re: “We are stronger together only if guided by respect,” commentary, June 15.

The Songhees and Esquimalt chiefs are right to decry the recent acts of vandalism at the legislature.

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Nobody appreciates other people attacking their cultural traditions or monuments. It does not matter if they do so for the social improvement of persons less enlightened than themselves.

Of course, Canada’s Indigenous Peoples suffered much more sustained and harmful attempts to cancel their culture. Extinguishing Indigenous languages and identities was one terrible example. The potlach ban was another. There is a certain irony in the chiefs now standing up for us in that regard.

The chiefs clearly understand that reconciliation happens first and foremost in the hearts and minds of every individual. Such attacks on cultural monuments generate anger, alienate support and interfere with “positive outcomes … guided by respect.” Reaching out as they have is welcoming and warming — in true Coast Salish fashion.

The Lekwungen chiefs not only assert their authority but also take responsibility and provide respectful guidance for what goes on in their traditional territories and in their name.

One can only hope that all other leaders may soon be led by their wise and brave example. Not least Pope Francis.

Richard Butler

Victoria

Density in the core, protection outside

Re: “We are rushing toward a crowded future,” commentary, June 16.

The commentary by professor Edward Relph is genuinely concerning as regards the future of the City of Victoria. With the population growth projected, within a very few years Victoria will equal or exceed the density currently experienced by Vancouver.

Victoria is exploring changes to zoning policies that would allow increased building densities within the downtown core area as well as looking at expanding what is considered “downtown.”

A review of the Official Community Plan will result in new developments and increased density coming to what were formerly residential neighbourhoods.

Yet, within a few miles of the city centre, we see neighbouring municipalities saying no to any development under the protection of an agricultural protection policy that results in little viable agriculture.

Is this what our citizens want?

Ken Johnson

Victoria

Plenty of room for more growth

Re: “We are rushing toward a crowded future,” commentary, June 16.

I read Edward Relph’s commentary with enthusiasm, as I expected to hear facts that would put Victoria’s growth in some perspective.

Instead, I saw the usual “I’ve got mine, so shut the door using the usual tactics” message sitting just below the surface.

The statistics referred to are for the very small urban area of Victoria. They highlight our continued reluctance to recognize that we are one city organism from Sidney to Port Renfrew. Instead, we continue as a dozen suburbs wrapped around a small 18th-century core. As a region, our density is one-third of the actual city’s density.

Regardless, all of Canada’s densities are absurdly low when compared to world figures.

I also found the statement that Victoria was “built out to its borders” to be risible. Even Victoria, an urban core, still includes un-dense suburbs such as James Bay, Fairfield, Hillside Quadra and Vic West.

I am confident that our region will steadily evolve into a compelling, sustainable, safe, affordable and attractive city some day. Perhaps then our children will not have to leave town in order to find room to live, work and play.

Proper planning and a rational municipal structure sure beats the balkanized stasis that currently makes this place pretty, but unaffordable.

David Wilkinson

Victoria

Affordable housing is not that generous

How many proposed buildings are running through online public hearings at our virtual municipal council chambers? Then how many of the applicants for these projects are crowing from the top of their building about the number of units that are being marketed as affordable?

It’s a good news and bad news story.

It is good news and encouraged by all municipal councils who are helping to reduce the sale or rental costs to a sector of their residents: those who cannot afford to enter today’s Greater Victoria housing market.

However, if you see the developers announcing just how generous and community-minded they are, watch the developers carefully.

Except in rare cases, they are really not generously donating anything. Look at the companion deal they have with city hall to add more regular, full-priced units, through a thing called bonus density. That arrangement provides a large lift to their bottom line.

If you are looking for affordable buildings for your needy without ending up with larger buildings than allowed by your official community plan and zoning, and without topping up your developer’s bank account, your municipality must donate the land to B.C. Housing.

Colin Millard

Saanich

Let’s get cruise ships back to Victoria

We live in James Bay and really enjoy the positivity and vivacity the ship-borne tourists bring to Victoria.

Like everyone on a holiday, our American friends are happy and in a great mood when they land here. We enjoy talking to them and providing directions to downtown and back. “Take the David Foster Walkway beside Fishermen’s Wharf Park to downtown (sadly there are no signs up on Erie and Kingston indicating the DF Walkway),” I say.

Those who do not appreciate cruise ship visits might not quite get that the many millions of dollars poured into Victoria by the passengers, cruise and vessels themselves, help keep our taxes low and allow the city to provide many services and amenities.

And why is it you don’t enjoy the smell of cruise ships at Ogden Point, yet you don’t mind American cars debarking from the Coho and coming onto Vancouver Island? What about the Victoria Clipper? Fuel is fuel.

No, bring ’em in, I say! I’ll be around as an unofficial welcomer.

P.S. to Justin Trudeau and John Horgan: Let’s get our butts into gear in fighting the bill to make permanent cruise ships not having to visit our wonderful cities on the West Coast.

Jim Parker

James Bay

Cruise ships important to the economy

I would suggest that someone offended with the cruise-ship industry, which provides direct and indirect benefits to businesses and their families here in Victoria, should relocate to a place where the ships can be avoided altogether.

It is easy to be critical and smug when you have “no skin in the game” and your livelihood, and that of your family, isn’t attached to the object of your anger.

John Stevenson

Victoria

We get a thrill from the cruise ships

We moved to James Bay from Gordon Head 26 years ago to feel the life of downtown and James Bay.

Part of that life was having the cruise ships arriving each year and bringing people into our community who love our city, and being on a holiday, everyone of them are happy to be here.

We have met some wonderful people as they walk by our home … we are always out there to help them enjoy our city.

We travel abroad and we are always proud to say we are from Victoria. When we do, we often get the reply that they have been to our wonderful city, on their way to Alaska, and how much they loved it.

Mark Carlow

Victoria

Cruise ships take money out of here

I’m anti-cruise ships because they provide very few full-time (with benefits) jobs.

Plenty of gig jobs, but very few jobs acceptable to a bank.

All the real money goes out of town.

Ray Powell

Victoria

Lots of pollution to sell a few shirts

Cruise ships pollute our air and water.

I doubt that they are much help to our restaurants, as the passengers all have good meals — which they have already paid for — waiting for them back on the ship.

The air pollution will only stop when the Harbour Authority can offer plug-in shore power, so the ships don’t need to run their engines while docked here.

Several years ago the price tag for installing that was $10 million; don’t hold your breath waiting for it.

However, I’m sure they buy a lot from the T-shirt shops, and the vendors of totem-pole seeds. I’ve seen cruise passengers fall for that one!

So, should we accept all of that pollution so we can keep the T-shirt shops in business?

Eric Manning

James Bay

Advocating hate crimes against those who are dead

I had thought that hate “crimes” are unacceptable in our society; however, it now seems to be quite acceptable to viciously attack our former leaders by destroying or defacing their statues, erected in tribute, by citizens of their period.

These now dead leaders are defenceless, with no one rising to their defence.

In fact, it now seems very OK to mob attack and condemn, by Twitter or similar means, anyone who is suspected of behaving in a way disagreeable to our view of things.

Today, anyone who worked at the “residential schools” is automatically guilty of “genocide,” without trial! What nonsense this is, in a society that respects, or used to, “innocent until proven guilty.”

Enough of this madness.

Roy Crichton

Victoria

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