Letters June 5: More public washrooms; attracting local tourists; bear’s death

We need more public washrooms

Re: “Local businesses bear the brunt of social problems,” commentary, June 4.

The comments of a person coming into a business and relieving themselves in a display toilet is not too far off course while we are looking for what will be normal.

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If we are attempting to open up the business sector, then the first thing you need to lure customers back is having more and better designed washrooms. This issue needs to be extended to all the entertainment venues where intermission line-ups are common.

Gone are the days of using a piece of paper towelling on the bathroom door handle to exit. Get rid of the doors and have one way to enter and one way to leave. And while they are at it get rid of all the hand dryers that blow the remaining germs all around the washroom.

Yesterday morning around 10 am, I was in the Oak Bay Village to get a takeout coffee, and needed to use their washroom. It was closed. I was directed to the public washrooms at the municipal hall. They were closed. I needed to do more shopping but left for home, as I knew there was the choice of bathrooms.

Dennis Robinson

Make improvements to attract local tourists

Out of crisis, comes opportunities. Our tourism industry is taking a body blow this year with an uncertain future to follow.

The time for change is upon us, time to focus on local tourists in our own town. No, not just during the annual February event, but year round.

We are an untapped market with lots of potential. People tell me they only come downtown when friends and relatives are in town. That’s a shame, we need to fix that. People need parking, not in the core, but near the core. We need more pedestrian-friendly streets into and around that downtown core.

We need more outdoor spaces for restaurants, coffee shops and pubs, which the pandemic is teaching us. Government Street is a good place to start with delivery trucks in the early hours and a pedestrian mall by day and night.

There are many other ideas to make our beautiful city more attractive to the people who live here and who live nearby. We have some of the brightest minds in the tourism and hospitality business right here on the South Island. Let’s not waste this crisis.

Bill Currie

People to blame for bear’s death

Re: “Black bear euthanized in Langford because of garbage-eating habit,” June 2.

Another bear loses its life because people do not take care of their garbage. How often are those $230 fines handed out?

If there are neighbourhoods that are attracting bears, I would suggest at least a weekly canvas of their garbage, and a greatly increased fine handed out week after week, if necessary.

Hopefully the revenue from fines would pay the cost of checking the garbage, and save the lives of bears who were innocent until attracted to human food.

And people in bear country, that means not only securing your garbage, but cleaning your barbecues, keeping fruit trees cleaned up, and being careful that bird feeders are not accessible to bears.

Sherry Kirkvold

Charging too much for face masks

I was discussing the availability of masks issue with a friend who is a nurse, and I find it curious that a box of masks that is billed to the hospital system is around $5, but the exact same box of masks is marketed to the public at $50. Now that government has changed its opinion on masking the public, the whole scenario smacks of collusion and profiteering.

James Knights

Get younger children back to classrooms

It was with happy anticipation that our two elementary-aged grandchildren returned to school this week, coming home each day bursting with a joyful energy that has been largely missing for months. Their joy was a clear indication of how important school is to their mental, psychosocial, and physical wellbeing.

So, given that the science has changed about children being “superspreaders” and the virus being “highly contagious” on surfaces, my hope is that in addition to making plans that assume a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall, there will also be plans for reopening schools in areas where there is no second surge.

The Education Ministry knows that younger children do not do as well with remote online learning, so getting these children back into school full time should be a high priority.

One idea to consider, given the low number of high school students who returned to school this week, is whether or not those empty classrooms could be temporarily reallocated for Grades 5 and 6 in the fall.

As Education Minister Rob Fleming said: There is no substitute for a classroom setting, so hopefully all options for making elementary classrooms available will be considered.

Elizabeth Causton

Dermod Travis shone light on injustices

Re: “Integrity B.C. executive director dies at 59; he declined liver transplant,” June 2.

Dermod Travis, an irreplaceable investigative journalist with Integrity B.C., has died right before his 60th birthday.

He will be sorely missed as there are few journalists left who are willing to dedicate their lives to rooting out injustices big or small. Dermod’s obsession with unveiling the truth meant that many levels of government and corporations were held to account.

Exhaustive research and impeccable determination to right that which was wrong is sadly missing in today’s world.

Without Travis there will be a huge vacuum when it comes to our democracy’s window into a fair and just society.

Rachel McDonnell

Buying hotels to house homeless people

The number of hotels and motels that are being purchased by the province to house the seemingly increasing number of homeless on Vancouver Island is perhaps commendable at one level.

On a practical level, though, has the province thought through the implications of providing supervised, residential long-term care to all these clients? Are we recreating the public institutions of old that were shut down in the past to save money?

There are implications, too, for the tourism sector. Many lower-cost hotel beds are being removed from the market, leaving the budget tourist high and dry. Of course, it could be that the demand for tourist accommodation will be greatly reduced for the next couple of years so perhaps supply and demand will match up.

David B. Collins

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