Letters June 9: Let wall lizards live in peace; civic service honours our war dead

Please, leave the wall lizards alone

Re: “Overrun with wall lizards? Trapping is the best way to control the invasion,” June 6.

I fail to see why you would publish such a horrific article on the harmless wall lizard. They don’t eat the roses like the deer, carry disease like the rats or buy up all of our affordable housing like the Torontonians.

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Leaving them to drown is not humane, as they take a long time to tire out and die. I know because on occasion I rescue them, tired and tailless, from the dog’s water dish.

Wall lizards have been on the Island for more than 50 years, longer than the author and probably most of his readership, yet we don’t try to drown, shoot or sticky trap them just because they “aren’t from around here.” Leave the lizards alone!

On our small farm we have been growing crops and living in harmony with the lizards at “ground zero” in Central Saanich for four years. They scurry around the greenhouse starting on the first sunny days in February and live in piles of leaves and rocks around our farm.

Despite their numbers, the only noticeable impact I have seen is the absence of spiders in our basement because the lizards like the dry soil around the foundation.

The only place on our five acres where there are no lizards to be found is in the orchard where our chickens free-range. Perhaps the author should invest in some chickens.

Oh wait, chickens aren’t native to Vancouver Island either.

Cathryn (Katy) Connelly
Saanichton

Diversity of species, one vast family

Re: “Overrun with wall lizards? Trapping is the best way to control the invasion,” June 6.

The hysterical article on the growing population of introduced wall lizards read like there was an imminent threat to our survival if we did not respond with extreme violence to this army of reptiles. It obligingly listed a wide range of methods to capture and then kill the invaders.

I read the article twice in search of reasons for this bloodlust.

They are immigrants, it’s true. They outcompete the resident alligator lizards that were here first. But they also provide a new source of food for many local birds, mammals and spiders.

It’s typical of our own invasive species that we have the hubris to consider all other living things subject to our control and prejudices.

I personally don’t enjoy the “overwhelming presence” of so many H. sapiens swarming all over the place (in pre-pandemic times) but don’t immediately think of how I might get rid of them.

It’s long past the time we need to realize that we are part of a complex web of organisms that interact with and depend on one another.

The diversity of species changes over time, but always tends towards a balance. We imagine we can pick and choose which species we like and which we don’t and can add and subtract them like pieces in a puzzle with no unintended consequences.

The sooner we accept that we are but one member of a vast family of beings and enjoy the variety the better.

The alternative is a bleak future with impoverished landscapes and the ghosts of vanished species that can never be seen again.

Eric Grace
Victoria

Be informed, be engaged to serve Canada

Re: “Lessons from D-Day, 77 years ago,” editorial, June 5.

“It has been said of the men who died in the D-Day landings that they gave up all their tomorrows so that we may have our todays.”

Twenty-nine years earlier, John McCrae writing of the dead of the First World War gave direction: “Take up our quarrel with the foe! To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to bear it high! If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep tho’ poppies blow in Flanders Field.”

Eighty per cent of Canadians alive today were born since the Second World War ended. More than 20 per cent were born elsewhere.

Some are surprised to learn that 77 years ago, many immigrants to Canada were not allowed citizenship or that Aboriginal peoples were not considered citizens until 1956. Most could not vote until 1961.

Yet they fought and died for Canada.

How do we respond to John McCrae and the editorial?

Each can defend Canada’s rights and freedoms and our democracy by meeting our responsibilities as citizens. Canada only asks that we take responsibility for our selves and our family, that we take leadership roles to contribute as we are able to improve life for others, that we vote in elections, that we accept jury duty if summoned, and that we protect our environment and heritage.

Civically informed and engaged citizenship by each of us will recognize the sacrifice of those who have died in the service of Canada and perhaps “make sure we never need it again.”

Gerald W. Pash
Victoria

One in 14 killed or hurt in D-Day invasion

Re: “Lessons from D-Day, 77 years ago,” editorial, June 5.

Your otherwise excellent editorial captioned above contains the assertion that “One in two of the Canadians who landed on June 6 were killed or wounded.”

Even measured against the butchery normally expected of amphibious assaults, this would be a very high casualty rate indeed.

The Canadian Encyclopaedia says that “more than 14,000 Canadian soldiers landed or parachuted into France on D-Day” and that “total Allied casualties on D-Day reached more than 10,000, including 1,074 Canadian casualties, of which 359 Canadians were killed in action.”

This would yield a casualty rate of about one in 14.

This is not to denigrate in any way the courage displayed by these Canadians, nor to detract from the horrors they faced.

Murray Stone
Victoria

Egerton Ryerson statue and the need for research

Welcome the North American season of destroying and moving statues!

On Sunday, in Toronto, the statue of Egerton Ryerson was pulled down. It once stood just outside the laboratory in Kerr Hall, Ryerson University, where I once taught.

Within walking distance of Ryerson there’s another controversial monument that receives no attention at all. It stands immediately north of the Ontario Legislature and celebrates the 1885 suppression of the Métis and First Nations of the Canadian Prairies.

No doubt Toronto’s famous “Queen’s Own Rifles” would strongly object to that monument being touched in any way. The Regiment’s participation in the “Northwest Rebellion/Resistance” was its first “Battle Honour.”

The dominating equestrian statue of Edward VII also stands very close by. It has received considerable negative attention in the past. Some very nasty things were inflicted on the less privileged members of the British Empire during the king’s reign.

There’s a lot of research yet to be carried out by those concerned with the removal (or preservation) of the many controversial statues and monuments across Canada. The decision-making process is going to be difficult because both victims and history have to be respected.

Mel Johnston
Victoria

Downtown buildings are being built too high

The construction that is proposed in the Harris Green area is par for the course downtown.

Higher buildings are everywhere. I think the Victoria council won’t be happy until we become a mini Toronto.

They aren’t the ones who have to put up with all the noise construction brings as they don’t live downtown.

I have lived in the Quadra/North Park region going on 10 years. I have watched the area become the ugly concrete and glass jungle it is.

This includes the tallest building, which went on forever. Victoria is getting uglier by the day.

I feel for the Harris Green residents. Forget peace and quiet. It’s gone for a few years in your area.

Trust me, the affront on your senses never stops. Turning up your music or TV to hear it is reality.

A nap when you’re under the weather is a fantasy. Gird your loins. Thank the council.

Carol Dunsmuir
Victoria

Fire in Jordan River? Cobble Hill to the rescue

My partner and I reside in Jordan River. A fire started in a large stump behind one of our neighbours’ homes that backs onto a forested area and other homes.

Upon seeing the fire, my brother and another neighbour started hosing the stump, while I went to call 911.

I was told that as Jordan River is unincorporated and has no fire service, that they would do their best and would call me back.

In the interim, my partner used our two fire extinguishers on the stump and then started digging with a pick axe and pitchfork. Our fear was that the fire would spread underneath the ground and pop up somewhere else.

One hour later, I heard back from the 911 dispatcher and was told that she had called the Wildfire Service to see if they would permit the Shirley Fire Department to come and assist us.

Shirley is 13 kilometres away. Instead Coastal Fire Centre in Cobble Hill (about 90 kilometres away) were dispatched. They arrived five hours later.

In other parts of Canada, there are mutual aid agreements to assist communities that do not have fire services.

It is shocking that communities such as ours are without fire protection. Our sincere thanks to the 911 dispatch operator for advocating for us and for the Coastal Fire Centre for coming to our aid.

I would like to call on our local government to step in and assist.

Reid Hepworth
Jordan River

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