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Letters March 24: Attack of the Autosaur; time to change political thinking; get out to vote

Freedom from the tyranny of the Autosaur I opened the Islander on March 21 to be met once again by the screeching death rattle of another Autosaur. This time it was Lawrie McFarlane in full throat .
Cyclists and vehicles cross the Johnson Street Bridge. The City of Victoria’s moves to improve cycling infrastructure have succeeded despite criticism from outdated thinking, a letter-writer argues. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Freedom from the tyranny of the Autosaur

I opened the Islander on March 21 to be met once again by the screeching death rattle of another Autosaur. This time it was Lawrie McFarlane in full throat.

I am aware that this species does still roam the Earth in great herds, spewing foul waste and making horrific noise, taking up all the best travel routes, moving at enormous speed and frequently acting in an intimidating or aggressive manner when it encounters slower travellers, such as the pedestrian or the cyclist.

Since it arrived on the planet, we have made efforts to moderate the uncivilized behaviour of the Autosaur through licensing and regulation designed to control its speed, noise and emissions.

Its dangerous antisocial behaviour has been somewhat constrained. But, in truth, it remains a ridiculously demanding species absorbing huge proportions of available resources for fuel, travel routes of every size in all possible locations and directions, and lots and lots of places to rest wherever and whenever it feels like stopping, not to mention what it takes just to make one.

Now that other species are asserting their right to some of these resources (dare I say even at Clover Point!) and to no longer having the future of the planet put at risk, the Autosaur is finding it very hard to adapt.

It has started to emit horrible noises reminiscent of the wailing of the Tobacco­saur, that many of you will remember from a couple of decades ago, when it was told it could not spew its foul and poisonous stench in any place of its choosing. It too got louder as its days grew numbered.

It is sad to see how out of touch the Autosaur is becoming as its era wanes. For example, McFarlane believes he is speaking for a “much broader platform” and “community wide leadership,” when he complains about the sharing now expected of the species.

You only have to step out onto one of the newly widened sidewalks or newly installed bike routes in our region to see the large and growing numbers enjoying freedom from the tyranny of the ­Autosaur.

Catherine Holt

Traffic-calming work is appreciated

As a resident of the Cook Street Village neighbourhood, and as a pedestrian, I am very pleased with the traffic-calming measures that are being added to Vancouver and Cook streets. Thanks, City of Victoria!

Gwyn Thompson

Time to change our political system

Lawrie McFarlane put into words what we are thinking.

Looking at the downfall of Victoria over the past couple of years and trying to survive during the pandemic, we’re at a new low.

We need a hard new look at municipal politics. No longer can we coast on the prosperity brought by tourism. I feel so depressed walking downtown and seeing another familiar storefront papered over or vacant.

Do city councillors not walk the streets and see people’s dreams now in ashes? How are we still building bike lanes and revamping Clover Point when the city is in such crisis?

How is the city not able to pivot to contend with the major trouble we’re in? Does a guaranteed civil-servant paycheque come with blinders? We should be triaging the homeless into different streams, not slapping on Band-Aids of lumping them together, with concomitant crises.

McFarlane brings up the political system. It’s time for a change.

What is the purpose of a city government? It’s not pet projects; it’s to keep the city smoothly functioning for the majority of its taxpayers. If we get amalgamation (or even now), councillors should be elected according to the area they represent.

They should pay business or realty taxes in Victoria and live here. No more nonsense of a councillor representing an area in which they have no vested ­interest.

The optics of voting for tax increases somewhere you don’t live is pretty bad.

Nana Spence

Get out to vote, get out to vote

So right, the voice of Lawrie McFarlane in the Islander. I lived downtown for years, but moved to a retirement home in Saanich six years ago.

I still loved to visit downtown, walkways and harbour and Dallas Road plus the shops and eating spots all over the centre of the city. But things started to change even before the pandemic, all those things McFarlane mentioned in the column.

Now, as much I would like to, the struggles, the streets and general dreary look has just turned me off except for a rare need to go.

And about the low vote turnout: How many of the endless people parading every day against something ever voted? Have all serious, mature people just given up against the Facebook forever gangs?

Maybe the time has come when the tide will have to turn.

Keith Culverhouse

Waddell and Barlee showed human decency

I was saddened to read that Ian Waddell has passed away.

In addition to his contribution to British Columbia’s film, arts and tourism sectors, he along with Bill Barlee were not only great leaders but also a delight to work with.

The most important aspect of their character, which takes precedence over all their other talents, was their human decency.

It was an honour to work with both these remarkable individuals.

Rod Harris
Past CEO, Tourism British Columbia
North Saanich

Langford council is not listening

Having lived in Langford for 25 years, it is alarming to witness the aggressive pace of development, the lack of transparency in the process and the refusal of city council to listen to community concerns before approving yet more development and rezoning in what, for now, is a quiet residential area.

What was purported to be community consultation involved two teleconference meetings.

One resident bordering the development received no notice of the first meeting. The second meeting was the last chance to voice concerns.

Before this meeting, a petition opposed to this rezoning garnered more than 500 signatures and was submitted to council. Concerns include the loss of trees as a noise buffer and wildlife habitat as well as increased traffic through six quiet streets in order to access the development.

These streets have open ditches, no sidewalks, a blind corner and few streetlights. The logical option of accessing the development from Millstream Road was not considered.

Council has stated there are no plans to deal with these issues and the Transportation Impact Assessment is not available to the public.

At the final teleconference, there was confusion for people phoning in. They were advised to use *9 to raise their hands but were not advised that *9 also meant lowering their hands. Thinking they weren’t getting through, people kept pressing *9. Council assumed they were lowering their hands and they were not heard.

Immediately after the call, rezoning was passed. Council spent no time deliberating. Due process was not served.

Michelle van den Broek

He would love to leave Langford

Langford was named Canada’s most livable city? I’m really curious as to how this was decided.

I have lived in Langford for 40-plus years, with the constant blasting all day long, traffic congestion, residential parking becoming non-existent, loud vehicles and music all night, along with no visible bylaw officers.

I would love to move out, but a developer is starting to board up and tear down 12 houses next door with no apparent plans and no answers from the city as to what or why, so my home has become worthless as a residential property, and well?

Obviously the people who decide these awards don’t live here — or is it a bidding process? I guess we will have to ask Mayor Stew Young at the next council meeting.

Oh yeah, no meetings. Seems too convenient.

Richard Cuthbert


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