Letters March 25: Thankful to live here; where are the swallows?

Not complaining for a day

Re: “Stop complaining, even for just one day,” commentary, March 23.

This is a letter thanking Brian W. Shaughnessy for his commentary in Tuesday’s paper asking us to stop complaining.

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I have been guilty of writing more than a few letters airing my displeasure with decisions made by city hall, and I’m not sure they were worth the effort.

Shaughnessy used his words to shed light on what is really important in life, and that is appreciating what we have.

One only needs to read the headlines to realize we are lucky to live where we do and though it’s easy to find things to complain about given our current city council, we should all take a breath and enjoy the beautiful place we live.

C. Scott Stofer

Be thankful that you live here

Re: “Stop complaining, even for just one day,” commentary, March 23.

What a thoughtful, welcomed commentary from this contributor; and the timing couldn’t be better.

Every day I thank my lucky stars. First to be living in Canada, and second to live in this province and community.

For those who continually find fault with living here, including our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I ask: “Where would you rather be?”

I note that these folks never come up with an alternative to this great place. Let’s give our collective heads a good shake, and embrace the suggestions of this writer.

John Stevenson

Complaining about all those complaints

Re: “Stop complaining, even for just one day,” commentary, March 23.

The opinion piece is the longest complaint ever. And that is not a complaint.

Clay Atcheson

Victorians are grieving, they are not complaining

Re: “Stop complaining, even for just one day,” commentary, March 23.

I have a lot of sympathy for the writer, and I can understand his desire to avoid spending his energy on problems and conflicts.

But I do not think the Times Colonist should turn into a complacent, “all is great,” ex-Soviet-bloc style of newspaper.

Complacency is a dangerous thing.

It seems that the opinion section is a last remaining outlet for Victorians to express their dissatisfaction with the ­current council. If people of Victoria were heard by the council, the opinion section would be much sunnier.

It seems to me that Victorians are not complaining anymore. They are grieving.

Anna Cal

Where are the green swallows?

As March 15 arrives each year, I start to scan the sky for the violet green ­swallows that were born in our nest boxes last ­summer before travelling south for the winter. Each spring, I observe their incredible aerobatics as they hunt, play and even mate in the air. Then I watch as they build nests, and raise their young.

One year, we placed a camera in a nest box and connected it to our TV. It was fascinating! First of all, the swallows brought in beetles to eat any mites. The beetles struggled to escape, but were imprisoned by nesting materials.

The eggs were laid, and eventually the hungry, featherless, helpless little birds hatched. Both parents brought food, but only the male removed the little balls of poop, much to the amusement of visiting children.

Eventually, the young were strong enough to lean out of the box and call for food. Soon they fledged, and after flying around to memorize the orientation of our neighbourhood, they flew off, eventually leaving for winter locations in California and Mexico once again.

This year we have waited and waited, but no swallows. What happened to them? Did they encounter polluted air, lack of space and food, or were they caught in the horrific forest fires?

The swallows are reminiscent of the canary in the coal mine. Are we going to take action before we destroy the Earth for all species, including our own ­children?

The pandemic hasn’t stopped us from excessive renovation and consuming, and soon we will be throwing more ­pollution into the air as we drive, sail and fly. There is still time to curb our selfishness, accept less, and strive for a healthy future.

Shelagh Levey
Cordova Bay

Share the lottery prize with local charities

Someone on the north Island lost out on their 6/49 lottery winnings because their ticket expired. The money has been won, but went unclaimed.

That’s too bad, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Rolling it back into the prize pot is a lost opportunity when it could have been put to better use.

One of the original reasons years ago why lotteries were permitted in the first place was to increase government ­revenues that were then distributed in various ways — one of them to support charities and community programs such as youth in sports and others.

Wouldn’t it be nice if these unclaimed winnings were put to better use than just going back into the prize pool? It is such a waste and that money could do so much good.

Consider it a donation from the unknown ticket holder as a blessing in disguise. Charity organizations could have been helped during this pandemic that are struggling with their own ­fundraising endeavours when there is so much need.

Last Christmas was a testament to that, as donations were down and sports clubs continue to struggle that could use this windfall.

Both provincially and nationally there must be many unclaimed fortunes out there where this can apply.

To get help in this way, everyone would feel like a winner, which always helps to alleviate the worry of ­fundraising in hard times during this neverending pandemic.

There are many out there who would appreciate the help that these charities deliver if they had sufficient funds to do so. These unclaimed prizes, if distributed this way, would serve to spread it around in a more fair way during this global downturn.

It might take legislation to make changes, but it would be worth it.

E.C. Jewsbury

Helps pushed bike lanes and won the election

Lawrie McFarlane complains that Victoria city council doesn’t represent citizens, but admits that voter turnout in 2018 was the highest in years.

He trots out the usual “byzantine ­traffic rerouting to accommodate cyclists” that are actually built to current engineering standards.

Lisa Helps was the only mayoral candidate to focus on continuing to build all-ages-and-abilities bike lanes, and received 45 per cent more votes than the next candidate. The voters McFarlane wants to turn out to stop the bike lanes seem to like them.

He complains about parks “systematically wrecked” during a once-in-a-century pandemic — without telling us where the people in these parks should live.

He accuses the council of “pandering to various interest groups” in the “lively expectation of being rewarded at election time,” which sounds like a standard ­definition of democracy to me.

“Take back our city” from a democratically elected government is a nice slogan, but doesn’t carry much meaning.

Bruce Mackenzie

Premier should stop Fairy Creek logging

Imagine this! With less than one per cent of the old growth remaining in coastal B.C., and despite the hot spot being in the premier’s riding, Fairy Creek on ­Pacheedaht First Nation’s traditional lands, he has remained mute on this.

This week, in the B.C. Supreme Court, the fate of the unlogged watershed will be decided if the court grants an injunction to Teal Jones, and destruction could begin as early as Friday, if the blockade does not hold.

Yet, the premier could act before Thursday and at least declare a deferral in Fairy Creek and the other areas being defended on southern Vancouver Island. This is the necessary first step in considering the future of the old growth that he promised to act to protect.

Saul Arbess


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