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Letters March 27: City management, ideas for the Malahat, sauna on the beach

Letters from our readers: Weighing in on Victoria council meetings, in defence of allowing saunas on the beach, and a plea to bring back speed cameras.
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Victoria City Hall. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

City can be destroyed by bad management

Re: “Too much acrimony at Victoria council meetings,” commentary, March 22.

As a longtime former resident of Victoria — 22 years — I want to applaud Coun. Marg Gardiner for stepping up to tell Victoria residents just how bad things are at the council table.

Now that I live some miles away from Victoria, when I visit, which is often several times a month, I am struck by how stuck the city seems compared to the thriving economy of much of the rest of Vancouver Island.

I left a city I once loved because of safety concerns, and I had legitimate direct experience with violence when I was accosted, on five separate occasions, by a man threatening to slit my throat.

I took that seriously and so did the police, and I am sure many others have similar stories of encountering erratic, unstable individuals with serious mental-health and addiction issues.

This is not the way a city is supposed to operate. Just because big cities such as Vancouver, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco have well-documented crime and safety issues does not mean that residents will sit back and complacently that “everywhere is like this now.”

Victoria is a small city, but it has a world-class reputation for being a beautiful place, and for that one reason it is frankly appalling that the individuals elected to sit around the Victoria council table cannot see fit to rise above their ideological perspectives to work together to make Victoria a shining example of a well-managed, prosperous and safe city where residents feel their voices are being heard.

What is the point of democracy if the majority is constantly ignored so that individual city council members can push their ideological perspectives at the expense of the people who are frankly suffering from tunnel vision?

Word gets out, and the reputation of cities can be destroyed forever by bad management by those elected to protect the citizens from harm.

Cynthia Diadick

Cobble Hill

The focus is not on getting things done

Re: “Too much acrimony at Victoria council meetings,” commentary, March 22.

Kudos to Marg Gardiner for pointing out the current state of non-decorum in Victoria council chambers and how such ill behaviour impedes constructive debate and material progress.

It seems, alas, that our politicized crowd of city representatives are more concerned with what gets said — and against whom — than what gets actually done.

Dennis E. Bolen

Victoria

North Cowichan owns a forest worth millions

There is common agreement that the coastal Douglas fir forest is the most at-risk forest type in B.C.

But when it comes to protecting this landscape, there are dramatic differences on southeastern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

While North Cowichan owns its Municipal Forest Reserve outright, others must raise millions of dollars to purchase smaller parcels of the same forest type.

Cumberland Community Forest Society alone has raised about $6 million, including project costs, to purchase more than 220 hectares.

The forest helps protect biodiversity and drinking water, serves as a carbon sink, while “recruiting” old growth and supporting recreation.

Denman, Galiano, and Salt Spring islands, the B.C. Parks Foundation and others are also collectively raising millions of dollars to preserve coastal Douglas fir forests.

North Cowichan is in an enviable position. We don’t have to pay anyone a dime for our rare forests.

The results of a two-phase public consultation have shown North Cowichan what everyone else already knows – that the coastal Douglas fir forest is at risk, and people want to save it.

The era of status-quo logging our municipal forest is over. Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and plan for a conservation future.

Let’s get creative, look for new ways to acquire funding — including, potentially, to assist with a transition to carbon credits. The opportunities seem limitless for those determined to seek them out.

Larry Pynn

Maple Bay

Italian highways offer ideas for the Malahat

Good morning from Sicily. Just about to return to Victoria from a long drive around Italy.

They have wonderful concrete elevated highways over deep valleys. I suppose when you consider the Romans invented concrete it makes sense. Then there are the marvelous tunnels, which made me think.

Why can’t we build them to eliminate the ever-growing problems on the Malahat? They would be more environmentally sensitive than going over the top.

Too much cost? One word: tolls. Let them that use it pay for it. If you do not want to pay, use the original route.

Seems simple, but knowing all the bureaucratic consensus needed I doubt we will ever see it.

On holiday with time to think.

Barbara Dunmore

Victoria

Union benefits plan excludes some workers

Re: “Community benefits plan is doing what it is meant to,” commentary, 23 March 2023.

The union executive points out that any worker can be hired for a Community Benefits project, claiming that no one is left out.

However, while it is not a “closed shop“ like the medical profession, no one can continue working on a project unless they join a union.

So those who want to work at their craft in a direct relationship with their employer are indeed “simply left out.”

Alanne Gibson

Victoria

Bring back speed cameras to make roads safer

The problem is not speed limits but speeding. It is rare to see someone doing 30 km/h in a 30 km/h zone. I often drive the Malahat and it is a rare moment in time to see someone travelling at 80 km/h in an 80 km/h zone.

Police enforcement is seldom seen. I have driven in places where there are speed cameras all over the place.

What a difference that makes, not having to deal with drivers who try and pass you at 110 km/h in a 90 km/h zone.

Many see speed cameras as an intrusion in their personal freedom, but at what cost? So bring on the cameras.

Vince Devries

Ladysmith

Sauna business on the beach made sense

As recent patrons of this wonderful business, we are sorry to hear about Colwood council’s decision to not renew Wildwood Sauna’s permits.

The reasoning of increased traffic and noise seems faulty as the Esquimalt Lagoon is a busy destination attracting people from all over the region year-round.

If the protection of the bird sanctuary was truly a priority, there would be limitations on the number of visitors accessing the beach.

These saunas take up multiple parking spots for a maximum of six people to use each hour. It seems that this would not significantly add to the traffic that is already present at such a popular destination.

This business brings community together and encourages healthy practices for body and mind.

It would be a shame to see it go.

Connor McGuigan

Langford

Wanted dead or alive, and here is what to pay

The International Criminal Court forgot one important statement when they issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin: “Reward one billion dollars DEAD or ALIVE.”

Sheldon Reves

Nanaimo

Anger over climate crimes misses the point

The letters about climate activists and their crimes miss the mark entirely.

The threats are so immense that any response other than investigation of the problem to educate ones self is irrelevant and probably harmful.

Do check the data. Try the site gml.noaa.gov to find out about greenhouse gas emmisions.

Daniel Lordahl

Nanaimo

Help B.C. Ferries take over Anacortes route

If Washington State Ferries are unable to operate the Sidney-Anacortes route, would it not be beneficial for our provincial government to subsidize B.C. Ferries to take over operations in the meantime?

Surely the benefits from tourism revenues and enhanced ease of travel to and from Seattle would be worth the expenditure.

Paul Deman

Victoria

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