Letters March 3: Options at Clover Point; give credit to teachers; Oak Bay marina's future

Make Clover Point a true destination

Every destination city has its iconic landmarks. For example, Paris has the Eiffel Tower; Barcelona the Sagrada Familia; and New York, the Statue of Liberty.

But what about Victoria? While it is true many tourists will visit the colourfully spectacular Butchart Gardens, check out Victoria’s scenic Inner Harbour from the $100-million Blue Bridge or enjoy the Empress Hotel’s high-priced high tea, they’re not all that unique.

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Given the outpouring of outrage over plans to make Clover Point car-free, apparently because some folks insist they will no longer be able to get close to nature, it appears city planners are missing a golden opportunity.

Despite the fact most Victorians would agree the prodigious (and increasing) numbers of automobiles on our streets are responsible for the fossil-fuelled, deplorably unhealthy environment in which we find ourselves today, let me humbly suggest a plan that is financially sound and within reach: How about an elevated, multi-level parkade, built in the shape of a four leaf clover, painted green and capped with a revolving restaurant?

It would satisfy a variety of demands: retain the open-area green space for elite cyclists, joggers and dog walkers; provide ample 24/7 pay parking with spectacular, priceless vistas; offer an unsurpassed dining experience, and put Victoria on the map with a truly unique, world-renown landmark.

What better way to spend another hundred million taxpayer dollars?

Ken Dwernychuk
Esquimalt

Don’t Disney-fy Clover Point

We don’t need art installations, sidewalk and lane graphics, food trucks and all the other detritus of an amusement park.

Just take your kids to the beach and let them have at it, for Pete’s sake.

Clover Point loop should be accessible to all, and not just those lucky enough to be within walking/cycling distance.

What about folks from out of area that need a change of scene? (Case in point, any even half-nice day this fall and winter has seen cars parked and double-parked along Dallas Road waterfront. One wonders what the summer will bring….)

We are all struggling with COVID‑19 fatigue, and are being exhorted by experts to get out there and get fresh air, good for immunity and mental health etc., and yet are being closed off by closed-minded councils from doing so.

Don’t get me started on the Ogden Point area, which has been cutesified to the point of inconvenience and frustration.

How about a couple of easier improvements?

1. Leave Clover Point accessible all the way around as before, especially the west side for sunset viewing. (And don’t make this some half-baked “interim” measure).

2. For pity’s sake, put in a three-way stop at the corner of Cook and Dallas. Why this has escaped mayor and council’s notice is beyond me.

Gail Bowker
Victoria

City’s management means we all lose

The recent activity and decisions regarding Clover Point comes as no surprise.

Short notice and a sense of urgency is a strategy that has been well developed.

It has become an effective tool in getting through the cumbersome requirement of “community consultation.”

Clover Point has been in development for two years. The city was well aware that eventually the cosmetic development and vision would be need to be addressed.

There was ample time to engage with the community regarding vision and needs of the residents at large.

What we received was a two-week window and a big rush.

I have seen this before in our local parks. Too many changes on short notice with limited participation.

Notice on late Friday of a “consultation”meeting on Tuesday with the “affected” parties which are not actually the users but a small group of neighbours.

When you get there you hear “we welcome your input, but here is the plan.”

Sadly this pattern develops a lack of trust by residents that their voices are being heard.

We all lose when this becomes the norm.

Peter Bell
Victoria

Thanks to teachers for a job well done

My husband and son encountered the anti-mask rally while they were shopping in downtown Victoria on Saturday.

One of the protesters yelled at them to take off their masks. Another told my 12-year-old son his teachers are lying to him. As his mother, of course I was alarmed and disturbed that my son was confronted with such anger.

I asked him how he felt about it afterward and he said: “I don’t agree with them, but it is their right to protest.”

Based on this, I would say his teachers are doing a fine job. I couldn’t be prouder.

Tracey Hamm
Victoria

A chance for Oak Bay to look ahead

The renewal of the Oak Bay marina lease is an opportunity for an integrated plan to manage the whole of the marina, Turkey Head and the waters of Oak Bay.

Rather than lamenting the lack of capacity and co-ordination to address the emerging crises when another boat washes ashore in the aftermath of another storm, a forward-looking plan could reduce such events and facilitate prompt and effective responses.

Such a plan could view the entire bay between Turkey Head and Cattle Point as a form of maritime park to be managed for the benefit of all users: boaters, crabbers, kayakers, swimmers, fishers, bird watchers, conservationists of every type, and tourists, among others.

If the Municipality of Oak Bay were to hold a water lease over the whole bay, it could regulate its use in conjunction with the holder of the marina lease.

With a water lease under municipal control, modest moorage fees and other charges could provide some revenue to cover the costs of managing and sustaining the resource.

We urge interest groups and local politicians to work together to develop a larger vision as the Municipality of Oak Bay engages in the marina lease renewal.

Together they could enhance Oak Bay’s Oak Bay.

Gordon and Rosalyn Alexander
Oak Bay

Give us progress, bring back the train

A writer says “Stop impeding progress and bring on the trains.” It’s hard to disagree with that statement when the cost of restoring the E&N rail corridor is compared to the big money spent on ferries for the small populations of Quadra and Gabriola Islands.

Bringing the E&N back to life can be done just one section at a time until eventually completed and yes, all 900,000 people on Vancouver Island would eventually benefit.

A look around the world at what rail has done for commuters and local trade should be enough to open the eyes of our sleeping government and get them started on rail in our future.

Those who are impeding rail restoration on the island should publicly state their reasons, and their vision of Vancouver Island’s future without bringing back to life this valuable gift of the E&N corridor.

Let’s see some progress towards our future.

Ed Monteith
Sooke

Border controls and suffering Americans

Politicians in Alaska and along United States border towns are moaning that our border controls are affecting their economies.

The cruise-ship industry is stressed that it can’t stop in Victoria en route from Seattle to Alaska. Our Alaskan neighbours are miffed that our actions will severely affect the economies of their coastal towns, and are upset that we did not discuss closing our ports to cruise ships with them.

They note that they expect more from their friends in Canada. Of course, friendship has nothing to do with this.

If they were real friends, they would stop hoarding the vaccines they are manufacturing in the United States and share them with their friends on Vancouver Island.

Want cruise ships in Victoria to support our Alaskan friends? Then drop off enough vaccine to immunize the Island and we will welcome your boats with open arms.

Rick Ladyshewsky
Esquimalt

Cycling is everywhere, so get over it

As a lifelong avid cyclist in Victoria (I’m only 67), I wanted to have a good solid counterpoint to the many recent letters claiming our bike lanes are ruining downtown Victoria.

How about this: Every city in Canada is building cycling infrastructure.

Craig Coté
Victoria

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