Letters March 5: Dr. Henry deserves applause; Clover Point plan mean-spirited

B.C.’s vaccine extension is worthy of praise

While concern about the provincial decision to extend the interval between first and second doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines is understandable, to cast it as a unique case of population-level experimentation is unfounded.

Indeed, literally every public health decision during the pandemic, whether it was proper mask wearing, distancing, school closures, nursing home visitations or retail closures (and on and on) has been made with limited or non-existent data.

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Were the different approaches to these varied decisions experimental? The answer is largely “no.”

Some were based on the best available evidence at the time, but in the absence of evidence, they were made based on a mix of “common sense” and political ­considerations.

Over time, we will learn which ­decisions were best through ­observational and retrospective ­studies, not experimental designs. While it is true that vaccine approval studies were done with experimental rigour, the public health decisions that have followed are limited by their design.

In the case of the interval between ­vaccine doses, the companies had to choose a reasonable interval so they could demonstrate efficacy and safety quickly, and setting a longer interval with good data collection will extend our knowledge in the real world.

I for one applaud Dr. Bonnie Henry’s decision, especially given the ongoing severe restrictions in vaccine availability.

Howard Brunt, PhD
(epidemiology and community health)
North Saanich

Need a project? Try amalgamation

While it is gratifying to see public debate (pro or con) about the proposed changes to Clover Point, I wonder how this momentum can be maintained and directed at something the majority of us wanted.

During the last election, the majority of citizens supported a study regarding amalgamation. Since then, attempts to get updates met with the standard response: “The process is ongoing.”

In his recent column Jack Knox ­certainly debunked that!

Clearly, the will of the people has been ignored by our politicians, whose only competency appears to be paint colours on asphalt.

K.H. Demmler
Victoria

A mean, spiteful decision by council

As much as I disagree with almost every­thing decided or sought by the Victoria city council, I always thought that, at the very least, the members earnestly believed that they were working for the best for the city and its inhabitants.

No longer.

Their decision on the configuration of Clover Point has laid bare their true ­colours. You want more parking spaces for cars? Fine, we’ll give them to you, but we will put them on the side with the poorer view.

This decision reeks of ableism and can be construed as being nothing other than mean and spiteful.

Were the decision reversed, those making use of the picnic tables and food trucks could easily meander over to the west side to enjoy the more expansive view and sunset, whereas those who will access the point in cars may well be unable to do so. How petty and blinkered of the mayor and council, for no good reason.

Geoffrey Robards
Victoria

Permanent park camping is inhumane

I live across the street from Stadacona Park. Due to working from home, I sit next to a window overlooking the park and the residents. Every day I see the residents suffering through living ­outdoors in winter.

Some campers have their tents placed on soggy dirt or mud. When there is a wind storm these tents often blow away, coming to rest upside down against a tree.

Parks staff then throw the abandoned tents in a dumpster. Later the same ­campers will be back in the same spot with new tents.

A disabled woman with a motorized wheelchair got it stuck in the mud several times a week. She left her chair outside her tent, exposed to the rain, while she crawled inside for shelter. I haven’t seen her recently; I hope she found a home.

A large tree fell down during a windstorm in January. The branches pierced the wall of a tent. A few feet to the south and it could have killed someone. Lately, some campers built crude tent platforms from pallets. At least now their tents are not directly on the cold mud.

Every day I see more human tragedy unfold. Some of our city councillors say that this is the best option. I doubt they live next to one of these parks.

I doubt these people will be housed by March 31, either. As we have seen with the flooding fiasco at Central Park, our city officials have no clue what they are doing.

Jonathan Noakes
Victoria

The City of Victoria has been given away

What am I paying for?

I watched our mayor on a local news broadcast Monday night.

The courts need to make a decision, a ruling, the City of Victoria can angle their response to.

Why is the city not enforcing its own bylaws?

What am I paying for?

The local parks are dangerous.

Our police, which I support fully, are not receiving needed funding.

Even they are being attacked within the city boundaries.

However, the perpetrator was a ­traveller, so we can ignore him as he’ll likely move along.

Spray-paint vandalism is rampant.

What am I paying for?

I live in a city in which I fear to enter parks.

I fear to go downtown.

I have to be always watching my ­property against theft.

I pay for a city I cannot enjoy.

It has been given away.

That’s what I pay for.

Dewane Ollech
Victoria

Future is with buses, not with trains

A letter-writer wants rail-restoration “impeders” to state their reasons and vision. Simply done!

Compared with a well-designed bus route system for Greater Victoria and the South Island that would serve all of the Capital Regional District and be flexible over time, a single-line railway that ends well west of the Johnson Street Bridge, not downtown, and that will likely cost nine figures to restore and furnish, does not have the capacity, reach, financial integrity or flexibility to be other than a total waste of taxpayers’ money.

Our vision is of a healthy, increasingly electric-powered, fleet of buses ­serving effectively the commuting and other daily needs of the whole South Island and rendering large numbers of private cars unnecessary for us in our many current daily needs.

Also, inflexible light-rail transit is not a flexible option for the CRD’s demographically and geographically changing population.

Roger Love
Saanich

We are forgetting those with special needs

In August, School District 61 sent school families a detailed, comprehensive plan for the safe return to school of students and staff. There was not one reference to special needs kids in that letter.

On the front page of the TC this morning was a detailed, comprehensive COVID-19 immunization plan for B.C. There was not one reference to special-needs people.

COVID-19 has been a catastrophe for our special-needs family member, as all of her supports and activities have stopped. Why has she been forgotten, yet again?

Nancy Harwood
Ten Mile Point

Time between shots raises concerns

Getting more people vaccinated more quickly against COVID-19 sounds encouraging. But the questionable way of achieving this is not reassuring.

Instead of following the recommended three- to four-week interval between first and second shots, it’s now apparently OK to increase the time between shots by three to four months.

Is this seeming wand-waving magic by Dr. Bonnie Henry good science or a ­wishful experiment?

Steve Housser
Shawnigan Lake

Time for the truth on those vaccines

Common sense tells us Plan B is because Plan A is not working. If ­supply, ­distribution and administration of ­vaccines were not troubling issues, would delay of second shots be ideal?

We are advised to Trust the Science, and I do. The vaccine manufacturers have an allocation timeline of 21 days between shots that is being jiggered by government agencies struggling to ­calculate risk. Who should we trust?

A lack of transparency with messaging designed to assuage public opinion using words like “miraculous” is discouraging and does not foster institutional confidence.

The whole truth please, and nothing but the truth.

Charles Harp
Oak Bay

Vaccination by age groups first

B.C. needs to stick with its plan to ­prioritize older persons first with its vaccine rollout.

We do not need to duplicate the mistake being made in many states of dramatically complicating rollout. Trying to figure out which essential workers in which fields and which underlying medical conditions qualify to be at the head of the line, creates even more confusion and delays.

Let’s stay focused on the fact that age is a key determinant in terms of risk of fatalities, complications and hospitalizations.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, we support your age-based vaccination strategy.

Marilyn Copland
Victoria

Be wary of Horgan’s talk-and-log strategy

Ask someone from around here to describe old growth, and they’ll talk about forests full of towering giants, six to 12 feet in diameter at their trunks.

In British Columbia, we have (and had) near to the largest trees on the face of the planet, after the sequoia and redwood ­forests of California.

However, Premier John Horgan and his ministers typically respond to calls to protect old growth of places like Central Walbran and Fairy Creek watershed by citing figures of remaining old growth that are dominated by short and stubby high-elevation forests.

The reality: if you consider the sort of forest exemplified by what is left of Carmanah Valley and Cathedral Grove, only 2.7 per cent of what originally stood remains uncut.

Using site-index (SI), an indicator for the capacity of a location to support large trees, an independent report by Karen Price, Rachel Holt and David Daust determined 10 per cent of original forest with SI 20-25 remains, and just 2.7 per cent of the original forest of SI of more than 25 still stands.

In the announcement of a deferral until 2022 on logging 353,000 hectares of old growth, the B.C. government tried to pass off 137,000 hectares of already protected areas as being newly deferred from logging.

Then, unbelievably, the Ministry of Forests released a bulletin stating that 157,000 hectares of the claimed ­old-growth deferral was, in fact, second-growth and open for harvesting: not the swiftest card trick.

Ryder Bergerud
Salt Spring Island

Council can’t say how many visited the point

Have you ever noticed when you are travelling southbound on the Trans-Canada Highway, or on Highway 17, and you arrive at the northern border of the capital city of British Columbia, that there is no sign that says “Welcome to Victoria”?

There is a reason for that. You are not welcome to bring your automobile into Victoria.

No compromise has been struck at Clover Point. It was often difficult to get a parking spot there before the sewage project began. Many people won’t bother to waste their time going down there in the near future just to find they will have to drive down and out again immediately.

Will this affect local businesses? Probably, yes. Ask any number of businesses in the coming months, including Beacon Drive In, and any number of other establishments in Cook Street Village, what the impact of the redesign of Clover Point turns out to be.

Does Mayor Lisa Helps or anyone on city council have any idea how many thousands of human beings visited ­Clover Point by automobile for the entire ­calendar year of 2016, for example?

Answer: they don’t know and they don’t care. They won’t know or care what the reduction in human visits to Clover Point will be two years from now after they have ruined it, either.

Maybe that lack of interest in data will materialize in a tsunami of votes in the next election that demand the next mayor and council members that represent Victoria actually represent the majority of Victorians and their wishes. We can only hope.

Trevor Amon
Victoria

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