Letters May 14: Cars at Beacon Hill Park; renewable energy; kind, calm, safe

Keep vehicles at park’s perimeter

Re: “Proposed Beacon Hill Park vehicle ban draws cheers, jeers,” May 13.

For decades, I have hoped vehicles would be restricted to parking on the perimeter of Beacon Hill Park and not allowed to drive through it.

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City council is brave to consider this because there is always irate opposition. However, I think the majority of residents will appreciate a more quiet park.

Kids can run, play and bike safely without cars or buses roaring by. Parents can relax; no longer must they remain constantly vigilant so their kids won’t be hit by a car.

Nobody designing a park today would build multiple roads for vehicles running through it. The best parks have no vehicle traffic inside their boundaries.

Instead, cars park along the boundaries.

Janis Ringuette
Victoria

Vehicle ban is discriminatory

I support a great many measures by city council to improve to walkability of Victoria. They are making a real difference to our air quality and our sense of community.

However, eliminating vehicle traffic in Beacon Hill Park with no public consultation (not even online) is discriminatory. Seniors and families who have a person with a disability won’t be able to use the park if this occurs.

Beacon Hill is the jewel of our city. My daughter and her friends meet at the park for birthdays and to play. Our family picnics there, enjoys the gardens and play areas and we love the petting zoo.

I am a mother with a type of arthritis. I am not a senior. There are days I can’t walk 20 feet without a great deal of pain.

If you don’t give me the option of driving in and parking, you are essentially taking the park away from me and her — and everyone like us.

Families like ours and seniors are not asking for more than others — we are asking for the same. Taking away traffic and parking is taking the park away from us.

I call on council to reconsider this idea, engage with disability and seniors advocates and see how walkability can be improved without being discriminatory.

Richelle D. Funk
Victoria

Ban denies park access to disabled

We just celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary making our annual visit to Beacon Hill park. Our vows were taken on the stone bridge over Goodacre Lake with a horse-drawn carriage in 1985.

Imagine my dismay to see we could not slowly drive through the park (current mobility issues). We were greeted by illegal tent encampments and blockades to entrances. The park is, sadly, a shadow of its former glory with restricted roadways.

It is discriminatory to deny access to the mobility challenged.

Melody Staples
Saanich

Lack of complaints due to the times

Re: “Proposed Beacon Hill Park vehicle ban draws cheers, jeers,” May 13.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says that no complaints have been received regarding the closure of roads in Beacon Hill Park during the coronavirus shut down.

That may be true, but these are exceptional circumstances and I have accepted more than one inconvenience during this time without complaint.

However, as we emerge from lockdown I will not continue to be silent if the loss of access to a very important part of the quality of life in Victoria becomes a permanent fixture.

I live in James Bay and if I were able-bodied I would have no problem accessing all parts of Beacon Hill Park.

But I cannot walk more than a block these days and in order to be able to enjoy the park, especially the summit and the bandstand, I need access by car.

Diane Kennedy
Victoria

Focus on financial crisis, not vehicle bans

Banning cars from Beacon Hill Park is an important issue at this time? Please, mayor and council, focus on providing essential services to our city and finding ways to cut costs so we can afford them in the future.

This issue of banning cars has previously proven very unpopular. I am an avid walker and cyclist, and this is a terrible idea, severely limiting who may access the park.

Far more important for the health of the park and the enjoyment of its users, would be preventing people from camping overnight in the park, especially in the sensitive Garry oak meadow areas.

Richard Volet
Victoria

We are moving to renewable energy

Re: “Comments out of touch with reality,” letter, May 12.

The letter-writer attacks my views about the viability of fossil fuels, while suggesting I am a hypocrite because I accepted an offered flight on a government plane.

My duty as a Member of Parliament is to do the best job I possibly can to represent the residents of Saanich-Gulf Islands. I am very mindful of the public purse and in normal times book in economy, passing many other MPs in the business section.

At this abnormal time, as a senior I would prefer not to have to travel at all, but my job requires it. I have taken commercial flights to Ottawa during the pandemic. The number of direct flights has been reduced, increasing the amount of time waiting for the next flight in several airports en route.

When offered, I was more than grateful for the chance to take a seat on a government flight that was traveling in any event.

As to the reality of the future for fossil fuels, globally we are moving to renewable energy. The pandemic combined with the Saudi-Russian push to ramp up production has driven demand and prices for all forms of energy to historic lows. As the International Energy Agency reported last week, only renewable energy is experiencing growth in this extraordinary time.

Some may cling to the wild hope that demand for fossil fuels will come roaring back, but the CFO of Royal Dutch Shell told shareholders last week that there were doubts that demand would ever return.

The reality is that the most expensive and carbon-intensive forms of oil will be the first to go. Bitumen may have a future as a non-fuel product, such as a feedstock for petrochemicals or asphalt. But bitumen as fuel is already a fossil.

Elizabeth May, O.C.
Member of Parliament
Saanich-Gulf Islands

Not enough workers? That is just not true

I find it hard to believe that with the unemployment we have now we can’t find farm workers.

It’s a sad statement on our society that we have to bring in others to do the work we won’t. What is wrong with us today?

Too many silver spoons in your mouth. It’s time we stopped complaining about no jobs when they are right in front of us.

Maybe it’s just easier to stay home and milk the government. Get off the couch and help the farmers and yourselves.

C.D. Mackay
Shawnigan Lake

If you have enough, donate that extra cash

Re: “Federal government gives seniors $300 boost; additional $200 if low-income,” May 13.

I appreciate the federal government’s plan to give $300 to people who receive old age security. However, many seniors are not financially stressed.

I plan to donate the bonus payment to a local charity (Our Place Society), and encourage other less-needy seniors to do the same.

Claire Kane
Victoria

Be kind. Be calm. Be safe.

How appalling that some of our fellow citizens are subjected to racist attacks and essential workers in the retail sector are verbally abused by customers.

The Times Colonist has given us the heart flag and the thank you poster.

One more please. Dr. Bonnie Henry’s mantra: Be kind. Be calm. Be safe.

A triptych of positivity.

Sandra Pennington Johnson
Victoria

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