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Letters Nov. 10: What Saanich council should focus on (not dogs); Victoria's traffic mess; soldiers and praying

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Construction in October at Shelbourne Street and McKenzie Avenue in Saanich. TIMES COLONIST

Saanich residents should have a say

Saanich council’s interminable discussions about dogs remind me of days spent in boardrooms listening to hours of debate about the allocation of reserved spaces in the parking lot instead of the members facing the company’s issues with faulty products, taking the easy route rather than tough decision making.

Saanich has some real problems, notably how to deal with the provincial government’s arbitrary directive that more-or-less anything can be built more-or-less anywhere without any input from anyone.

This imposition not only destroys many decades of careful zoning decisions based on extensive community input, but profoundly alters the face of the community.

How many residents will be happy that they live in a single-family zone only to find that an apartment block is approved for next door?

The buildings which will result from the edict are not temporary. Inappropriate construction, such as the mess at the Shelbourne/McKenzie intersection, will scar the district for decades.

We need affordable housing but building it doesn’t have to mean the destruction of the community.

Saanich deserves better and our council must get a grip on how to deal with this problem. As starters, listening to the residents rather than to the planners would be a good idea.

Alec Mitchell

Victoria

In Saanich, just wait for the next election

Saanich is facing a housing affordability crisis, a homelessness crisis, a climate crisis, and ballooning budgets; and yet, through all this, what do we spend municipal time and taxpayers’ dollars on? A dog park strategy.

The strategy is a costly and divisive strategy being implemented when we can least afford it.

Despite the financial uncertainty that so many residents are facing, Saanich council has opted to spend more than $10 million to implement this new restrictive park strategy. It is not like they are spending real money, the 7.19 per cent increase in our property taxes will help pay for it.

Some off-leash parks are only available between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. For those who work or if you do not like walking in the dark, then flash up the car and head for one of the designated off-leash parks.

The concept of forcing dog owners to drive to a dog park while at the same time promoting walkable communities and carbon-reduction strategies is not only counterintuitive but laughable.

The fait accompli of Saanich council’s attack on dogs occurred during the third reading of the bylaw when Coun. Karen Harper slipped in a ban on retractable leashes.

Introducing a retractable leash ban at this stage ensured there was no opportunity for any kind of public engagement. Thank you, council, for respecting our democracy… Alas, the bylaw is passed and there is little we can do except wait for the next election.

Spencer Evans

Saanich

Victoria council’s goal: Obstructing vehicles

A recent letter expressed amazement at the new permanent road obstructions, restrictions to one lane, concrete barriers … and wondered about Victoria council’s purpose in these unnecessary and expensive alterations.

The tens of millions of dollars being spent this year alone on what the Department of Euphemisms calls “transportation improvements” indeed has a purpose: that of obstructing vehicular traffic as much as possible — and this council has been amazingly successful in this venture.

Council has quickly accomplished a transformation in the city’s liveability — it has gone from very pleasant to nightmarish as the downtown decays day by day. It has discouraged citizens from going downtown at all, except the cyclists, of course. (For the record, this writer is a daily cyclist.)

The blocking off of roads, the narrowing of the lanes and reduction of vehicular movement to one lane in each direction (the Fort Street mess is the latest example, but only one example) has added other bonuses: increased pollution, additional driver confusion and frustration (who knew that this could be dangerous?), and longer travel times.

As you sit in the blocks-long wait on Cook Street or Fort or … (you fill in the street name) … you can be assured that council knows exactly what it is doing.

And has anyone thought about how emergency vehicles are going to get through the traffic jams?

Gregory Peter Andrachuk

Victoria

Trace doctor shortage back to real estate

Re: “Doctor trained elsewhere is not welcome here,” letter, Nov. 8.

That Canadian regulatory bodies welcome with open arms “immigrants” trained as doctors in “far-off lands,” as this letter claims, would come as a surprise to a Pakistani woman I met recently who was educated, certified, and licensed in her home country and worked there for 10 years as a ­pediatrician, who is working today as a checker in a local grocery store while wending her way through Canada’s testing and certification process.

The letter mentions without comment “limited space in medical schools in Canada.”

One should bear in mind that one in five dollars that change hands in B.C. each year are spent on rent. This is what working 40 hours a week gets us: a grossly overpriced roof over our heads and too few seats in our medical schools to train a sufficient number of doctors to keep our ERs open and for everyone to have a primary care physician and care team.

There is an alternative, but powerful interests work tirelessly to prevent freeing the Canadian economy with social housing from the FIRE (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate) sector’s vice-like grasp.

Bill Appledorf

Victoria

Who will remember our soldiers now

My husband and I were in Crete recently and we had the privilege of visiting a military cemetery in Souda Bay. It was a very emotional to see the thousands of graves of mostly young men and women who died for their country, but what was the saddest was there were more graves marked “Known Only to God” than there were graves with names on.

Arriving back in Canada we heard that our illustrious prime minister had just announced that any reference to God be removed from any military event, including Remembrance Day.

All I could think of was who are these soldiers known to now if God is gone! As long as there are wars and fighting, soldiers will be praying.

Dot Wikman

Victoria

How about coins for our other mysteries?

Re: “UFO encounter at Duncan hospital depicted on new coin,” Nov. 2.

I find it interesting that the Royal Canadian Mint has chosen to run a series of limited edition coins depicting UFOs and other mysterious phenomenon.

But it begs the question, what about Cadborosaurus (a.k.a. Caddy), Ogopogo or the mysterious Sasquatch? Surely, they too need to be recognized.

Shirley Waldon

Victoria

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• Email: letters@timescolonist.com

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

• Aim for no more than 250 words; ­subject to editing for length and clarity.