Letters Nov. 30: Speed-limit enforcement; preserving Old Town; U.S.-style health care

Improve speed-limit enforcement

Re: “Saanich to send letter to Horgan seeking road-safety improvements,” Nov. 27.

Does Saanich need lower residential speed limits, or better enforcement?

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On Monday night, Saanich council voted unanimously to forward a letter to the provincial government asking for a “modernizing of the Motor Vehicle Act” with the aim of having residential speed limits universally reduced to 40 km/h. Not once in the council discussions did any councillor mention the place of enforcement in achieving any designated speed limit.

Canada has some of the most lax enforcement of speed limits anywhere in the western world. Our speed signs read “maximum.” However, drive below that maximum and you are likely to be shunted off the road by infuriated drivers behind you.

What is the point of any speed limit without effective enforcement? Fifty kilometres an hour would be fine if that’s the speed that vehicles were actually travelling, not 60-70 km/h, as they often do on streets such as Quadra north of McKenzie Avenue toward the Pat Bay Highway.

Malcolm Parslow

To the fuel-shaming flyer man: Let’s talk

To the young man who placed the fossil-fuel-burning shaming flyer on vehicles in our neighbourhood.

I would welcome the opportunity to sit and discuss the big picture.

For your information, we built a new home and incorporated electric-car chargers in our garage for the future. Our new home has natural gas, versus the one we replaced, which had an oil furnace.

We incorporated the latest enviro building products and received a platinum-level certification for energy efficiency. We recently leased a four-cylinder SUV — we lease it so that we can switch to electrical when we are comfortable that charging stations are available on long-distance trips.

My daughter’s car is 16 years old, but in good shape. She e-bikes 25 kilometres round-trip each day to work.

As for my wife and I, we are retired and walk and cycle often, given the area where we live.

I worked in the energy industry — fossil fuel and renewables — for over 35 years. It’s about balance.

Let’s have a conversation about the big picture. I’m sure we can learn from each other.

Ron Vermeulen

UVic needs to lead by example in Old Town

Re: “139-room hotel might replace two Victoria heritage buildings,” Nov. 22.

The Duck’s Building proposal is an opportunity for the University of Victoria to lead by example.

They can build their planned hotel in the Old Town area by respecting the guidelines and city bylaws for building in this historic area of the downtown core.

The planned buildings on either side of the Duck’s Building do not distinguish themselves as historic replicas, are higher than the three-storey Duck’s Building and completely ruin any semblance of a historic block of buildings.

The contemporary look of these new adjacent buildings should be scrapped and replaced with design plans that are sympathetic to the historic appearance and height restrictions of the area.

To its credit, the university has retained the original look of the Swan’s building; they need to do the same with these buildings.

Victoria council would be very short-sighted and mistaken to allow any building in Old Town that is not sympathetic to the history of the city. Tourists, as well as Victoria residents, appreciate and enjoy the historic areas of the city and do not want them destroyed.

Cynthia Brunt,
North Saanich

Proposal would set dangerous precedent

Many councils before this one have fought tooth and nail to preserve our heritage buildings. This is why we stand out as a tourist draw and why tourists and locals alike love the charm and ambience of Old Town and Chinatown. No one will be marvelling at our tower blocks.

Forty years ago as a tour guide, I used to tell my groups that the buildings were saved because of and strict building guidelines. It would be criminal to set a dangerous precedent in allowing façades and variances that permit huge height increases.

We are very fortunate to have these heritage structures, as not many are left. We must do everything in our power to preserve and protect them.

Rachel McDonnell

No thanks to U.S.-style health care

Re: “Case is about doctors’ profits: federal lawyer,” Nov. 26.

I am a strong supporter of our Canadian medicare and would fear importing any aspect of the U.S. system, which favours the rich and lets the sick poor go bankrupt or die young.

There is a common misconception related to the Cambie case that is now going through closing statements. Patients are already free to seek private care and physicians are already free to opt out of the public system.

What is wisely banned (and is currently being challenged) are taxpayer subsidies to private profits, i.e. we subsidize the rich and hereby harm our ourselves, in that less money and fewer doctors are left for us.

Christine Johnston

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