Letters Nov. 8: Shawnigan soil, furniture recycling surcharge, donating for parks

Contaminated soil no longer monitored

I just wanted to send out a thank you to my fellow residents in Shawnigan Lake for shutting down the contaminated-soil dump site. We now have hundreds of dump trucks every week dumping who-knows-what in an unmonitored dump site.

The science was there, but you were so determined not to listen to it that now our drinking water is actually at real risk of becoming compromised.

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We could have had a government-monitored site, but who is monitoring those trucks we see now?

Frances Moret
Shawnigan Lake

Furniture should have recycling surcharge

Re: “Illegal dumping costing Victoria $150,000 a year to clean up,” Nov. 5.

Forget the signs and education. Just get the province to pass legislation imposing a province-wide “recycling” surcharge on new purchases of couches, mattresses, etc., as is done for electronics and paint.

The proceeds of that fund can then be used to compensate local governments for their never-ending cleanup job in our unfortunate throw-away society. Done.

Dave Nonen

Pickup service could reduce dumping

On the Isle of Arran, in Scotland, the local council offers a pickup service for unwanted items: £25 for five items. As a result, you don’t see dumped appliances and furniture.

If we are encouraging people not to own cars and trucks, we cannot expect a communications program to solve the problem.

Janet Simpson

Give option for extra donation for parks

Re. “Parks-acquisition fans aren’t out of the woods,” Jack Knox column, Oct. 31.

Jack Knox reported on the Capital Regional District’s recent consideration of diverting parks-acquisition funds to parks infrastructure projects. Long-time environmental activist Alison Spriggs was there and argued vehemently against it — with good reason.

I was astonished to learn that the regional parks levy is a measly $20 per year. That’s $1.67 a month or half a second-rate cup of java. Ms. Spriggs is right. When green spaces are gone, they are gone forever. Witness the ongoing desecration of precious woodland across the road from Costco. It sickens the heart.

Surely we can do better for parks acquisition. What if the CRD created an option on the property-tax assessment for voluntary donations over and above the $20 mandatory levy? Donations would be dedicated to parks acquisitions and could be collected on a one-time, monthly or quarterly basis.

I, for one (and I’m betting many others), would be happy to donate the equivalent of one lunch a month ($240 per year), knowing that my money was buying generations to come access to our incomparable woodlands and beaches.

And what if we doubled the mandatory levy to two cups of coffee per month?

Come on, Victoria. It’s now or never.

Peter Bruce

Growing saplings remove more carbon

Re: “Two saplings can’t replace a mature tree,” letter, Nov. 1.

A letter-writer asserts that mature trees have an “exponentially” bigger impact in removing carbon from the air than saplings, but there has long been plentiful evidence to the contrary.

The reason is that mature trees are merely replacing themselves. Young trees are growing. All that growth involves pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Steve Weatherbe

Some trees contribute to global warming

Re: “Two saplings can’t replace a mature tree,” letter, Nov. 1.

Not all old trees are good at sequestering carbon. Pathological rotation must be considered. This is the point where the annual sequestering is balanced off by the release of carbon by decay fungi feeding inside.

Beyond this point, the tree is contributing to global warming by releasing more carbon than it takes in.

Old-growth forests are then a big problem in this regard. Should they be cut down and the logs sunk in lakes to sequester the carbon? Should each tree be examined and only the carbon contributors removed? Are not rapidly growing saplings a better alternative?

Richard Hunt

Pay ex-MPs through Phoenix system

Re: “Departing MPs to get millions in pensions, severances,” Nov. 3.

It is great to see our ex-MPs have planned for their future in retirement.

One hopes these payments will be loaded into the Phoenix payroll system pronto, so these MPs can begin receiving their well-earned funds by 2032.

Gary Jacek

Time survey asked wrong question

Regarding moving to permanent daylight time, I wonder whether a change in the province’s survey-question wording, as well as the timing of the survey, might have resulted in a different outcome.

The term “permanent daylight saving time” sounds great, but is actually a contradiction: the definition of daylight time is to change our clocks twice a year.

It is a falsely attractive euphemism to offer to make it “permanent.”

What the survey should have asked about is the level of support for two changes: firstly, that B.C. stops using daylight time and keeps the same time year round, and secondly, changing from using Pacific Time, which is our geographic time zone, to Mountain Standard Time (MST) — the same time as Arizona uses (Alberta uses Mountain Daylight Time, which is only the same as MST during the winter).

Yukon would presumably continue to use Pacific Daylight (PDT) time, as the further north one resides, the more important the biannual change becomes.

The reality is that most people aren’t so happy when they have to get up and go to work/school while it is still dark during the winter, simply because they have to follow a geographic time zone east of where they live.

Richard S. Taylor

How will B.C. LNG exports compete?

Re: “New Alaska venture plans to ship LNG through Arctic,” Oct. 25.

I was interested to read of the idea of LNG exports from the Alaskan North Slope fields via the Northwest Passage as soon as 2025, using double hulled tankers similar to those being used by Russia.

Leaving aside the extent to which natural-gas contributions to greenhouse gases are preferable to those of coal, it did make me wonder about the extent to which B.C. fracked gas LNG exports can compete in the near term.

How long will it be before gas from those large Mackenzie Basin gas fields found in the 1980s by Dome Petroleum and others will be piped to Alaska, or liquefied in place, presumably at a fraction of B.C. production and transport costs, despite the provincial government’s giveaways to B.C.’s emerging LNG industry?

It is worth noting that Jack Gallagher, former head of Dome Petroleum, is said to have had a map of the Arctic on his office wall showing that Tuktoyaktuk is nearly equidistant from Yokohama (6,400 kilometres), Amsterdam (6,700 km) and Montreal (6,400 km) via the Passage; while Prince Rupert is 6,800 km from Yokohama.

Point Thompson, the proposed Alaska plant site, is about 1,100 km from the Bering Sea.

Robert Gunn
Port Alberni

Wexit a non-starter under Constitution

I have heard at least one person on TV suggesting that provinces in Canada have the right to separate. They may have that moral right, but they don’t have that right in the Canadian Constitution.

Quebec is the only province that can say that they never agreed to this. Other provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan among them, cannot make this claim. They supported the Constitution when it was adopted in 1981.

Ken Hiebert

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