Letters Oct. 1: Be visible; respite from high density; leadership from children

Please be visible when cycling

Go By Bike Week is a worthy adaptation of Bike to Work Week. Good thinking! That said, I have a few concerns about the state of cycling safety based on my observations as a pedestrian and driver in our South Island tree canopy haven. A speeding cyclist is a relatively small, narrow and only briefly visible object in our shaded/shadowed streets. My compliments and thanks to all cyclists, pedestrians, scooter and Segway users, and skateboarders who make an effort to be visible to others.

Members of cycling clubs also do a good job of modelling how to be visible: front and rear lights on at all times; clothing with bright, contrasting, or reflecting shades and colours; reflecting strips on back packs and helmets, and reflectors on the frame and wheels.

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Every item helps me as a driver to notice you and act for our mutual safety.

Traffic safety suggestions we can all check and review: the Go By Bike website lists some courses on rules of the road, and the B.C. Cycling Coalition has published Bike Sense: the B.C. Bicycle Operators Manual, a very helpful booklet to review the rules of the road for protecting cyclists.

Do we need more than just safety incentives to shed our dull, dark tops? Let’s demand that fashion designers make fluorescent the new black in cycling wear and ask government to remove the sales tax on bright cycling sweaters, jackets, and cycling lights.

Go by bike – visibly! Please.

David Driedger

Distinguish between ‘i.e.’ and ‘e.g.’

I love language. Words that may not be commonly used can capture a sentiment or perception that most words cannot capture.

Plain English is most often the best though. It’s the most effective way to communicate one’s thoughts, as it’s easily understood and doesn’t require that one turn to a dictionary for interpretation. Where one does want to indulge in more complex words than may be required, such as “appellation” instead of “name,” it sets the standard for one’s writing a little higher.

A writer should therefore, for example, be sure to distinguish between “i.e.” and “e.g.” as they have different meanings. I enjoy reading the perspectives of this newspaper’s readers (e.g. the author of the letter referred to here), but its such a distraction when people continue to confuse these terms when writing in this language (i.e. English).

Michael Hill

A respite from high density

Re: “Please stop calling these gold rush era warehouse ‘Junk’ Buildings,” Sept. 27.

Thank you for running Nick Russell’s article about these two remaining waterfront buildings from the gold rush era. He rightly points out that while modest, these buildings are an important reminder of the historic roots of our city.

Victoria’s 2012 Official Community Plan was intended to be the guiding planning document for the city. It references the importance of conservation of heritage buildings and the need for high quality architecture, landscape and urban design that responds to the historic setting through sensitive and innovative interventions. It talks about the importance of maintaining water glimpses in the downtown area, for example, at the end of side streets.

It also talks about the importance of maintaining open space. The open forecourt that currently exists at the eastern end of the Johnson Street Bridge serves a purpose.

It provides a respite from the adjacent higher density areas, a focal point and an open area that, through good design, can serve as a setting for gatherings and cultural events.

The two warehouses, restored, could be used for a variety of public purposes or businesses. Retaining the buildings and the open space is consistent with Old Town’s value as a tourist destination. The current council’s drive to fill this space with dense development, inconsistent with the heritage value of the existing buildings, and hiding the harbour view, is short sighted and inappropriate.

Pieta VanDyke

Follow military approach to beards

Re: “No safe mask option for bearded members, RCMP says,” Sept. 28.

The World Sikh Organization of Canada may believe it is justified in championing RCMP Sikh members’ right for special face covering. Given the insistence on having beards, it appears obvious they will present a greater risk to both themselves and others if bearded officers are allowed largely unrestricted access to the public. The costs of untried and unproven variably sized custom masks would be hard to justify.

There is a ready solution for what would otherwise be normal RCMP work in a broad interface with the public. The Sikh Organization should review the Canadian military solution to the tactical bearded issue.

The Canadian Army has long allowed their Assault Pioneers to grow beards. Unless, that is, when they are deployed on what may become, on short notice, actual warfare when respirators would be required. 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in Germany during the Cold War in the 1960s is a case in point.

A more recent (2018) military ruling is our navy allowing sailors to grow beards while ashore, but insisting they be shaved when on a warship being deployed. A logical decision in an operational environment.

The military has long logically enforced specific no-beard policies for safety reasons. Surely the RCMP can do as much.

Ron Johnson

Children are showing leadership on climate

Re: “Few children are leaders of anything,” letter, Sept. 29.

The elder writer (by own admission) of this letter has demonstrated, again, that “elder” doesn’t necessarily mean “wiser.” Someone has to be very unwise to dismiss as “extremists” more than 90% of the world’s scientific community, who have been saying for years that we are polluting and destroying the environment that allows our own existence. The writer doesn’t want to believe them, but does not provide any evidence that they are wrong.

Someone has to fight for the environment, and if most adults, like the writer, are not doing it, the children have decided to do it themselves. This sounds like leadership to me.

Of course, an attack on Greta Thunberg could not be missing in the letter. The yacht that she used to cross the Atlantic was not hers. It was an offer from the owners and as a zero carbon racing yacht, it only had very basic services: it had no toilets, and the lights from solar panels were very dim. This was not a pleasure trip.

I am an elder as well and if anything, I feel ashamed of leaving a sick planet to my children and grandchildren.

J.G. Miranda

Victoria byelection is not needed

I find it obscene that in this time of pandemic, Victoria’s mayor and city council do not ask the province to change the “rules” and allow them to appoint the candidate with the next highest total votes from the last election for city council.

It makes perfect sense, and will save the taxpayer what looks like $500,000, and save the citizens a needless trip to the polls again. The only reason they have not chosen to request this is that the group that hijacked our election last time (Together Victoria) wants to get another one of their unqualified candidates on the council.

The provincial rule requiring another election is bad, and needs to be fixed by requiring appointing the candidate with the next highest total votes to fill the vacancy.

William Tate

Presidential debate not very presidential

If Donald Trump and Joe Biden had been in a kindergarten class they would have been kicked out! What a sad and scary commentary on a once proud nation. I expect many Americans were ashamed to watch that demeaning and pathetic performance.

David Mansell

NHL, CBC did great job in playoffs

I thought: Let’s forget about COVID‑19 for a minute, let’s forget about the provincial election, let’s forget about Donald Trump and just take a moment be so proud of and grateful for the job that the NHL and everyone involved in the bubbles in Edmonton and Toronto did to bring us the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Watching the montage that CBC put together at the end of the broadcast, listening to Ron McLean’s heartfelt signoff and then watching the closing video to Billie Eilish’s Everything I Wanted just made me feel so proud to be Canadian. Congratulations to the NHL and CBC for doing such an excellent job. What a wonderful diversion.

Ted Daly

Gratitude for book‑drive volunteers and fundraising

It is with profound gratitude that I write this short letter to thank everyone who has been working behind the scenes to save the Times Colonist Literacy Society grants.

I know that I speak for a myriad of school librarians, non-profit groups and other community support programs when I say your love for literacy and your determination to continue this worthy program despite the challenges COVID-19 has brought to all of us is inspirational.

From your creativity in thinking of a new way to raise funds, to your resolve to find support from the local business community, to the generosity of all of those who have donated and finally to your dedicated volunteers and staff members who are doing so much behind the scenes, you’ve continued to pour your love and support behind a such a worthy cause that could have easily been forgotten during this pandemic.

It is such a wonderful feeling to know that we live in such a generous, caring community. Thank you just doesn’t seem enough.

Holly Mair
Teacher, South Island Distance Education



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