Letters Oct. 14: Being thankful; economic survival; wear mask properly

One of the best Thanksgivings ever

Re: “Dear God, this is the worst Thanksgiving ever,” Jack Knox, Oct. 11.

I’m sorry Jack feels as though the “Almighty” is targeting him to the extent that his “entitlement” has been compromised.

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Here is what I am grateful for:

• For living in one of the most beautiful parts of the world

• For the kindness and compassion of our community despite COVID-19 and the restrictions we have all faced

• For being healthy and living in great abundance, the latter encompassing balance and harmony, creative work and good people around me

• For the fact that I am alive and can still walk the streets of my city freely

The world is changing and perhaps our sense of “entitlement” has led us to take for granted just how wonderful life really is. In the areas that really matter.

Finally, I’m glad that we will never go back to a world where the few prosper at the expense of the many. COVID-19 has been a great leveller. We have a wonderful opportunity to really listen to what the “Almighty” intended for all of us this year.

This has been one of the best Thanksgivings I have had yet.

Jennifer Chapin
Victoria

We must prepare for economic survival

Re: Adrian Raeside’s Thanksgiving cartoon, Oct. 11.

The cartoon depicted a couple commenting on their COVID-19 situation, both concluding that our beloved sanctuary compensates for what others less fortunately situated must endure.

These shared expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving are not without concerns when a simultaneous raft of local problems are highlighted by the election news.

Uppermost, the condo mania crisis has our south Island mayors presented with the overdue need for new transportation routes.

A cartoon of them all without paddles in a canoe above Niagara Falls would fit their situation.

This is a perfect storm of unpreparedness. Masses of incoming asphalt addicts combined with the indigenous snowbirds and the worst cash drought imaginable.

COVID-19 will come and go but the damage will require brains and expertise to shorten economic recovery. Voting seems like a meaningless exercise when our elected paddle one way and we the other.

It is time to drop all our hopeful notions and get fiscally prepared for economic survival. Empty promises and bigger tax paddles won’t save us! It’s the Economic River, stupid!

Russell Thompson
Victoria

Laurel Collins has cost Victoria

Victoria taxpayers are paying at least $440,000 for a byelection this year. This is due to the short tenure of Laurel Collins as a city councillor.

She resigned in 2019 after winning a seat as an NDP MP for Victoria. I am sure Collins is a nice person and may make a good MP with some seasoning and improved planning and judgment, but this was very costly to Victorians.

I take exception to what appears to be irresponsible short-term planning on the part of Collins. She served less than six months on Victoria council, and was not present for much of that. I calculate that we Victorians got absolutely no value from her time on council. With the learning curve, required mentoring and introduction to process, delays, absences and preoccupation with the federal election, we would have received negative value.

I am critical of this on two levels. Primarily that Collins allowed her political ambition and short-term thinking to put a small city like Victoria to an expense of more than $440,000. I have not heard her apologize or show any remorse for this.

Secondly, it appears council got along just fine for more than a year with one councillor short. It is only two years to the next election – could we not wait and make do?

Or could there not be an inexpensive way to appoint a runner-up from the last election to serve out this term?

Apparently the provincial Elections Act requires this byelection so council takes no responsibility nor initiative to change this. I asked them. Change this for all B.C. municipalities to save them all from this unnecessary expense when a councillor resigns. I am a full supporter of our democratic system but let’s also pay attention to the costs of this bureaucratic exercise.

Norm Tatlow
Victoria

Wear your mask properly

I absolutely cannot believe the number of people wearing their masks below their nose. If someone else sneezes you’ll be breathing it in just like you had no mask at all.

Yes, I know they are uncomfortable and fog up your glasses but we need to put up with it. It’s a lot more uncomfortable to catch COVID-19. I was on the bus the other day with a lady who was pulling her mask down, sneezing and blowing her nose in a tissue, repeatedly. I was very glad I was wearing my mask.

Sheila Ruffell
Saanich

Online voting creates problems

I believe that online voting should be forbidden. It is open to bribery, corruption and election rigging. Without a formal paper trail with scrutineers supervising, any crook could pull off election fraud. Please let’s stick with paper ballots.

Sean Murray
Victoria

We need to recycle more types of plastics

Plastics are doing great harm. The problems of any proposal to ban single use plastics, are the lag time to put the program into effect and the plastics that are not included.

There are so many throwaway plastic products that we take for granted and get tossed into the garbage, as they are not covered by any blue box program.

Six pack retainer rings, ballpoint pen barrels, Happy Meal toys and bread bag closures are the tip of the plastic iceberg, not affected by any single use ban.

What is needed is effective lifecycle management of all plastic products. Victoria should enact bylaws requiring the provision of drop off sites for these “forgotten” plastics, not just banning plastic bags.

I went to a Capital Regional District open house last year, and left thinking we were going somewhere with this, but haven’t heard a whimper since. And programs need to be made user convenient.

What is available in Victoria, and elsewhere in the region, are the dropoff sites run by Pacific Mobile Depots. PMD handles all non-coded plastics, sheet plastics and styrofoams. We use the monthly one in Fernwood, and the result is nary a scrap of plastic in our garbage cans. Here is an existing program that the city could piggy back on to initiate something now.

Mayor Lisa Helps should go beyond the simplicity of the plastic bag ban and champion something with real, broad-reaching results.

Brian Kendrick
Victoria

Students wonderful are role models

I teach at St. Andrew’s Regional High school and I am so delighted to be back teaching my students. They are so happy to be back and I am so happy to be here with them.

It has been a long six months not seeing them. Having talked with my colleagues in other schools they are glad to be back too.

My students and other students are so resilient. They wear their masks, follow the protocols in the school and lead by example. They show us no matter what, they will cope, thrive, and lead the way to their futures.

We need to follow their enthusiasm for the future.

It is not all doom and gloom but bright and hopeful. Thank you, Dr. Bonnie Henry, for always reminding us that by following the protocols now, we will have a future.

I am so pleased that Royal Roads University is bestowing on her an honorary doctor of laws.

Suzannah Goldsack
Esquimalt

Too many surcharges on top of city tax bill

Today I received my annual storm water bill from the City of Victoria.

This includes a surcharge for having my street gutter cleaned. If you live on a corner it’s twice the amount.

The city charges on top of my annual taxes for cleaning my street, how much runoff I have when it rains, garbage, water , sewer usage, and a Capital Regional District sewer charge.

All these surcharges amount to 80 per cent of my annual municipal taxes. Next time the city tells us it is only increasing our taxes a minimal amount, look again.

Soon they are going to be asking for homeowners to connect their meter to the streetlight and pay for lighting.

Raj Sunder
Victoria

Restore rail service on Island

The Island Railway survey demonstrates solid support for rail service on Vancouver Island. Of course as in any healthy debate, there will be a few highly vocal dissenters or passionate detractors.

Several pleas have been made over the years to improve and restore rail service on Vancouver Island. Both federal and provincial governments have made unfulfilled promises to restore rail service or have reneged upon them.

During this provincial election let’s hold the candidates accountable to make rail a reality on Vancouver Island.

Rails with trails is by far the best alternative for reducing carbon emissions and traffic congestion, uniting communities, providing commuter transport for the Capital Regional District, encouraging recreational tourism and economic development, giving jobs to regions and indigenous communities.

If our senior government elected officials are serious about stimulating the economy due to the pandemic; please listen to the elders, mayors and people of Vancouver Island and restore rail service.

Ron Starkie
Nanaimo

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