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Letters Oct. 23: Councillors face too much nastiness; dogs who bite

If nastiness continues, who will run for council? I have been reading with interest the op-eds and letters with respect to the ­current review of the Official Community Plan in North Saanich.
TC_392649_web_Municipality-map-North-Saanich.jpg
Map of North Saanich

If nastiness continues, who will run for council?

I have been reading with interest the op-eds and letters with respect to the ­current review of the Official Community Plan in North Saanich.

I was on North Saanich council for 12 years, six of those years as mayor. Those six were the longest, most arduous and most frustrating and hurtful of my 21 years of community service in municipal politics in North Saanich and Sidney.

Why? My campaign slogan was A Balanced Approach for a Balanced ­Community. Housing options for young families and seniors, village centres for a walkable community.

My kids were still “youngish” at the time and I had a vision for the community that included young families and seniors, with services we could all walk to.

Not so, said the North Saanich Ratepayers Association and many of the voices now among the Save North ­Saanich group. That bastard Daly wants condos and Costco. He is definitely an evil man.

It got personal, nasty and ugly. I signed up to serve my community, not to be personally attacked for trying to do so.

The current mayor was once the chair of the ratepayers association, so surely he must hold the same values that group has. Apparently not; now they want to throw him under the bus too.

Nothing changes. Nothing changes.

I certainly agree with Gary McCaig (“Time to move on with North Saanich OCP review,” Oct. 21) that it will become increasingly difficult to find people who are interested in serving their community by running for local council because of the vitriol that is most assuredly to come should you not agree with the philosophy of these very active political groups.

I certainly feel for the current mayor and council. Been there, done that.

Ted Daly
Saanichton

Common vision needed on Saanich Peninsula

As a longtime resident of the Saanich Peninsula, I’ve found the recent series of letters and op-eds regarding the North Saanich Official Community Plan review informative and interesting.

Yes, the review is important and it is time to move on. Yes, we need to preserve the rural-greenspace landscape as we adapt to climate change. Yes, we need to provide housing to address the needs of a changing, stressed society.

Yes to building a stronger relationship with the W̱SÁNEĆ people. And, perhaps above all, we need to foster a healthy and sustainable environment for the future.

Perhaps it isn’t fair to expect North Saanich to address these critical and, sometimes, conflicting interests in ­isolation.

Given that each of the three Saanich Peninsula municipalities are reviewing their Official Community Plans, a growing number of people and organizations are suggesting that it is time for Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney to ­collaborate on a common vision.

They can work together to help ensure the future environmental, economic and community health of the Saanich ­Peninsula.

What a leadership opportunity — to embrace a common vision for the Saanich Peninsula and integrate a co-ordinating framework into the three OCPs.

In this manner, the three communities can address these varied issues collaboratively and achieve an environment, lifestyle, economy and well-being for the Saanich Peninsula of which we can all be proud.

Bob Peart
North Saanich

Speaking of myopic, what about those roads?

A recent letter criticized the “myopic bike-lane infrastructure projects” undertaken in Greater Victoria.

What about the myopic highway projects? More than $150 million spent to build a totally unnecessary access to the airport; the McKenzie/Trans-Canada Highway interchange; and now the ­widening of a few kilometres of the Sooke Road.

We’ve just kicked the can of the transportation bottlenecks down the road a few kilometres.

If the majority of those dollars had gone to public transportation, we could have gone a long way to solving our regional transportation issues and meeting our responsibilities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

If we don’t wake up and act, we’re doomed.

David R. Cohen
Victoria

Let’s stop ridiculing overweight men

In the Raeside cartoon on Oct. 21, a fat man is shown stuck in the knee space under his desk.

The comic strip “Ben” has had a ­running gag about the overweight and somewhat clueless, but lovable, ­grandfather’s inability to do yoga poses. In “Dustin” (“Ben” also) there has been a running gag about the overweight father’s lack of discipline regarding unhealthy, fattening foods. Both have fit, healthy wives.

Switch the sexes here. In the comic strips, have tubby, goofy women as the butt of the jokes and their husbands slim, healthy and good looking.

In Raeside, have a fat woman stuck under the desk with a fit-looking man talking to the firefighter. The newspaper would not run them, and rightfully so.

Why is it acceptable for overweight men to be ridiculed this way? I think that the old saying “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander” applies here.

Stephen Pierrot
Saanich

COVID misinformation is helping the virus

A novel coronavirus doesn’t care who you are or whether you think it’s real.

The COVID virus doesn’t want you to get a vaccine or wear a mask. It wants to live, and to live it needs to find hosts and spread.

And with every denial, with every piece of misinformation “garbage,” we send it out into the world to live.

Phil Le Good
Cobble Hill

Read dog behaviour to prevent getting bitten

I am writing in response to the recent fatal dog attack by two off-leash dogs at Island View Beach. As a local citizen, ­veterinarian and mother, I found this story greatly concerning.

The published details suggest a strong predatory behaviour and aggressive pack mentality by the offending dogs. In addition to the trauma endured by the canine victim and its owner, this story highlights a common threat to public safety.

Children in particular are at risk for severe injury and death from dog attacks. Island View Beach is a popular attraction for people from all walks of life, including children. What if the above attack happened to a toddler?

I would like to share some tips and resources for dog owners and guardians of children, because dog bites can be preventable.

If you are aware of your dog’s history of aggressive behaviour, please keep your dog on leash and consider training them to be comfortable wearing a basket muzzle when in public. The Muzzle Up Project (muzzleupproject.com) is a great educational website for muzzle training to help keep people and dogs safe.

Teach your children to always ask a dog owner if they can pet their dog before attempting to do so.

Teach your children how to read dog behaviours and how to safely interact with unfamiliar dogs. Check out the following educational websites for details:

• gooddoginabox.com

• aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/dog-bite-prevention

• dogsandkids.ca

Ashlee Albright, DVM
Brentwood Bay

When animal cruelty is considered OK

Re: “Beaver back in the wild after recovering from gunshot wounds,” Oct. 20.

Thankfully, the beaver was treated by a local vet and the Wild ARC Animal Rehabilitation Centre.

However, I am confused by this: “B.C. Conservation Officer Scott Norris said the beaver population on the Island is ‘quite healthy.’ He said the animals can be trapped but can’t be hunted.”

Where is the logic when animals can suffer writhing in pain in traps dying slow and horrifically painful deaths but you can’t shoot them? Both methods are clear displays of blatant animal cruelty.

If we want to be a moral, ethical and compassionate society, shouldn’t all types of animal cruelty be against the law?

Anne Forbes
Victoria

What they told them about ambiguity

While I agree an individual’s gender specifics fall somewhere on a spectrum, and one should have the right to choose to be addressed as male, female or somewhere in between, the English language does not, at present, accommodate this.

She/her and he/him are singular, and they/them is plural, and therein lies the problem.

Besides leading to clunky and ­awkward sounding sentences, it can cause confusion and ambiguity, for ­example: “Pat avoided the team, because they were angry with them.”

We have no way of knowing if it’s Pat or the team that are angry.

If Pat identified as male or female, then using he/him or she/her would make it clear. Also, if Pat’s the angry one, then “they” would be singular — should it then read “they was angry”?

We need a non-gender-specific singular pronoun (other than “it”). Our laws are defined through language, and it’s easy to imagine situations where such ambiguity simply wouldn’t work.

Stephen Pierrot
Saanich

Irony in Shatner’s space travel

I very much enjoyed William ­Shatner’s description of what it was like to ascend up into the darkness out of our ­atmosphere.

It made me wonder, though, when he chastised our province about harvesting timber as the spaceship that hauled him into outer space for the thrill of a lifetime must have consumed more fossil fuels, oxygen and destruction to the ozone layer than many years of timber harvest.

He must not realize the irony of the situation.

His spaceship trip used up irreplaceable resources, whereas in B.C. we replant and the young forests create a lot more oxygen than old forests.

I am not defending the harvesting of old-growth timber.

Timber harvesting is one of our leading sources of renewable resources that helps pay for our hospitals, first responders, infrastructure and so many other things we take for granted.

John Money
Duncan

Government House needs weekend washrooms

I have enjoyed visiting the grounds of the Government House gardens for many years often in the company of my ­parents.

My parents were at the Government House gardens recently and found that as of Sept. 24 the public washrooms are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. There is a sign posted on the washrooms, but there is no such sign posted at either of the entrances to the grounds.

A commissionaire told my mother that because of recent vandalism, and a lack of staff to service the washrooms, the washrooms have been closed on the weekends and holidays.

The lack of staffing to clean washrooms on what are possible the busiest days of the week for public visitations?

The amount of money that has been poured into renovations at Government House begs the question: Is there no money left over to pay cleaning staff seven days a week?

Surely there are taxpayer dollars that can be allotted to pay for cleaning staff so that visitors can enjoy the gardens without having to resort to peeing in the bushes on the weekends and holidays.

Maggie Hofman
Victoria

Solve the dog problem with a chain-link fence

We are regular users of Pemberton Park and completely support adjacent ­neighbours in their frustration over mail delivery disruption due to postie ­concerns about safety from dogs.

The problem of dogs escaping from the park can be easily and cheaply solved by extending the existing chain-link fence and equipping it with a gate for city equipment to access the park.

This is one of very few dog parks within the city. The money would be well spent and the effort appreciated by both neighbours, dogs and their owners.

Winston, Claire and Matty Jackson
Victoria

Where is the old-growth advisory panel’s report?

More than one year ago, in September 2020, the B.C. NDP government released its Old Growth Strategic Review and committed to adopting all 14 of its ­recommendations.

Among the recommendations were:

• To provide the public with timely and objective information about forest ­conditions.

• Immediate curtailment of timber harvest in ecosystems with “high risk to loss of biodiversity,” ancient forests more than 500 years old, and in biogeoclimatic ecosystem zones with less than 10 per cent old forest remaining.

Campaigning on this commitment helped the NDP win a majority in the October 2020 provincial election. But more than a year later, implementation has never materialized.

In June, the NDP appointed another advisory panel with fanfare that stated: “This new technical panel will ensure we’re using the best science and data available to identify at-risk old growth ecosystems and prioritize areas for ­deferral.”

The panel’s terms of reference stated that “the government will support ­regular information updates on the work of the panel through news release … and by posting regular updates online on the ­government old growth website.”

The panel submitted their report to the government on Aug. 1, yet we have seen no press releases, no updates on the government’s old growth web site and no report.

The forest type recommended for deferral in the panel’s report almost certainly includes the endangered ancient coastal rainforest in and around Fairy Creek and the unprotected Middle Walbran Valley that are being logged now.

While we have been waiting for the report, the NDP has supported tens of millions of dollars of RCMP action in these public forests that has brutalized B.C. citizens and resulted in the arrest of more than 1,000 people for peacefully camping in these ancient forests that are likely to be recommended for deferral.

When are we going to see the latest old growth report, and perhaps more importantly, when is the premier going to act on its recommendations?

Dr. Peter D. Paré
Emeritus Professor of Medicine
|University of British Columbia

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