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Letters Oct. 28: Firefighting capability at sea; remembering to be thankful

Navy no longer has adequate firefighting capacity, says letter-writer
Water is sprayed onto the hull of the burning container ship Zim Kingston on Sunday. CANADIAN COAST GUARD

Navy no longer has firefighting capacity

Onboard the container ship MV Zim Kingston, some of the containers on her deck caught fire, just off Victoria, in Canadian territorial waters.

At the time, two offshore supply ships, the Maersk Trader and the Maersk Tender, happened to be tied up at Ogden Point to discharge the plastic material they had scooped up in the ocean as part of the ongoing Ocean Cleanup project.

These two ships are registered in Denmark. When they heard of the container ship on fire, the two supply ships quickly sailed to the location of the container ship and eventually put out the fire.

These ships were equipped with firefighting systems.

Yet, there were no Canadian navy or coast guard vessels dispatched to fight the fire, probably because neither service had ships available with the needed firefighting systems.

What about the next ship fire, and if the two Denmark registered supply ships are not here, what will happen then? Will we call Denmark and ask for help?

In the past, the Canadian Navy had ocean-going tugs that were fitted with firefighting systems to combat ship fires, such as the CFAV St. Charles and the CFAV St. Anthony, but there were paid off many decades ago.

Roger Cyr


Many reasons for us to be grateful

I am grateful:

For Dr. Bonnie Henry, who ran her race and did well but couldn’t be acknowledged because of threats. She goes to work every day.

For first responders who kiss their families in the morning never knowing what a day holds. They protect and help us.

For nurses, doctors and all medical professionals who endure abuse and still heal the sick and hold people’s hands.

For teachers and all who work in our school systems who teach, comfort and listen when life is hard for our students.

For people, through no fault of their own, who need help with food, comfort and a place to stay — our wonderful organizations are there.

For families who have lost loved ones due to COVID and still go on every day telling the story of why the vaccine is important despite their loss.

For our right to disagree and protest peacefully, enshrined in Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

For the 100th anniversary of the poppy, which continuously reminds us that the standard of living we have came at a tremendous cost.

For the fact we wear the poppy over our heart to represent the 11th hour of the 11th day when the guns fell silent.

Sue Goldsack


Strong action needed to deal with climate change

Re: “On climate change, lots of plans, no progress,” Oct. 26.

Les Leyne concludes his column with a quote from the B.C. government’s new report on climate change: “Sole focus on GHGs is not credible. Other key values and outcomes are considered alongside our climate goals.”

We know what that means. The politicians want their cake and to eat it, too. Hey look, we’re working on the climate crisis, but we need to consider jobs and getting votes too.

Here’s a clue: Like the COVID virus, Earth’s climate system doesn’t care who people vote for, or whether they have jobs, or, indeed, anything at all about our species.

It operates according to the laws of nature, not the laws of humans.

What is not credible is politicians of all stripes behaving as though nature is open to negotiation and compromise — instead of taking the strong actions necessary for the survival of human society and of millions of other species with which we share this planet.

What other “key values and outcomes” are there?

Eric Grace


Meeting the challenge of global warming

Most announcements by various governments regarding combating global climate change have little to no substance, nor fixed measures to accomplish specific goals.

It would seem that most of the emphasis keeps coming back to electrification of everything from personal vehicles and public transit to the trucking industry to save the planet.

I have been waiting for a national or provincial strategy around vehicle electrification that would address issues such as electrical grid capacity measurements and costs to upgrade the grid and generating capacity.

The continued reliance on hydro-generated power as affected by anticipated and current climate change weather also seems to be an unanalyzed subject. Backup power for Vancouver Island is natural gas power plants, so how does that reduce greenhouse gases?

Why doesn’t the government start levying substantial tax on energy-wasting (thus greenhouse gas-creating) optional activities such as flying to every corner of the globe for holidays or sport activities or taking a ship’s cruise to everywhere?

Petroleum tax may be partially effective in limiting greenhouse-gas creation, but many tradespeople who require a gas-powered service vehicle cannot afford the extra cost of an electric vehicle. Also unanalyzed is the environmental cost of materials for vehicle construction and charging stations, and cost and practicality of recycling spent electric vehicle batteries and components.

We need to personally stop dancing around the hard choices to limit climate change and bite the bullet and make those choices regarding our lifestyle.

Mike Wilkinson


Like sea otter research? Then please contribute

The long-term sea otter research by Jane Watson and others in the Checleset Bay Ecological Reserve, off the west coast of Vancouver Island, was funded early on and for more than a decade by the Lichen Foundation and the Luna Trust through the Friends of Ecological Reserves.

It was not a lot of money, but Jane managed to cobble together enough to keep diving all summer studying and monitoring the sea otters.

The article points out the importance of funding long-term studies so that we can understand the environmental impacts of climate change.

Readers who are interested in the environment are urged to contribute to the Friends of Ecological Reserves so that these long-term studies can continue. See

Lynne Milnes


Ripping up Cook Street three times in two years

When Cook Street below Fairfield was beautifully repaved after two years of continuing work on sewers, local residents were happy and relieved.

Foolish us! Imagine our surprise when, one fine day, a few very large concrete pipes were dropped off at the Cook end of Pakington Street and almost half the block on the north side of Pakington was commandeered for equipment and a mustering station.

Surely they were not going to dig up the road so soon after repaving it.

A phone call to the City of Victoria yielded no information but that this was a private contractor. No idea what was being done. Really? Cook is a major road in Victoria and the City of Victoria has no idea why it is being dug up again!

Seeing a worker near the mustering station, I asked what was going on and was told that, indeed, they were going to dig up the street to attach the pipes to some other pipes (which presumably were ones that had been installed recently).

Asked why this work had not been done when the street was previously dug up, I was told that they were separate contracts to different companies.

Does this actually make sense to anyone? Surely it must cost a great deal more to the city (and ultimately to the taxpayers of this city) to pay for this road to be dug up three times in two years.

Is it beyond the skill of those who organize these things to organize just one excavation? Am I missing something? Perhaps someone from the city could explain.

Cindy Swoveland


Transportation spending must be reformed

It’s naive to think that all we have to do is switch all our cars, trucks and buses to electric power, then poof!, just like Dorothy we’re back in Kansas and all the environmental problems disappear.

For the past hundred years, we’ve invested more than 90 per cent of transportation infrastructure spending on ever-bigger ferries, wider strips of pavement with whizzy overpasses, and more massive car storage facilities to store the whole mess, usually for ”free.” This out-of-whack spending has produced a sprawly city with painful housing costs.

Batteries for electric vehicles are heavy, expensive and they wear out. Plus, you waste energy converting electricity to chemical storage and back to electricity again.

Trams, trains, trolleybuses, bicycles and good old shoe leather have none of these problems. This is why, if we’re serious about the planet, we need to sink serious money into them.

Louis Guilbault



• Email:

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

• Submissions should be no more than 250 words; subject to editing for length and clarity. Provide your contact information; it will not be published. Avoid sending your letter as an email attachment.

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