Letters Oct. 5: Christmas lights, hiking advice, care homes

Help homeless instead of buying lights

Re: “$500,000 Christmas lights dazzler planned for Centennial Square,” Oct. 4.

If you go to Centennial Square at night and early morning, it is full of homeless people. They will see a $500,000 Christmas display as an insult. Cannot you use that money in a better way, to help the Centennial Square homeless people, than wasting it on something so absurd as this action?

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A.C. Patella

Stop and look around while hiking

When we were teenagers, we hiked through all the woods around Thetis Lake and all the lakes close by. We were ardent fisher lads.

We usually hitchhiked, so we were really on our own when we got to an access point. Most of it was poorly marked trails, but not all, and we were never lost.

We always carried a compass, flashlight, food and a warm sweater or jacket, even on summer days, and we always knew the sun was south.

One very, very good practice, whether you hike alone or in a pair or group, is for everyone in the group to stop every hundred or so yards, turn around and look back to where you just came from.

It only takes a few seconds, and you’d be surprised how recognizable the terrain looks on the way back. One side of a huge tree or outcropping of rock can look a lot different from the opposite side.

When we were older teens, we hiked several miles through forest with just a compass and topographical map and above-mentioned necessities.

Be aware and take care.

Dennis F. Begg

Care homes should be not-for-profit

Re: “Island Health takes over seniors’ home amid allegations of abuse, neglect,” Oct. 2.

“Nanaimo seniors care home ‘beyond crisis,’ union says,” Oct. 3.

We have two parents at Nanaimo Seniors Village. The staff and care aides there are kind, caring and hardworking individuals who are diligent in their efforts with clients. They have become people we trust with the care of our parents.

That said, the facility is terribly understaffed and staff are overtaxed in providing the level of care we expect and they wish to provide.

In the assisted living building, my mother receives adequate support. However, on the complex-care side where my father resides, the staff are worked off their feet.

Several people with dementia and handicaps need to be washed and dressed in the morning, toileted and fed. Residents’ rooms and the dining room need to be cleaned. Medications need to be given. On and on it goes.

They simply cannot meet the demand of the standards of care expected with the staff available. Staff get discouraged and leave. No one wants to work that hard and feel unsuccessful at the end of day, especially at the low wages they are paid, even though they love the work they do.

More care aides must be trained and out-of-province care aides vetted and registered as quickly as possible. If they are providing the same level of care as hospital staff, they must be paid accordingly. I have been told that many recruits want part-time work. It is not difficult to accommodate that. The public school system does it all the time by pairing people in permanent part-time positions to create a 100 per cent position.

Senior residential housing and care cannot be a bottom-line business. All of the care homes should be “not-for-profit” to provide the best service possible.

Daryl Grunlund

Lights a simple fix for Prospect Lake Road

Re: “Prospect Lake crash renews safety push,” Oct. 2.

“ICBC statistics show 78 crashes on Prospect Lake Road from 2013 to 2017. That figure includes 26 crashes at the intersection with West Saanich Road, and 21 near the location of Monday evening’s fatality, where Munn Road meets the rural road.”

Obviously, based on the number of crashes in these two areas, both need traffic-control lights. Simple fix.

Bennett Guinn

Letters reflect ‘us and them’ syndrome

The letters to the editor page in the Times Colonist has become a sad reflection of some of the people that live on the Island.

The “us and them” syndrome has reached epidemic levels.

Grouping people into segments may be convenient for some academics and politicians, but communities can only prosper when all people are treated and respected equally.

Seniors are not a sub-species; we are just as actively involved in every part of our community as any other age group.

Certainly, our needs and priorities have changed throughout our lives, but our hopes and challenges remain the same. We face life one day at a time.

It is time we all took a step back to focus on what can we do individually for the betterment of everyone.

I suggest that to start with, we do everything possible to ensure that everyone has the four basic items necessary to lead a fulfilling life: a roof over their heads, access to adequate health care, education and nutrition.

Once we have those in place, many social issues will be eased.

Come on Islanders. We are a community, not a bunch of rabble rousers.

Roy Summerhayes

Rental subsidies will go to landlords

Jagmeet Singh needs to understand that the $1.35 billion per year he proposes to subsidize renters will pass immediately through their hands into those of the corporate landlords who are mercilessly plundering Canadian renters and have been for the last 30 years.

Subsidizing these bandits by putting money in the hands of their victims only emboldens them to do worse. Price controls are a far more rational and equitable policy.

Bill Appledorf
James Bay

Staying on the right makes sense

Re: “Right is right: Keep all trail users on the right,” comment, Sept. 29.

My husband and I are fairly new to bicycle riding on the trails around Greater Victoria. We enjoy the Lochside and Galloping Goose trails immensely.

I agree that all trail users should stay on the right side. On many occasions we have had to pass pedestrians who are on the left side facing us and it does become very dangerous when a cyclist is passing them from behind at the same time.

My biggest concern, though, is the failure of cyclists to warn other trail users of their intent to pass. Cycling is a very silent mode of transportation and many times during every ride, cyclists whiz past and I have no idea they are coming.

Once, I did a shoulder check to cross over the path to my left, only to very nearly hit another rider passing me so fast, I didn’t see them until the last second.

The signs are posted stating “keep to the right and warn others before you pass” for a reason.

Cathy Totten

Walk on the left to improve safety

Re: “Right is right: Keep all trail users on the right,” commentary, Sept. 29.

John Luton argues that if everyone walks and rides to the right, pedestrians will be safer on multi-use trails.

With respect, John, I’ll differ. The old (now ignored) rule of always walking on the left, facing traffic nearest you, when we all use the same surface, was there to improve safety.

It meant that we could see vehicles approaching, and slow, move farther to the side, in order to avoid getting hit, and the driver could see whether we had observed his presence.

Cyclists on shared paths approach pedestrians at much the same speeds (20-30 km/h) no matter whether we are approaching from front or rear. Pedestrians tend not to look behind them, as they walk, and so will, of necessity, be ignorant of our approach.

The only prudent thing for a cyclist to do is to assume that the pedestrian is not aware, and sound a warning, slowing to a walking pace as he does so.

Will we do this? Let me doubt it. We are (both sides) obsessed with our “rights,” when what we should be thinking of, all the time, is our responsibility — for our own safety, if nothing else. I’ll walk left, and watch, thanks.

John A. Laidlaw

Kudos for new bike lanes

Visiting Victoria for the first time in a year, I have enjoyed reading all the kerfuffle around kids who may have traveled to Victoria’s Skolstrejk for Klimatet in fossil-fueled vehicles.

But all those eager words-chasing-words cannot detract from the substantial improvements Victoria has made to its bike-path infrastructure.

As septuagenarians who each decade get a bit more cautious when on two wheels, we were thrilled with all the dedicated lanes and routes now available everywhere here.

Kudos and huzzahs are wholly deserved and earned.

W. Baird Blackstone

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