Letters Oct. 8: $500,000 Christmas lights, non-profit elder care, 10 billion trees

Looking forward to seeing the lights

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

I haven’t been more proud of the Downtown Victoria Business Association since the good ol’ Ken Kelly days. What a brilliant move, putting a light display in Centennial Square during the holiday season. To the letter writer who says they should have used the money to help the homeless who camp in the square, I say it is time for the mayor to enforce the no-camping bylaw, and to allow VicPD to do its job.

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We keep throwing money like peeing into a hurricane at the homeless issue. We can address it without letting our core go to ruin with camping, feces, needles and safety concerns.

Our Place Society has stepped up their offerings and we have shelters. Let’s all tone down the “we aren’t doing anything” every time a dollar is spent for the enjoyment of our holiday seasons.

City of Victoria, the last thing anyone in Victoria needs is our visitors stepping over a homeless camper while getting back on their bus to return to the cruise ship. That happens almost every day in high season and you do nothing.

Stop allowing this entitlement to affect the greater good.

Derek Sanderson

Better ways to spend $500,000

If the Downtown Victoria Business Association has $500,000 to spare, surely they can find something more useful to do with it than this project at a time when we are endeavouring (aren’t we?) to consider the environment and cut waste. Talk to the folks at Our Place Society; I bet they have a few good ideas. Why not invest it and build low-cost rental housing?

Or, if you must keep it out of the hands of the needy, how about removing all the disgusting chipping paint from city hall and doing what’s necessary to put it back to its original un-painted brick?

That would improve Centennial Square all year.

Anne Swannell

There are more urgent needs than light show

How discouraging to see the decision to spend $500,000 on a light show.

Surely we can be more fiscally responsible with so many urgent needs in our city. How much food for the food bank, how many shelter mats, how many training programs or drug and alcohol awareness programs — just to mention a few.

M.A. McGee

Getting rid of expensive habits

Re: “ ‘Entitled’ millennials should skip $5 lattes,” letter, Oct. 4.

The key things the letter-writer mentions — $5 lattes, $800 phones — are things I feel best avoided by all age groups. As a 28-year-old, I figured these things out five years back or so. 

I don’t know if you fully understand the harsh economic conditions we face. Average full-time earnings have not kept pace with average home prices.

I am weaning myself off the few expensive habits I do have (the convenience of takeout food when having to work full-time along with study).

But it would be appreciated if some acknowledgement of this reality was made, and there was an attempt by the older generation to help by weaning off their unnecessary habits.

If I had a whole acre of land, I’d be growing food on it.

That doesn’t seem to be the average mindset of those owning large properties in Victoria, or those owning multiple properties they sit around in (or don’t for half the year).

Arek Hautaluoma
Oak Bay

It’s not a generational issue

Re: “A millennial’s complaint: ‘Boomers gonna boomer,’ ” comment, Oct. 6.

While I do not disagree with the writer’s opinion that it is extremely hard to feel empathy for people losing their second (million-dollar) home, I would like to opine that this is not a generational issue but a financial-inequity one.

Many of us boomers are not boomering. In fact, there are young people in our strata complex who are doing much better than the average Canadian boomer. They drive luxury vehicles and live in apartments bought by their parents (from within and without Canada) while they attend university or college.

I have an old heap that I rarely drive and still have a small mortgage. I am completely aware of the serious issues younger generations are facing.

I do what I can to facilitate action on these issues. So, please, let us not lay blame on any defined group of people, but rather on their individual behaviour.

Deborah Crawford

Praise for George Jay, but not the man

Re: “George Jay Elementary considers name change amid concerns about past,” Sept. 25.

I am a retired 65-year-old professional, reading about renaming George Jay Elementary School because of concerns over George Jay’s attitude toward the Chinese community.

I was fresh off the plane from Hong Kong in 1960, coming to Victoria to live when I was only six years old, not knowing one word of English.

I am grateful that I was allowed to come to that school without knowing any English whatsoever.

With the help of all those many wonderful teachers, I eventually managed to graduate from the University of Victoria. And that led to a successful career.

Had this George Jay got his wish and not allowed Chinese people to be given a formal education, I do not know where I would be now.

Whatever name you finally give this beloved school of mine, it would not erase the pain of all those poor kids that had to endure Jay’s discrimination.

Well, George Jay, just look around you, wherever you are now. Many of those Chinese kids are doing just fine and turned out to be quite successful citizens of this wonderful country.

Henry Low

Don’t hire for-profit firms for elder care

Re: “Care homes should be not-for-profit,” letter, Oct. 5.

My mother is a resident in the complex-care wing of Selkirk Seniors Village in Victoria, which is another of the for-profit homes for the elderly under the umbrella of Retirement Concepts and Pacific Reach Seniors Housing Management.

The problems and shortcomings the letter-writer is seeing in the Nanaimo facility are exactly what is happening here at Selkirk. I hold both Island Health (for contracting elder-care services to a for-profit company to begin with) and our federal government responsible for allowing the sale of these facilities to an enormous Chinese insurance company. These decisions were not made with the welfare of our elderly citizens in mind.

Elder-care responsibility should definitely not be given to for-profit companies, when the bottom line becomes the most important thing. This is public money and should not be used to enrich investors.

Annie Weeks

The cost to plant 10 billion trees

Re: “Green Party pledge: plant

10 billion trees by 2050,” Oct. 4.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has promised to plant 10 billion trees by 2050. Let’s figure this out.

Based on a population of 37 million, that would be 270-plus trees per person.

If each tree cost $106 ($75 for tree, $36 labour), that would be a little more than $28,620 per person.

However, probably at least a third of the population does not pay taxes (children, etc.), so we now have a cost of at least $38,160 per person.

This does not include management, properties to grow the trees, or the cost of planting 10 billion trees.

We had better get started, as that is over 333,000 trees a year. Yes, we need trees but let’s get realistic and not make promises we cannot keep.

Pamela Adams

Victoria councillor should have resigned

When one hires an employee, one expects that employee to work for diligently and, within the field, exclusively, even if that employment is part-time. One certainly doesn’t expect that employee to begin searching for a new job five months after getting the old one. Worse, one certainly doesn’t expect them to do so publicly.

When she announced her desire to run for the federal NDP nomination in February, Laurel Collins should have resigned on the spot. She already holds a second job at UVic; does she think being an MP will have such a low demand on her time she can have three jobs?

I think it is in incredibly poor taste and an exercise in featherbedding that an elected councillor is allowed to hold her present position just in case she loses on Oct. 21.

MD Hansen

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