Letters Sept. 29: We need a historic district; Colwood ferry idea; children as leaders

Victoria needs a historic district

In the Sept. 27 Islander, Nick Russell is astute: “Please stop calling these goldrush era warehouses “Junk Buildings.”

“Goldrush” recalls frontier Victoria – but the term invites questions for downtown’s future. Gone are natural resource heydays: Goldrushes, fur-trading, whaling, sealing, fisheries, and forestry booms.

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So what resource remains at hand for this century? How about our urban history itself – represented so concretely in Victoria’s heritage buildings.

There are City of Victoria options to support the proper restoration of this Goldrush Cluster: To contribute the adjacent roadway for a complementary development (holding to established criteria for limited height, density, and contextual design); and/or to utilize a “bonus density transfer” program providing a fiscal lift, while shifting new development to under-used areas like the Douglas/Blanshard corridor, north of downtown.

Victoria’s resource boom economies will never return – but with wisdom, an authentic historic district can remain as a stake-hold for the future.

Chris Gower
Oak Bay

A stranger helps to protect new car from rain

My husband Pat went fishing last Wednesday with buddies to Beecher Bay. Parked at Cheanuh Marina at about 6 a.m. in our brand new SUV.

It was dark and drizzling. Being a new car, he inadvertently opened the passenger window all the way down, locked the car and went off to meet his buddies, leaving valuables in the car.

Wednesday was one of the worst days for rain. It absolutely poured with wind.

Several hours later, Pat came back to what he thought was a break-in. Thankfully, he was wrong.

Someone had noticed the wide open window in the pouring rain, found a piece of plastic to cover the opening, and secured it with their own bungy cords.

We are sure this saved our new car from damage to the electrical components in the door. Nothing was missing. They did not leave a note or name.

This is our way to thank them.

Linda Plunkett

U.S. war games hurt our whales

I was heartened to read that the new born Orca whale calf, J57, is well and healthy. Let’s hope that he and his pod continue to thrive.

My concern is that the U.S. Navy’s military war games in the Strait of Juan de Fuca will have a detrimental effect, not only on J57 but on all of his pod. It’s astonishing that war games are happening so close to us.

The underwater noise from the naval sonar, sonic booms and torpedoes severely harm aquatic mammals.

The U.S. Navy’s own research shows that high-intensity, mid-frequency active sonar, causes hearing loss and hemorrhaging in dolphins and whales.

As well, American and British research has found that naval activity is a probable cause of many mass stranding events where whales beach themselves and die.

Don’t these beautiful mammals deserve better than this?

Lia Fraser

Hydrogen fuel makes sense

Re: “Say yes to electric cars, but no to hydrogen cars,” letter, Sept 24.

The way that hydrogen is produced is not by compressing methane gas, but by the electrolysis of H2 and O2 gas simultaneously, from ordinary water. One advantage of this energetic reaction is that the byproducts are pure water. There are impressive new technologies related to the use of hydrogen as fuel for buses and trucks, which are big polluters.

Marg MacQuarrie

Reckless and uncaring behaviour

I am appalled that Dr. Bonnie Henry is receiving death threats. And this for stoically and determinedly trying to save our lives? Outrageous! She is a much loved, admired and wonderful person and everyone needs to remember that it is only the reckless and uncaring behaviour of the few which is forcing her to make her rulings.

If everyone was sensible, responsible and considerate, including the jerk who threatened her, COVID-19 would be contained by now and none of this would be necessary.

Doreen Langmead
View Royal

Gratitude for the work of Dr. Henry

During my 30 years of police work I have observed that for every dedicated, hard-working and intelligent person like Dr. Bonnie Henry in this world, there is always some horrible little talentless miscreant who is envious of that person’s success.

They are inevitably cowards and the anonymity of social media has been an absolute godsend for their type of vile behaviour.

Every decent person in this province stands with Henry and supports her. Thank her for all that she has done and continues to do for us.

Len Dafoe
Nanoose Bay

Few children are leaders of anything

Re: “Young people are leaders in addressing climate emergency,” commentary, Sept. 24.

To say that “young people are leaders in addressing climate emergency” is nonsense. Few children are leaders in anything beyond their peer groups; indeed, most are easily led and have their opinions handed to them by those who have no qualms about how they pursue their own ends.

Children should spend their school years acquiring a balanced education that prepares them for constructive, fulfilling roles in society; they should not be indoctrinated by environmental extremists who lead them to believe that the world is coming to an end.

If children want to fight climate change, they should focus on the STEM subjects and then pursue careers where they can make direct contributions to developing new technologies. Taking professional-protesting days, waving signs, and then thinking that they have achieved something useful is delusional at best.

As for children suing the federal government, I wonder who came up with that idea? The article invokes the concept of “elders” and is heartened by their solidarity. Well, I’m pretty sure that I qualify as an elder, and yet I strongly disagree with such actions.

The article goes on to invoke Greta Thunberg who famously sailed across the Atlantic from Europe to America to avoid the carbon emissions of flying.

It would have been quite impressive had she done this in a $15,000 twenty-seven foot Catalina, but she didn’t. She sailed on a $6 mllion, 60-foot, state-of-the-art racing yacht, and subsequent voyages necessitated other crew members flying out, which more than negated the emissions that she saved.

M.H. Ward

Nothing new in the Colwood ferry idea

The proposal for a Colwood ferry is not the first to be ignored or put aside by the provincial government.

In the early 1900s there were private operators of launches between what was then downtown Esquimalt (within the current confines of CFB Esquimalt) and the shores of Belmont (now part of the military base adjacent to Fort Rodd).

These launches would depart from the dock in Esquimalt, near the end of the street railway lines, and transport foot passengers across Esquimalt Harbour. There were no schedules and service was very irregular.

In 1907, Colwood and Metchosin farmers along with the Colwood and Metchosin Development Association petitioned the provincial government to assist in the establishment of a steam ferry between Belmont and Esquimalt.

This would be a ferry capable of transporting horses and wagons with a passenger deck above, not too dissimilar from what we see from B.C. Ferries today.

More than 350 residents of Colwood and Metchosin signed the petition in favour of the establishment of the ferry service.

This represented a significant portion of the population of that time.

But the provincial government was not interested and by 1909, the proposal died away.

I am sure that, within a few years with the population growth of Colwood, the subject will be resurrected.

Ken Johnson

Taxes are cost of having a livable society

Re: “One question that Horgan must answer,” commentary, Sept. 25.

I want to categorically state that we do not need to hear the words, “No new taxes or tax increases in the next mandate.” In contrast to Bob Plecas’s assertion in the commentary, I believe the government should look at various forms of increasing its revenue, examining user fees, a harmonized sales tax, possibly some increases in income taxes, to name a few.

There are only three ways to pay for our increased COVID-19 related expenditure. One is through inflation, a second way is through tax increases, and a third way is through brutal and savage cuts to the programs we all need.

I have never felt myself to be overtaxed and have greatly prospered under our social safety net. Taxes are simply the cost of a decent livable society, the kind of society that I want to live in and pass on to my children. We forget that at our peril.

David Pearce


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