Letters Sept. 7: floating bridge, Cowichan River, old-growth trees

Build a floating bridge across Saanich Inlet

A 3.5-kilometre floating bridge (similar to Kelowna’s) from Coles Bay to the Mill Bay ferry terminal (or just north of it) could be the solution to our traffic woes. This makes total sense geographically.

We have a massive inlet creating a fulcrum point at Goldstream that every resident of Greater Victoria must venture through to get up-Island.

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Creating a loop would divide Malahat traffic in half and address the core of our traffic issues.

This would be a long-term, year-round solution that solves Malahat shutdowns and alleviates much of the traffic congestion in the area. I’m surprised this option hasn’t been considered further by the people looking into the future growth of our region.

The infrastructure at McTavish is already set up to support traffic from the Pat Bay highway to a potential bridge point.

We always seem to be catching up to our growth rate and never trying to prepare for it. With more people starting to realize this is the best place to live, the more we become overrun. Spending money to create temporary paths, limited fixes, and non-vehicle solutions do not make much sense to me. Let’s spend the money and do it right.

Dorian Redden
Cobble Hill

Appreciation for David Sovka’s travel writing

I would like to thank David Sovka for his highly entertaining travel blogs published in the past couple of Saturday issues of the Times Colonist Travel section. To use his own description of himself, he is way, way past his prime but he can still write a good yarn and entertain the readers.

My husband Morey and I love travelling, and have read most of your published pieces by Seattle-based Rick Steves. However, last year when David wrote of their biking adventures in Costa Rica, I became hooked to his style of writing.

Later, he wrote of his harrowing ordeal post-heart attack, and now they are biking in Tuscany, arguably one of the most beautiful travel spots in Europe; he adds his own comic interpretation to his journey.

Please keep presenting pieces written by one of our own local writers and kudos to David.

Fern Anderson
Cobble Hill

Liberals were right to oust candidate

Re: “What constitutes anti-Semitic comment?” letter, Sept. 5.

The Montreal candidate Hassan Guillet was ousted from the federal Liberal Party because B’Nai Brith exposed his series of hateful anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments that he has made over the past few years.

I applaud the actions of the federal Liberal Party for sending a clear message to all Canadians that it will not tolerate any candidate that spreads hateful, evil and bigoted attitudes and lies.

Lorna Denning

Cowichan Lake weir needs to be raised now

Re: “Rescuing a river,” Sept. 1.

Before we pat ourselves on the back for rescuing the Cowichan River from the effects of climate change, we had better take a look at the rescue solutions. Pumping out Cowichan Lake will provide a minimum flow for the river now, but it is draining the lake by up to 58 centimetres, which creates other risks. Before the spawning season can start, there needs to be a surge of water in the river to trigger spawning in the salmon, which will be massing in Cowichan Bay (and being picked off by predators). The river surge will be delayed this year because the rain will have to fill up the lake first, before the river gets more water than the pumped minimum flow.

Total rainfall in Lake Cowichan for September and October was 294 millimetres in 2017, and 302 mm in 2018, according to Environment Canada measurements. It is scary to think how late the spawning season could be this year, delayed by the rain filling the lake first.

Indications are that the weir at Cowichan Lake will be raised in about three years. The delay is totally unacceptable: the higher weir needs to be in place by fall 2020. Waiting three years will put the entire Coho salmon population at risk, with delayed spawning and low summer water levels both contributing to decreased numbers.

We have known for years that the weir needed to be raised, but did nothing. Now it is an emergency.

Craig Elder

Cowichan weir needs proper management

There has been plenty of water in and through Cowichan Lake and into the Cowichan River over the course of this past winter. In December 2018, during the storm that toppled many trees and downed power lines, leaving Youbou without power for four days, the lake was several feet higher than what has become known as “full lake storage.” Property owners around the lake suffered significant damage due to the high lake level and wave action.

All the winter water was allowed to drain down the Cowichan River with the weir wide open, until it was well below the top of the weir. It wouldn’t matter if the weir was 10 feet higher than it is now. If the gates of the weir are left wide open, the water will drain out of the lake.

The problem is that there is no lake level management in the winter and spring months. We have watched the summer lake level suffer in similar ways the past several years. There is lots of water in the lake in the winter and, rather than monitoring and managing it, the water is permitted to flow out to the ocean. In coming years, unless there is proper management of the weir throughout the year, the same thing will happen.

I am not in support of spending millions of taxpayer dollars to do a study and even more millions of taxpayer dollars to build an unnecessary dam. The weir that is in place must be managed properly, 365 days a year.

Wendy Webb
Saanich and Youbou

Where the money comes from

The next few months we will be informed repeatedly of government-funded programs. But the funding is actually provided by taxpayers, not government.

Please remember this when casting your vote.

And remember to vote.

Bill Wonnacott

A recipe to save our old-growth trees

There should be no more logging of our B.C. coastal old-growth trees, period.

Hire several independent foresters to put a dollar value on what remains.

Pay the forest companies what they would have made less 50 per cent, but on a layaway plan.

Pay the logging company employees what they would have made less 50 per cent, but on a layaway plan.

The money to pay both these groups would come from:

An extra tax on the tourist industries that profit from the old-growth trees and an international fundraising campaign called Save the Old Growth.

Any outstanding balance would be paid for out of the provincial treasury, using revenues from carbon taxes and/or green taxes.

Dave Secco

Taxes are effective in changing behaviour

Re: “No mystery to why gasoline prices are high,” column, Sept. 4.

After reading Lawrie McFarlane’s column on gas prices, I am appalled that 1) he apparently forgot to read the recent B.C. Utilities Commission report before sharing his ill-informed opinions on what it says and 2) he confuses the solid science on greenhouse gases and their devastating impact on our planet’s future with what he terms “ideology.”

After reading his articles over the years, it is apparent that his ideology is clearly that taxes are to blame for most everything. He intimates that taxes solely explain our elevated gas prices, which the commission’s report clearly refutes.

He also seems to be completely ignorant of research that demonstrates the value of tax policy on shaping human behaviour: It does work, whether in form of “sin taxes” to reduce, or incentives to promote, personal choices.

The tax-based disincentives to curtail greenhouse gases are not ideological, they are a rational response to a global crisis. Greenhouse-gas taxes are a necessary, but insufficient, way to help meet B.C.’s and Canada’s obligations under the Paris Accord. If anything, the policy approaches taken by our governments must be broadened to include more incentives and disincentives, not less.

Howard Brunt
North Saanich

Bike-lanes network prepares us for future

Like it or not, Lisa Helps is an inadvertent genius for setting up the bike-lanes infrastructure in the advent of e-bikes, which will revolutionize transit by turning an exercise machine into an actual mode of transportation. The whiners can then ditch their gas guzzlers for e-bikes and Lisa’s bike lanes will be ready for them. In the meantime, why isn’t there a pedicab taxi service all along the Galloping Goose to take commuters to and from town?

Gary Hamilton

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