Letters Sept. 8: old-growth trees, drinking fee, buzz words

Logging of old-growth forests must be stopped

Re: “The old-growth logging showdown,” Sept. 1.

How sad that the NDP government has allowed not only the continuation, but an escalation, of the logging of B.C.’s valuable and unique old-growth forests.

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The quote from the B.C. Timber Sales spokesperson suggesting forestry practices are rooted in the precautionary principle and failing to auction off 20 per cent of the allowable annual cut would “put the integrity of the timber pricing system at risk” has me scratching my head.

I am neither a forester nor an economist, but my understanding of the precautionary principle is exercising prudence so as not to preclude future desirable options (i.e. watercourse protection, carbon sequestration, economic benefits of nature tourism), especially in the absence of certainty.

Given the minimal old growth remaining, the possible impacts to the whale rubbing beaches, and the urgent need to address climate change, one would think that forestry practices rooted in the “precautionary principle” would immediately end all logging of old growth until the possible impacts of the major change to the forest ecosystem can be more realistically ascertained.

In other words, Premier John Horgan, instruct B.C. Timber Sales to follow the precautionary principle and stop the logging of old-growth forests under their jurisdiction.

Karyn Woodland

Levy a per-drink fee to pay for policing

In his July 5, 2019 letter, B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth threw cold water on Victoria city council’s request for a regional police force. Not surprising, given the opposition of Saanich council.

Given the downloading of the Employer Health Tax onto VicPD, the general lack of support from Victoria council, a new solution is needed so that 911 calls do not go unanswered.

Many of the calls for service are a result of the relentless promotion of alcohol, particularly over the past 30 years. While downtown Victoria has not yet reached the complete nightly zoo that Granville Street in Vancouver has become, it is VicPD’s busiest time.

So, my suggestion: Ask the province for permission to levy a $1 per drink fee, on all alcoholic beverages served in licensed establishments within Victoria and Esquimalt. This would serve two ends: Firstly, it would furnish VicPD with $3 million to $5 million per year in revenue, and secondly, it would tax those whose alcohol consumption leads to many of the demand-for-service strains that VicPD suffers from.

Fin MacDonald

We need more climate champions

Re: “Environment champions want voters to make climate their main priority this fall,” Sept. 3.

I haven’t decided how to cast my vote in October’s federal election, but my No. 1 priority is the climate emergency. Without a livable planet, all else is moot.

I agree with David Suzuki and Stephen Lewis that we have to mobilize like never before.

We face a planetary crisis. Every species is at mortal risk from hurricanes, floods, forest fires and melting glaciers, caused largely by humans. I believe only a deep spirit of love and compassion for our tiny precious globe can break the cycle of fear and denial.

Our own history shows that, ultimately, love is a far greater force than fear. And love requires sacrifice.

I’m 71 with health problems, and most days I feel powerless, as so many politicians betray us with false promises. It’s easy to be cynical.

But I’m still willing to stand up for what I love, like those brave young students on strike for climate action. I’ll join them at the B.C. legislature with my walker on Friday, Sept. 27.

I’ll decide how to vote after I’ve grilled every candidate at the 100 Debates on the Environment (100debates.ca) on Oct. 3.

We need climate champions like never before, willing to stand up to their own party leaders. Champions from all parties. And fortunately for Victoria, we have some fine candidates running for office.

There’s still hope.

Terry Dance-Bennink

No need for Victoria council to ‘move forward’

Re: “A buzz-words glossary would have helped,” letter, Sept. 5.

I share the writer’s concern over buzz-words and phrases. These days, I find myself grinding my teeth when yet another politician speaks about “moving forward.”

In the case of Victoria council, I’d rest easier if it could talk about standing still — or even going backward.

J.G. Lover
Oak Bay

No need for another external oversight body

Re: “Lawsuits highlight need to evaluate foster-care system,” editorial, Sept. 6.

Let’s see … we have a commissioner of freedom of information to ensure the government is abiding by its own law.

We have an external body to ensure that police are acting the way police are required to conduct themselves, we have an ombudsman to oversee military brass conduct, we have a body that oversees CSIS to ensure they are collecting data in a lawful manner. And now, your long-winded editorial is suggesting yet another external body to oversee the government’s foster-care system.

All this because two adults are suing, blaming their drug addiction and homelessness on the government foster care program. God help us!

My advice:

To the former “victims” of foster care: sue your parents, not the government.

To their lawyer: go chase an ambulance.

To the judge that will hear the case: dismiss the case or the lawyers will be circling the homeless camps for potential clients, as flies circle a manure pile.

John Walker
Cobble Hill

They paved paradise, and put up an orca exhibit

Re: “Splashy exhibit to focus on orcas,” Sept. 6.

They killed all the orcas

And put replicas in a museum

And charged the people

Twenty-five dollars to see ’em.

Don’t it always seem to go

That you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone

Hey, now they paved paradise

To put up condominiums.

(Apologies to Joni Mitchell)

Fred Mallach

Tax hurts middle-class retirees, not millionaires

Re: “Speculation tax comes, and good people go,” Sept. 4

It’s not just that the misnamed “speculation tax” will not solve the housing problem for the majority of Victoria residents who cannot afford a place to live.

It’s that the impact of this unaffordable tax on retired foreign owners, living on fixed incomes (and who have spent thousands of dollars locally over their years of ownership), is truly devastating.

Retirement plans of a lifetime for thousands are wiped out for the sake of low-income British Columbians who will never be able to afford the homes the retirees are being forced to sell.

This current government has brought shame on itself for its unfeeling and heartless policy of ignoring the welfare of the many retirees who bought second homes in the Victoria area. They had assurance that they could own those homes with no other tax burden than paying 25 per cent of any gain to the government upon sale, which they accepted as part of their purchase. But no longer.

The speculation tax is a vindictive tax grab from “low-hanging fruit” (foreign owners), who, of course, can’t vote. Back in the 1960s, we had a saying that applies here: The end doesn’t justify the means.

The bottom line is that this is a tax policy worthy of Donald Trump: Drive out the middle-class foreign owners and keep only the multi-millionaires. Is this what the NDP stands for? It stinks!

Robert S. Boehm

Once-beautiful Victoria is becoming undesirable

Re: “Victoria’s economic plan looks to the future,” comment, Aug. 31.

I currently live up-Island, but I lived in Victoria in the 1980s and again for a few years in the 1990s. I loved Victoria and often thought that I would settle there in my retirement.

I travel to Victoria frequently related to my work, and with each passing year I notice a decline in the city’s charm. In the past few years, I chose not to linger when my work was done and to leave as soon as possible. The downtown core is beginning to resemble the east end of Vancouver. The streets are dirty, the homeless line the sidewalks and to walk the streets in the downtown core is to run the gauntlet of people begging and/or passing out and/or hurling abuse.

I read the Times Colonist daily and I agree with the many comments regarding the decline of the city. A tourist from Arizona wrote that he would no longer make the trek to Victoria after many years of visiting.

Hopelessness, mental health and addiction are by far the most urgent issues in the city. The mayor and her council would do well to pull themselves out of the clouds and focus on the critical matters.

It is the folks who visit, either from out of town or local areas, and spend money on food, entertainment, transportation, and shopping that provide the dollars that support businesses that pay taxes.

A withdrawal of visitors and residents from the downtown core will have a cost, especially in a city that depends on tourism. My observation is that Victoria is at a tipping point right now when it comes to welcoming visitors.

I feel only sadness that a once-beautiful colourful city has become undesirable to many.

Deborah Joyce

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