Sunday letters, Feb. 10

Victoria right place for sea museum

Re: “Museum will be tough sell,” editorial, Feb. 5.

I applaud the efforts of the Maritime Museum of B.C. to evolve into a Canadian Maritime Museum.

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Victoria is the right place for a new national Maritime Museum.

• Victoria is a capital city.

• The entire early history of the West Coast has been maritime. Many First Nations traded up and down the coast in their canoes, and the Victoria Inner Harbour was an important meeting and trading place.

• The first European contact was maritime — the Russians followed by Spanish and British fur traders.

• The early history of B.C. was centred on Victoria. The gold rush flowed through Fort Victoria.

• B.C. was first settled by boatloads of settlers, miners and adventurers, all arriving in Victoria.

• The Royal Canadian Navy has a base here.

• The Canadian Coast Guard Operations, West Coast, are centred in Victoria.

• Victoria hosts the Swiftsure and the Classic Boat Festival.

• Most of the marine traffic in B.C. is commanded by B.C. pilots, centred in Victoria.

• B.C. Ferries, with head office in Victoria, has more vessels than many navies of the world.

A national Canadian Maritime Museum in Victoria is long overdue.

Ross Brand


Rushed plan could create new crisis

Re: “Saanich mayor eyes easing rental restrictions,” Feb. 5.

The current bylaw allowing no more than four unrelated persons to reside in a single-family dwelling is fair and generous and should stand as it is.

I acknowledge that Saanich, like many communities across Canada, is wrestling with housing affordability. Allowing four unrelated persons helps to address this, allowing secondary suites helps to address this, moving forward with cottage homes helps to address this, new student housing at the University of Victoria helps to address this and increased contractor impact fees for low-income housing helps to address this.

Also to note is the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan: “A variety of housing is available within each centre and village and along Shelbourne Street, supporting a diverse population in livable and complete neighbourhoods that provide easy access to a range of goods and services.” All of the above actions to address housing costs and livability are needed and supported.

I understand that this is not a bylaw change, only a motion to move forward and gather information. I find it telling that the memo did not include any wording to suggest keeping the bylaw as it is.

We need to call this what it is, an attempt to introduce rooming houses into single-family neighbourhoods without either changing zoning or assessing the impact to neighbourhoods. In our great rush to address the “housing crisis,” we must beware we are not creating a “family neighbourhood crisis” 10 years down the road.

Vernon Lord


Add urban rail to move tourists

Re: “Pedestrian-friendlier Government St. eyed,” Feb. 7; “Lost steel forces Ogden Point to use original plan for ship dock,” Feb. 6.

The larger cruise ships and the numbers of passengers who must be accommodated to traverse from Ogden Point to downtown Victoria will be impossible given the shorter timelines for the departures from the port (about five hours in some cases). Digging up Dallas Road for the sewage treatment project won’t help those timelines.

Why not put some of the catamaran vessels to good use and bring the passengers downtown to the Inner Harbour and use a pedestrian-friendly Government Street for the whole cruise-ship season?

However, before the excavations on Dallas Road are completed for the sewage treatment project, why couldn’t a European-style electrified urban rail system be in place to take passengers along Dallas and down Government all the way to Chinatown? Such an urban rail system would reduce the congestion, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and add a unique transit mode to Victoria’s Government Street pedestrian mall.

Rafe Sunshine


Victoria shows it is a loving city

Only in Victoria could one find one-third of the letters to the editor mourning the loss of a beloved tree. Is there a connection somewhere to Victoria being the most loving city in our country? OMG, I am so glad I live here!

Shirley Stirrett


Pipelines are safer than rail lines

Re: “Three dead after train derails near Field,” Feb. 5.

Yet another train derailment that took lives and spilled grain (it could have been oil) into a river highlights the need for pipelines, the safest, most efficient way to move product to shipping terminals.

Despite politically correct “flavour of the week” protesters getting their faces in the news media, the fact is that our whole way of life (including theirs) and economy depend on transportation. While there is no such thing as “zero risk,” we have the ability and technology to reduce it. Do it right, but do it.

Peter M. Clarke


No practical effect to climate plan

Surely Victoria has become the Virtue Signalling Capital of Canada. The climate cult in city hall has decided to spend even more taxpayer money on climate initiatives that have no practical application on affecting the climate on any scale other than the feel-good scale.

I appreciate the fact that encouraging people to exert themselves by cycling helps filter pollutants out of the atmosphere through their lungs, but they also exhale CO2 (a greenhouse gas).

Maybe they should be taxed on that?

Be that as it may, the estimate of motor vehicles in the world now is 1.2 billion. By 2035, it is estimated it will be two billion, almost double. I am not a scientist, but I think even if all the people in the world cycled, that would not be enough lung power to cancel out the pollution generated.

With Mayor Lisa Helps as Donna Quixote, and Coun. Ben Isitt as Sancho Panza, those evil windmills will be defeated. Windmills, how ironic.

James Knights


‘Common sense’ is stealing the future

I am sad and disheartened reading about “common sense” and progress from others stuck in the brainwashing of an industrial economy’s endless consumer increases.

We are now using three times the capacity of the planet in order to cling to growth-based standards of living. With our many billions of people, is this not destroying the future opportunity of our grandchildren to live on a fertile, diverse and beautiful planet?

All that counts for such “common sense” seems to be more consumption and addictions to technological conveniences. As people, have we not become fodder for industrial processes that are pillaging our wondrous planet?

Congratulations to Victoria’s mayor and others who are advocating the declaration of an environmental emergency. The earlier we begin to sacrifice our addictions and start protecting irreplaceable Earth resources, the less we and our children will have to suffer when the proverbial hits the fan. The oceans are dying, polar regions are melting, songbirds, fish and needed species are dying off, and human-essential forests and jungles are being sacrificed for global trade. How long must this manic growth culture keep stuck in the sway of an economy that forces everyone to comply with its madness?

How does our so-called economy nurture and preserve life, rather than the huge returns on investment for the one per cent? I fear that we are destroying the life on such a great planet to satisfy their rapacious needs.

Douglas Seeley


Per-capita CO2 is best comparison

Using a country’s total carbon dioxide output to judge its level of environmental care and concern is useless and utterly misleading.

China, as a country, will likely always have the highest CO2 emissions simply because it’s the most populous country. If no one on Earth used any fossil fuels, China would still emit the most CO2 by its people exhaling.

The way to determine a country’s care and concern regarding CO2 is the per-capita output, which is average output per person. For the year 2014, Wikipedia states Canadians pollute the earth’s environment with CO2 at double the volume of the Chinese. China’s per capita output is 7.5 tons of CO2 annually; Canadians are at 15.1 tons annually.

Congratulations and hats off to the Chinese for their care and concern of Earth’s air and environment. Should I add shame on Canadians?

Mark Henry


Be good neighbour: Leash your cat

I live in Oak Bay, and the municipal bylaw states: “If any animal shall be found running at large, straying, depasturing or trespassing … or found to be on any private property within the municipality without the consent of the owner of the property, it shall be lawful” for the pound to take them. In other words, your cat is not, by law, allowed in my yard.

I have spent time and money making my yard cat unfriendly, changing the layout, spreading bark mulch and installing sonic animal-deterring units, all in an effort to make my garden safe for my family. You can’t tell outside cats not to kill the birds or where to do their business, so they will do as they please and invariably in your neighbour’s yard.

I believe the whole cat issue is not so much an issue of laws as of common decency and being a good neighbour. Please be a good neighbour and keep your cat inside or on a leash.

L.D. Cowley

Oak Bay

Return of local eagles brings joy

Re: “One eagle dies, another freed after dozen fell ill in Cowichan,” Jan. 31.

After watching the beautiful eagle family in the nest at Saxe Point Park for many years, we have been biting our lip since the loss of so many eagles up-Island.

We hadn’t seen our neighbour eagles for several weeks and feared the worst. A few days ago, one appeared, and then, a few days later, both appeared, sitting in the spectacular nest at the top of the grand fir — as beautiful as ever.

We were filled with a bittersweet joy, so happy to see them, knowing full well that somewhere else on Vancouver Island, nest homes are empty.

Thelma Fayle


Maybe seniors should protest

Re: “Driving tests can be unfair for seniors,” column, Jan. 25.

Thank you to Steve Wallace for his comprehensive column about senior driving tests.

I have been rear-ended twice by young, inattentive drivers. Do they get tested after such an incident?

My driving abstract is perfect. Still, I will be subjected to close scrutiny when I reach a certain age, as if overnight I’ve become less capable.

I have out-of-province relatives who cannot believe what B.C. seniors have to go through. Maybe it’s time for us seniors to don yellow vests. There are enough of us.

Lucy Waldo


Safer drugs can stop rising death toll

Re: “City calls on B.C. for safer-drug help,” Jan. 26.

Fentanyl and its related poisons claimed more than 1,400 lives last year in B.C. Victoria and Vancouver have both asked the Union of B.C. Municipalities to support their request to the province that a safe drug supply be made available for distribution to citizens who use injection or inhaled drugs.

Though more individuals are training themselves to administer naloxone, an antidote to the poisons in the street-level drug supply, this will not affect the 70 to 90 per cent who use alone at home. Nor will acceding to the demand by police departments for larger operating budgets to put more officers on the street affect the grim statistics.

One action advanced by the UN Special Session of 2016, the health ministries of Canada and agencies here in B.C. is to provide a safe supply to interrupt the criminal networks, to save municipalities the mounting expenses of rescuing and treating overdose victims and, most significantly, to stop the death toll.

Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan said: “Drugs have destroyed many lives, but wrong government policies have destroyed many more.” It is time to do the right thing.

Derek Peach


Switch elections to a ranked ballot

Re: “There is still hope for election reform,” letter, Jan 31.

I think we can all agree that the only way to legitimately win a seat in the legislature is with a majority of votes.

This can easily be achieved with a ranked ballot.

Graeme Gardiner


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