Letters July 12: Children’s health must be job one; bike-valet service a winner

The health of the child is the top priority

Years ago, after the death of a First Nations child who was awaiting a funding decision among three jurisdictions, a First Nations advocacy agency articulated the Jordan’s Principle … a common-sense principle that essentially stated that a child’s health should be the priority and the jurisdictional battles can be fought afterward.

At the time, I thought that was just common sense. Since then I’ve learned that common sense is just not that common. Why is it that when a cost-benefit analysis of the health of a child or marginalized community is concerned, health always seems to come in on the wrong side of the ledger?

There is, however, a noted difference during COVID, but that is because the health of the privileged is or can be as compromised as that of any other community. And in fact, if not, a marginalized community is affected, there is a great danger that it will infect the wider communities.

No one wants to pay to provide this little community of Wuikinuxv of Rivers Inlet … not Island Health, not the First Nations Health Authority and not Vancouver Coastal Health. “Let’s just pass the buck” seems to be the order of the day. And until we decide (yawn) the members of the community can go without medical services.

I know that bureaucrats are people and have families and lives, so I cannot understand why they lack the imagination to put themselves in the place of the members of Wuikinuxv.

What if the child at risk was their child? What if it was their partners, their mothers and fathers, their community? Wouldn’t they then turn over heaven and earth to have their medical needs met?

Lacking the imagination, they could just put Jordan’s Principle into action.

Lorraine Calderwood-Parsons

Saanich

Thank you, Victoria, for the new valet service

We had cycled down to Victoria last week and were so pleasantly surprised to find the bike valet service. What a game changer.

Now we can cycle into Victoria, leave our bikes and stay for a while, enjoying the stores and restaurants.

I’m crossing my fingers this program runs all year round.

Terry Freitag

Sidney

Missing-middle idea is excessive and reckless

The City of Victoria’s missing middle housing proposal is an excessive change in Victoria’s residential zoning.

It will be voted on council on Thursday, but it is ill-advised.

Consider these facts:

The proposal will increase the number of dwelling units from two to six on any residential property and it will allow up to 12 townhouses at the ends of any residential city block.

A building of more than 15,000 square feet will be permitted (more than double what is currently allowed on even the largest city lot), and it can be 10 feet higher than current rules.

This is excessive and reckless compared with other cities.

Last week, Toronto’s planning and housing committee advanced its multiplex proposal for two, three or four four-dwelling units on residential properties to council and promised more consultation with the public.

In January, the City of Vancouver approved its missing-middle concept and they added affordability safeguards (development fees to fund public benefits, capturing the increase in land value to preserve affordability and tenant protections). They also didn’t up-zone the entire city, but limited the change to 2,000 lots.

I hope Victoria councillors will scale back the proposal and build in affordability safeguards.

Steve New

Victoria

Don’t hurt tourism with new housing strategy

An oft-overlooked problem with the city’s proposed Missing Middle Housing Initiative is the negative impact it will have on tourism during an already difficult economic recovery.

As a travel writer, I recommend Victoria frequently in stories for Marriott Bonvoy Traveler, G Adventures, and Via Rail. From Beacon Hill Park to Craigdarroch Castle, many key Victoria tourist attractions are surrounded by residential neighbourhoods whose houses and gardens are integral to the city’s charm.

However, the proposed blanket upzoning emboldens developers — unconstrained by affordability requirements — to morph Victoria into a construction zone of six-plexes and 12-unit townhouses. These buildings can be close to 75 per cent bigger than current zoning allows. That will damage the beauty that visitors praise on TripAdvisor and reduce repeat visits.

Much like the ill-fated billion-dollar proposal to redevelop the Royal B.C. Museum, the Missing Middle Housing Initiative has been rushed forward without meaningful public consultation. It’s time to hit the brakes and create a new strategy that prioritizes Victoria’s tourism allure as the “City of Gardens” — while also actually providing affordable housing for average-income households.

Lucas Aykroyd

Vancouver

Outside influences can hurt Canada

Re: “A cycling journey, Uvalde, and Canada’s future,” commentary, July 9.

The commentary by Paul Bucci was very evocative and captured perfectly my concerns for our great country.

We have seen an escalation in divisiveness in the political arena. Some of our politicians have embraced radical and conspiratorial messaging. This appears to be opportunistic (looking for votes?) and escalated with the recent “freedom” convoy. The convoy included representation from questionable actors, from our neighbour to the south.

While I fervently believe that the majority of my fellow Canadians are still kind and welcoming, it is my fear that the pushing of this divisiveness is self-perpetuating.

It has been said before that when the U.S. sneezes, Canada catches a cold. In today’s experiences I would upgrade that to: when the U.S. explodes, Canada implodes.

We must protect ourselves from destructive outside influences and remember our values, and that it is “we” together that will see us through.

Dawn Devereaux

Victoria

When a hug makes a huge difference

The Great Gatsby begins: In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice. “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

It was a cold morning when outside of a coffee shop a young man quietly sat with his head between his knees. I asked if he wanted something to eat and a warm drink.

When I returned moments later he stood rubbing his hands together for warmth. We talked for a brief time when I asked if I could hug him.

He stood for a moment staring at me with tears running down his face. “It’s been a long time since anyone’s hugged me. Thank you.”

An emotional expression of gratitude from a young man who may not have had the advantages in life that I have had.

Please, let’s not be judgmental when it comes to the homeless in our community, it helps no one, it instead stigmatizes and humiliates those less fortunate in their struggle to live.

Linda Yates

Colwood

A hard hit in the wrong spot can cause death

As a retired police officer, I was surprised to see the use of the term “non-lethal” to describe the kinetic impact projectiles used recently to subdue the knife-waving suspect on Cook Street.

The projectiles, usually fired from a shotgun or some other purpose-built launcher, are relatively slow and have high mass compared to bullets or shotgun slugs and are made of non-metallic materials such as plastic or rubber.

They are not designed to penetrate the body, but rather to create an impact of such magnitude as to stun or otherwise render the person incapable of further violent action.

Sadly, though, these rounds can cause fatal blunt-force trauma and are now referred to as “less lethal” munitions; any time you hit a person with anything hard enough or in the wrong place, there is the possibility of causing death.

I don’t know about the Saanich police policy, but where I come from, less-lethal munitions are highly controlled devices used by trained operators and only deployed in the appropriate situations under the direction of the scene commander.

Len Dafoe

Nanoose Bay

We need to be tough with Vladimir Putin

So, once again the Russians have warned the West not to mess with a nuclear power.

And once again the sheeple in power and in the press, say nothing. Why is that?

It is long past time we read the riot act to Vladimir Putin. Target another maternity hospital or shopping centre, we will not only target a military site … it will be completely vapourized. Counterstrike another non-military site, and declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

Putin will keep killing the innocent until somebody tells him “it’s go time.”

Grant Maxwell

Nanaimo

Consider the real cost of dumping building waste

A recent letter to the editor suggested that waste from building demolition should be dumped in landfills because it is cost effective.

While this may be true for individual contractors and their clients, the opposite is true for society which currently subsidizes builders for dumping materials.

This is discussed in the report “Artificially cheap: Why landfills should charge the full cost of waste disposal” by the Ecofiscal group of economists. They show that dumping fees do not cover the cost of building and operating landfills let alone their social, health and environmental costs.

Landfills release around 20 per cent of Canada’s methane emissions, making them a significant contributor to climate change and the extreme weather experienced in the province last year.

The situation can be improved by either significantly increasing dumping fees or by introducing legislation to decrease the amount of building materials that end up in the dump.

The City of Victoria chose to encourage deconstruction and reuse of construction materials and took steps to make sure this does not decrease the building of new housing. From the economic, environmental and social perspectives this approach is more efficient and cost-effective than dumping reusable building materials.

Aidan Byrne

Victoria

For greater efficiency, combine the lineups

Will have to keep this letter short so that I have time to navigate the bike lanes on my way to the hospital at 30 km/h so that I can wait six to 10 hours for a non-emergency because there are no family doctors in one of only two countries in the world (the other being North Korea) that has an exclusively public health-care (sic) system.

In order to expedite some of our failed systems, perhaps a passport office could be set up at the Victoria General Hospital so that the wait times can be combined.

Grant Schnurr

Victoria

Harbour authority should be ashamed

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority should be ashamed for their lack of action regarding the cruise ships being forced to pollute the city while docked at Ogden Point.

Furthermore, the GVHA should be ashamed for bragging on their website that 48 per cent of ships are capable to connect to shore power. However, the problem is there is no receptacle for the ships to plug in at the pier, so they must run an auxiliary engine for their electricity needs.

The GVHA should clarify its website to add the fact that it is not capable of providing shore power. The authority should hastily get on with making shore power available.

Victoria council should also be more forceful and require the GVHA to install receptacles to provide electrical shore power to cruise ships as it is done in most cities.

The cruise ships are a great industry for this city. It is up to the GVHA and council to assume their responsibilities to ensure the required services are provided to the ships, and there is minimum disruption to the citizens of the city.

Roger Cyr

Victoria

On the other hand, the play was great

As an avid theatre-goer, I appreciate the commitment to the staging of productions throughout our community. Contrary to a recent write-up by a Times Colonist reviewer, my guests and I found the Blue Bridge Theatre’s We Can’t Pay! We Won’t Pay! an excellent and hilarious depiction of the solidarity movement in the 1980s. We laughed so much at the antics of the very capable cast that our cheeks hurt.

It is definitely a “farcical” view, and the local and B.C. spin to the dialogue was a great touch. Thank you local theatre companies for all your hard work and dedication. You deserve bravos.

Susan Morriss

Victoria

Flag is for everyone, not individual beliefs

Recent letters said Adrian Raeside’s cartoon was divisional. Sorry, but Adrian was right on.

The Canadian flag represents our country, not individual beliefs. The freedom convoys and their beliefs should have represented themselves with something that really points to their cause.

I have no examples to offer, but I’m sure someone has some. Tarnishing the Canadian flag in that matter is disgusting. It will take Canadians a long time to wash that nonsense off the flag.

As Stacy Keach said in The Bourne Legacy: “They used to call that treason.”

Lee Zwaal

Parksville

This app carries more weight than a passport

On the inside cover of the Canadian passport it states in part “to allow the bearer to pass freely without delay or hindrance.”

The ArriveCAN information states that failure to complete, submit or have errors on the form you may be denied boarding if travelling by air or cruise ship, denied entry into Canada if travelling through a land border and subject to fines and enforcement action.

Reading this it tells me that the ArriveCAN form carries more weight than a passport. Not only that, but your information may be shared with private contractors working with the federal government and other government institutions as well as provincial, municipal governments, international health institutions and their affiliates.

William Jesse

Victoria

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