Letters July 21: Do we really need giant lawns?; in search of politicians who care
Readers write about Adrian Raeside’s “missing middle” cartoon, Victoria’s potholes, and trying to connect with the provincial government.
We need more housing, not lawn ornaments
The Raeside cartoon about missing middle housing is right on, but I am not sure it was meant to be.
The cartoon shows the losses the current inhabitants of Victoria may lose out on with the Missing Middle Initiative. Huge lawns to dump their yard waste, a loss of some trees and tree houses, but stricter rules than we currently have to protect trees. Garden ornaments. Oh well, and of course our raccoons.
What we do get is a set of rules for development, not leaving it up to a 5-4 vote at the council table to decide project-by-project which one will get approved. Which one will create the least negative impact at the polls.
I haven’t checked lately, but I don’t believe anyone at our council table is a city planner.
I am happy to trade my compost pile, lawn ornaments and raccoons for some much-needed housing stock.
Let’s elect leaders who care for us
Nero played the fiddle while Rome burned.
Vladimir Putin razes the Ukraine while the world stands by impotently.
Justin Trudeau picks cherries while Canada is standing at the cliff of a recession.
Why does history repeat itself and we look in vain for politicians who have a modicum of intelligence and care for us all?
Richardson Street should be election issue
We went from Foul Bay to Moss Street on Saturday at 11 am About 40,000 people reportedly attended the Moss Street Paint-In. We encountered a bicycle on the whole route down Richardson.
This is a nice wide street that could easily, and did, accommodate both bikes and cars. Fairfield Road, which picks up half of the traffic, is now congested and has two schools and several parks.
Oak Bay, which picks up the other half, is now a two- or three-light backup at Foul Bay. The only way to make it worse would be to reduce the speed limit to 30 km/h.
Let’s recognize a mistake and make giving Richardson back an election issue for the fall.
Aldergrove to the Island, by way of Saskatoon
I doubt I am the only one that has encountered problems with Canada Post. But an exacerbating recent experience suggests Canada Post is in dire need of something — efficiency, for starters.
Some dates, as per Canada Post tracking.
A small parcel was posted to me on July 7 from Aldergrove, using Express Post (delivery in two business days) at a cost of $22. It was processed in Richmond the next day and arrived in Nanaimo on July 10. All good so far.
Then, on July 12, the item was in transit and processed in Saskatoon! Later, it was rerouted back to Nanaimo and finally received in Parksville on July 15 — six business days later.
Canada Post’s tracking system uses a “virtual assistant” if you have a delivery question. However, it is really a “faux chat” service that tries to appear the customer with prescripted general responses to questions.
It seems Canada Post wants you to think that you are chatting with a human who is giving you an answer in real time. Except—there is no human.
The answers are merely prescripted non-answers to common questions.
Here’s the answer received from the “virtual assistant” about why my item was sent to Saskatoon (after it had already arrived in Nanaimo):
“The path to an item may not be a direct line of travel between its origin and destination. Don’t worry, this is by design! We gather and process items in facilities with state-of-the-art equipment to increase efficiency.”
Go figure. Perhaps Canada Post should achieve efficiency before trying to increase it.
Can we just talk about a simple mistake?
It seems that the BC government has become an inaccessible fortress that can only be entered via a computer. There is no personal or face-to-face contact with any one or any department in the government stronghold.
In May I applied for the homeowner grant as a senior by using the website of the Ministry of Finance. But I made an error entering my folio number.
The website accepted my application and I was given a confirmation number. I thought it was all done.
However, in July I received a property tax invoice from the City of Victoria indicating that I owed taxes in the amount of my homeowner grant. After about two hours on the phone with someone from the ministry I was told that I had entered the incorrect folio number and I would have to pay the invoice.
I was advised that the ministry will investigate, but it will take about three months.
The ministry should obviously have not accepted and confirmed my application.
Given this three-month wait, I thought I would go to the ministry’s office at 1802 Douglas St. and explain that it was a simple mistake. It is unnecessary to proceed with a three-month investigation.
To my surprise, I could not even enter this government building. The public does not have access to our government employees to resolve an uncomplicated error.
I am a disabled senior, and I must now wait for this lengthy government bureaucracy to run its course to get my entitlement to the homeowner grant.
Surely, simple face-to-face contact could have resolved this issue in five minutes.
City is hospitable, but the potholes aren’t
We recently visited your gorgeous city as participants in the Deuce Days show from Wenatchee, Washington.
Your city overall was very nice and hospitable, but we noticed the two things that most detracted from it were the terrible streets and roads and the number of homeless that seemed to be allowed to throw up their camps wherever they wanted.
For a city as beautiful as Victoria, it was a shame that your streets are in such bad condition. Driving our 1932 Ford was very maddening because we had to look out for potholes and other obstacles, not to mention the concrete barriers everywhere for the bike lanes.
We had been to Victoria a few times in recent years, and this was the worst we’ve ever seen it.
The homeless camps and people seemed to be everywhere, and Sunday morning while out for a walk we came across a camp right on your Inner Harbour, the star feature area of your city that tourists see.
Why would your city council allow this to happen? We heard several comments from other participants about these two things during the weekend.
It’s really a shame.
Dinosaur car culture on full display
Deuce Days, a redneck celebration of toxic masculinity and dinosaur car culture, is the last thing Victoria needs.
Inviting this invasion of older white heterosexual males to parade their fetishized internal-combustion vehicles only perpetuates their notion of entitled privilege and the deeply entrenched interests of car culture, both of which Victorians have fought long and hard to put behind us.
Deuce Days belongs in a backwater hick town where these good ol’ boys hide from progress hoping for a return to the “good old days” when men were measured by the size of their car.
Many reasons to stop feeding the ducks
When I was a kid, I remember seeing signs in Beacon Hill Park telling people why it was a bad idea to feed the wildlife (especially the ducks). This led me to not feed the ducks anymore.
I know a reason why feeding the ducks is a bad idea, a reason not listed on the sign: feeding endangers the ducklings.
When mother ducks see birdseed, they often get distracted by the food and leave their ducklings alone in the water (the ducklings seem to mostly prefer bugs). This leaves the ducklings unprotected.
Also, the birdseed seems to attract crows and seagulls, which both prey on ducklings. I recently saw a family of ducklings eating seeds dangerously close to a group of crows and a seagull.
I also saw another mother who only had one little duckling left (she had around 10 earlier in the week).
Something to think about the next time you want to feed the ducks.
There is relief in sight — my suitcase has arrived
I am delighted to report that a suitcase, lost on a flight between Athens and London Heathrow on June 20, has pitched up at our door, unannounced.
Perhaps there will be light at the end of the tunnel before summer is over.
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