Letters July 15: Pandora vs. Beacon Hill; COVID-19 secrecy; social-distancing bonus

Consider what it is like for Pandora residents

A letter to the editor on July 2 suggested that Beacon Hill campers be moved to the “open spaces on Pandora Ave.”

That “open space” is directly adjacent to hundreds of residents, who have finally been given a slight glimpse of relief from all the problems others are experiencing as homeless folks are being moved into hotels and shelters in their neighbourhoods.

Those of us who reside on Pandora Avenue have had to deal with over a decade of the squalour, noise, drug activity, fighting and threatening anti-social behaviour, not to mention depreciating property values and endless expenses trying to fortify our properties to make them safe.

Thankfully the province has finally stepped up to attempt to clear some of this overburdened and degraded neighbourhood, but there is still a long way to go to make it “normal” again. In the meantime the residents expect the nightmare to return especially when we read casual comments advising that Pandora be sacrificed — again.

Before anyone promotes a degradation of someone else’s neighbourhood, they should have to experience trying to cope with the stress and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that come with a decade of doing so.

Linda Hughes

Space for everyone at Beacon Hill Park

I am a 75-year-old arthritic lady with a small dog. We haven’t been to Beacon Hill Park for a while and I have been reading that it has been taken over and ruined. I went to see for myself.

I did not go out of my way to seek out trouble. I am sure there is an area that is pretty messy and smelly. Why would I go there?

Instead, I was able to walk around the rose garden, the fountain, the lakes, the children’s farm and playground. All was clean, quiet and peaceful. I saw one tent under the trees in the distance. I met several people who said they walked in the park regularly and had no difficulty.

It seems to me there is enough space to allow for different uses, including an area which would not be suitable for a pleasant stroll.

As for the proximity to a school, what better lesson for kids than to see a bit of what trouble life can bring if one is not careful with choices? I am sure the kids would not view the campers as role models, and surely they can learn not to touch discarded needles and other detritus.

I would encourage others to check things out personally and not rely on the gloom-and-doom hysteria that seems to be prevalent. There is a lot of park to enjoy safely.

F.R. Lindsay

Why the secrecy on Island COVID cases?

Re: “Two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Island Health,” July 10

There are two new cases on Vancouver Island after a few weeks of no new cases.

I wrote to Adrian Dix and Bonnie Henry asking for the information I want to know: Where are these new cases and did they just pop up out of nowhere or were they people coming to the Island?

Lots of information about the location of cases in Kelowna today, but to my question, not even the courtesy of a reply. What are they hiding from us Islanders?

Mike Holt

Don’t like heritage, don’t buy heritage

Re: “Design conversation in Victoria monopolized by heritage preservation,” comment, July 9.

May I offer a word of advice to Luke Mari and his fellow developers? It is simple. Do not buy properties that are flagged for having heritage value if heritage is getting in the way of your goal to develop the property.

It is frustrating to hear complaints from developers who do not get what they want. I suggest you do not assume that our city planners and council will grant your application to obliterate the heritage value of any site you wish to develop.

Nor should you assume that you can automatically succeed in rezoning by citing the need for housing.

The great cities of the world embrace their heritage while incorporating the best of contemporary architecture. Our development community should be able to meet a similar standard.

Wise decisions about the properties developers purchase might enable them to achieve the same.

Linda Carlson

An upside to social distancing

As my wife, family and friends will testify, I am an optimist — one always peering on the positive side.

So it won’t surprise them as to my take on this wretched COVID-19 mess and its ramifications.

There is clearly an upside to social distancing. It’s a fine excuse to avoid those who one does not normally feel particularly attracted to.

Graeme Roberts
Brentwood Bay

Time to address climate change

I’m not downplaying the pandemic, but I can’t help but notice that climate change has taken a back seat.

Sure, the air is cleaner with less traffic and the living beings in the ocean are getting a much needed break from cargo and tanker traffic, but this is not good news.

Two observations I’d like to make: Firstly, when I moved to Victoria in 1976 the Olympic Mountains were snow-covered all year round. By late August the snow line had moved up, but the peaks were still covered. Now take a look at them. It’s the end of June and there is hardly any snow at all on the mountains.

Secondly, the bug count is down. How do I know this? Recently I drove up to Duncan and back. I did not have one dead, smashed bug on my windshield. I can remember the days when such a trip would warrant a stop at a gas station to clean the windshield of smashed, dead bugs; now, nothing. If the bug count is down, you know the bird count is down and on it goes.

Time to wake up people. The connection between COVID-19 and climate change is a direct one. If we don’t seriously address climate change, COVID-19 will become COVID-20 and then COVID-21.

Lorna Hillman

Richardson Street already safe bike route

I ride my bike downtown from Oak Bay all the time and go by way of Richardson Street. It is a piece of cake — nice and wide with very little steady traffic.

Why doesn’t Victoria city council leave it alone?

Richardson Street is already doing its part as a safe bike route anyway and diverting that car traffic will just make Fairfield ridiculous and confusing.

It’s a quiet, calm neighbourhood. Leave it alone, I say, and spend the money on something more worthwhile.

Susan MacRae

Add funding to assist police

I’ve been following the “defund the police” discussions, but always thought common sense would prevail.

However, I read with horror on Saturday that the majority of Seattle’s city council is in favour of defunding 50 per cent of the police budget.

What person in their right mind sees a social worker or professional negotiator approaching a distraught or mentally ill person without the police in attendance?

This is becoming ridiculous. Defunding the police is insane.

Add funding for the proper type of assistance to the police like the Portland experience. I hope our local politicians are in agreement.

Keith Hummel
View Royal

Not so sunny days for PM

Re: “Trudeau apologizes for not recusing from WE decision,” July 14.

Whatever happened to Justin Trudeau’s sunny ways? Why is he having so many sorry days?

I fear this popular and promising prince may yet turn into a toad.

Cheera J. Crow
Brentwood Bay

Justin Trudeau’s childlike approach

It’s scary that we have a person in power, Justin Trudeau, who does not know the simplest of rules.

Even scarier is that he feels that if he apologizes for his misdeeds he should be forgiven. So childlike.

John Scorgie

Don’t demand discounts, businesses are trying to recover

Re: “Encourage tourism by dropping prices,” letter, July 11.

It’s disappointing to read letters from seniors complaining about having to pay regular prices on the ferries and at hotels. These businesses and services have lost incalculable millions and now need to get back to bringing in regular revenue, not losing more money by giving discounts.

How about the letter-writer just goes for two weeks rather than three weeks touring around the Okanagan sampling wines.

As for the poor fellow who isn’t getting a discount on his gas-guzzling motorhome for the ferry. Perhaps he could stay on the Island or use the savings he’s already getting on gasoline or the free government handout he and all seniors got.

The person who deserves the discount is the poor struggling underpaid maid working in the hotel who also needs your support. People now more than ever need to think how they can help others rather than what’s in it for me. So travel, eat out and tip big. You’ll be glad you did and helped out.

Matt Taylor

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