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Letters July 8: Canada is best country on Earth; lack of courteous driving; desperate housing strategy

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A 91ԭ flag flying on a B.C. Ferries vessel travelling amid the Southern Gulf Islands. TIMES COLONIST

All things considered, Canada is best country

Having had the privilege to cycle through Northern France, to be part of a group of 91ԭs honouring the sacrifices of our war veterans at Vimy Ridge and Juno Beach, I am in awe at the courage and valour each and everyone of those people displayed.

They sacrificed so that we could live in a free and democratic land of opportunity. Our fighting men and women were part of a large Allied defence force.

Those countries who were among the Allied forces all subscribed to the ideals of democratic governance. Times are clearly changing as the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision granting immunity to a president attests to.

I am more than grateful to have been born in Canada. Imperfect as this country may be, Canada is in my view the best country on Earth.

Gary McInnis

Colwood

Maybe they are not taught courteous driving

I grew up England and go back often to visit friends and family there. It is always a lovely relief driving on the busy roads and small lanes because just about everyone gives way, makes space and says thank you to fellow drivers.

I have lived in Victoria for 24 years and most days I find myself disappointed at much of the driving practices. It is always a bit of a shock when someone actually accelerates to avoid giving way or doesn’t acknowledge a small act of kindness.

I tell myself that it’s oblivion rather than rudeness, but feel that drivers here are not taught that courteous driving makes everyone feel better and keeps us all safer.

As an eternal optimist I still cheerfully give way and if I get a wave or a smile in return it truly makes my day.

Judy James

Victoria

Make sure children know the rules of the road

Re: “Yielding, not stopping, is better for cyclists,” letter, June 22.

I have no concern with the “Idaho stop” other than the imported name. Having had cycling experience, I don’t expect riders to bring their bicycle to a dead stop and put a foot on the ground. It is unnecessary at quiet intersections even if it is the law.

As a motorist I expect cyclists to yield in the same way as any other vehicle. So, I object strenuously to cyclists zooming through intersections without slowing, as if they were the only vehicle on the road.

I see this frequently. One afternoon a child, presumably from Central Middle School, barrelled down the Moss Street hill straight through the intersection with Rockland Avenue.

She must have seen the two cars that were there. If I had been less alert, she would have been badly injured, if not killed.

Less dangerous infractions, including slowing yet failing to yield to a vehicle already at the stop, are frequent.

Parents, and the school board — which believes that teachers are better than police officers for instructing children — are responsible for ensuring they are well-educated in the rules of the road.

Alanne Gibson

Victoria

Cyclists, let others know you are there

As a cyclist who frequently uses the Galloping Goose and E&N Rail Trail, my No. 1 pet peeve is other wheeled users failing to warn when passing.

The lack of audible warning is appalling, especially when coupled with their prolific use of headphones and earbuds. It’s like the wild west.

Signs such as found on Lochside Trail recommend sounding a warning when passing, but in our predictably 91ԭ way we silently sneak up on unsuspecting pedestrians out of reluctance to make a noise.

Or is it just too uncool to mount a bike bell on our multi-thousand-dollar racer? Is rampant inflation hindering our ability to purchase a $20 bell that goes “drring-drring”?

Too shy to call out, “on your left!”? Can’t locate the horn button on your battery-electric scooter? Or is that podcast just too distracting to think about sounding a warning?

Pedestrians wouldn’t have to resort to measures such as facing oncoming wheeled traffic, if said traffic were to clue in and consider others when passing.

The late great Neil Peart attempted to teach us that when sharing a roadway the idea is to be as predictable as possible.

As a cyclist, that includes not startling pedestrians as if we were a ninja.

But as things are, I completely sympathize with those who suggest to walk on the left side, facing oncoming wheeled traffic who just don’t seem to give a damn.

John Lee

Victoria

We need to pull over when directed by police

The e-bike cyclist who ran a red light deserved a traffic violation ticket.

The rider became a fleeing perpetrator of a crime as soon as they refused to comply and pull over to a police car with lights and sirens flashing. It is a crime not to pull over and comply.

There would have been no injuries if the guilty person had simply pulled over and accepted their violation ticket.

E-Bikes need to be licensed and insured. Allowing their reckless operation around our city puts innocent people in peril.

Dewane Ollech

Victoria

Victoria’s housing strategy is a desperate measure

Re: “New policy could see more family units in larger complexes,” June 15.

“Why do governments entrust solving the housing crisis to an industry that is helping to create it?” So asks Leilani Farha, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing.

Yet this is what Victoria city council is doing with their new family housing policy.

We need more family housing. Absolutely! But families need affordable housing. And at least 24 per cent of renters need below-market housing. Council’s new policy does nothing to address affordability.

No doubt this new policy is in response to recent reports showing the city exceeded its inflated housing targets but with virtually no impact on housing for families or affordable housing.

This policy is clearly a desperate measure by a city council that knows it has failed abysmally to address our most pressing housing needs. They now need to be seen to be doing something.

Their solution? More of the same — let developers set the agenda. Give them even more incentives to build market-priced housing, with even fewer parking spaces and even greater height and density.

This in return for a small percentage of family-sized units. How does this help the average family who cannot afford current market rents?

Many residents, homeowners and renters alike, have been trying to tell council that greater height and density at market-price will not provide needed affordable housing. It also harms residential neighbourhoods and quality of life for residents.

It is time to take our council to task for not listening and for imposing solutions that are ineffective and do more harm than good. Too bad accountability can only come at the ballot box at the next election.

Mariann Burka

Victoria

Better ways to spend that money for seniors

As a senior, I appreciate that our new advocate is identifying the many deficiencies of our provincial support systems for elders.

But those of us dependent on these programs deserve better than scripted words and more reports and reviews. We need action, now, to keep us housed, healthy and independent.

To borrow a phrase from the legal profession, the adage “justice delayed is justice denied” can be equally applied to the plight of low-income seniors. Many seniors don’t have enough years left to keep waiting for promises of help that never materializes.

Why does Dan Levitt think that vaccines and home-care fees merit “immediate” steps by B.C., when all of the poverty issues he mentioned are causing real-time hardship and suffering to seniors?

And why should seniors be forced to wait when those “long-term” solutions should have happened decades ago?

In his comment about “doubling the seniors supplement,” Premier David Eby conveniently left out the fact that it took almost 30 years to increase it by $50, from $49.30 to $99.30.

My rental supplement from B.C. Housing’s Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters program is less than it was 10 years ago, despite multiple rent increases during that time.

It is ruthless to make seniors wait for the $110 increase. With no wiggle room, any sudden unexpected expense could cost them their housing.

The $354 million slated for home and community care would be better spent on boosting SAFER and the B.C. Senior’s Supplement to help seniors thrive independently.

Doreen Marion Gee

Victoria

If you’re using a motor, you get a rebate

Rebates are given by ICBC to motor vehicle drivers. Rebates are given by government officials to e-bike (motor bike) drivers.

Where’s my rebate to help with the year round costs of walking, running and cycling? No rebates given to those who use green transportation.

Apparel, footwear and bike maintenance costs are not cheap for us motor-free, carbon-free transportation users.

Bonnie Reszel

Saanich

Save the sequoia at Centennial Square

Please, please do not destroy that stunning, ancient sequoia at Centennial Square.

We desperately need to keep loving that spectacular beauty.

Thelma Fayle

Victoria

First, check on how councillors spend their time

Bravo! Victoria city council has hired an outside contractor to consult on councillors’ pay and benefits.

There is only one problem: Our city has again put the carriage before the horse. Our first step must be an audit of councillors’ time expenditure on required work-related tasks.

Only then will we be able to understand if a pay raise is justified.

Geraldine Glattstein

Victoria

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