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Letters July 9: Splash park for Centennial Square; boat show at Inner Harbour; remembering Archie McKinnon

Artist’s rendering for a proposed new design for Victoria’s Centennial Square, showing the planned splash park. VIA CITY OF VICTORIA

Proposed splash pool is not based in reality

As a grandmother, I will not even consider taking the grandkids to the proposed splash pool in Centennial Square. The thought of dealing with parkades, elevators, walking along busy streets, kids in tow, no thank you!

Splash pools belong in a park-like setting where kids have lots of space to romp around and there’s ample parking nearby.

Will fences be erected around this splash pool? The thought of having to keep an eagle eye on my grandkids lest they stray onto the very busy nearby streets is worrying.

I presume there will be benches installed so I can at least sit down. In the evening and during the many months when it will be too cold, wet or windy to use the splash pool, guess who will be using those benches.

Victoria city councillors, give your heads a shake. Reality is very different to what you have dreamed up.

Christine Benn


Political leaders, staff acted in public interest

Re: “Holding water: Decisions made ­decades ago ensure drought won’t stop the flow,” July 7.

The article did a good job of showing how long-term planning has helped to secure the quantity and quality of Greater Victoria’s water supply.

Unfortunately, it did not mention the instrumental work of the Perry Commission, the provincial government and local officials in the late 1990s.

Through their combined efforts, governance over the water supply was transferred to a new water supply commission accountable to the Capital Regional District.

In addition, Highway 117, which ran parallel to the Sooke Lake Reservoir, was closed, eliminating a serious health risk, and forest harvesting was removed from the watershed catchment by means of a land exchange with Kapoor Lumber.

At the same time, 4,900 hectares of non-catchment lands were designated as a wilderness park, more than doubling the amount of parkland in the capital region and providing a contiguous buffer to further protect water quality.

Today, the citizens of Greater Victoria have secure access to clean water because political leaders and public servants had the foresight and will to act in the long-term public interest — a valuable lesson for all of us as we confront issues such as housing, health care and climate change that demand forward-thinking strategies to benefit future generations.

Andrew Petter


Don’t lose connection to Archie McKinnon

I was sorry to hear the University of Victoria is closing the McKinnon Pool. When the building and its pool officially opened in February 1975, I had been athletic director at the university for about four and a half years.

I’d had a bit to do with the planning and development of the facility — but nothing like as much as that of the late Dr. Fred Martens, and the faculty of UVic’s Physical Education Department.

Martens asked me if I would bring Archie McKinnon to the official opening of the building that was to be named after him.

At the time, I was barely aware of Archie’s amazing legacy of achievements in coaching and sports development; that he had coached more than 60,000 young Victorians during his career in swimming, diving and track and field, many to Olympic standards.

His granddaughter, Tracy Ryan, drew a picture of Archie’s character and accomplishments in her beautifully articulate letter the other day, so I won’t repeat them here.

Even without knowing Archie’s full story on that day, I remember feeling strangely honoured when I went to his house.

What struck me when Archie opened his front door, was the surprise and wonder he had that the university had named the building after him. He genuinely couldn’t understand why he had been given such an honour. Then he thanked me for coming to collect him.

Archie was as old that day as I am now; small in stature but a man with as big a heart as I’ve ever come across. UVic’s chancellor, Bob Wallace, officiated at that opening, another individual of surpassing humility and achievement.

To share that day with those two giants was one of the finest gifts I had in all the years I worked at UVic.

Whatever happens to the university’s pool where so many, many thousands of students, staff, faculty and people from the community have swum, played and trained, I hope the university will continue to publicly commemorate what it owes to the tradition of excellence in sport that Archie McKinnon ­demonstrated with such dedication and humility.

Michael Elcock


Careful in passing judgment on U.S. issues

Three letters on the July 4 edition appear to have been written with little understanding of U.S. federal law and the U.S. Constitution.

It is my understanding that the July 1 Supreme Court decision does not give a U.S. president unlimited power — it simply clarifies the responsibilities and the separation of power that have existed since the presidency of Thomas Jefferson.

Referring to the serious incident of Jan. 6 as an insurrection is, in my opinion, disingenuous.

To actually think — after all the chatter about gun ownership and violence in the United States — that an “insurrection” would be fomented without firearms and subsequent forced occupation of the Capitol is hard to fathom.

According to Justice Samuel Alito’s comments, Roe vs. Wade was overturned — as per the Constitution — in order to return power to the states. This was a legal decision, not a moral/political one.

Perhaps we should let the citizens of the United States handle these issues — unless we are prepared to encourage them to pass judgment on Canada’s Emergencies Act.

Lavonne Huneck

Cobble Hill

Don’t develop a false sense of security

Re: “Holding water: Decisions made ­decades ago ensure drought won’t stop the flow,” July 7.

One can enjoy reading about a visit to the Sooke Lake Reservoir for the photos and revel in the confident report of how well our pristine water supply is being managed.

On the other hand, the hopeful message that the reporting seems determined to promote is more than a little misplaced. What might have been adequate — even for some quantum of “planned growth” in 2003 — may well not be sufficient in the future.

Given the continuing (but largely ignored) drought we are experiencing and the increasingly obvious effects of global warming on climate generally, it is more than strange that you would be trying to lull your readers into what can only be described as a false sense of security about the adequacy of our water resources.

It’s even more problematic when combined with the fact that our current governments (at all levels in this country, city and province) seem to think that the answer to our problem is more growth, more building, more roads, more cars and more people.

Instead of crowing about how “secure” we are, the media should be focusing on how utterly irresponsible our existing programs of “growth at any cost” actually are.

We’re living in a world that is already heating at a rate that is unprecedented. The suggestion that everything is going to be OK is dangerous.

James King


Tighten bail rules and see what happens

Re: “Police find guns, ammo and drugs in Bear Mountain home,” July 5.

There was a gem of information for those who read to the end of the story.

The last paragraph said: “In a statement, Victoria police said the suspect met the requirements of release under Bill C-75, which requires police to release an accused person at the earliest possible opportunity after considering certain factors, including the likelihood the accused will attend court, the imminence of the risk posed to public safety and the impact on confidence in the criminal justice system.”

In other words, the catch-and-release system that we have all come to deplore is based on a law that specifically dictates catch-and-release. If one of the parties in the next election would promise that they would change that law, I bet they would enjoy significant electoral success.

Best of all, the 91ԭ public would have an opportunity to voice its opinion on what it thinks of catch-and-release. I’d be astonished if the result was not dramatically one-sided.

Taking this all one step further, I think that putting criminals in jail and keeping them there would have an amazingly positive effect on crime rates. I know it sounds crazy, but why not at least give it a try?

The current policy certainly seems to be a dismal failure.

So let’s amend this Bill C-75 to tighten up bail requirements, and see if that doesn’t have a positive influence on crime rates.

Not exactly rocket surgery.

Michel Murray



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