Letters to the Editor – Jan. 27

Letter-writers tackle the new library project, road work, ambulance calls, smoking and international aid

No more talking: build the library

After reading the front page story, “More Land Eyed For Recreation Services,” in the Jan. 20 Mirror, and then the page 2 story, “Construction on new Sooke library could begin by 2018,” I was perplexed.

Here we have local politicians, willing to spend $1 million to buy a 9.5-hectare golf course for future recreational use. Meanwhile, a much smaller chunk of land for a library cannot be found.

Sooke has needed a new library for several years. The library is too small and parking is severely limited. Still, the very patient, friendly and skilled staff continue to serve dozens of customers each day, six days a week.

Purchasing more land for ball diamonds and soccer fields is wise, given our growing community. But, our ballooning population, which means many more library patrons, is why a new library should be a high priority, not merely a talking point.

Has Sooke council and Juan de Fuca’s regional director thought about how expensive it will be to convert the undulating nine holes into flat ball fields?

As for finding a library site, what’s happening at the financial mess known as Mariner’s Village?  Seems there’s lots of ready land there, or at the former golf course site on Otter Point Road.

Sooke Coun. Kerrie Reay reportedly said that there’s urgency to find a suitable property for a new library. This tired discussion has been on the books for at least three years, yet nothing concrete has happened. Does anyone believe that construction will start in 2018?

Shannon Moneo, Sooke

 

Ministry’s actions on fixing culvert shameful

The Transportation Ministry has now cleared a block culvert – the reason for a river running across Highway 14 before Christmas.

If memory serves me correctly, the river was running freely over the highway for close to a month and now the ministry has finally figured out the problem.

For such a major road to be left in such a dangerous manner is unthinkable and unacceptable and for the powers to be ignorant or indifferent is shameful. Hopefully this is not allowed to occur again.

Linda Bessant, Sooke

 

Ambulance calls goes unanswered

Where is the ambulance?

That’s the question I have after an accident at Sombrio Beach on Jan. 17.

The RCMP had to rescue the poor guy who got walloped by a wave and was injured.

Constant requests to find out where the ambulance was from Port Renfrew, the answer I found out was it was closed for the day.

This happened before while my hiking group was visiting Botanical Beach in Port Renfrew.

I would like some answers from the government on why they close stations when the public needs urgent help.

Tom Mabe, Port Renfrew

 

Ban smoking in public places

We know tobacco is a killer – in fact, it is the only legal product in Canada that kills one of every two people who use it, but what about the health impacts of second-hand smoke?

Second-hand smoke is extremely toxic and there is no safe level of exposure.

Why should people who like to spend their time outside be forced to breathe toxic air? And what about public playgrounds? Is it fair to expose children to second-hand smoke while they play in parks, rather than staying in to play on their iPad?

We are all impacted by the air we breathe and so having a right to clean air should take precedence over having the right to smoke in outdoor public spaces.

As a masters of public health student who is concerned about the health and well-being of the population, I think it only makes sense to take local municipal tobacco bylaws one step further by banning smoking in outdoor public places and creating safer environments for all.

Cher Ghafari, Victoria

 

Open purse strings to international aid

Under the last 10 years of Conservative rule, Canada’s share of global aid became the lowest of all industrialized nations.

The usual argument for this parsimony is it’s somehow better to help Canadians than foreigners, and yet I know of no recognized ethic, religion, or accepted system of morals that says only help those that live near you and forget everyone else.

If human life has value, if we believe that every human being has potential, the accident of one’s location of birth shouldn’t be relevant.

Recognizing this, Canada has pledged to spend 0.7% of GDP on foreign assistance. We are now at less than half that, while our global partners have reached or are close to that goal.

The second usual argument is our weak economy, but despite a deficit of nearly $200 billion, the UK still met its international obligations in 2014. At the height of the 2008 recession, Ireland increased its aid, exceeding Canada’s. The difference between 0.24 and .07 percent is a rounding error in the federal budget, yet means life and death for millions.

The Conservatives are now gone, and it’s time to fulfill your predecessor’s oaths, Mr. Trudeau.

Nathaniel Poole, Victoria