Letters – Feb. 16, 2011

Move on rail now or not at all

Re: To build rail or not to build rail?, Letters, Jan. 26, 2011.

Pierre Vallee suggests a rider survey on the E&N. Hasn’t it been studied ad nauseum, with much money spent already?

The only survey worth anything is a service on the rails to see if people respond with their money.

Sometimes they do (as with the very successful rapid transit to Vancouver International Airport), sometimes they don’t (as with a small ferry service in Victoria that many who said they would ride it did not).

Surveys are talk, which is cheap — only the actual decision of each individual to buy a ticket or not has meaning.

There are factors overlooked by many people, including myself. Victoria council points to the delay when the Johnson Street bridge opens as one reason it won’t fund what seems to bring people to Victoria, though I’m sceptical that is a big problem and sceptical of their sincerity. Level crossings need to be evaluated — are costly gates required?

What is the value of the E&N as a bypass to the troubled Malahat highway? (Or is the Sooke-Lake Cowichan route better because it is further from Malahat geology?) The provincial government claimed the E&N is a resource but wasn’t willing to spend on it. It seems to me the proposed commuter service from Nanaimo via Langford to the Esquimalt dockyards and onward to downtown Victoria would be a low-cost test case.

The E&N is dying a slow death, burning a hole in taxpayers’ pockets while track and cars deteriorate. Isn’t it time to either do something meaningful or stop it?

Keith Sketchley


Ferry fee hikes bad for economy

During recessions, governments turn on the printing presses, interest rates plummet as governments move to inflate the money supply in response to an ensuing economic meltdown. Initial effects seem good. That is, governments use spending to cover up economic ills, but that leads to rampant inflation.

U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Bernanke is well aware that inflation causes a brutal economic “hangover,” making things actually worse in the long run.

The latest proposed changes (that still need to be approved by the BC Ferries Commissioner), only aggravates this problem. Double digit ferry fare increases will undoubtedly be translated into higher prices for food and other goods and services produced off this Island.

This is compounded with potential higher taxes for investment in sewage treatment, the Blue Bridge and the requisite upgrade of municipal infrastructure it will only make living on the Island much more expensive.

We need to find innovative ways to move people, and also goods and services, without always resorting to price increases.

Avi Ickovich


Colwood right to limit cell towers

Re: Broadcasters challenge Colwood bylaw, News, Feb. 2, 2011.

I find it difficult to understand why cell towers are built right in the middle of neighbourhoods full of homes when all around us there are hills with few residents where they could just as easily be placed.

In some cases where neighbourhoods have grown up around cell towers, that initial error should not exempt the companies from moving them to less populated sites where the negative effects will be minimized.

I also don’t understand why local residents are never asked or informed when cellphone towers go up or are added to.

It is clear they are a nuisance and a health hazard and lower property values.

The City of Colwood should be praised for standing up for its citizens in the face of such a powerful industry.

Suzanne Bowen


Stolen truck becomes bureaucratic disaster

Thieves who continually broke into my truck over the past year and half finally succeeded in stealing it on Monday, Jan. 31, from the BC Transit park-and-ride near the West Shore Parks and Recreation Centre.

As I crossed over from my bus ride from downtown Victoria and entered the park-and-ride, there was no little red truck to be found.

The truck has no real value except to the owner (me) who depends on it to get groceries and get to work. It is a red 1990 Mazda B2200, well used and showing it, over 255,500 km.

Police have advised me that I will not hear from them unless they located my vehicle. I was advised to cancel my insurance as soon as possible. On Feb. 2, I spent 40 minutes with my insurance agent who was on the telephone with an ICBC claims representative. I was advised the following:

I am charged $18 for failure to produce license plates and charged another $18 for failure to produce insurance documentation.

There is also a caveat in ICBC’s insurance policy which states that when you report your vehicle as lost or stolen, you are still liable for 31 days after the theft or loss.

Now I ask you, how am I able to produce license plates when my vehicle is stolen and I have no idea of its location?

How am I able to produce insurance documentation when it is law that you have everything available in your vehicle for any police inquiry?

How is it possible I can be held liable for a vehicle when I have dutifully and legitimately cancelled its insurance?

I was offered an example of this bureaucratic BS.

If thieves dumped after it was used in a crime in a deserted area and if the vehicle was then stripped of any valuable usable parts and the thieves injured themselves stealing these parts, I would be liable for their injuries.

Even if the deserted vehicle was not stripped of its usable parts and just languished for months and months, I would still be held liable for any injuries to any party for 31 days from the date that the theft or loss occurred.

Where is the justice in any of this? Car owners need to be aware of ICBC’s bureaucratic policies.

And perhaps someone in the Greater Victoria area will spot my little red truck and call the West Shore RCMP.

Sheila Smith


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