Letters – Feb. 18, 2011

Closing Glen Lake school a mistake

Re: No brakes for West Shore boom, News, Feb. 9, 2011.

This report is making one thing very clear — SD 62 trustees have made the wrong decision.

During the public meeting held to close Glen Lake elementary, the board was very quick to jump on this down-played information from the first report.

Everyone there new the numbers did not sound right. The Capital Regional District projected growth numbers indicated what we are really seeing today and what is reflected in this new report. The school district refused to listen to anyone and closed the school.

Now we are seeing portables being moved onto elementary school sites while we have an elementary school sitting empty, but most notably sitting empty next to the single largest development on the West Shore where these new young families are moving.

Closing Glen Lake school was done solely for the purpose of moving Belmont secondary to the Glen Lake site. This is not a place for a high school, next to young families’ homes, this is where an elementary school needs to be.

Most significantly this plan needs the current Belmont land to be sold to help pay for two new high schools.

In order for this public property to be sold it needs to be deemed surplus. In light of this new report, how can any school property in this district be deemed surplus?

Two new smaller high schools is an extravagant want and not a reasonable need during tough budget times.

We will be doubling up on administration staff and teaching positions under this plan. What we really need is a new suitably-sized high school at Belmont’s current location.

This is the best place for a high school, near jobs, banking and services these young adults require access to, certainly not out in a residential neighbourhood.

The other need is to reopen Glen Lake elementary. If this school district wants to be set for strong growth we need to be making smarter decisions and not giving into extravagant wants.

Trevor Emsley

Langford

Plenty of precedents for amalgamation

Re: Decision on downtown rail bridge delayed, News, Feb. 9, 2011.

I find the attitude of the mayors of Langford, Colwood and Esquimalt to be very typical — not only of politicians but of North Americans in general.

Talk is easy. Talk does not require much effort. Talk is cheap. One can say anything that they want. It is cool to promote alternative transportation, and it sounds good.

To walk the walk takes real effort. It can cause some inconvenience (changing one’s thinking) and can cause some expense (buying a new bike, putting money into new infrastructure). Walking the walk is a different matter. The taxpayers will object.

I live in Saanich, and I would certainly support Saanich giving money for such a project. It is a project to benefit the whole region. As a Saanich citizen I am proudly part of this local region.

Perhaps with such actions that are being demonstrated with this parochial attitude, the province may become courageous enough to force amalgamation. It would not be a first for British Columbia.

The province has done it in the past in such places as Kelowna-Rutlege (now Kelowna) and Nanaimo-Wellington-Lantzville,-Cedar (now Nanaimo).

Other provinces have forced amalgamations and it is long overdue in Victoria.

We would not have this problem if only the provincial government had the courage to do what is right, what is realism even if it is not idealism.

Robert Townsend

Saanich

Trust deficit building up in Ottawa

A doctored memo does indeed mean federal cabinet minister Bev Ode cannot be trusted.

Just as the largest budget fudges in the history of modern democracies means Finance Minister Jim Flaherty cannot be trusted. And just as concealed evidence of complicity with torture means Defence Minister Peter McKay and Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon cannot be trusted.

They’ve been proving time and time again they cannot be trusted. So much for their promises of transparency and accountability.

Eugene Parks

Victoria

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