Letters – Feb. 9, 2011

Detached suites erode rural areas

Re: Detached or not, Metchosin seeks input for suite debate, News, Jan. 28, 2011.

This recent story marks the latest chapter in a long-standing saga. Two councils ago, mayor and council suggested that legalizing detached secondary suites be considered during the OCP review then under way.

Now, in early 2011, as your story reports, council intends to seek public input on a list of council-suggested conditions for approval of detached suites. This is to be followed by a referendum during the 2011 elections.

The Association for the Rural Protection of Metchosin strongly supports secondary suites within or attached to the principal residence — Metchosin was the first municipality to allow such suites in all zones. We oppose detached suites — really second houses — for many reasons, including pressure on the environment and because they would be an inevitable prelude to further subdivision and loss of rural amenity.

We believe this council is well qualified to debate the issue, and make sound recommendations, without passing the buck to the next council.

If council insists on further consultations, we have recommended that council first explicitly:

1. Recognise that the illegal suite mess is due to inadequate bylaw enforcement, and that any solutions must include measures to improve compliance.

2. Ensure any recommended referendum question provides voters with a clear opportunity to support attached suites only.

3. Eliminate council’s bias in favour of detached suites as implied by the permitting conditions suggested by council.

We are particularly concerned by Coun. Larry Tremblay’s statement at a recent council meeting that “proposed limitations would be a starting point for discussion, not the end point.”

We also suggest Mayor John Ranns was unduly alarmist when he told your reporter that modifying Metchosin’s policy of enforcement would result in “steep costs and implications on privacy.”

At least one other rural Capital Regional District municipality requires staff to note possible bylaw infractions in the normal course of their other duties, and this has not led to runaway costs or undue privacy breaches.

Ken Farquharson

President of the Association for the Protection of Rural Metchosin

Dog owners need to take responsibility

Re: Langford dog ban goes too far, Letters, Feb. 2, 2011.

Dogs contribute in many ways in our society.

Dogs are not the problem. It is irresponsible dog owners and until dog owners assume responsibility for cleaning up after their dogs, restrictions must be placed on them, especially in areas that are designated for the use of children.

When my grandchildren played soccer at Ruth King elementary, dog poop on the fields was very unpleasant — I am sure the situation has not changed in the last two years.

The letter writer should not petition governments to change rules, she should petition dog owners to clean up after their dog.

Only dog owners can eliminate the problem. They should be scooping up after their dog and if there are some owners who do not, then scoop up after their dogs too.

One has to dodge the dog poop on the beginning of the Thetis lake trails, and what is with the poop bags that are left on the trails? It’s an additional cost to the parks to be clearing these.

I have the pleasure of walking with my friend and her wonderful dog. She always has a plastic bag which, when used, gets put into the provided refuse bins. How easy and good for everyone. That is the solution not less restrictions.

Meeri Stewart

Langford

No room for E&N rail terminal

Once again I hear someone promoting that the E&N rail line should be extended into the downtown Victoria side of the Johnson Street bridge.

The merchants approve? Why? There’s no room there for a proper terminal, while on the other side of the bridge, space and old buildings once used by the railroad sit idle.

Why not terminate the line there: save building funds for the bridge and provide parking, and run buses into the city?

Don Wilkes

Langford

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