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Letters to the Editor – Opinions

Times have changed?

I would like to add to the facts presented in Jim Cleghorn’s excellent letter in the January 9 issue of The Local. Mr. Cleghorn points out that the $7.50 car and driver fare charged by Black Ball back in 1952 had been reduced to $4.00 by BC Ferries by 1962. The reason? Black Ball was a private company. The government took it over and created BC Ferries in order to provide the affordable transportation that facilitated economic growth in coastal communities. This was done by W.A.C. Bennett’s Social Credit Party—the party the right-wingers used to vote for. Yet, any suggestion that the government should, in the name of the public good, take over any aspect of private enterprise these days is greeted with shouts of “Socialism!”

My, how times have changed.

Anne Miles, Gibsons


Wants to stay on the Coast

My name is Luke Harbison. I was born on the Sunshine Coast and I am 23 years old. My chosen profession is food / hospitality which I am currently employed in. My employers talk about the George Hotel but I haven’t really paid much attention until recently. I would like to stay on the Sunshine Coast and eventually raise a family here. It would be great if there were jobs in the hospitality industry here at a professional level instead of having to move to Vancouver to further my career. I think the Hotel is a great idea.

Luke Harbison, Gibsons


Getting burned by incineration

Two recent articles within the Burnaby newspaper (Burnaby NOW) should be brought to the attention of your readers. The first, on January 7 detailed movements by the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) to impede any renewal of the Burnaby incinerator’s permit process by the Ministry of the Environment (MoE). The article can be read here:

The second, on January 10, was a “testy” rebuttal by Mayor Corrigan of Burnaby: it can be read here:

What are some of the facts? The FVRD is downwind of Burnaby and, due to surrounding mountains, is encapsulated within an air ‘trap’. The FVRD is concerned about both its residents’ health and the healthiness of the considerable agricultural produce generated within its area(s). Burnaby, meanwhile, currently burns about 285K tonnes of garbage per year, including all the garbage barged to it from many coastal First Nations communities up and down our coastal waters.

In the meantime, there are as many as six proposed sites within the Lower Mainland for at least one larger incinerator, the target for burning being 1,000 tonnes per day. What is alarming is that three of these proposed sites surround the Sunshine Coast; one at Duke Point near Nanaimo, which places the incinerator about 25 miles upwind of us, given the prevailing south-easterly winds; two other sites are being suggested, at Woodfibre and at Port Mellon. Either one of these latter two would be a few miles upwind of us during our occasionally experiencing the northerly ‘outflow’ wind patterns.

The FVRD is taking concerted action with the MoE about their future. When will our local governments begin to express themselves regarding the future of our communities vis-a-vis the possibility of pollution/contamination?

Brian K. Sadler, Gibsons 


Getting burned by coal

The Sunshine Coast Clean Air Society is opposed to a coal transfer facility at Fraser Surrey Docks and the transport of coal to Texada Island on the Sunshine Coast for the following reasons:

(1) There are health hazards due to the transportation of coal and coal dust such as increased damage to cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, increased asthma attacks, heart attacks, and ER visits, and increased incidences of bronchitis and risk to cancer. Children and the elderly are most susceptible to coal dust pollutants such as mercury and sulphur.

(2) There’s increased cost to our health care system because of these health hazards. The coal industry is passing their costs onto the health system/taxpayer.

(3) Coal, more than any other source of energy, contributes to greenhouse gases and climate change. It’s the dirtiest form of energy. Coal dust is a major air pollutant.

The Sunshine Coast Clean Air Society joins others in opposing your coal project: Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, British Columbia Nurses’ Union, The Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health Authorities, the Provincial Chief Medical Officer, the SCRD, our MLA, Nicholas Simons, & the Shishalh Nation. The World Bank in 2013 stopped financing the construction of coal-fired power plants in developing countries due to global warming impacts.

We support the shíshálh Nation, whose traditional waters could be contaminated by coal dust, in their request for a full Environmental Assessment, a Health Impact Assessment, a Navigational Risk Assessment, an Environmental Management Plan, a Spill Response Plan, and an Air Quality Management Plan.

Elizabeth McNeill, S.C. Clean Air Society 


Meals on Wheels ‘Good to Go’

Good to Go Meals on Wheels has taken longer and proven more complicated than they ever imagined, but now it’s ready to start operation. Good to Go – Meals on Wheels are looking forward to providing healthy and nutritious meals to those in our community (Gibsons, Langdale and parts of Roberts Creek) that are unable to cook a meal for them selves due to age, health, mobility or mental challenges. The meals provided are within the Government guidelines. It’s the delivery the program needs help with. The delivery cost will add to the price of the meals and put this service out of reach of those that need it. Randy Johnson of “Color Me Randy” has donated $200 to provide two months’ daily delivery to a household  and challenges community businesses or individules to follow. A donation of $100 will cover delivery costs for 30 days of hot meals. Good to Go-Meals on Wheels  can be reached at 604-886-7289, or a donation sent to them at 1016 Fircrest Road, Gibsons, BC V0N 1V4.

You can make a difference.

Nicole Josh, Gibsons


Weston’s mission, values accord with Reform Act

As the House of Commons resumes, I wanted to address the fact that many people have expressed interest in MP Michael Chong’s Private Members’ Bill, Reform Act 2013. This is an important issue, deserving of careful consideration.

A quick review of the Bill shows that its principles reflect a sincere desire to improve the way Parliament works making the party’s leader accountable to his caucus, remove his veto for a nomination, and allow the caucus to handle who can be in the party. The Bill would be giving a stronger voice to all MPs, yet the Bill also supports our Government and expresses loyalty to the Prime Minister. These are principles with which I agree.

Every day, I realize the privilege I have in serving one of the great democracies in the world. Democracy, though, is a process, and there are always steps we can take to improve it.

Consistently, I was among a group of 11 Conservative MPs who stood in the House of Commons in 2013 to support the right of all Members to represent their constituents on any topic. As you may know, it lead to a sensitive situation in which The Speaker of the House ruled in favour of my position, favoring democracy, deciding that the Speaker has the power to allocate statements in the House, regardless of the positions of the Whips. This ruling has potentially broad consequences – allowing legislators to more freely represent their constituents.

In each of my MP offices, I have posted our “Mission Statement”, which reminds my staff and me that we serve all the people of my riding “passionately and effectively, without fear or favour, in accordance with our values: Freedom, Responsibility, Equality, Compassion and Integrity.”

As constituents approach us for help in dealing with our Federal Government, we aim to do our best, regardless of the background or political stripe of the constituent.

In line with continuous improvement to our democracy, the principles of Michael Chong’s bill accord with my mission and values.

John Weston, MP
West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country


Janyk defines ‘naysayers’

There is a faction in our community that labels many of their neighbours as “naysayers” for having differing views or raising questions and concerns about various development projects. This labeling is extremely divisive, and is counterproductive to good democratic debate.

I, too, could describe anyone who disagrees with me as a naysayer. I choose to avoid this because I genuinely believe that everyone’s opinion is of value and should be respected.

I prefer to spend my energy exploring all the facts, and working with positive people to examine issues from several angles so we can arrive at intelligent compromises that are good for our town’s ambience, environment, and long-term economic health.

So, who are the real naysayers? Are they the folks who want intelligent debate on the issues? Or are they the people who divide our community by attaching negative labels to anyone who doesn’t blindly buy into everything developers tell them in the name of progress?

Katie Janyk, Gibsons 


A Yaysayer in Sechelt

Having become aware of the hard efforts of Council to obtain a low rate of interest loan from the Green Municipalities Fund I have to give them a huge congratulations, well done! This will have to go to a referendum and I hope that everyone does their homework and sees what a boon this will be to our community. Approximately half of our reserves and surplus funds will remain untouched.

A short-term loan at a high interest rate will not be necessary to carry out the Sewage Treatment plant and new projects. We will get an outright grant of one million dollars which should cover the interest on the 6 million dollar loan. I urge everyone to support not only our Council, but our Community and ourselves with a strong YES vote when the referendum comes up for approval.

Anita Paulin, Sechelt 


Gibsons needs its façade

I am all for a hotel in Gibsons. I am just against this particular kind of hotel and mentality. We live in certainly one of the most spectacular and beautiful spots on the planet. The proposed hotel should reflect this and draw a world class crowd to its stage. I don’t mean grandeur in the gaudy sense. I mean simply and beautifully and sensitively designed. It shouldn’t over-take the town and be seen from miles away as one arrives on the ferry. No more than two stories high with maybe a roof restaurant that looks over the harbour. A glass elevator on the outside of the building could take people up and down. Perhaps a swimming pool on the land in front that could be covered in a modern style atrium – so it could be used summer and winter. A place on the water to dock boats and a beautiful boardwalk leading to the hotel. When you drive over the Cambie Street Bridge in Vancouver it gives you an idea of how many thousands of people own boats. This could be a destination for people of discriminating taste and a healthy pocket book who want a really cool get-away.

Gibsons needs an uplift. But it needs to maintain a small, fishing village façade to support up-to-date shops and crafts and wilderness adventures that allow all businesses to open and thrive. Right now, the town appears to be broke. Using the impressive wood that comes from the land around us, and glass, a really saavy architect from somewhere in the world would is capable of designing us a structure to utilize this space in a unique way.

So many places you travel today look like carbon copies of each other. Let’s not join that club but let’s travel the higher road. We can have a hotel here that does our town justice, if we involve architects and investors of a higher ilk. Back to the drawing board.

Mary Jean Brown, Gibsons


Hello, Sooke

I accept that in many cases it’s none of council’s concern how likely it is that a proposed business will succeed. People are free to experiment as they choose; we wouldn’t have passenger ferries if no one took a risk. (Hmm, bad example.) But when a developer insists council grant variances based on the potential economic benefits to the community if his venture succeeds, it’s entirely council’s concern what the odds are of that success.

I mention this because I attended the Committee of the Whole meeting on Jan. 14 where the Director of Planning presented his report on rezoning for the proposed George Hotel. Though portions of the meeting were audible at the back where I stood, I didn’t hear any discussion of his alternate recommendation for third party evaluation of the economic impact on the community.

If a hotel of the proposed scale were built and didn’t prove viable, a future council would be faced with the choice of either having the town itself guarantee a certain amount of meeting space rental (hello, Sooke!) or letting the hotel gradually convert rooms into condominium apartments. If you knew in advance either of these was more than a remote possibility, would you still make the concessions sought?

David Stow, Roberts Creek 

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