Two paths at once
Your editorial entitled A rock and a hard place (The NEWS, Jan. 10) reviewed the recent acclamation of BC Liberal Party’s “star candidate” for MLA in Parksville-Qualicum.
You suggested that her competitors in May’s election would be ill-advised to ask the necessary tough questions of the “local hero”, but that you had done just that on their behalf in the Q&A on Page A9 — where I immediately turned.
The newly-minted candidate seemed easily able to side-step any direct question she chose; for a neophyte in the political arena, she apparently has had several tutorials from Mr. Bojangles himself in tap-dancing around reporters’ questions.
Without ever diminishing her past accomplishments and future aspirations in the sporting arena, voters may question someone who opens her 18-week election campaign by planning to be absent for seven weeks training for athletic competitions in Australia.
She’ll definitely need further time to train and participate in the build-up to the 2016 Brazil Paralympic Games, which she seems to indicate are also within the her sights.
Your editorial ended by reporting that her answers to you sounded both reasonable and logical; however, some voters may think it is somewhat unreasonable and illogical to even dream of being an elected and fully-paid MLA, and yet expect to be away for such extended periods.
Of course, being acclaimed by the BC Liberals as a star candidate is one thing, being elected as a full-time parliamentary representative is entirely another.
Growth is needed
Our family has had the opportunity to live and operate a business in this community for the last 25 years, for which we are grateful. We moved here as a young couple with two small children, and have enjoyed the quaintness of this town.
We do however realize that things need to move forward, and in the last 25 years we have not seen a lot of improvements. Take a walk around our downtown core and count the number of empty stores and take a good look at the shape of many of our old buildings.
Council is just trying to make improvements for the community as a whole.
Let’s stop throwing stones at our new council for trying to improve the quality of this wonderful community we all love to call home, and embrace their ideas for a better and more vibrant Qualicum Beach.
When walking pass Qualicum Elementary School a few days ago, and hearing the children laughing and playing in the school yard, I commented to a senior lady passing by, what a wonderful sound that was.
I understand some people do not want growth, but without the parents of these young children, to bring business into our community, what’s going to happen to our town? Nobody lives forever.
No mandate here
Why is Chief Spence still on a fast? It is the two undemocratic and immoral omnibus bills folks … the two that changed over 167 pieces of legislation without parliamentary debate, reducing not only our democratic right as citizens to be critically informed about what our government is doing in our name, but changed what can be done to the land and waterways as well as what requires an environmental assessment.
All of this was done without consultation with any First Nations who have never surrendered their land and waterways. This is not only in contravention of Canada’s Charter and constitution, but international law … and then there are the treaties that are just being ignored.
Every Canadian who cares about democracy need to find their voice. Each and every one of us who care about the future of our children and grandchildren need to let Harper know he has no mandate for such a flagrant abuse of power.
Harper and his party have no mandate to implement dictatorial powers that trample our parliamentary democracy, charter, constitution and international law.
I beg to differ
Re: Editor John Harding’s Jan. 8 editorial (Taxes, bullhorns).
After initially admitting that “what follows is a couple of ideas that haven’t quite matured,” Harding goes on to prove his point.
He cites the Liberals’ “poor communication” on their sudden imposition of the HST, that immediately followed their reelection. He blames B.C. voters for rejecting this “good idea” (HST), which they “perceived” to be a deception. Well it was subsequently proven to actually be a deliberate deception.
In another line he claims “The B.C. Liberals wanted to go the progressive, logical route and bring us in line with other provinces” by way of HST. One is lead to presume that we were among the few, backward, laggard provinces who were late to get on the HST boat.
However in checking how many provinces have chosen to embrace the HST, and to relinquish their sovereign right to control their own taxation to boot, it turns out that in fact, most like B.C., have decided against Harper’s HST.
Harding also seizes upon the bribe by Christy Clark who sweetened the pot and said the flat tax would go down to 10 per cent from its current 12 per cent — his easy math comment. At this point I suspected Harding of being facetious, or playing a parody on Tom Fletcher, as most saw through Clark’s “easy math.”
A 10 per cent tax on designated HST items is not less than 12 per cent of GST plus PST on the far fewer designated pre-HST items.
So, here is another deception — not any lack of communication, nor “people being wrong about the nuts and bolts (the tax)” to quote the editorial once again.
We would like you to please print this letter of sincere thanks we are sending to Gary and Cliff, the two Paramedics from Parksville who attended to me on Friday, Jan. 11 when they responded to our 911 call.
My wife and I were so impressed by these two gentlemen who came to my help. They were very professional, proficient, caring, and very compassionate to both of us during this time.
They insisted my wife travel with us in the ambulance while they transported me to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.
On arrival at the hospital I was handed over to a wonderful team of great nurses and doctors who treated me in a very swift and efficient way, in the new state-of the art emergency room.
Our sincere thanks to these wonderful folks as well.
We recently moved to this wonderful area of the island and are both very impressed with the great emergency services available to us in times of need. You made this ordeal so much easier to handle.
We are sending kudos and thanks to you all.
A warning to computer users that there is a scam happening in which someone phones pretending to be from Windows.
When asked to give a number, they give a legitimate sounding phone number and then want to have you open a run dialogue box that will give them control over your computer.
When they have control, they will crash your computer and access all of your personal information on your computer. Watch out.
House sitter issue
We arranged for a house/pet sitter for what was to be a lengthy holiday. Although she had a clean police check and was referred by a friend who had used her services many times, we were lucky the cats were alive and the house wasn’t burnt to the ground on our return.
This was arranged so we would have a live in pet sitter during our absence for security of our and pets, and the home. This woman in her sixties moved her new Internet boyfriend of five weeks into the house without our permission the day after we left. Her promise to Skype us on a regular basis so we could see our happy cats proved to be a lie as her old computer was manufactured without a camera? One photo mailed to us showed two unhappy cats with ears at half mast. When she e-mailed that our shy reclusive cat had bit her we began to wonder what was really going on.
When frequent phone calls were never answered I e-mailed her to ask if everything was okay. She said that that very day she was on her way to the mainland for a few days to assist her daughter in Vancouver, leaving a key to my house with someone who was a perfect stranger to us, without our permission. She did not provide a name, phone number or address for this individual and when I emailed back and asked she gave me a name, a false street address and no phone number. This woman was coming in feeding only and not staying over night. Friends started emailing about the lack of activity as they drove by our house.
I flew thousands of miles home only to find a stranger watching TV in my bedroom. She said that in fact the original sitter left three days prior to when the sitter had told me she left, and the story she gave her was that she had urgent business in Alberta? The substitute was not able to stay overnight as she was pet sitting elsewhere in town. Security was clearly at risk.
The house looked like a cross between a squat and a frat house after a long weekend party. It took thirty hours of work to return it to the condition I left it in. Clothing and flammable items were pushed up against electric baseboard heaters in three rooms. I am surprised the house had not burnt to the ground, as it was empty for days. The kitty litter had not been emptied in the three weeks since we had left, and every unwashed cat food can was sitting in the filthy kitchen.
When the sitter and her boyfriend returned after a one week absence I fired her, and she loaded her belongings which I had moved to an outside porch. I had been home for three days cleaning, and trying to comfort my stressed cats who obviously experienced unknown trauma.
I know there are some very good people out there pet sitting. However be aware that interviews, a police check, references and the fact that someone is registered on a house-sitting website are not a guarantee. Think about dropping in on them unexpectedly in their own home or other homes while they are house sitting to get an idea of how they live day to day. This individual I have learned does no clean up after herself or do normal home maintenance, until the homeowners arrival is imminent. It is wise to provide them with a key that can not be copied. That ensures your security after they leave. I had all my locks changed.
Hopefully this will save others from this unfortunate experience.
Oily road beef
Why is it whenever I take my dog for a walk after a recycling or garbage truck has recently been through the area, that I am constantly avoiding large stains of oil on the road?
Is there not a mechanic at the yard that knows how to install an oil gasket on these polluting trucks?
The damage to local salmon habitat from oils in the ditches and roadways caused by these trucks is getting worse each year, to a point where they now do more damage to the environment than they prevent.
Water rate questions
Tiered water rates are no longer about conservation. They’re about money for added infrastructure the developers need to continue to profit while our small town is swallowed up.
It’s not about conservation because since 2009 Parksville residents use less water than the national average.
The established standard for determining this is litres/capita/day (Lcd), the litres one person uses each day. Using the figures the city uses, the latest national average is 274 Lcd.
In 2009 the city’s metered residential water use, 1,093,977,000 litres, divided by the resident population, 11,577 (Stats Canada), divided by 365 days gives a 258.85 Lcd. That’s 5.5 per cent less than national average. In 2010 we were 3.5 per cent less. 2011 was 12.8 per cent less. Since 2009 we’ve conserved better than most of Canada.
Looking at the tier system, how much water does the city allow us before they charge more to “encourage responsible conservation”? Tier one, up to 60 cubic metres, divided by 365 days is 328.77 Lcd. So if you live alone you can use 20 per cent more than the national average. But, since most homes in Parksville have at least two residents, the likely figure is 164.39 Lcd, four per cent less than the national average.
If you live with two or three people your Lcd is even less, but the tier system doesn’t recognize individual residents because it’s not about conservation. It recognizes homes, not people, and therefore has nothing to do with user pay.
True user pay system is a flat rate per litre, residential and commercial. The more you use the more you pay.