Leave loading zone alone
Thanks to Jessica Botelho-Urbanski for the exposé on the proposal to install parking meters in front of Fred Douglas Place (Seniors fight city move to remove loading zone, July 7).
When doing work in the building, we have had occasion to attend both the front and back door of Fred Douglas Place, the latter of which is supposedly suitable for all comings and goings, as deemed by the city. As two able-bodied people toting in equipment to do our work, we found it inconvenient and difficult to park/navigate. Even with modifications, it's unlikely the back door could meet standards for persons with physical challenges.
But there's also a human, quality-of-life issue here as well. The 100-plus residents of Fred Douglas Place have been pioneers of downtown living -- some for over 25 years. They intentionally spend their income where they live (and would likely do that more if a grocery store and movie theatre were available). Their financial contribution far outweighs what three parking meters will add to the city coffers.
The city could go a long way in the goodwill department by looking elsewhere for their short-term parking, and sending a well-worded apology to Fred Douglas Place residents.
Valerie and Neil Sander
A bus spillage solution
The proposed bylaw prohibiting spillage of food and drink on city buses isn't practical (Bus-singing ban urged, July 5).
I lived in Hong Kong for six years before moving to Winnipeg. The public transportation stations and trains there are pristine, since consumption of any kind of food or drink is prohibited. Doing so results in a fine of around $275.
The Kowloon Motor Bus Company in Hong Kong requests that passengers not eat or drink inside buses. The difference in litter and mess on buses in Winnipeg, compared to Hong Kong, was very noticeable when we first moved here.
If you eat and drink on buses, things will spill. Banning spillage doesn't make sense. Banning consumption of food and drink does.
Voters choose decision-makers
Sidney Green's article Big decisions should be left to the elected (July 8) was not only well-written, but more importantly was right on.
When the ultimate decision-makers are not those whom voters have entrusted with government, there is no democracy.
In a democratic state, the people make the final decision on all matters that affect them through their elected representatives in government, certainly not via unelected judges.
We all have to be thankful that the late Sterling Lyon led the fight to protect our democratic government from court dominance by including the notwithstanding clause in our constitution.
Leave Forks for new faces
City council's rush to approve the final phase of the Forks development is akin to a prime minister stacking the Senate prior to an election where victory is doubtful ('Paradise' clears hurdle, July 8).
After everything the citizens of Winnipeg have been dragged through with their tax dollars, this latest charade is one more insulting slap in the face.
What occurs with the last remaining open space at the Forks isn't for this council to decide; it rests with the new set of faces we will hopefully find at city council this fall.
Nothing should be finalized regarding anything to do with Winnipeg's future before this tired, dysfunctional group is put out to pasture.
Good driving, better mileage
Re: Manitoba's shameful roads (Letters, July 7). In his letter, Guy Whitehill reports his fuel consumption was 30 to 40 per cent lower driving in Minneapolis/St. Paul than in Winnipeg.
I have good news: Most drivers can get 30 per cent lower fuel consumption in Winnipeg by merely changing their driving behaviour. That has been my experience based on purchasing a trip computer for our car that plugs into the standard OBD-II port and provides data on fuel consumption -- a feature many cars have built in. Over a period of many months it changed the way I drive.
I'm now more aware of timed lights; I take my foot off the gas when I see a red light ahead. When I have to hit the brakes to slow down I think about what I could do differently next time so I don't have to use my brakes, since braking means I wasted gas building up momentum that I probably didn't need.
The only downside is I occasionally frustrate other drivers who would rather race to the next red light instead of coasting up to it. I hope they eventually figure out their habit doesn't save them any appreciable amount of time.
In the meantime, if they're stuck behind me when I'm coasting, at least I'll be saving them gas, too.
Accountability at all levels
Few would disagree with Mike Phelan's insistence on some degree of accountability for teachers, but it certainly shouldn't stop there (Keep teachers accountable, Letters, July 7).
Accountability should also include senior administrators, education department officials, and school trustees who all-too-frequently adopt untested theories and flawed curriculums that result in fiascos that impede student progress.
Parents need to demand evidence showing the latest fads will provide better results than proven methods. Meanwhile, taxpayers should be asking whether they're actually getting value from a largely unaccountable education bureaucracy, or if their money is being used mainly to subsidize the education innovation industry and its limited record of success.
Kudos to city police
Staff Sgt. Bob Chrismas is spot on with his far-sighted perspective on the important role of social problems as precipitants of crime (Shared responsibility only solution to social problems, July 5).
Chrismas is to be commended for emphasizing the role of police in highlighting and sharing responsibility for these social issues. Clearly, with his 25 years of experience in policing, he has learned crime thrives when homelessness, poverty, lack of education, and neglect are prevalent in a community.
The Manitoba Psychological Society supports the recent initiatives of the Winnipeg Police Service to "sit at tables" and work together with interested groups in addressing these issues. We particularly support initiatives being explored by Chief Devon Clunis and the WPS to adopt programs that, in addressing social determinants of crime, have been shown to diminish crime as well as other social ills.
Executive director, Manitoba Psychological Society
Pospisil passed over
I was disappointed to find an entire page in Monday's Winnipeg Free Press devoted to Wimbledon, and yet no mention of the fact that a Canadian, Vasek Pospisil from Vernon B.C., and his U.S.-based partner Jack Sock won the men's doubles championship.
Canada's Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic, who garnered all the publicity and media coverage, didn't win a championship, yet the one Canadian who did give Canada a Wimbledon championship received no coverage at all.