Letters, Feb. 16
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A question of capacity
Re: A bridge too far… into the future (Feb. 10)
Now we can hope that in 25 years’ time, things will have changed with the CP railyards so that a new Arlington Street Bridge, in today’s size, will no longer be considered.
It was built in 1912 when people can’t have been too concerned with driving through clouds of smoke.
The railyards now seem to be more of a parking lot, plugged up one day and almost empty the next.
Comparing bridges, the Arlington bridge is three times longer than the Harry Lazarenko Bridge (formerly the Redwood Bridge). The Arlington bridge, because of its traffic lights at each end, is a true two-lane bridge. But the Harry Lazarenko Bridge, because it has traffic lights close by, is acting more like a four-lane bridge, because traffic is easily funnelled onto the bridge.
Traffic in the Arlington area might flow better if the city expanded capacity on nearby streets, such as enlarging the intersection at Logan Avenue and McPhillips Street.
On the radar
I couldn’t agree more with letter writer James Gosman (“Stupid is as stupid does,” Feb 13).
Last December, I had the misfortune of getting zapped by a mobile photo radar in a school zone in the middle of Christmas break, when no children were present. Even though I had slowed to only 43 km/h out of an abundance of caution — flash! — $200 less Christmas cash to spend, sucked into that ever-growing black hole known as government finances.
Was I stupid to assume that, because it was Christmas break and no children were present, the Winnipeg Police Service would treat it like a weekend? Absolutely.
Was WPS stupid to allocate scarce resources to set up a photo radar trap in a school zone in the middle of Christmas break when no children were present? If it’s about safety, perhaps, as reader Gosman suggests.
But if it’s not really about safety…
The importance of kindness
Re: Empathy imperative in trying times (Feb. 14)
Peter Denton has written a lovely piece on the subject of empathy so deft in its metaphor it risks a casual reader’s inattention.
For many years, I practised medicine, for eight years in my 30s, mainly as a renal transplant surgeon. At the time, it was a simple thing to enter the world of the individuals I cared for, “the sickest in medicine” with chronic illness and co-morbid conditions requiring many medications. For those eight years, I worked 24/7/365 and my wife managed the home front.
My wife worked as an educator for 42 years. Her father was an elite draftsman for a nuclear reactor and her mother taught piano. The family hobbies were music (my wife plays the violin) and tennis, at which her two brothers excelled.
Nine years ago my then-19-year-old son directed me to novelist George Saunders’ 2013 commencement address to the graduating class of Syracuse University on the subject of kindness. As many will know, Saunders’ empathy weaves its gentle way throughout his writing; his commencement speech is a moving tribute to the importance of kindness in our daily lives.
We all have friends and family one could describe as “difficult” or “awkward”; how worthwhile is one’s life if such individuals and moments are somehow excluded?
Every day in our home we discuss difficult moments and awkward interactions attempting to enter another’s world. Empathy is a learned skill requiring emotional effort. Although the words of Peter Denton and George Saunders are lovely, contemporary cultural narcissism — evidenced in social media and neo-liberalism — prevents many from acquiring and applying such an aptitude.
Few will argue that there has been an added surge in enthusiasm for our Blue Bomber team, especially in the last three seasons. One likely contributing factor to this upswing is the presence of local, homegrown players who contribute to the team’s success in tangible ways. Bombers management and coaches, and local collegiate coaches, all need to be commended for this.
It is rather confusing, then, that our Valour management and coaches have not figured out that poor attendance at Valour soccer games, especially last season, is due in part to a lack of homegrown players on the field. The argument that we are without talented local players is nonsense; we finished near the bottom of the table last season without any local players ever seeing any game time. We have a plethora of highly qualified and certified coaches in the city, many of whom hold UEFA certificates and Canadian licences, who will argue that with the right nurturing, our local players can perform at the pro level.
I am mindful that at the pro level it is all about results — losses can often mean disruptive staff changes. However, last season showed us that mining for talent in leagues outside North America can prove fruitless. As a fan, it is equally frustrating to lose as it is to be unable to identify with the 11 non-local players on the field.
Naturally, we all want our local teams to be successful, and perhaps this season, without any local players on the roster, we may indeed have more success. However, if you want the full support of the community and to also inspire the younger generation to dream of being future Valour players, might I suggest we do a better job looking to the many talented players we have in our city.
Study in contrasts
I cannot imagine two more different diverging paths. In the city and business sections of the Feb. 14 paper you have two small articles under the “In Brief” section.
One, “Teens charged in bear-spray attacks,” is about some youths allegedly deciding, for what seems to be only their enjoyment, to go to different locations and randomly assault people with bear spray. If this is the path they want to go down, it is sad, really; what a waste of potential.
The other, “Teen hailed after Tataskweyak rescue,” is of a 17-year-old girl on a remote First Nation putting her own life at risk — while on her way to work, no less — to rescue people from a burning apartment building. This young person seems to have chosen a different and hopefully rewarding path to go down. Bless her for her efforts and a wish for her speedy recovery.
Manitoba needs to step up
It is clear Manitoba has a severe littering problem, as well as embarrassingly low waste diversion. According to Statistics Canada Table 38-10-0032-01 Disposal of waste, by source, and Table 38-10-0138-01 Waste materials diverted, by type and by source, less than 20 per cent of Manitoba’s waste is being diverted. British Columbia, however, is diverting almost 40 per cent of its waste.
Here, once the snow melts, all the trash will be exposed, leaving Winnipeg even filthier than usual.
Both the government and the residents of Manitoba need to do better! The recycling deposit-return system in B.C. is clearly far ahead of our current recycling system. Not only does it encourage people to properly sort their recycling, it also encourages them to pick up recyclables that have been littered.
It’s also the job of every Manitoban to help reduce their waste; they should also be picking up litter whenever they can. You also have a duty to help raise awareness to these issues and use your platform for a call to action. I highly recommend publicizing Take Pride Winnipeg’s “Team up to clean up” campaign.
Updated on Thursday, February 16, 2023 8:01 AM CST: Adds links