Letters, May 20
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No more highways — we need trees
Winnipeg City Council is trying to act on the vision of our present mayor and spend $1 billion to extend Chief Peguis Trail and widen Kenaston boulevard.
This expense may achieve the dubious result of allowing cars to get quicker to the next set of lights 300 meters away with marginal results on commute time.
Unfortunately this backward thinking, favouring the car culture, is much too prevalent in Winnipeg’s City Council. This is well illustrated by City Councillor Jeff Browaty who believes the average Winnipeger values getting to work as fast as possible.
But there is another culture here as well who values walking/biking over cars, and trees over highways and speed.
Winnipeg is still a beautiful city, thanks to our forefathers, but it won’t last if our “leaders” continue to focus their mind and effort on cars.
Take Lagimodiere boulevard, a bleak, treeless area made of concrete, lights and dangerous intersections that can only create a negative and depressive view of the city for the daily commuter or the city visitor.
And what do we need to change this? Trees, lots of trees. This will not only beautify the area, but will also contribute to save the planet. It will decrease noise pollution and improve mental well-being, as studies shows that just the fact of looking at trees helps reduce stress and high blood pressure, and improves mood.
We get used to our treeless and desolate areas, but if we look around with new eyes, we will see many streets and areas crying out for trees.
The 2023 budget for the city approved more money toward protecting and renewing the city’s tree canopy (total investment $26.3 million) but even with those numbers, the forestry department has fallen very far behind due to a lack of resources. For example, pruning is on a 30 year cycle, instead of a recommended five to seven years.
The city also has a goal of planting one million trees, but it will take 20 years to reach that number. This cost is estimated at $43 million (or a little over $2 million per year), a far cry from the estimated $1 billion to develop highways.
It is time to question ourselves and let our views be known to our “leaders”.
Do we want to spend $2 million a year to plant trees, while at the same time spending $1 billion to develop a treeless city favouring highways and increased pollution, just to save a few minutes in commuting time?
Our planet can’t wait 20 years. We need to act now.
Lack of money and resources to plant or maintain trees is often mentioned as an excuse by the city, but it is not the money that is missing; it is a lack of vision that chooses cars over our quality of life and the health of our planet.
Route 90 plan will eventually be needed
RE: A tale of two roadway plans (Editorial, May 18)
It is clear that this editorial was written by an idealist and so does not deal with reality too closely. The author is merely hoping to project their “reality” instead.
Traffic volumes will inevitably increase and the Route 90 plan will be needed. Autos will be powered differently, not gone, so similar projects will be needed. This has always been the case with growing populations.
By not widening Route 90, all this extra traffic that the author admits will still cause gridlock, will be forced onto residential streets as none of it can fly. The BIZ plan for the Village is similar.
Osborne should have been widened years ago, or parking removed, as it is a choke point that they propose to make worse, not better. Why would a BIZ representative be so anti-business as well as anti-science?
Opening Portage and Main would also worsen traffic flow there. That there may be other intersections with higher flows is not a reason to open this intersection, but could be a reason to close the other intersections to pedestrians.
Opening Portage and Main should never be done. Besides, our current city council would be showing their hypocrisy if they did since they are trying to depict Winnipeg’s streets as “deathtraps” for pedestrians so they can lower speed limits.
They aren’t actually, as accident rates have been trending down for nearly 50 years. There never was, or is, a good reason to lower speed limits. Actually, if you were wanting to accelerate this longtime trend, then it is the pedestrian that should be removed from our streets, as some studies have found that they are the ones responsible for 80 per cent to 90 per cent of auto/pedestrian accidents (likely not that high here but the normal motorist is not the usual cause).
Thanks to CancerCare
I wanted to express my appreciation for the doctors and staff at CancerCare Manitoba, and in particular the therapists and nurses in the radiation therapy department.
Every step of the way over the past several months, I was treated with respect, empathy, urgency and understanding, even when things did not always go smoothly.
I always felt I was in the capable hands of professionals who knew what they were doing.
Seeing articles in the Free Press that slam the governing PCs is nothing new to me, even after being in another country studying for nearly five months, nor does it surprise me.
It makes me wonder though, if these same editors will jump on and attack everything the likely new NDP government will propose or do. Each and every government needs to be held accountable, especially our current government, but it seems that every time this government breathes, articles the next day are ranting about how they are taking too much air up.
Just a thought from an 18-year-old first-time voter.
Taking a holistic approach
Re: Simplistic ‘tough on crime’ tack doesn’t work (Think Tank, May 18)
This is an interesting article about jails and deinstitutionalization of mentally ill individuals to be cared for in communities.
The one problem with the article, however, is it opens two questions: first, are we to infer that all criminals always have mental illnesses?
Second, should the mentally ill be re-institutionalized in asylums instead of in jails or in social community settings?
A holistic approach would find that family and community social supports are needed for all who are mentally ill, such as affordable housing, safe supervised drug consumption sites, should there be substance use issues, and a guaranteed universal basic income for the poor geared to low and middle income.
Finally, stigmatization, harassment, and discrimination prevention programs are needed so that mental illnesses, substance use issues, and homelessness are not further exacerbated by social judgment toward identity devaluation.
These holistic treatment approach actions may minimize violent crime and property crimes that necessitated bail debates in the first place.