Vancouver Sun letters to the editor for Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019

The Broughton Apartments, a 40-year-old, 47-unit rental building in Vancouver’s West End, received a 300-per-cent property tax increase over four years. NICK PROCAYLO / PNG

Blaming B.C. Assessment for jeopardizing the city’s stock of “affordable rental homes” is misleading and disingenuous. Rents of $854 a month in older West End buildings are the result of long-term rent controls. Those taking advantage of those rents are the long-time renters.

A young person moving into the area isn’t going to be able to take advantage of these “affordable rental homes” and a long-time renter may have an income far in advance of the cheap rent. Further, enabling this situation through reduced taxation would only accentuate what is already a large inequity.

Don’t advocate for the rest of us taxpayers to subsidize the landlords of these properties. If the actual rents are so out of line with current market rents, deal with the real issue by allowing rents to be more realistic. If government must be involved, may it be for the purpose of protecting only those who actually require protection — long-term renters who would not meet a wealth or income means test in the face of higher rents.

Neil Emmott, White Rock

Property tax changes are needed

Columnist Dan Fumano hit the nail on the head. The solution is obvious: Stop taxing property based on assessed value!

Property taxes should be based on what was paid for the property plus improvements. Of course, such a solution would be easier if we could turn the clock back 50 years. If we do nothing and continue down the road we are on, the situation will get worse.

Bernard Barrett, Vancouver

Fisheries not the only factor

In reading the recent article on endangered steelhead, one would gather that the fate of the interior Fraser steelhead was entirely dependent upon whether commercial fisheries occurred. Not so fast! The federal cabinet is not entirely sold on that lobbying position by Mark Zacharias, B.C.’s deputy minister of the environment.

It is all too easy to blame commercial fisheries for the state of the steelhead even though they have been largely restricted in the period leading up to this “crisis.” The broad brush proposed closures encompass all commercial fisheries without regard to verifiable catch records that demonstrate infinitesimally small to absolutely no interactions with steelhead.

For the supposedly “scientifically consensual recommendations” to be consistent, then all Fraser River fisheries should be closed, in addition to other activity that affects steelhead habitat, such as logging, agriculture and mining. It is doubtful that Zacharias would go that far.

The environment ministry has been inconsistent in choosing its campaigns, such as in failing to save Cultus Lake for salmon. Zacharias should know that saving fish is a lot more complicated than killing fisheries.

Michael Griswold, Heriot Bay

Barring unvaccinated kids is discrimination

Maple Ridge mother Katie Clunn has started a petition to make it mandatory for parents to present vaccination cards during school admission, meaning those who choose not to vaccinate due to philosophical reasons must home-school their children. Clunn argues that this policy is needed to protect school children who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Although I agree with protecting children from unwanted measles exposure, such a policy would discriminate and prevent them from getting unbiased knowledge, experience and values to critically read scientific literature, gather evidence and make better decisions for themselves and their kids in the future.

Instatement of vaccination records on school admission may help, however, as it would improve public health outreach, awareness and medical resources to improve vaccination rates in B.C.

Harjot Bedi, Surrey 

Former pope didn’t act

Pope Francis is attempting to do what former Pope John Paul II should have done over 19 years ago. David Yallop’s 2007 book, The Power and the Glory, covers the scandal of pedophiles around the world and must have been known to John Paul.

He did not order his cardinals or bishops to report to police the known scandals. Victims were ignored while the offenders were either transferred to other parishes or given counselling. All was swept under the carpet. John Paul was quickly declared a saint. It took a lot longer for Mother Teresa to receive that title.

Gilles Bouchard, Richmond

Letters to the editor should be sent to [email protected] The editorial pages editor is Gordon Clark, who can be reached at [email protected].

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