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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Letters to the Editor (part five)

The following are some of my letters to the editor over the past couple years. I have found, since submitting my first many years ago, that this is a means, one widely read, to express an opinion on events in the city and realms further afield. I fully encourage people to write letters to the editors of what some fondly consider our local rags, though don’t be surprised when they appear and are edited by the paper. In one letter I submitted the editor changed one word, eliminated one sentence and totally changed the context of what I was saying.

Re: Harewood resident opposes firehall location
Once again we have another Harewood resident, Paul Walton, espousing why the Harewood Fire Hall was inappropriate for use by the 7-10 Club. I have a question for all those who deemed it an inappropriate location; did you ever come down and take a look at the service, sit down and talk to the people using it? My guess is no. If you had you would have seen that by far the majority of people using the service are simply Families Individuals and even Students who cannot make ends meet through government subsidies or low paying employment. You would have seen people that for the most part are your neighbours, currently living quietly amongst you, in Harewood and surrounding neighbourhoods and that the space in the Fire Hall was actually larger than that used at St. Peters .
Most of the outcry against the service moving to the Fire Hall was put out by a few people spreading doom and gloom propaganda to the larger masses of Harewood. Was NYMBYism involved, most certainly? Amanda Young, a local teacher, at least had the courage to state publicly that no matter what the 7-10 Club did she would never support its relocation to the Fire Hall, Jack Tielman put together a Web BLOG that was full of misinformation and postings bordering on hatred of the poor, usually anonymous. Again had either one visited the service, NO?
The vast majority of people in Harewood are by no means NIMBY’s, sadly they are being coloured by the minority who had no qualms about spreading false information.
Oddly enough this is exactly what happened to the 7-10 Club, the view of the many being influenced by the actions of but a few.

Re: handing out crack kits
I am greatly confused with regard to the rational of handing out Crack Kits to addicts. After much research on the inter-web I have been unable to find any concrete studies on the transmition incidence of HIV and Hepatitis C through the shared use of crack pipes or evidence supporting the harm reduction aspect of these kits.

What I have found is that one supposed reason for handing these kits out is the wish to reduce the intravenous use of crack and the higher risk of the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C through the shared use of needles. If this is the case then it seriously puts into question the very efficacy of needle exchange programs. The problem is, there is a dearth of evidence that suggests needle exchanges have had a significant effect on the reduction of HIV and Hepatitis C.

Rather than handing out free crack kits on the streets, which may have the effect of drawing on the curiosity of youth to obtain such followed by the logical outcome of then trying them out, a greater focus should be made towards the awareness of existing needle exchange programs. If one still insists on handing out crack pipes then let it be done through these existing programs, not in the middle of residential neighbourhoods. .

VIHA’s behaviour in all of this is questionable to say the least. To not involve City Council, local residents & businesses, in there decision to hand out free crack kits and now removing vehicle identification in hopes of continuing the handout surreptitiously leads one to seriously question their motives.

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