Letters to The Sun, Oct 1, 2022: Young people need to learn how to feed themselves affordably


Re: BC university, college students scramble to pay for it all

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First of all, I sympathize. I really do. It’s hard being alone for the first time, often without the skills to do it right.


But when I read about this student who has to limit how much she goes out, how much she orders, and has to resort to canned food instead of fresh, my thought is: I hardly ever eat out. I never order.

I also don’t buy canned food unless it’s on sale. I buy rice, dried beans, lentils, and spices at the South Asian stores in South Vancouver. I buy fresh products in small stores where it is cheaper than in the big stores. I plan meals around what is on sale. I check the “expired” shelf in the back of my grocery store and always find something worth buying, and never really expired.

I cook nutritious and delicious meals and eat the same thing for several days in a row, or freeze it in portions.

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I’m not a student. I am a middle-aged woman living in one of the least affordable cities in the world.

I think this is a teaching moment. Young people can learn to feed themselves affordably, perhaps through websites? Online classes? A student cookbook provided by your college? Surely this will benefit them throughout life.

Cynthia Heinrichs Vancouver

Coal shipments must come to an end

Re: Probable traffic jam at Metro Vancouver ports with strike at Westshore Coal Terminal

As a resident of South Delta, I am in favor of the work stoppage at Westshore Terminals. Good luck workers, I hope you get what you want.

What I would really like to see, like many in our province, is an end to coal shipments from the Lower Continent. Not only is burning coal a major contributor to the worsening climate on the planet, but for us on the Lower Continent, coal dust from these shipments is a concern for our health and the environment.

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Westshore Terminals at Roberts Bank is the second largest coal facility in North America, second only to Norfolk, Virginia. A large part of that is thermal coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming.

Due to environmental concerns, none of the US West Coast ports wanted to ship this coal, and instead the mining companies found a willing partner in our province. Shipping coal is very lucrative, and Westshore Terminals, part-owned by Jimmy Pattison, makes a profit of about 40 percent.

It’s a bit ironic that there is so much resistance to pipelines in BC, but large shipments of coal, over 30 million tons a year, still happen at Roberts Bank. NDP and Liberal governments pay lip service to environmental concerns, but have prevaricated on this issue for years. Despite Westshore’s efforts to suppress coal dust, the black goo continues to drizzle over South Delta.

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I live in Tsawwassen and am obliged to clean my deck every few months of coal dust from the port. But this dust falls everywhere coal trains run, based on tests along rail routes (Air Quality Report, Metro Vancouver 2016) from American trains passing through White Rock to our coal BC passing through Surrey along the Fraser River.

As much as I admire Jimmy Pattison for all he’s done for BC, I wish he’d think again about this dirty windfall and stop shipping coal out of Westshore Terminals.

Bill Kelly, Tsawwassen

rent controls

The BC government has capped residential rent increases at two percent for 2023. Based on its previously established formula linked to the rate of inflation, it should have been 5.4 percent.

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The message this sends to developers is not to build for rent because the government will force them to subsidize the rent they charge tenants. The irony is that in response to the dire shortage, the government is taking steps to subsidize existing tenants while at the same time making sure the problem keeps getting worse. As everyone in the housing industry has repeatedly said, the solution to the housing crisis is to build more homes.

The appropriate policy response would be to remove rent controls altogether and provide direct subsidies to tenants who legitimately require assistance, perhaps in the form of income tax refunds.

Our government should look at the situation in American cities. In Seattle there are no rent controls and there is a surplus of rental housing and rental rates are falling. Freezing rent increases at two percent is a cheap and easy solution in the short term and is sure to be popular with existing tenants, but it will be a disaster in the long run and will make life worse for future tenants, not better.

Garth M. Evans, Vancouver

Letters to the editor should be sent to [email protected].

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