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FILE PHOTO: Residential houses are seen in Wellington, New Zealand, July 1, 2017. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo/File PhotoDAVID GRAY/Reuters

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Is it safe?

Re Ontario Health Minister Says Pharmacies Can Safely Test People With COVID-19 Symptoms (Nov. 18): The proposal to allow symptomatic persons or high-risk contacts of a known COVID-19 case to be tested in Ontario pharmacies should be carefully reconsidered.

We should not permit potentially contagious individuals to be in the same locations as those picking up prescriptions or buying cosmetics and personal care products. I believe the public risk is too high to warrant this service in busy pharmacies.

Stand-alone assessment centres would be the best places for testing, where individuals can be isolated more effectively than in a retail environment.

Stan Teitelbaum Toronto

Re Austria Imposes Lockdown Rules On Citizens Who Are Not Fully Vaccinated (Nov. 15): The mention of Singapore’s decision to charge unvaccinated patients for treatment resulting from the virus is interesting.

This is not a solution that could be applied in Canada. However, it begs the issue that requiring hospital treatment if one is unvaccinated seems unfair to other patients who have had treatments delayed by, in some cases, more than a year.

Is there not merit in reducing the number of ICU beds to pre-COVID-19 levels and commencing treatments for those patients who have been wait-listed for so long? If such a plan were implemented, it could at least encourage the vaccine-hesitant to get their shots.

Hammond Bentall Stratford, Ont.

Quality long-term care

Re Ontario’s New LTC Fines ‘Toothless’: Critics (Nov. 1): Inspections to monitor compliance, along with follow through by enforcement and consequences for non-compliance, should be integral to Ontario’s long-term care system. However, quality care should require more than adversarial means.

As W. Edwards Deming points out in his management book Out of the Crisis, “Inspection does not improve the quality, nor guarantee quality. Inspection is too late. The quality, good or bad, is already in the product. As Harold F. Dodge said, ‘You cannot inspect quality into a product.’ “ If long-term care remains as adversarial as it has been in the traditional institutional model, it seems unlikely that significant change will occur.

Rather than investing more money in inspectors, wouldn’t it be grand if over time, with culture change, non-compliance became the exception? Savings would accrue as a result, and could be redirected to enhance long-term care programming and staffing.

Barbara Schulman Member, Ottawa Advocacy Working Group on Long-term Care, Canadian Association of Retired Persons

Let’s talk

Re New Zealand’s Bold Housing Law May Be A Fit For Canada (Nov. 10): I live in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood. The homes are mostly 100 years old and some are heritage. The zoning is multifamily.

The house I live in has three units. Most of my neighbours’ houses have at least three units, often more. These houses provide rental accommodations at reasonable rates, often at less than market price because of long-term tenure.

Times have changed – densification is inevitable. The multifamily zoning, which I find comparable to New Zealand’s new legislation, came about as a result of neighbourhood consultation around 40 years ago.

I believe opposition to proposed developments across Canada is mostly because they are being forced into neighbourhoods, with no consideration of the buildings or residents already there. Many neighbours are asking for meaningful consultation on ways to densify that satisfy all agendas.

It would save a lot of time and anxiety all around.

Janet Buckle Vancouver

Fast cars

Re Ford Stakes Future On Building More Highways (Nov. 13): There’s nothing ideological about my opposition to Highway 413. If Ontario proceeds with the project, it would pave over 400 acres of the Greenbelt.

I’ve walked through a section of the Vaughan countryside and seen up close what the highway would destroy: meadows filled with monarch butterflies, the homes of coyotes and tall trees that feed pileated woodpeckers. It would pollute the Humber River.

My sadness is heartfelt. If mega-highways are built through the Greenbelt, the word “Greenbelt” would cease to have meaning. No forest in Ontario would be safe.

Gideon Forman Climate change and transportation policy analyst, David Suzuki Foundation Toronto

Residents, a.k.a. voters, opposed to Highway 413 and the Bradford bypass are not all downtown activists. Across Peel Region, many residents are furious that Ontario is using minister’s zoning orders to override regional and environmental concerns.

The Highway 407 toll road is underutilized and would be a more appropriate solution to deal with congestion. For the cost of building a new highway, cost for use of the 407 could be subsidized for truckers, which would solve two issues.

I think Highway 413 is a lazy and destructive solution.

Carrie Rubel Caledon, Ont.

As this discussion continues, I don’t see any experts reviewing the potential mess where Highway 413 would merge with Highway 400.

Another major highway feeding into this route would make it even more of a parking lot than it is now. Any time savings would evaporate as drivers sit in their cars trying to merge.

David Chalmers Toronto

As a retired land developer and having been on the expert Greenbelt and Places to Grow panel, I note that both Bradford and East Gwillimbury’s planning was done based on the Bradford bypass being built.

The bulk of Bradford’s growth has already occurred. East Gwillimbury is happening but hampered by lack of sewage capacity. Land for the bypass has already been acquired by the province; we sold them a portion of it as part of our Bradford project. This contradicts environmental groups that believe the project will result in lands being approved for low-density subdivisions.

Credit should be given to the panels that provided valuable insight to provincial staff who then wrote the two plans. Former staff are correct to state that proper public transit (GO Transit specifically) is also required.

Fraser Nelson P.Eng Caledon, Ont.

New again

Re Ontario To Stop Streaming Grade 9 Courses Starting In New School Year (Nov. 11): Grade 9 math in Ontario was de-streamed less than three months into the school year and it has already been deemed a success. Having taught for 35 years and having taught de-streamed Grade 9 classes, I can assure the government that the concept works only on paper.

It seems just a matter of time before this “new” tried and failed idea of the 1990s is forgotten again. If only the government would draw on the knowledge of experienced teachers and truly put students first, by putting teachers first.

Helen Jones Brampton, Ont.

Second and long

Re Hulking Hamilton Ticats Legend Was Known As Mr. Nasty (Obituary, Nov. 13): I remember a moment at Ottawa’s Landsdowne Park in the mid-1960s.

On second down, Rough Rider Russ Jackson handed off to Ron Stewart, and Stewie got stuffed. But before coach Frank Clair sent out the punting team, Hamilton Tiger-Cat Angelo Mosca arrived, way late, and his piling-on penalty got the Riders a new set of downs.

I’ve watched college football for the last quarter-century and don’t ever remember a piling-on penalty. Ditto the Canadian Football League. This is progress.

Mike Bartlett London, Ont.

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