Letters to the Editor

Letter - James Bay’s Joyful Choirs 

James Bay New Horizons hosts a song circle for seniors who want to sing but prefer something simpler than a choir―we just sing the melody. The repertoire consists of swing songs from the 20s through the 50s; pop songs from the 50s to the present; folk songs from many cultures; songs by artists like: Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Arlen, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Robbie Burns, Ben E. King, Hank Williams, the Everly Brothers, the Beatles, Harry Belafonte, Louis Armstrong, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor, Bill Withers, John Denver, Carol King, Johnny Mercer, Ricki Nelson, Pete Seeger, Roger Miller…and more. The session leader is Patrick Smith, a live-wire of musical energy who arrives with a truck load of instruments and a suitcase full of songs. Song sheets, percussion instruments, tea, coffee and cookies provided. Come, sing, play, or just listen. Guitars, ukuleles, and other chorded instruments are welcome, in a friendly, lively, fun, relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. $2/session for members, $4 for non members. Sessions are at James Bay New Horizons 234 Menzies St. every second Wednesday from 1:30 to 3pm. (Oct 2, Oct 16, Oct. 30, Nov. 13, Nov. 27, Dec 11.) 

For info e-mail Patrick pat.smith@shaw.ca or call James Bay New Horizons at (250) 386-3035. 

Patrick Smith 


Letter – Memories of Little Gem Grocer 

I am the daughter-in-law of Carol-Ann Cluff who owned the Little Gem Grocer along with Peter Gregory. The store officially closed back in 1981 when these two people decided to retire. I would like to create a scrapbook of the memories for our grand children and her great grand children. Carol is still alive and continues to live at Broadmead Lodge.

I met up with Peter and Patrick who were her two twin sons whom she adopted when they were babies. Patrick is now deceased, but Peter lives in Richmond, B.C. as he is in a wheelchair with a guide dog.

I married Peter in March 1974 and remember the Little Gem Grocery donating a fair amount of money to the Police Officers’ fund when Carol-Ann won a lottery. Can you help me with items for the scrapbook, please!!! 

Anne Jarvis (Cluff)


Letter – Are we the left coast? 

Please stop stuffing your leftist rag through my door. I find it very offensive! Why do you think that you have a right to do this? Do I stuff my opinions through your letter box? Kindly desist! Where do you live so that I can deliver my political opinions through your letter boxes?

Stop it! 

Left out resident


Letter – A Royal Jubilee Hospital Experience 

This letter is in response to a report from MLA Carole James, Minister of Finance, titled “Investing in Seniors” in the September 2019 issue of the James Bay Beacon. Ms. James expressed pride referring to a commitment by her government to spend “more than $1 billion over three years in programs benefitting seniors.” Is the funding enough and is it directed at the critical issues facing seniors? Ms. James referred to a reduction in ferry rates as an investment in seniors. Really?

I am a senior and during my recent 18 day stay in the Royal Jubilee Hospital for a critical condition, numerous doctors and nurses encouraged me to write to hospital and government officials to express concerns about the poor conditions that exist in the Emergency Department and the lack of acute care beds that impact on seniors.

After three days in Emergency, I was finally transferred to a ward. Six beds (close to half) were occupied by seniors who had dementia or required geriatric care. These individuals did not require acute care. They just could not look after themselves.

Doctors have formally requested funding for specialized geriatric facilities and care givers so that the pressure on hospital acute care beds is alleviated. There have been no initiatives taken by hospital or government representatives to deal with the crisis facing seniors at the Royal Jubilee Hospital.

Seniors should receive proper geriatric care to allow them dignity in their final years. Our senior population will continue to grow for many years to come. Proper geriatric facilities need to be invested now for the future. 

Richard (Dick) Newson


Letter – Then and Now – The Glenshiel Hotel 

Thank you for the “Then and Now” series of articles. They are always of interest, and I look forward to reading them to increase my knowledge of the James Bay neighbourhood.

I have to say, however, that I found Mr. Ross in error in the column on “The Glenshiel Hotel” in your July/August issue. The James Douglas House, on Elliot Street, was not built in the mid-1860s. The crew of French-Canadians from the fort built the timber-framed mansion in 1851. Douglas, now the second governor of Vancouver Island, needed a place to live outside Fort Victoria. When the house was demolished in 1906 it was 55 years old.

Keep up the wonderful work with this James Bay journal. 

Ed Duncan


 Letter – Tree Stewardship 

I would like to applaud the recent announcement to plant 5000 trees in Victoria as a response to the climate emergency. I am however gravely concerned that currently the City of Victoria is unable to care for our existing trees. Within a 15 minute walk of my home I could easily catalogue at least a dozen trees that have been removed from city parks and boulevards over the past few years and not replaced. My understanding is that a team of four arborists and an ever shrinking parks staff are charged with caring for an inventory of some 30,000 trees.

Perhaps the now is the time to develop a tree stewardship program that would allow groups or individuals to "adopt" a tree to ensure new trees thrive and existing trees survive. This would not require reinventing the wheel; I believe that other municipalities in the region have something similar in place. I believe that in James Bay and Fernwood there are fruit trees cared for by volunteers.  

Surely, we must work together if we are to get through the coming years. This seems to me to be a wonderful opportunity for the City to engage with its citizens in meaningful, forward thinking activity.  

T. Loeppky


Outreach at the United Church on Michigan

Poem: Transition