Letters: week of April 12

Let’s make a commitment to reduce single-use plastic

Sir: Whatever your thoughts are about ecological justice, the reality is that the personal choices we each make on a daily basis affect the present environment, and also the one we leave behind for future generations.

And it’s not just debt.

I, along with a number of organizations, suggest each of us makes a commitment to pay attention to one of those choices, and consequently decide to change a habit that could make a difference.

I am concerned by my use of single-use plastics.  All the plastic that has been created in the past number of years is still somewhere on the planet, breaking into smaller and smaller pieces, filling our oceans, ingested by animal life and ultimately by myself.

We like making plastic products in Sarnia. We have the know-how to create this ever ready, available and useable product.  We can’t imagine life without it.

Those who discovered the wonderful qualities of asbestos, DDT and cigarettes probably thought so too at one time.

My commitment is to reduce the amount of single-use plastic I use.  For example, when I order a beverage in a restaurant, I ask for “no straw, please.”

Sometimes it can be difficult, with the amount of packaging all around us, whether we want it or not.

Maybe I should start leaving the single-use plastic behind in the grocery store, and lobby corporations to be responsible for the waste they create.

Thea deGroot
Sarnia


A way for school board to make amends

Sir: Regarding the March 29 story, SCITS future uncertain.

I have a proposal for Gary Girard, superintendent of capital planning and accommodation at the Lambton Kent District School Board.

Mr. Girard stated: “We’re pleased people are expressing interest in the property. But we are focused on the move. Our energy is directed on the transition.”

He was trying to explain why the LKDSB has not discussed the grassroots effort to convert the iconic SCITS building the students are about to leave into a multi-purpose community hub.

The effort by many citizens to save SCITS from closing was heartfelt and fearless, but they lost the fight to what can only be described as a vindictive decision by the school board. The wounds are still fresh and the hurt far-reaching.

So, I propose that the LKDSB donate SCITS and its property to the City of Sarnia to be used as a multi- purpose community hub, as a means of apologizing for the mental anguish and grief it inflicted on Sarnia, and specifically those who fought to keep SCITS open.

Intelligent, resolute, honest individuals who acted selflessly with the best interests of all in mind, who as they tried to present their well-researched case were publicly ridiculed and disrespected by members of the board.

The bully tactics it employed and its decision to close SCITS left our community reeling in disbelief and grief. It was a shameful display of how people behave when they answer to no one and aren’t held accountable for their actions, and was without common sense or integrity.

So, LKDSB members, here is your chance to mend fences and demonstrate you are capable of doing the right thing. It would go a long way toward healing between you and the concerned taxpayers who fought the good fight.

Lastly, I remind my fellow citizens this is an election year and we need to keep in mind the names of the trustees when it comes time to cast our votes.

And let’s not forget the swelling cost of renovating the “new” school.

Respectfully,

Claudette Gasbarini
Sarnia

 


 

Bike lanes on Colborne will confirm roads are a common asset

Sir: Recently I was looking at a 1944 obituary for a local boy, K. L. Burr, killed in the Second World War. On the same page I noticed a brief story about a cyclist struck by a motorist on Clifford Street.

The debate about bicycle lanes on Colborne Road reminded me that safety and cycling have been uncomfortable partners for many years.

For those who have cycled in other cities, the benefits of designated bike lanes are clear. Safety, respect, and opportunity to navigate cities on two wheels have stimulated cycling and its spin-off benefits.

London, Windsor, Stratford, Ottawa and Niagara, to name a few, have extensive bike lanes and a thriving cycling tourism business. Ontario has designated $93 million for bike infrastructure, for 120 communities with populations exceeding 15,000, and Sarnia is the recipient of a generous share.

This initiative is not about tourism, a mad rush to spend a windfall, or to placate a few disgruntled cyclists. It’s a lifestyle message to encourage citizens, young and old, to navigate our city on two wheels instead of four.

Many cautious cyclists, especially those with children, are reluctant to venture onto our main streets and enjoy the wonderful parks and neighbourhoods at a leisurely pace.

As Sarnia promotes itself as a “lifestyle” community, safe connecting corridors are essential. This isn’t new thinking — the Sarnia Transportation Master Plan approved by council in 2014 embodied all these features.

What are the downsides? Losing on-street parking is one concern, but many of our busiest streets already have restrictions, and there is no implied civic right to park on the street. Sarnia already imposes seasonal and local parking rules.

As for road safety, bike lanes can have a traffic “calming” effect, reduce speed and inhibit dangerous overtaking. Bike lanes are not a panacea, but a recognition that roads are a community asset to be shared safely by all users, for the benefit of all.

Sometimes the stars align and it’s prudent to move forward. I sincerely hope Sarnia council embraces this small step to make our city a more bike-friendly community.

 

Mike Tanner
Sarnia