New city councillor outlines his downtown improvement plan
Sir: I’ve lived, served and worked downtown Sarnia for over twelve years. I’ve seen it turn from a barren and unpromising place in the mid-2000s to the heart of Sarnia’s culture, brimming with potential.
As a new city councillor, I am committed to creating opportunities downtown, and propose three steps.
First, waterfronts should be free from parking lots. The municipal parking lots at the end of Davis Street (Ferry Dock Hill) and the end of George Street take up prime real estate and need to be moved elsewhere to make room for creative residential and commercial development.
We need cafes and restaurants with residential units above them facing the water, while expanding the Centennial Park boardwalk to access them.
It’s a shame some of our most beautiful land is reserved for empty cars.
Second, the downtown needs a designated Business Improvement District. BIDs have been shown to increase commercial real estate value by 15%, give an organized and unified voice for downtown issues and policy, and become a powerful marketing collaborative.
There are some folks already hard at work at making this a reality.
Third, we need paid parking downtown. At face value, this might sound absurd. But studies have shown free parking is actually a detriment to the flourishing of downtown districts.
Donald C. Shoup’s classic book “The High Cost of Free Parking” explains why when there isn’t enough parking its because it’s underpriced (or free), not because there aren’t enough spots.
As I get my feet wet in council work, I will work to make downtown Sarnia even better and help it realize the potential we all know is there.
Thanks to all for organizing Noelle’s fun day
Sir: The gym at St. Matthew’s was once again full and very busy for the Noelle’s Gift Winter Fun Day on Nov. 24.
Crafts, pizza, refreshments, a movie, pictures with Santa, a ride on a wagon pulled by horses Molly and Misty, and even a knitted hat and shirt were all on the agenda.
This grandmother would like to thank the family and the volunteers for the fun day in memory of a beautiful soul – Noelle Pacquette.
God bless you all.
Mulching leaves, instead of bagging them, better all around
Sir: Regarding your Dec. 6 article on the collection of leaves being behind.
As homeowners, we could save leaves having to be collected by mulching our fallen leaves with the lawnmower in the fall.
This has to be done as they fall. Usually once a week.
We have all learned to mulch in our grass clippings, so why not the leaves? The leaves break down over the winter and add humus to the soil.
A further benefit is it keeps all those plastic bags people gather leaves in out of the environment.
I have mulched my leaves for the past four years with no damage to my lawn.
Council meeting raises hope
Sir: How lucky we are to live in a beautiful city like Sarnia.
My neighbours and I would like to thank the many volunteers who make our Centennial Park a real showplace. We’re lucky to live on Front Street and have a birds-eye view of the festive Christmas lights.
It warms our heart to see so many visitors enjoy that wonderful display. It brightens our life and puts us in the mood for the Holiday Season.
We all should count our blessings to live in a peaceful country with so much unrest in the world.
I was very lucky to witness the inaugural city council meeting on Dec. 3. I have a very positive feeling about the next four years.
The introduction by Aamjiwnaang First Nation Chief Chris Plain, and the touching choir of little voices from Early Years Centre, were highlights. Many happy tears flowed.
How can we miss, with our mayor and all the new and old councillors who will look out for the citizens of this great city?
Good luck to all!
Cars at Santa parade dangerous
Sir: Our family enjoys attending the Sarnia Santa parade every year. We have our favourite spot on Christina Street, just south of George Street
Last year and then again this year we noticed cars parked on Christina Street. In the past the city did not allow parking on Christina after 5 p.m. on the day of the parade. The cars block the view for young children.
Just before the parade on Dec. 1, a car left its parking spot and headed north on Christina. It proceeded to turn right at George, and that’s when we realized traffic east and west at George was not barricaded.
Several cars drove though the light at George making it dangerous for families arriving to find a spot to watch the parade.
Then, half way through the parade, while bands and floats headed south, another car left its parking spot and headed north! Luckily no one was hurt.
Why was Christina Street not closed for parking? Why was George Street not barricaded? Safety for the parade attendees should be the priority.
A lump of coal for the Grinch
Sir: Regarding the Christmas music in Centennial Park being turned off last week.
So all of us suffer because someone complained? Really? We bow to the Grinch?
Well, I am complaining that the music was turned off, and maybe the Grinch should take a hike.
Come on folks, it is Christmas and those beautiful lights in Centennial Park need the music to make everything sparkle more.
Merry Christmas to all and I wish the Grinch a lump of coal in his sock.
Ontario’s proposed cormorant hunt needless and cruel
Sir: You were right to put the article, “Province proposes open hunt on fish-eating cormorants,” on the front page of The Journal’s website on Dec. 5.
It’s astounding that the government thinks hunters want to drive cormorants into extinction with a cruel policy of shooting 50 birds a day between March 15 to December 30.
The birds will be shot in the spring while they nest and have young. Consequently, the young will cook and starve to death in the blazing sun without their parents.
Cottagers will have hunters shooting cormorants from boats and leaving the wounded and dead birds to wash up on shore.
Hunters should be ashamed of Premier Ford’s proposal.
The government needs to do the right thing and protect cormorants, not drive them to extinction.