Week of June 8

Citizens must show City Hall our parks aren’t for sale

Sir: We, as a community, have to come together to ensure our existing parks are protected.

City council has declared part of Baxter Park and the former Kinsmen community centre on Lakeshore Road surplus, which would allow homes to be built on parkland.

A public consultation should have been held prior to that decision being made.

Since January of this year, the taxpayers of Sarnia have vehemently spoken through presentations, meetings, petitions and alternative proposals that the majority is against setting a precedent to put parkland on the chopping block to build residential homes.

The city is now backtracking and has, after the fact, decided to hold public consultations at the Clearwater Arena on June 13, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This meeting is being used to present only the city’s proposals for residential housing on parkland. They are not allowing the residents of Sarnia to present a viable option, so that a community centre can remain in the north-end hub, in conjunction with the Strangway Centre, thus leaving parkland untouched by bureaucrats and developers. That is biased as best.

Is it mismanagement of taxpayer money that has prompted this situation to sell off parkland? We consistently hear from Mr. Mitro, “We need the money.”

Then correct your past mistakes with better management of our dollars to get the city back on track, and in the process leave our valuable assets alone.

To the taxpayers of Sarnia — please take time out of your busy schedule to attend the public meeting on June 13, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Clearwater Arena, 1400 Wellington St.

Have a voice through your presence. Our parks are not for sale.

Hope to see you there.

C. E. Wasman

Sarnia

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Delay and escalating cost of Centennial Park is inexcusable

Sir: I read with interest, “Opening date clear as mud” (June 1, 2017) and would like to say, I have had enough!

The Centennial Park project has gone from “understandable” (we all know from experience that things don’t always go according to plan) to “inexcusable.”

Why is city CAO Margaret Misek-Evans allowing Golder Associates and Bre-Ex Construction to hold this city hostage when it comes to completing the work, while at the same time the cost continues to rise?

Why is there no penalty system in place for companies who fail to meet their deadlines with the City of Sarnia? (Other cities have a penalty system.)

Ms. Misek-Evans defended Golder Associates and Bre-Ex Construction by declaring them to be “very diligent.”

Well, I beg to differ. Please allow me to provide you with the dictionary definition of diligent: having or showing care and conscientiousness in one’s work or duties and constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything, lastly, done or pursued with persevering attention; painstaking.

If anything, from the beginning, this project has lacked diligence and all it entails.

Where is the common sense? What about financial integrity and responsibility?

Why is City Council so silent about this? Do they not realize that we are watching them and their lack of action on this matter while we seriously consider who will get our votes in the next election?

Remember this fiasco, dear citizens of Sarnia, remember!

Sincerely,

Claudette Gasbarini

Sarnia

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Seniors in apartment building treated like ‘bad children’

Sir: I am writing on behalf of my “eighty-something” mother who resides in an apartment building in prestigious Point Edward.

Her building houses a large population of seniors, many of whom have canes and walkers to assist with living.

Every time I see my mother, she has fresh bruises on her arms, legs and hands from trying to manage the heavy doors to both the garbage room and the car park. I imagine her wrestling with her groceries, cane, purse and keys just trying to get in the building.

I have written to the owner of the building about this in the past, suggesting automatic door openers that open with the push of a button. They have chosen not to address my concerns.

The seniors also have a problem disposing of waste larger than a kitchen bag, anything recyclable, and larger household items.

In the past, these items were placed by the residents in the “Garbage/Recycling room” for disposal. But these folks have recently been locked out of that room. They are now being forced to once again pass through those heavy doors and go into the garage to get to a new area that is twice as inconvenient. Once they get there (if they get there) they have to prop open the huge lid of the dumpster, hold it and with one hand, and catapult their items into the bin. That’s assuming the bins aren’t so full even Hercules couldn’t reach the top.

The shutes available on each floor are too small (15” x 15”) to handle larger and recyclable items.

The owners need to come up with something better. They could start by unlocking the once accessible room, providing an area for gently use items for donation by a goodwill agency, provide more garbage/recycle bins in an accessible location, empty them more frequently, and keep the dumpsters propped open. Lastly, they could install door openers that these people can negotiate.

They are treating these folks like bad children and creating a safety hazard. It’s only a matter of time before someone really gets hurt.

Kathy Elliott

Bright’s Grove

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Some councillors just don’t respond to lowly taxpayers

Sir: The drama at Sarnia City Hall just keeps going and going and going.

The fact that it has become same-old, same-old is perplexing. As a voter and taxpayer – I really resent the costs involved.

And I can’t figure out how they managed to balance the budget with the unanticipated costs of “building a wall,” or was it unexpected?

Following is my opinion as a voter and taxpayer on the issues at city hall.

I haven’t always “liked” our mayor.  However, I have grown to respect him over the past 20 years for the following reasons:

Whenever I have had a concern about city management and/or performance I have always (until recently) felt free to voice my concern to Mike Bradley.

He hasn’t always said, “Yes of course.” But when he says, “Can’t do,” he explains his answer in words I can understand.

Recently, I have contacted the mayor and every member of council with several concerns.  I always heard back from the mayor immediately, and a few members of council ASAP.

However, the more vocal newer members of council (you know who you are) have chosen not to reply. I guess I am considered a lowly voter and/or taxpayer who won’t understand how to master electronic voting, so why concern themselves about my concerns and questions.

A few weeks ago, one of the councillors spoke out demanding respect from one of their peers.  I was taught that respect doesn’t come from our demands.  We receive respect when we earn it. Guess this councillor wasn’t taught the same thing, or has chosen to respect or disrespect whomever they choose.

Respectfully,

Janet MacKey

Sarnia

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Ongoing turmoil at City Hall taking this city backwards

Sir: Sarnia has become a city of apprehension, a state of retrogression has befallen us, and the only thing on city’s council’s mind is a coup d’état to overthrow Mayor Mike Bradley.

The code of conduct is something they work with, but it isn’t that important in the real world.

The bureaucratic world has made a mess of it, even when they work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with all the stat holidays and bonuses that other people in the workforce don’t get.

There are a lot more important questions in the City of Sarnia than worrying about a bunch of staffers who don’t have to worry about their job performance.

The City of Sarnia isn’t really a corporation, because there is no one who has executive powers to chart its direction, and that is why we are in a state of retrogression. We have a council more worried about its code of conduct than the state of the city.

This letter was hard to write and if it seems offensive, I apologize. But, whatever you say, someone is going to take offence.

Jeff Williams

Bright’s Grove