Week of March 2

A token amount of appreciation

Sir: I have been a frequent user of the Blue Water Bridge for nearly 20 years.

I did use the tokens that were tossed into a basket to make the gates to open.

In the last few years, however, the system was changed to make the crossing more difficult.

The changes made to the BWB toll collection system make me wonder: what was the purpose of inconveniencing the travelling public?

The problem the BWB Authority has caused is two-dimensional: time and space.

Time, because it takes longer to pay the fare by coins than tokens (2 toonies, or for Americans, 12 quarters or three $1 bills) especially by credit card.

Space, because the baskets for coins and tokens got replaced by a coin slot, which forces people to drive up to the machine in mirror-endangering closeness (also fender and wheel endangering).

Why is the slot positioned so that vertically challenged drivers have to get out of their car (and slam the car door against the fare-collecting machine) to use it? I’ve seen that happen a few times.

I would like to request that since the “Bridge Cards” are not expected soon, that tokens be restored in the meantime.

John Timar

Bright’s Grove

 

Kinsmen land decision sets dangerous precedent

Sir: I moved back to Sarnia last August after being away for 25 years and was shocked and saddened to learn city council had declared the Kinsmen Centre and the parkland it sits on as surplus, with the intent to rezone it as urban residential.

The plan reported in the local media in July called for nine building lots, a new street linking Lakeshore and Colborne Road, and a new parking lot for Baxter Park and the nearby public beach.

The people of Sarnia who use any of our parks for recreation should understand that if the city is allowed to declare part of this community park surplus, rezone the land and build homes on it, it will set a dangerous precedent.

If this is allowed to happen it means any park could be up for grabs. There are bylaws, an official plan, and a planning act that provide regulations to protect our valuable parklands. City council seems to feel they don’t have to abide by these regulations.

At the council meeting on Jan. 16th a councillor suggested the public now be allowed input by meeting with city staff, but that was done only after receiving a petition signed by hundreds of city residents and listening to several presentations by neighbours who oppose the applications to rezone.

It was also suggested at that meeting that a compromise could be discussed, that being a combination of new homes and a few improvements to the north end of the park.

But as a sign in Baxter Park attests, the community has already raised money over the years to improve the park themselves by putting in new playground equipment and a basketball court.

So where does the compromise come in? The city allows five houses instead of nine?

In my opinion there should be no compromise. City council should follow its own bylaws and official plan, rescind their resolution declaring parkland surplus, and withdraw their application to rezone our parkland to urban residential.

That would be the right thing to do. The residents of Sarnia treasure their parks and want them preserved.

Andrew Ross

Sarnia

 

Sarnia needs another waterpark

Sir: I’m Hope and I’m 12 years old.

I live in Sarnia and think it’s a great place, except that I think we need a new waterpark!

Sarnia doesn’t have many things to do for kids and teenagers, especially in the summer when schools are closed, so a water park would be great.

The only waterpark (Cox Youth Centre) we have now is on the other side of town and geared more for younger children.

Sarnia is lucky to have lots of beaches, but people can get sick of going to the beach. The waterpark and pools in Sarnia are all in the same area, so having something in a different part of town would be nice.

Having only the one waterpark gives it the potential to be crowded. It cannot fit all the people who want to go there.

And Bluewater Fun Park and its water slides closed down and have been bulldozed to make something else.

I also think that Sarnia has gotten kind of boring in the past few years, with nothing new for my age group that’s exciting.

If we got a water park or a pool then Sarnia would be at least a bit more exciting than usual. If it was close to downtown it would attract people to go downtown more.

My last argument is that some people don’t like the beach. With waterparks and pools you don’t have to worry about the sand getting everywhere.

I also know someone who hates the beach, so in the summer they don’t have a place to swim.

Thank you for taking time to read this. I hope Sarnia will have something for recreation for my age group soon.

Sincerely,

Hope Reading

Grade 7, King George VI School

Sarnia

 

Trump’s ban on Muslims angering more than the ‘left’

Sir: Regarding the Feb. 16 guest column: Let’s be grateful for Trump’s attempt to keep out terrorists.

The author says the ‘left’ is going ‘ballistic’ over Donald Trump’s ‘immigration crackdown.’ But ‘the left’ is not alone in opposing Trump’s ban on Muslims.

World leaders, the UN and U.S. court system have condemned or rejected it. Top American CEO’s expressed opposition, including Ford, Amazon, Microsoft and Goldman Sachs. The National Council of Christians opposed it. The Interfaith Immigration Coalition, American Jewish World Service, Catholic Relief Service and the Pope opposed it.

Some 3,500 U.S. faith leaders co-signed a letter to President Trump in opposition. One hundred officials in the US State Department signed a document formally protesting it, and polls report a majority of Americans oppose it.

Some 4,000 academics signed a statement of opposition calling it “discriminatory, inhumane, ineffective and un-American.” Tech companies and hospitals opposed it because it threatens thousands of doctors, students, researchers and engineers.

Republicans Lindsey Graham and John McCain said Trump’s ban will actually help terrorist recruitment by confirming ISIS propaganda that the U.S. is hostile to Muslims.

The column neglected the aspect of human rights in the context of mass migration. Refugees are people who are unsafe in a fundamental way and need to leave home. The United States is a signatory of the Geneva Convention on refugees.

The column excluded how the U.S., through disastrous foreign policies, has been responsible for creating refugees. Six of the seven countries on Trump’s list have been targets of U.S. military operations, except Iran, which received economic sanctions for over 30 years.

Trump’s ban won’t prevent terrorism. The San Bernardino shooter was an American-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent and a lawful permanent US resident. The Orlando shooter was an American-born U.S. citizen of Afghan descent. The Boston marathon bombers grew up in Cambridge, Mass. Fifteen 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, two from United Arab Emirates, one from Lebanon, and one Egyptian; not on the list.

To defeat ISIS the U.S. needs cooperation from Syrians, Iraqis and the Iraqi government. Trump’s ban does the opposite.

The proven threat comes primarily from terrorist propaganda used to spread their ideology and radicalize people already living in the West.

Stanton Earle

Sarnia

 

Landowners right to be wary of official plan

Sir: On Jan. 5 my father and I braved the elements to attend an Ontario Landowners Meeting in Brigden.

It was revealed that Lambton County council was setting goals in its draft Official Plan, to increase the county’s woodlands, wetlands, buffer strips, corridors and wildlife habitats — while reducing farm acreages.

I came away from that meeting feeling angry and bewildered but determined to let many people know about this.

I posted two maps from the draft Official Plan on Facebook — showing the proposed provincial government intrusion — with the words: “Lambton County land owner rights are set to be expropriated without compensation on Feb. 1, 2017…”

I have to admit I was a little over-zealous, but I could see that the rights of farmers and landowners were potentially being violated.

However, it was encouraging to see more than 100 concerned farmers and landowners attend the Jan. 19 Ontario Landowners Meeting in Alvinston, to discuss the draft Official Plan.

Special thanks is extended for the efforts of Elizabeth Davis-Dagg; for her extensive research and knowledge; for submitting a lawyer’s letter from the law firm Cohen Highley; and for her speaking engagements — even when her comments are taken out of context.

As farmers, landowners and Canadians who value our God-given rights and freedoms, we still must be vigilant and informed, as the April 5th deadline for the Official Plan vote at County council will soon be here.

Dave Downie

Cairo, Ont. 

 

Landowners’ group spokesperson clarifies Nuremberg comment

Sir: It is appropriate to respond to Deborah Kopstein Burr’s Feb. 23 letter, titled: Comparing county Official Plan to Nuremberg trials offensive.

The statement of mine she referenced is the following:

“Truly the responsibility rests on your (Lambton County council’s) shoulders.  It is not sufficient to say that ‘the experts are directing us this way so we have to trust their judgment.’  This was not an acceptable excuse at Nuremburg and it is not today.  It’s a challenging time to be in municipal politics but this is a time when real leaders are revealed.  I trust that you and your council will demonstrate that leadership.”

Clearly, the actual text is not what was suggested.

However, I am grateful that Ms. Burr recognized that it may be necessary for county council to tweak the Official Plan in order to protect taxpayers’ interests.  Indeed it is necessary.

 

Elizabeth Davis-Dagg

Plympton-Wyoming

 

Knuckleheaded drivers near Canatara Park are a menace

Sir: The recent weather is such a morale booster for the citizens of Sarnia and Point Edward, after a crazy winter teased the skaters on Lake Chipican.

One day it was frozen and the next it was melting. No sooner had the kids and parents cleaned a place to use, the melt would set in.

I’m wondering if the local government could take some time out of its busy schedule of hammering the mayor and building walls to look after the citizens who elected them (or not).

Recently, we were enjoying the 67 F. heat on our balcony when low and behold, the Knucklehead Brigade began their summer thrill of seeing how fast and loud they could be before hitting the Point Edward boundary, where walkers, bicyclists, families and oldies like me try to cross Sandy Lane.

Why can’t something be done?

A crosswalk light would work for those walking from the river trail to the Canatara Park. I know this would cost money, but money was found to build a wall and isolate the mayor.

Why can’t the OPP in Point Edward and Sarnia Police Services cooperate a little and help us with this safety issue.

On top of that, the park has been vandalized over the winter by drag racers in the parking lot and ignorant drivers cutting across the grass on the roundabouts.

A suggestion: lock the park at night just past the last home at the one end, and at the Sandy Lane exit on the other. Hikers and dog walkers could still access all activities but vehicles would have to find some place else to be obnoxious.

Sincerely,

Don Ballantyne

Sarnia