Week of May 27

Cost of refurbished Great Lakes school climbs again

Sir: The Lambton Kent District School Board is keeping up.

Board business superintendent Brian McKay, in discussing the new $5.4-million artificial turf sports field at Great Lakes Secondary School, said, “Many other school boards have done this.”

Apparently, real grass is a no-no. Included in the cost is a synthetic surfaced eight-lane running track plus other areas for additional track and field events and a grass soccer field.

More than a few mature trees were butchered to make it happen. Not to worry, new trees will be planted, though it will take a generation to see if they survive.

Add this mini-Pan Am Games project to the $24.5 million cost of refurbishing the building, and you get $29.9 million. Not to worry, the building includes a $10.1-million, 586-seat theatre with a 2,828 square-foot stage. Wowzirs!

The former SCITS auditorium had 860 seats and kicked back $70,000 to the school and board each year. Will this $10.1-million showplace match that? Great Lakes has an enrollment of 900. Divide $30 million by 900 (this is long division) and you get a cost of $33,333 per student.

How many could do that calculation without their phone?

Ed Williamson

Sarnia


Our war on trees vanquishing the cellulose scourge

Sir: In the war against trees, Lambton County is winning!

The latest victories (that I know of, at least. I’m sure there are more recent conquests) can be witnessed along Highway 402 where more of these erosion-preventing, water-table-maintaining, habitat-providing, carbon-fixing, oxygen-spewing monsters have been vanquished!

They lie heaped, like so many corpses, pointlessly greening up for spring with the pitiable bit of sap left in their veins. They don’t even know they’re dead yet – so hilarious!

We can take comfort in knowing that Lambton is doing more than its part. Armed with gutless ‘protection’ bylaws, zero enforcement, and backed by a province that respects the environment about as much as Stalin respected human rights, the final solution is in sight.

Every year there is less and less tree coverage, and surely it will be sooner than later that Lambton will declare final victory over this cellulose scourge!

Bob Graham

Sarnia


Country of origin an interesting double standard

Sir: A councillor in the Town of Essex recently tweeted about COVID-19 by using a Trumpian expression. The wording he used refers to the country of origin of this pandemic.

The town’s integrity commissioner called for him to delete the tweet, make a formal apology, and attend a diversity training session. It looks like the reputation of the country of origin must be protected.

On the other hand, COVID-19 “variants” are always mentioned as the U.K., South African, Brazilian, etc. versions.

How come the reputations of these countries do not merit protection? This appears to be a double standard.

John Timar

Bright’s Grove


Confronting climate emergency requires action now

Sir: It has been almost two years since Sarnia city council declared a climate emergency. To date, the city has been in planning mode.

City Hall staff are now at the stage of presenting a Climate Adaptation Plan to council on May 31. It’s crucial the voice of citizens be heard during this meeting and beyond.

A Climate Adaptation Plan details how Sarnia will adapt to the effects of climate change. What about the mitigation side of the coin to reduce our carbon footprint?  Many Canadian municipalities focus on both mitigation and adaptation efforts and have set a goal to transition to NetZero.

Climate Action Sarnia-Lambton (CASL) stands ready to support action. We encourage citizens to attend the May 31st council meeting by subscribing to the meeting feature.

In June, our community will be invited to use the Speak-Up Sarnia platform to share their hopes and concerns. Together, let’s ensure 2021 is the year our community moves to implementation to generate both climate mitigation and adaptation results.

Allan McKeown

Sarnia


Sarnia needs a better deal with Lambton County

Sir: At Sarnia’s Strategic Planning Session on May 17 Coun. Mike Stark questioned whether city taxpayers would be willing to pay another $20 million a year in tax dollars to fix infrastructure problems.

So Coun. Stark essentially wants each homeowner to pay on average about $1,000 more in taxes each year? That would give Sarnia one of the highest property tax rates in Ontario.

Sarnia already has the second highest tax rate in Lambton County.

As I have presented to city council in 2018, 2019 and 2020, I believe the reason Sarnia is behind on its asset management requirements is the inequitable deal it currently has with the County of Lambton. Basically, we give them too much money for the services we receive.

I implore Sarnia council to get the money back to where it belongs –spent on municipal assets and supporting staff in their effort to complete capital projects successfully and on budget.

I am confident I speak for most Sarnia taxpayers when I say NO WAY to a $20 million tax increase! Time for all Sarnia politicians to sharpen your pencils and fix these inequities.

Susan MacFarlane

Sarnia