Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

COLUMN: A trademark for Sarnia, and the rising cost of roadkill

Published on

George Mathewson

If you weren’t certain whether Sarnia is the place you want to be, wonder no more.

City Hall has taken the extraordinary step of acquiring trademark protection for two marketing phrases. They are: “Sarnia: The Place You Want to Be!” and the less emphatic, “The Place You Want to Be,” without the exclamation mark.

The trademarks were issued earlier this month by a department of the federal government called the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. The city says they’ll be used to differentiate Sarnia in its advertising efforts.

By registering trademarks, the phrases are protected by law from misuse by others in Canada for at least 15 years.

Some organizations take trademark infringement very seriously. Disney, which is famous for it, once sued a Florida couple for selling party costumes that resembled Winnie the Pooh characters.

So, Sarnia now has the legal muscle to go after any city or company whose leaders are foolish enough to try and call theirs “The Place You Want to Be.”

In case you’re wondering, obtaining two trademarks costs $900 in filing and registration fees, according to the federal government.

But a city official has assured The Journal they got both for just $500. Not sure why. Perhaps we got a discount for the second exclamation mark.



You got your dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinking to high heaven

– songwriter Loudon Wainwright III


In other budget news, it will cost us more to have dead skunks plucked from roadways.

City staff collects 120 to 150 roadkill each year. Dogs and cats are taken to a freezer at the Sarnia & District Humane Society, where they’re held until sufficient numbers warrant a trip to the incinerator.

But wildlife is handled differently. Deer and skunks have, until now, been disposed of in an unopened rural road allowance. Out of sight, out of mind.

But the province has informed City Hall that’s no longer good enough. From now on, dead deer (about five a year) and skunks (about 30 a year) must be taken to the Twin Creeks Landfill in Watford for disposal.

That’s 47 kilometres away, or a 90-minute round trip. Staff time and dumping fees will run about $300 per skunk and $400 a deer.

The Watford landfill, however, closes as 4 p.m. and doesn’t open on Sundays. So the city is also looking at contracting out some of the job to ensure skunks on the road don’t ripen unduly after the gates are locked.

An additional $15,000 has been added to this year’s budget to pay for the changes, including $12,000 for dead skunks, left, right and in the middle.

More like this