Letters, Week of May 29

Sarnia Parking Authority lacks PR skills

I want to share an experience I had with the Sarnia Parking Authority Wednesday on May 14th.

I pulled into a municipal parking lot between Christina and Front streets around 11:00 a.m. I pulled in facing a vehicle parked at the end of the row. As I purchased my parking receipt I noticed a parking authority officer checking my dash.

I waved and said, “That’s me.” She smiled and watched me place the parking receipt on my dash. When I returned 10 minutes later, there was a ticket on my window. It said I had parked in an “undesignated” spot.

I went to the Parking Authority Office to ask why the officer hadn’t said anything to me as she watched me place the receipt in my vehicle.

The unfriendly receptionist rolled her eyes at me and said she would call the officer to discuss it.

After 15 minutes, the officer who issued the ticket came to the counter. She was not the person I had spoken with earlier. She seemed understanding and called the officer who had watched me place the receipt on my dash. Waiting another 15 minutes I was now late for work.

When she arrived I asked her if she remembered me. She said yes. When I asked why she didn’t say anything about the “undesignated” parking spot, she replied:  “ It’s not my job.”

I asked about human decency, courtesy and common sense and she replied,“ I did not tell you that you could park there,” and repeated “It’s not my job”.

Really? What is your job?

As a small business owner for over 15 years in Sarnia and a taxpayer I was astounded. The other two officers hid in the back office while this transpired. I asked one more time, and she turned and walked into the back office. Unbelievable.

I have appealed the ticket, but it’s no help to our already struggling downtown to have such an attitude.

I will think twice next time about doing my business downtown.

 Lorrie Williams

Sarnia

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Consultants enjoying Centennial “boondoggle”

Sir: As a neighbour of Centennial Park for over 25 years (I almost consider it to be my own “backyard”), I have watched the contamination saga of the past two years with a mixture of bemusement and disgust.

Whether it’s attending the many public events, or just using the park for my own recreation, I have walked in the now fenced-off area of the park literally hundreds of times. Am I worried that I have compromised my health just by being there? Hardly!

The contaminants found in the park didn’t just arrive there recently. They have been there all along while thousands upon thousands of people enjoyed that area over the years. I understand that once you know about a problem, you are compelled to do something about it. But the reaction of fencing the whole area off and not letting anyone go in there (even to cut the grass) seems a little over the top.

Of course, the whole exercise of remediation has turned into a bureaucratic boondoggle. That was a given! The professional consulting business knows a fat cash cow when it sees one.

Sarnia’s waterfront is a jewel in the city crown, but last year Centennial Park turned into a big black eye. The overgrown, weedy and abandoned portion of the park looked like a scene from bankrupt Detroit, and was certainly no way to greet visitors to the city.

City council has finally taken a step in the right direction by deciding to get on with the basic work required to bring down the fences and restore the park to public use.

Journal editor George Mathewson hit the nail on the head in his “Tear down this fence” column when he said, “People want to get their park back, without breaking the bank.” We don’t need an Extreme Park Makeover, just the fix-up required to return the area to what it was.

Perhaps, the time and money can be found to do an upgrade project to mark Centennial Park’s 50th anniversary in 2017.

For now, let’s get rid of the fences and restore the park to public use as quickly and economically as possible.

 Brian Bolt

Sarnia

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 Labour Council backs NDP

At the general meeting of the Sarnia and District Labour Council (SDLC) meeting on Tuesday, May 20, a motion was passed to acknowledge that labour council endorses and supports the New Democratic Party.

The SDLC feels the NDP would be the best government to support the workers of Ontario and to lead our province in the right direction.

As always, the SDLC encourages the citizens of Lambton County and Sarnia to get involved, and learn the platforms of all the parties and take advantage of our democratic right to vote.  It is important to take advantage of the All-Candidates Debates offered in the community.

Mark Mathewson

President

Unifor, Local 848

Sarnia

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  Shame on us for closing shelter

Sir: While celebrations for Sarnia’s centennial are ongoing, I can’t but help think about the city’s decision to force the closure of the River City homeless shelter. It is like a dark cloud hanging over the city, taking away the excitement we should be having as a community during this time of celebration.

With the nice spring weather finally upon us, it is easy to forget about people who are dependent on the generosity and love of others to find a roof over their heads at night.  Soon enough, however, temperatures will soar, and as seasons come and go, it also will get cold again.

I, for one, am ashamed of the fact that the city has so callously ordered the closure of the River City homeless shelter.  I understand that the majority of council voted in favour of the closure on the grounds of a technicality, i.e. the zoning for that location does not allow a service like a shelter. What I don’t understand is the fact that re-zoning happens all the time. Wherever a new subdivision is wanted, or wherever a big company wants to build a new store or factory, we are eager to grant a re-zoning.

When it comes to a dispute with a handful of disgruntled neighbours, city councillors succumb and order the closure of the shelter because it refuses to re-zone that block for the services of reaching out to people who are down and out.

It has been said that people are known and remembered for their kindness toward, and service to, the least among its population.  Right now, we as a city are telling those who use the services offered by River City that we could care less about them; go somewhere else!  Shame, shame, shame on all of us.

I am urging city council to acknowledge their gross errors in this matter.  It is not too late to reverse this whole mess, and by doing so, we as a community really deserve to celebrate our centennial.

Thank you for giving this letter your attention.

Bill Reckman

Sarnia

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Day-care workers earn their pay

Sir: Re: Keith Smith’s letter about wages at Coronation Park Day Nursery

I’m not sure what you might consider a fair wage Keith Smith, but I think a living wage is more than acceptable.

Do you think maybe minimum wage and no benefits is acceptable? There are people in this province who are paid way beyond their worth, and others that certainly deserve the pay grade.

Do you not think someone looking after someone’s children are not worthy of fair compensation? It’s probably just someone else’s children, so why would you care?

 Doug Schilz

Sarnia