Letters: week of Dec. 12

Christians die at peace, atheists not so much

Sir: Regarding the Nov. 21 article by Troy Shantz: ‘Skeptic club bringing cleric-turned-atheist back to town.’

By definition, “atheism” is the position that there are no deities. In order to claim there is no deity, i.e. no god, we can presume the atheist searched every nook and cranny of the universe before reaching that position.

The atheist has to assume the enforcement of the laws of nature, such as the precise movement of the sun, moon and stars, just happens by chance.

It may be of interest to any atheist reading this letter that some atheists did not die happy.

Joseph Stalin, (who murdered millions of his countrymen), while on his deathbed – as related by his daughter Svetlana to British author Malcolm Muggeridge: “He suddenly sat up, groaned, shook his fist at the ceiling as if he could see beyond it, then fell back and died.”

Voltaire, one of history’s best-known atheists, often stated that, “by the time I’m buried, the Bible will be non-existent.” His last words were: “I am abandoned by God and man; I shall die and go to hell alone.”

His condition had become so terrible that his associates were afraid to approach his bedside. As he passed away, his nurse said she would never watch another infidel die for all of the wealth in Europe.

The Geneva Bible Society purchased Voltaire’s home a few years after he died and turned it into a shop to print Bibles.

By contrast, most Christians at the end of a mature life die in great peace. Dwight L. Moody, a famous preacher and founder of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, said on his deathbed: “Can this be death? Why it is better than living! Earth is receding, heaven is opening. This is my coronation day.”

The organizer with the local chapter of the atheist group said he reads the Bible regularly. One wonders if he has come across Psalm 14, verse 1: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”

 

Peter Degraaf
Point Edward

 


 

Sarnia Rotary Club grateful for auction support

Sir: The Rotary Club of Sarnia sends a huge thank you to everyone who donated to our 36th annual Rotary Auction.

It would not have been such a success without a large community of bidders, many of whom are long-time supporters. We thank all for supporting our Club’s efforts to help Sarnia-Lambton.

This year we raised over $47,000! Prior auction proceeds have supported Bluewater Health, Pathways Health Centre, Inn of the Good Shepherd, Sarnia Lambton Community Concerns for the Medically Fragile, St. Joseph’s Hospice, Epilepsy Canada, Scouts Canada and others.

Mark your calendars for the next auction in November 2020.

On behalf of the entire club, have a joyful and safe holiday season.

 

Mike Elliott
Rotary Club of Sarnia Auction Committee

 


 

Tourism levy just a tax by a different name

Sir: The City of Sarnia has joined the list of municipalities imposing a tax on people who stay in hotels and motels.

Once, the tax wasn’t mandatory and you could opt out of paying it, but now you’ll have no choice.

I’m of the opinion that when attracting tourists it should be up to the business or the organization staging the event to pay its promotional costs, not the person you’re trying to attract. If you want people to attend your business, then spend for your own advertising.

The City of Toronto is a tourist meccas, and visitors flock there by the thousands to take in the many events or simply go shopping, as seen by the recent Black Friday event. They don’t need an extra tax to keep people coming.

The Village of Point Edward has higher-cost hotels and Sarnia the lower-cost ones, so at least visitors have a say in what they spend on lodging. Many of those staying at Point Edward hotels are attending Sarnia for business, sports, and other events, yet must pay the tourist tax.

What about someone just attending for a business purpose, or the tradesperson in town to work?  Should they pay to promote tourism?

If major events need municipal support to keep going, such as the defunct Artwalk, why should tourists have to foot the bill to pay for what the city should be doing — promoting itself to others?

I applaud the three councillors who voted against this tax. At one time, my family would visit Toronto and Niagara Falls area for the attractions. However, this mandatory tax has reduced my visits to these areas and others.

Once the 4% tax has been collected, will the community give a detailed account to the public, or those it is was imposed upon, showing how the funds were allotted and what attractions benefited?

It remains to be seen.

 

Phil Nelson
Sarnia

 


 

Property owner offers some thoughts on shoreline protection

Sir: I bought a lake lot in 1967 and have researched, and been involved, in shoreline protection as a necessity.

I started protecting my property with a white-oak wall and 25-foot groyne. This was destroyed when my neighbour’s wall (11 years older than mine) gave way in a November storm.

I researched the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Polysar (research from around the world in bound books) and gathered enough information to know the steel groynes and seawalls that had been installed on the Bright’s Grove “coast” were all wrong.

I sent the municipality a one-page typewritten document, but never heard back. It was obvious the groynes, in particular, were too high (they had them about five feet above the average water level, as I recall). Research shows they should be low enough for waves to break over them from both sides. When this is done beach builds up on both the up and downstream sides.

Otherwise, if we remember Bernoulli’s Principle from high school science, the downstream side will be sucked out, leaving the groyne and seawall vulnerable to being pushed over by water, beach, and ice accumulation on the upstream side.

This is now history, and we know $1.6 million (as I recall) was wasted. Enough said.

As I recall, the revetment was a Japanese idea. I watched in the late 1980’s as a 50-foot section of revetment was tried as a pilot project, just west of Kenwick Street. Great idea, however, as I recall, the armour stone used lighter than recommended (2-3 ton instead of 3-5 ton), and the angle too severe, and the cost $60,000.

Actually, that revetment has stood up quite well, but beach hasn’t accumulated as it might if the angle was less severe. The idea is for the waves to run up, lose their energy, and drop sand, as opposed to a vertical wall where the waves hit and bounce back, taking the sand with them.

I contracted out my own revetment, and it cost me $20,000 for 100 feet.

Which gets me to the reason for this dissertation. We will be repairing the shoreline we have and protecting new areas for some time to come. Why don’t we develop our own — the city that is — department, with the expertise, personnel and equipment to do this work, rather than pay the high cost of these contracts that government jobs attract.

 

Doug Winch
Sarnia