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Letters, week of Feb. 11

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Dollars and sense: Why closing SCITS is a bad idea

Sir: What merits the closure of Sarnia Collegiate Institute & Technical School?  What factors inform the school board’s recommendation?

Demographic change and shrinking budgets seem to be at the heart of the argument. But amalgamating two schools, leaving a communal cornerstone of history and pedigree to blight is a bad idea.

Removing so many feet and eyes from a fragile area that contributes to safety, vitality and liveliness, that weaves together the social fabric of community, is a threadbare argument.

Removing people from the area is part of a larger trend, of centralizing institutions and services through inflexible zoning and low density, single-use, auto-dependent patterns of growth and development.

Author Jane Jacobs extolled the value of walking, and explained why some cities prosper while others falter in her revolutionary critique, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” nearly 65 years ago.

“Lowly, unpurposeful and random as they may appear, sidewalk contacts are the small change from which a city’s wealth of public life may grow,” she noted.

We’re collectively looking for solutions, be it stagnating economies, socioeconomic disparity, obesity and chronic disease, habitat degradation, demographic aging and climate change. Walkable and inclusive neighbourhoods are the best, cost-effective solution.

Active transportation to school is a “line in the sand.” Kids should be encouraged to walk or bike to school because they combat inactivity.  It builds communal ties and fosters civic pride.

Walking primes the brain for learning, increasing cognitive function and mental dexterity. It encourages good physical and mental health and is green. Moving all those kids by bus and car is counter to all this.

The price of something doesn’t always reflect its true value. Despite what seems to be a forgone conclusion, it’s my hope that SCITS will see its centennial anniversary. It should on its own merit alone.

Open minds of those tasked with making these decisions can surely find creative solutions to ensure that. You’d hope that the directors of the Lambton Kent District School Board, representing the students’ best interests, would also value the continued prosperity of the community those students will grow up to inherent.

Brad Cullis

Sarnia

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Rotary book sale a success

Sir: On behalf of the Rotary Club of Sarnia Bluewaterland, I would like to thank Sarnia -Lambton for its tremendous support of our 12th annual Book Sale.

Our sale would not be successful without the generous donations of books from the kind folks of this community. Monies raised will go a long way in support of our many local community projects.

A special thank you to all the individuals and businesses that help out, as well as our members and friends.

As a reminder, we collect books all year, with drop off boxes in Lambton Mall at Guest Services, and in Bayside Mall at the George Street entrance.

See you next year!

Suzanne Bywater

Book Chair

Rotary Club of Sarnia Bluewaterland

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