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Letters: week of July 23

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Canada should make face-mask wearing mandatory indoors

Sir: When Legionnaire’s disease broke out at a Philadelphia hotel in 1976 some experts believe the bacteria was airborne, a position discouraged by others.

Unfortunately, it took 1.5 years before it was acknowledged that people can indeed get Legionnaire’s by breathing in small droplets of water containing the bacteria.

With Covid-19, more than 200 scientists from 32 countries are calling on the U.N. to acknowledge that the coronavirus spread through the air is driving the pandemic.

Others, like Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer of B.C., belittle the airborne concept, leaving the issue mired in controversy.

Unfortunately, Canada can’t afford to wait 1.5 years to find if it’s transmitted through the air because too many people will die.

Canada could mandate the use of masks in confined spaces such as malls, theatres and enclosed offices. It might not eradicate Covid-19, but hopefully reduce its potency to infect.

Marcelo Villanueva



The troubled history of Great Lakes Secondary School project

Sir: The Lambton Kent District School Board and London, Ont. both went ahead with large projects in November of 2017. Both were awarded to the same contractor.

After 32 months, both projects remain unfinished.

The school board wanted to upgrade the former St. Clair Secondary into the new Great Lakes Secondary.

London wanted to build The East London Community Centre.

The following information is taken from local and regional news reports:

The school project was announced in November of 2017 and the contract subsequently awarded to Jasper Construction, of Concord, Ont. Its bid of $21.7 million was the lowest.

But by January of 2018 the project cost had risen to $25 million. The board’s business superintendent cited difficulty in getting skilled trades on the job as one reason for the increase.

The superintendent of capital planning was quoted in late 2017 as saying the construction company and architects believe the school would be completed by September of 2018.

London’s project started in November of 2017 with completion set for spring of 2019. Jasper’s tender for the new community centre came in at $21.4 million.

By March of this year, there had been a strike by plumbers and sheet metal workers, and sub-contractors alleged partial non-payment for materials and services.

But this month, the City of London said it had dismissed Jasper and was taking over from the project because of “contract issues,” one year after the expected completion date.

In Sarnia, students returned to Great Lakes Secondary last fall only to find the school still under construction. One student described her first semester in the unfinished school as unfinished, unsafe, and unwelcoming.

In April, some sub-contractors were not paid. Construction ground to another halt when COVID-19 arrived.

Board business superintendent Brian McKay said during this down time Jasper and the board had mutually agreed to terminate the contract.

“We’re just in the process of assessing what the best way is to complete that remaining work,” he said.

Good luck on that one.

Ed Williamson



Sarnia, make masks mandatory

Sir: I am dismayed that Lambton County council, including members from Sarnia council, decided not to make wearing face masks mandatory.

Many other communities in Ontario and, indeed, in Canada have decided to ensure the health and safety of their peoples.

I am a senior and I wear a mask every time I leave my residence, even to pick up my mail in our apartment building lobby.  Why? Because face masks protect others.

I continue to see so many persons who do not wear a face covering or shield. I can only think they do not care about my health and wellbeing, which is a poor attitude for a Canadian.

We only have to look at our neighbours in the U.S.A. to see what happens when common sense does not prevail.

Remember this: if you think a face mask is uncomfortable, you won’t like a ventilator.

I trust that our elected council members in Sarnia might be considerate enough to make face masks/face shields mandatory.

John Neely



Dear non-masked: respect is a two-way street

Sir: I wear a mask even though the case numbers in Sarnia are low. Science tells me only one host is required to accept and carry the virus, thus setting off a chain reaction. And in doing so, it does not prejudice between young, old, strong or feeble.

I wear a mask to protect myself and to protect others. Lastly, wearing a mask is my way of saying thank-you to our heroic health professionals.

I have no idea why people choose not to wear a mask. It is not my place to pass judgement. I will respect their right to not do so.

This noted, I ask a few things of the non-mask wearers:

When you are in a store, please do not be totally oblivious to your surroundings. If you observe me in a narrow produce section, please wait until I leave before entering. I promise you I will be expedient with my purchase because respect is a two-way street.

I understand it is unnatural to check the floor for arrows. However, doing so will ensure we do not cross in a too-narrow isle.

And when I am waiting for a cashier, I ask that you obey the distance rules by not nosing your cart up to mine. the length of which is not an ample distance to remain safe.

I will thank you in advance fellow member of my community. If we both do our part, we will get along just fine.

Donna Suffield


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