Letters: week of Mar. 12

Free lead filters for older homes

Sir: Regarding city council’s March 2 decision not to supply free lead filters to older homes and businesses.

When it comes to the lead pipes in Sarnia’s south end, I am really dismayed by the latest city staff report.

How can we measure people’s health against dollars? There could be a million reasons why residents in the so-called “lead zone” have not been in touch with City Hall – not everyone gets the paper, listens to the radio, or even has a computer.

The situation cannot be left as it is, simply because people haven’t contacted City Hall. This is a human rights issue – everyone must have access to clean drinking water.

The deadly Walkerton catastrophe and Flint water-contamination disaster serve to remind us how quickly things can go wrong, and how important water is as our number one staple in life, along with oxygen.

Kitchen-tap filters could be issued to everyone in the affected area to give much more protection while waiting for the city to complete its testing over the next couple of years, or, if city staff consider the cost of filters too high, then they need to find a way to replace all the lead pipes in the roads, and the service lines to the homes and businesses, as soon as possible.

Maybe there are grants available for critical health issues such as this?

Considering the health risks from consuming lead – anemia, kidney and brain damage – and especially young children, pregnant women, and those contemplating pregnancy, I believe this matter should be given top priority.

Lead can cross the placental barrier and cause damage to the unborn child’s nervous system. It also causes long-term harm in adults, including increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage. To hear the timing of this project is still another two or three years is not acceptable.

This is crucial right now and, in my opinion, should be a ‘Priority Number One’ capital project.

A plan for reimbursing the city for the service lines can be worked out after everyone is safe. But health protection MUST come first — not electric buses!


Coun. Margaret Bird



Reader gives Journal kudos for focusing on local news

Sir: I read with great interest the Feb. 27th letters from M. L. DeWitt and George Rudanycz.

I, too, applaud your staff and publication on the five Ontario Community Newspaper Award nominations.

I enjoy sitting down and reading all the local coverage, and it’s encouraging and uplifting that you focus mostly on positive news stories and pictures.

Congratulations, and keep up the good work!


Mary Ettinger



Children’s Aid denounces racist response to pipeline protests

Sir: As organizations entrusted with the responsibility of supporting the safety and wellbeing of the children and young people in our communities, the Sarnia-Lambton Children’s Aid Society and Chatham-Kent Children’s Services are very alarmed about the negative reaction being displayed by many non-Indigenous individuals in response to the protests by and in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary Chiefs.

These hurtful, harmful, misinformed and racist reactions are being seen online and being experienced in person.

As Canadians and as agencies that employ Indigenous people, partners with First Nation, Inuit and Metis communities and serves Indigenous children and families, we strongly denounce racism both in its individual expression and in its system of control and domination.

The Child, Youth and Family Services Act specifically states that:

“Systemic racism and the barriers it creates for children and families receiving services must continue to be addressed.”

We work actively alongside our Indigenous partners to support the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing of their children.

Racism undercuts that work in each aspect of wellbeing.

We recognize the rights of Indigenous people as set out in various Indigenous, provincial, federal and International laws as well as their inherent jurisdiction over their children. Indigenous children and young people have the right to safety as defined by their world-view, cultures, heritages and traditions.

This includes safe homes, safe water, safe places to play, the safety to protest when they feel their rights are being violated and safety from the devastating impacts of individual and systemic racism.

A Canada that is committed to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples must recognize these rights and work together to dismantle the racism that is impacting them and their children on a daily basis.

We call on other organizations and individuals to publicly denounce the racism.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Dawn Flegel, Executive Director,

Ryan Bell, Board Chairperson

Sarnia-Lambton Children’s Aid Society


Teri Thomas-Vanos, Executive Director

Carol Moore, Board Chairperson

Chatham-Kent Children’s Services




Magical “Gnome Home’ was treasure enjoyed by one and all


Sir: I read The Journal story online about the Maple tree on Cathcart Boulevard with the Gnome Home, or Fairy Treehouse, built into its base.

The tree was removed by the city after someone filed a complaint saying it was unsafe.

The article didn’t say “who” deemed it unsafe, or what tree service removed it, but it did say a sledgehammer was used to smash the Fairy House door.

Why would they do that?

Mr. Lindsay, who created the Gnome Home, took something that was ugly (the tree had a hole in it) and turned it into a magical spot for children to look at and enjoy.

We all did!

If the tree was unsafe, I understand why it was removed. But the door could have been taken off and given back to Mr. Lindsay, not destroyed!

In today’s world what brings us laughter and hope are little things, like a Fairy House.

So, this is a big Thank You to Mr. and Mrs. Lindsay for all the smiles and fun your little Gnome Home gave to us all.

I think the city owes you an apology.


Mary Jane Foley




City council’s goal should be saving my car, not the planet


Sir: Sarnia council is about to join hands with a 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl in her bid to save the planet from the ravage of carbon dioxide emissions.

The same carbon dioxide that all plant life needs to exist and survive. The same carbon dioxide that makes up only 0.04% of the earth’s atmosphere.

I am old enough to remember previous climate predictions of a new ice age by year 2000. Followed by dying from the effects of acid rain. Then being blinded by ultraviolet light caused by ozone deficiencies in the atmosphere. All lies.

And now we will be made extinct by global warming caused through supposed minuscule increases in carbon dioxide levels.

Nevertheless, not letting facts get in the way of making money, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change continued with the implementation of a global carbon cap-and-trade scheme. This enabled the initiation of a trillion dollar futures market for carbon trading and enabled national governments to charge additional hydrocarbon taxes to citizens in order to “save the planet.”

So now, Sarnia city council is considering the purchase of battery-powered buses. Vehicles that will be more expensive to buy, that will have limited range and a finite battery life before requiring replacement.

And all to what purpose? Surely not lower carbon dioxide emissions?

Personally, I think the money would be better spent fixing the potholes in front of my house.

Save my car, not the planet!


Brian Wallace



Sidewalk plow damage frustrating


Sir: I understand many residents in Sarnia are unable to clear the sidewalks in front of their homes due to varying degrees of age and wellness.

And there are, unfortunately, many more residents who are perfectly able-bodied but unwilling to take out a shovel to keep sidewalks free of snow and ice.

The city’s sidewalk plows are great in theory, but the machines are far too big and plow with reckless abandon, tearing up grass and leaving deep tread marks on carefully manicured lawns.

As someone who does shovel his own property during and immediately after a snowfall, only to have a sidewalk plow crash by an hour later and leave a path of destruction in its wake, I feel nothing but bitter frustration and numbing disappointment.

As the attached photo shows, fixing this mess is going to make for an interesting spring.


Matt Armstrong



Skilled trades students should focus on water quality


Sir: Regarding the story, “Lambton College to prep more students for skilled trades.”

Skills Canada has benefitted thousands of students at the high school and university levels. This is a wonderful, fantastic story.

In Sarnia- Lambton, I would like these scholars to concentrate on water technology. I believe they would be able to improve the quality of water in Lake Huron. We could have water quality that is better than what we currently have.

These students could learn at work with professionals in the private and public fields, for the benefit of all.


Harry Day