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Letters: week of March 28

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City Hall proposal for residents to clear public sidewalks absurd

Sir: I would like to thank reporter Troy Shantz for keeping me informed about the city’s antics in his Feb. 28 article, “City Hall pondering bylaw that would make sidewalk shovelling mandatory.”

So, the city wants ME to clear snow from THEIR sidewalks!

I am opposed to the idea.

As a retiree, I may have the time but lack the desire and ability to clear another 59 feet of sidewalk. It takes enough of a toll on me to clear MY sidewalks and driveway.

It would strain my aging joints and subject me to the elements, all under threat of fines by the city – which would impact my fixed income.

I am also supposed to salt or sand the city’s sidewalks so my neighbours won’t slip and fall. If I don’t, and these folks hurt themselves on city property, am I liable to be sued for their injuries?

Statistics show a major increase in heart attacks during snow-clearing season. If I suffer such a fate while clearing city property, do I get compensation from the city for a ‘Work-Related Injury?’ Or should my estate just sue the city for wrongful death?

Given Sarnia’s aging dynamic, I dare say I am not the only person in this situation. Not to mention single parents working multiple jobs to make ends meet, and the handicapped. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

I could hire someone else to clear this extra area for me – but wait! I AM PAYING SOMEONE ELSE TO CLEAR THIS FOR ME! I pay the City of Sarnia to clear the sidewalks through my taxes! (which just went up!)

It is the duty of administrators to limit expenses, which I can appreciate. However, their efforts should NOT be to the detriment of the people they seek to serve.

The city should look to other areas to find money or not spend what funds they already have, poorly.

This is an absurd recommendation, and where it will end? Will the next absurd bylaw tell me to report to City Hall to clean out its parking lot?


Robert Browning



Portrait of the artist


Sir: What a delightful surprise to discover our granddaughter, Ava Boles, on the front page of the March 21 issue of The Sarnia Journal.

Many thanks to Glenn Ogilvie for capturing such endearing shots. We will treasure them!

Alan Campbell



Throwing salt on sidewalk bylaw

Sir: Regarding the Feb. 28 story, “City Hall pondering bylaw that would make sidewalk shovelling mandatory.”

First, not everyone lives on a street that has a sidewalk, so a bylaw would selectively penalize those who do.

Second, many of the homeowners with sidewalks aren’t as young or well off financially as the people on city council proposing this action. They can’t necessarily clear snow as quickly, if at all, as younger or more affluent neighbours who might pay someone to do it for them.

So, again, the city narrows the scope of the fines assessed by a punitive bylaw to seniors and people with physical or financial handicaps.

Third, the liability for slip-and-fall accidents lies with the city alone, not the homeowner. The city engineering director stated in the article: “Although slip-and-fall injuries are rare, property owners and the city share the liability.”

If you search the Internet, you will find several precedent setting cases in Ontario that found the city/municipality alone was responsible for any litigation due to slip-and-fall accidents. The homeowners were only found to be in violation of the bylaws, and were severed from the lawsuits by the Appeals Court of Ontario. See

Lastly, a snow-clearing bylaw would be nothing more than a handy tax grab for the city, and we really don’t need that.

The next thing you’ll see coming down the pike will be “pay to use” city-issued permits for on-street parking.

Now, there’s a thought …


Michael Kidd




Why does council deserve a raise?

Sir: Sarnians, get a good hold on your purses. It seems this council finds it too easy to put its paws on your hard-earned savings.

In January, city councillors and the mayor voted themselves a raise in salary to offset a loss of income due to legislated tax changes by the federal government.

And now they have asked a citizen committee to look into giving them yet another pay increase.

Why should they get a raise in salary when the entire city’s population shoulders this extra expense, in addition to the salary increase they voted for themselves?

All this after being in office just a few months. They must have accomplished something great to deserve such a raise.

I have had raises in many jobs, but they were always due to meritorious work. I am not against an increase as long as the workers have proven themselves worthy of it.

Council’s actions reeks of greed, and they get no sympathy from the rest of us Sarnians who have toiled and done back-breaking work to earn meritorious pay increases.

Respectfully yours,


Marcelo B. Villanueva Jr.



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