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Letters, week of Nov. 12

Published on

Any ideas to help Sarnia’s neglected south end?

Sir: Sarnia’s south end is a vibrant, family-oriented area of this city, with beautiful brick homes, wartime homes, churches, parks and several excellent shopping districts.

We still have many beautiful neighbourhoods, but more of this area is becoming downtrodden and tired.

Thanks to the incredible generosity of local philanthropists, we have two improved parks: Tecumseh, with its new water feature and skateboard facility, and Germain, with its recently renewed Golden Hawk airplane monument and a new outdoor entertainment venue, as well Jackson Pool and the Strangway Centre.

Kudos to the Parks and Rec. department for its programming and maintenance of these parks.

Unfortunately, St. Joseph’s, St. Margaret’s, St. Pat’s, St. Peter’s, Devine Street and Parkview schools have all closed, as well as several churches.

We are fortunate in that two elementary schools have been built, St. Matthews and P.E. McGibbon. And fortunately an enterprising businessman converted St. Margaret’s into self-storage units and Parkview is now the new MGM.

Devine Street School has been vacant for years now, and the potential for new homes there seems to be lost on investors.

Drive the streets south of London Road and it becomes apparent the area has suffered immeasurably from the loss of these schools, churches, shops and businesses.

The old Sarnia General Hospital, nurses’ residence and Health Unit remain a blight. The old Walker Bros. store has been left to wrack and ruin; an old gas station left to deteriorate and warehouses boarded up and abandoned – the list goes on and on …

Perhaps the time has arrived for the neighbours of Devine Street School and the old Sarnia General Hospital to start a petition to have these eyesores demolished.

Perhaps the Ontario Ombudsman would take some action on behalf of the citizens of South Sarnia if that office were aware of the incredible length of time these problems have existed.

This is certainly not a problem specific to Sarnia, but of many cities experiencing fallout from the last downturn in the market place.

Instead of responding to this letter with negativity, some positive feedback would be gratefully appreciated.

Maxine Quinn

Sarnia’s south end

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City needs budget realism

Sir: Is common sense forbidden in our council chambers and local government offices?

City staff are reported to have submitted a budget requiring a 7.98% increase in property taxes. How can anyone propose an 8% tax hike when many in this city live on fixed incomes? As a community we are used to suffering the increasing bills from our profligate Provincial government; is our local government going down the same road of penalizing those on fixed or low incomes?

Surely common sense indicates that a budget increase should be equal or less than any rise in the cost of living index.

If government employees at any level are awarded pay rises, let us reduce the overall cost by cutting jobs to make any such award cost neutral.

Likewise, if we cannot afford something, why can’t we see a decrease in our services?

Inefficiencies in government spending in general are exposed daily, and locally, one-quarter of a million dollars has been lost by council in its pursuit of the River City Vineyard Church. Has anyone been held accountable for that lost money?

There must be many projects that would be good for the community as a whole, but let us make sure they are affordable for those who ultimately pay the bill.

Keith Patrick

Sarnia

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