Letters: week of Nov. 26

Graffiti, artistic expression, covered by the same brush

Sir: Recently I drove under the Highway 402 overpass at Colborne Road and noticed the most disgusting graffiti.

Well, actually it was a blob of grey paint that now covers up what was once a creative sign of positivity.

I am referring to the city’s covering up of words that had been stencilled there for many months. One stencil read “Don’t Quit” and the other “Prove Them Wrong.”

What was once an interesting and inspiring message for passersby is once again an ugly, empty canvas of concrete.

Why did those stencils need to be covered?

We can all agree profanity and “tags” ought to be covered up, but creative expressions of positivity by and for the community?

Where can residents make their mark on the city they call home? What is “city property” but a slice of Sarnia co-owned by all?

Covering up positive stencils is an act of protection, not empowerment; and it communicates a divisive message. Instead, City Hall ought to provide assets (where appropriate) and intentionally work with community members wanting to make their mark.

Why not harness the creative power of local artists to transform blight into beauty? By releasing specific property for graffiti and murals, the city could foster ownership, belonging, and love for our home.

Art plays an integral role in building a sense of place and community. I don’t know about others, but I’d rather drive by a few creative expressions than a dull slab of cold concrete.

 

Joshua Walters
Sarnia

 


 

Dog owner upset by Sarnia’s lack of emergency vet care

Sir: I am responding to the Nov. 5 letter by Brian MacDonald about the lack of emergency veterinary care on weekends.

I know Brian, and I know his dog Bella.  I also know how much Bella is loved by her family.

A similar thing happened to my own dog, Rocket, summer before last.  I couldn’t get him to London and ended up spending the night changing the bandages on his injured foot.

When a vet finally saw him, she assured me he was fine and wrapped his foot with three bandages.

But a few minutes later I yelled because my dog was bleeding out. Fortunately, a surgeon was on duty.  Turns out Rocket had not only severed an artery but a tendon as well, and he was immediately sent to surgery.

It would have been a whole lot better for my dog, and for me, if he had been looked after sooner.

I approached the vet, very disappointed and, I must admit, angry.  I asked why vets couldn’t be available for emergency care. I suggested a rotation system, but she said that was not going to happen and that was just the way it is.

Brian MacDonald noted how Sarnia veterinarians got together and decided they wouldn’t provide emergency animal care on weekends.  I wish pet owners could have been at that meeting.

We provide so much love, time and money to look after our pets. At times, I have had to choose pet care over groceries, but that is my problem.

I don’t think vets can justify not providing emergency care. They should be ashamed.

 

Mary Lou Brydges
Sarnia

 


 

Given God’s track record, why do Christians oppose MAID?

Sir: Regarding the story and subsequent letters about Medical Assistance In Dying.

The Bible teaches that God made a pact with the Devil to cause Job cruel suffering and torment. So God is not a reliable source for compassion and relief from suffering.

We may have drugs and palliative care, but that doesn’t always relieve pain and anguish.

In Canada, we now have the means to end our own suffering with the kind and compassionate help of MAID.

I don’t understand why it is that Christians are so disapproving of this option for those that are suffering.

If it is in fact a sin, it is not their sin, nor is it their business.

 

Norman Barney
Petrolia

 


 

The airport is too important to Sarnia’s future to sell it

Sir: Regarding the future of Sarnia Chris Hadfield Airport.

The question begs asking: Why did the city agree to a sweetheart deal that gave Scottsdale Aviation a multi-year contract to operate our airport —a multimillion dollar, city-owned facility — for the ridiculous price of $1 a year, with all the revenue generated going to Scottsdale Aviation?

From what I can see, there are two parts to the operation: the Terminal from which Air Canada, Georgian and others before it operated, and the hangars, tie-downs for outside parking and Huron Aviation for fuel and flight training.

They all pay rent to Scottsdale Aviation. What happened to all this revenue before COVID-19 upended our routines?

No, Air Canada does not fly out of Sarnia right now, but it doesn’t fly out of many other feeder airports right now either. This too will pass and we will fly commercially again.

Toronto is a three-hour drive away for connection to other destinations.

Scottsdale Aviation is a commercial enterprise and as such made a deal it must live with. I haven’t read the lease, but if bankruptcy is the result, so be it.

I am opposed to selling the airport for any price. If sold, that physical asset can never be recovered and Sarnia will be the loser in the end.

As a Sarnia taxpayer, I am opposed to any of my tax money being used to support a private enterprise. If the airport was operated by the city as part of its infrastructure — like Canatara Park or the waterfront — that would be entirely another matter.

The airport also has new hangars financed and erected by small, private owners who want to keep their aircraft out of the weather. If the airport is sold, how will they be compensated? What is their status?

It is easy for a paid, absent consultant to make recommendations about a property without knowing all of the considerations.

 

Ziggy Berzins
Sarnia

 


 

Those who enjoy investment’s benefit should pay for it

Sir: Most people understand the universal principle that if you get a benefit that has an associated cost, that you are expected to pay for it.  So it’s useful to clarify who gets the benefit.

In Sarnia, properties within 450 metres (about five football fields) of a bus route pay an annual premium for this “benefit.” Turns out, most properties meet this criteria and hence pay this extra tax (cynically clever move by the city).

As an aside, in some areas of the city the bus comes only when called – so not exactly the same benefit, yet the same tax rate (for the city’s benefit).

Recently, there was an outcry from smaller businesses in Chemical Valley about the “Petrochemical Special Levy,” meant to accumulate funds over time to replace the Donahue Bridge. They claimed it’s not just companies that use (benefit from) the bridge.

With that idea in mind, why not consider the toll-paying Highway 407 or the Blue Water Bridge models? Why not install licence plate readers or transponders at the Donohue Bridge, where users would then get a monthly usage bill from the city?  The cost could be very affordable; e.g. $1 each way.

Applying this concept to the expensive Lake Huron shoreline protection work, it’s the people living on the lake who benefit from the city paying to set up and maintain shoreline protection.

Why not have these property owners contribute an affordable annual premium to subsidize these costs?

Manuel Marta
Sarnia

 


 

Youth agency adopting new strategies during pandemic

Sir: Rebound closed its doors on March 16 and hit the ‘virtual’ ground running.

Despite the uncertainty of the pandemic, Rebound has accepted the new reality and staff have channeled their passion for youth to connect virtually while maintaining the essential in-person supports youth need now more than ever.

Unfortunately, this new reality has also impacted our annual fundraising efforts.

Postponing the 2021 Hearts for Youth gala until 2022 was a very difficult decision. This signature event helps raise the funds needed to operate unfunded programs that also make up 50% of our annual budget and support hundreds of youth.

But the loss of our biggest fundraiser won’t stop us from bouncing back and playing Santa!  ‘Rebound’s 12 Days of Christmas’ is an online raffle offering daily prizes from Dec. 1 to 12.

These prizes are supported by some of our amazing community members.  For info and tickets, go to www.reboundonline.com.

 

Carrie McEachran
Executive Director
Sarnia-Lambton Rebound