The week of July 14

 

Thank you City Hall, for reversing pool fee increase

Sir: I want to express my gratitude to the Sarnia community for its effort to push back on the recent admission fee hikes at the Cox Youth Centre/Tecumseh Pool.

I was overjoyed to learn that their energy and passion motivated the City to revert to a $2 admission fee from $5.

I was shocked and heartbroken when I learned of the dramatic increase last week. With a heavy but driven heart, I wrote a letter to The Journal expressing my concerns. I reflected on my childhood experiences as a patron and shared my perspectives as a former lifeguard and manager of Tecumseh Pool.

I expressed concern that the $5 admission fee would render the pool inaccessible to the children and families who need it most. I noted the change seemed misaligned with the spirit of philanthropist Norma Cox.

I was thrilled to learn letter would be published, along with a news story. As someone who firmly believes in the power of collectives, I sent my letter to Mayor Bradley and council, city management, and the YMCAs of Southwestern Ontario.

I was unprepared for what happened next. The letter was shared nearly 300 times on social media. Many community members shared their disappointment regarding the price hike.

I want to thank everyone who put their heart and passion behind this cause, including Tara Jeffrey at the Sarnia Journal for her dedicated reporting, and the City of Sarnia and Jerry McCaw Family Centre YMCA for their responsiveness.

This change happened only because the community pushed for it. You did this. We did this. Take that knowledge and let it empower residents to continue to organize and mobilize for meaningful change.

Sophie Stasyna

Sarnia


Hockey games have become ‘Gambling Night in Canada’

Sir: The words, “Hello Canada and hockey fans in the United States and Newfoundland,” is forever in the memory of families that gathered around to hear the legendary Foster Hewitt broadcast Hockey Night in Canada.

Imagine if he added: “And don’t forget to make your bets.”

The liberties we have for gambling have certainly expanded over the years, but do we need to be constantly reminded about online betting throughout the game?

In 2018, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman signed a multi-year contract with MGM for sports betting. Apparently the NHL receives no share of the revenue.

Now, even the Great One has become an ambassador for sports betting.

If it is necessary to continually interrupt the game with betting commercials, why not create a separate channel for participants, rather than expose children to another potential addiction?

Many of us are still not interested in betting on sports.

Phil Nelson

Sarnia


Passing on nature trail should be clear as a bell

Sir: My family has moved from a fast-paced life in Sarnia to a more relaxed life in the country.

Since moving in the fall of 2021 we have used the Howard Watson Nature Trail daily, walking with the dog, by ourselves, and with grandchildren. It’s a quiet place to reflect. We know how great it is to have this trail, in all seasons.
The trail is no secret, and many others who use also appreciate how lucky they are to have it. But given how busy it can get, why do some people on bicycles not have a bell to let others know they are coming up behind them.

I did say some, because a lot do, or have the courtesy to call out, “On your left or on your right.”
Riding a bicycle is great exercise and riding on the trail instead of the road is a fantastic option, but…
Bicycle bells are not expensive. I suppose after spending hundreds if not thousands on a bicycle and purchasing fancy racing shirts and shorts there may not be much left for a bell. In this case, riders can still yell out when they are coming up on someone.
As Canadians we are known for being very polite, saying thank you and your welcome, opening doors for others, etc. So why not get a bell for your bicycle so no one gets hurt?
It’s just the right thing to do.

Jamie Cockerham

Bright’s Grove


The noise from outdoor concerts is air pollution

Sir: We were enjoying a quiet summer night recently when suddenly we could hear a waterfront concert happening miles away.

There are unavoidable sounds in Sarnia. I appreciate that ships must sound their horn, and trains must signal at a road crossing. CAER issues warnings for start-up flaring and process upsets in the Valley.

But outdoor concert season is Sarnia is an open ticket to pollute the silence as people are trying to have a quiet night in their back yard.

If I wanted to go to the concert I’d buy a ticket, and not sit miles away “enjoying the entertainment.”

If someone wants to be 20 feet from the stage, that is their choice. But a concert happening downtown should entertain its audience, not the entire city.

The City of Sarnia needs to better manage public concerts and cap noise restrictions. Respectfully,

Michael Murray

Sarnia


Better accounting needed for capital spending

Sir: After reviewing Sarnia’s 2022 Core Asset Management Plan at the June 27 council meeting, Coun. Mike Stark informed us this council was responsible for reducing the city’s infrastructure backlog by $100 million.

Or maybe city staff just went in and revised the estimates and opinions historically proposed by others.

Either way, it would be nice to get clarification.

Coun. Margaret Bird’s motion to list completed capital projects for 2019, 2020 and 2021 would help clarify the story.

At the end of the day, data does matter.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan MacFarlane

Sarnia


Local Family of Parishes marks first anniversary

Sir: Sarnia’s Roman Catholic Community is celebrating the first anniversary of its Family of Parishes.

The Sarnia Bluewater Roman Catholic Family of Parishes was inaugurated on July 10, 2021. Seven churches in Sarnia and Bright’s Grove (Our Lady of Mercy, Queen of Peace, Sacred Heart, St. Benedict, St. Joseph, St. Michael, and St. Thomas d’Aquin) joined together under one pastoral team of five Priests, four Deacons and two Lay Ecclesial Ministers, leading nearly 3,000 registered Roman Catholic families.

This ambitious project was just one of 31 Families of Parishes enacted in the Diocese of London by Bishop Fabbro, bringing together approximately 130 parishes that were to some extent stand-alone.

The adventurous part for the Sarnia Family of Parishes is that it was enacted in the middle of COVID-19, with restrictions were in place and several outright lockdowns.

Although initially this inhibited the ability to gather together and establish new friendships and ministries, we quickly adapted by enacting technologies such as live stream mass, sacramental preparation, and Alpha on-line and Zoom meetings.

Despite the lockdowns, it was a productive year with more than 100 Baptisms and 200 First Communions, and nearly 200 Confirmations. Four Alpha programs were facilitated online, two Charisms workshops completed, and more than 2,000 masses celebrated.

As well, $40,000 was raised for Ukraine relief, and material assistance provided to those in need through our Knights of Columbus councils, Catholic Women’s leagues and St. Vincent de Paul conferences.

Our one-year anniversary was celebrated on July 10 at St. Patrick’s High School with mass followed by entertainment, food, and games for children.

For more, call the Family of Parishes at 519-336-2653, by email at sbrcfp.dol.ca, or visit sarniacatholic.ca

Rev. Brian Jane

Sarnia