The week of June 30

Internationals students make community a better place

Sir: Regarding international students at Lambton College.

They are a very welcome addition to our community. Just look around. I see these young people everywhere. They all have incredible stories about their lives back home and their journey to Canada.

As a measure of their commitment, most of these students have taken on more than one job. They have also had to endure our winters in an unfamiliar environment. And they seem to be losing their bikes at a very high rate.

What I see is courage, commitment and a great work ethic. Perhaps a weekly story from the paper about these individuals. I for one have learned so much from the few I have befriended.

If we really want them to stay here, let’s all show them some love. Say hello and thank them. I know of many stories about their home and how they got here. Most are very homesick.

Most are very interested in Sarnia geographically, but lack the ability to access our area completely.

Has anyone else noticed how polite and friendly these young people are at work? I think the community’s customer service bar has been raised with diligent entry-levels hires from the international community.

So people, make some new friends, treat them like neighbours, and they will stay. Treat them with indifference and we will lose this remarkable opportunity for Sarnia, Ontario and Canada.

David Noel

Sarnia


Expanding Bright’s Grove means loss of natural areas

Sir: I am writing with reference to two letters that appeared side-by-side in the June 16th edition.

When reading both letters, entitled “Bright’s Grove development long overdue” and “Humans causing tsunami of habitat loss,” I felt the pull of each argument.

The first, from a resident of Bright’s Grove, provided the rationale for promoting future expansion and new housing development in the Grove. She refers to a “more viable, walkable community.”

Why? Because there will be more roads? What happens to the trees and all the creatures that were there first? I also wonder, will these houses truly be affordable?

The second letter was from Mike Smalls, also a Bright’s Grove resident. I want to thank him for his honesty and legitimate concern about what we’re doing to our environment and habitat.

Many new homes are so big there’s no room to replace a tree. I wonder when we last reviewed our zoning and bylaws. Is it all about development and money?

Like Mr. Smalls, I challenge everyone to do their part and consider their impact on the environment.

I, for one, plan to attend the July 11 meeting at City Hall, when residents can comment on the new Official Plan. The Bright’s Grove expansion is approved in principle, but we don’t have to stomp around with our oversized shoes everywhere we go.

As custodians of this planet, we can be gracious, mindful, respectful and sensitive to the impact we have on other creatures. I suggest we work around trees, not just bulldoze them for convenience.

I know I can’t change the world. But I might be able to clean up a small corner of it. If we individually all accepted Mr. Smalls’ challenge, think of what we might accomplish.

Personally, I would love for Bright’s Grove to retain its charm and beauty; the place I fell in love with.

Kathy Elliott

Bright’s Grove


Keeping an eye on specialist health care

Sir: I recently had to take my spouse to our local hospital on a Saturday to have an eye health concern checked out.

She has had ongoing eye issues and we thought the hospital was the appropriate place to go. Unfortunately, the hospital has no on-call ophthalmologist.

After sitting for the better part of the afternoon the attending doctor was able to get an appointment the next day at the Ivy Eye Clinic in London. We are fortunate that London has on-call emergency eye specialists.

Given that we live in an industrial town, and more than 30% of Sarnia-Lambton residents are seniors, one would think an eye specialist would be on call here.

I feel sorry for the attending hospital doctors who can’t get the necessary assistance, and my thanks to the doctor for the follow-up and appointment in London.

Phil Nelson

Sarnia


Tourism money could be better spent

Sir: I understand Sarnia is applying to a Tourism Relief Fund for a $500,000 grant to install Wi-Fi downtown (about 50 outdoor Wi-Fi routers) along a portion of the St. Clair River.

An external service provider would be needed to maintain this outdoor network at an unknown cost to the city.

I certainly can think of better ways of promoting tourism for that amount of money. Free Wi-Fi is a great idea for a community, and I think a better approach would be to continue to provide good service at government buildings (e.g., City Hall, libraries, recreational facilities, parks etc.) and promote the service.

Many local restaurants, shopping areas and coffee shops also provide free Wi-Fi. This “hot spot” approach to free Wi-Fi is what many cities across Ontario are doing.

It is of note that London, Ont. ended up cancelling its Wi-Fi Zone on Dundas Street due to high upgrade costs.

I wonder what will stop local residents from using this free Wi-Fi, and what strength of signal the network will need to in an open-air environment to serve 300 people at the same time?

If this project is successful, I suggest a sign be posted advising visitors of this open air Wi-Fi Zone, since people with sensitivities to EMFs (electric and magnetic fields) should definitely be notified. Respectfully submitted,

Susan MacFarlane

Bright’s Grove