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Week of April 27

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Councillor opposed to creating deputy mayor position

Sir: We may be asked to consider the creation of a deputy mayor, a position that could put in place a new salary structure, now or in the future. A new expense at a time we are swamped with extensive new costs.

We have seen the tremendous burden put on our citizens by new costs to punish the mayor and restrict him from performing his duties as chief executive of the City of Sarnia, a position he has ably performed without a deputy for over 28 years with the overwhelming support of voters.

My observation in my day-to-day exchanges with our citizens is that he most assuredly continues to have that support.

There are two simple questions:

1 – Do we need to appoint a deputy mayor?

Clearly, I believe we do not. When City Hall was built (1963-64) the mayor was Henry Ross and the city manager was Bob Given. I served on this council.

We were in charge of more departments then: Sarnia Health Department, Social Services, Marshall Gowland Manor, people on Social Assistance, and one floor for tax assessment.

All this was handled without a deputy mayor. The position was never considered until the conflict with the present city manager and our mayor.

Let us not spend more of taxpayer money on a deputy mayor to add only more conflict. Forget new positions, adding walls and barriers, stripping away his keys to his office, a necessary tool to his busy job as the chief executive.

2 – If a deputy mayor position is created, how?

Clearly, the only democratic process is to have a simple referendum question added next year and let the people decide.

It is important to note the present method undertaken by some members of council leaves itself open to conflict of interest under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.

A deputy mayor stands to gain now or in the future increased remuneration — a clear conflict.

The current practice of having a council person stand in for our mayor when he is unable to works fairly well and gives everybody a chance to handle the mayor’s position, without creating a salary for a deputy mayor.

Let’s not go down that road.

Dave Boushy

City/County Councillor


Voters must be given the option of a paper ballot

Sir: I have always been told that I vote to elect a city council that is a government for the people.

I cannot, therefore, understand why I was not asked my opinion on a matter as charged as electronic voting.

I went to the city clerk’s office to inquire about my right to use a paper ballot in the next election. I was informed: “It is done – they did not need my opinion – there is nothing I can do about it – it is my decision if I choose not to vote electronically.”

I beg to differ. It is not my choice!

It is my choice not to put my personal information online. I choose to avoid online banking, I choose to file a paper income tax form and I choose not to “plug in” to a flawed system.

Should my bank feed my information into a system that is hacked, they are liable for the repercussions. Someone is held accountable for the theft and restitution is made.

Everyone knows the moment they put personal information into a worldwide, accessible network there is no way to prevent data theft.

But now council has taken away my ability to vote by paper ballot. They have taken away my choice to feel safe and secure when voting, and replaced it with archaic dictatorship.

No law requires me to be online, so what gives city council the right?

I am shaken in my faith in city council to really care how residents feel regarding such an important process in government.

I was told by the clerk’s office: “This is done and there is nothing I can do to change it.”

In fact, the clerk’s office should have advised me that my concerns could be shared with Mayor Bradley and city council, c/o of the City Clerk, because council can still reverse this decision at a future meeting and give voters an alternative paper ballot.

Do not plan the outcome of the next election by eliminating those of us who are not “plugged in,” either by choice or circumstance.

Margaret Shaw



No one forcing young man to attend sheltered workshop

Sir: Re: Cathy Dobson’s article entitled “Worker at centre of Human Rights case awaiting answers” in the April 13th edition.

Let me preface this letter by stating that I have never in my lifetime been incentivized to put the proverbial “pen to paper” and convey my sentiments regarding an article.

But the solution is simple…

If Mr. McCormick feels discriminated against by the 46-cent honorarium granted by Community Living Sarnia-Lambton for his participation in the sheltered workshop program, all he has to do is simply stay home and choose not to be involved.

No one is holding a gun to this young man’s head and forcing him to attend the workshop, where no doubt he has learned basic life skills as well as being able to interact with his peers.

I concur wholeheartedly with Mr. Hagens that this is clearly not an employer/employee relationship.

Ms. Erla McCormick states that, “I don’t want the shelters to close,” but that is ultimately what might happen given the action taken by her son.

Already, new applications to the workshop aren’t being accepted and it’s rumoured that the province wants to phase out all sheltered workshops eventually.

This would be extremely unfortunate, not only locally but also in other municipalities in this province, adversely impacting an untold number of members in sheltered workshops and their families. Respectfully submitted,

Wayne L. Therriault



Sarnia needs to be more progressive on cycling policy

Sir: Re: the April 20 article, “No riding on the sidewalk.”

I’m with Hal Regnier on continuing to cycle on sidewalks when one’s safety is jeopardized. I also agree that the $5,000 education campaign will be inconsequential.

Better to go back to the drawing board and come up with something more progressive and comprehensive.

I’d be curious to see a breakdown on where the injuries occurred; the two deaths we know about already – on roads.

There was no indication that the staff report provided that information.

John Wever



Forcing cyclists onto street is rolling the dice on lives

Sir: In response to the “No riding on the sidewalk” article in the April 20th edition; this city has become a dangerous place to drive let alone ride a bike.

Look no further than the numerous parking lots and store fronts around the city where drivers have either failed to stop or simply couldn’t differentiate between forward and reverse and ended up parking inside a store rather that outside of it.

Now put that same driver out on the road where attention to detail is critical and ever-changing conditions are constant.

Without a dedicated, monitored and enforced system of bike lanes in the city you are basically asking cyclists to roll the dice and hope for the best.

Past incidents and irreversible tragedies have proven these concerns are founded and real.

I have told my son to ride on the sidewalk where he feels uncomfortable riding on the road. I’ve also told him to yield to all other users and to be respectful. I will bankrupt my family paying ridiculous and wasteful fines before I risk the life of anyone in my family.

Before forcing cyclists out on the road, it only makes sense that steps be taken to ensure they have a reasonable expectation of safety or an infrastructure in place that protects them (bike lanes).

Steps also need to be taken to remove high-risk drivers from our roads. I’ve always been told that driving is not a right, it’s a privilege, and when the safety of even a single citizen is jeopardized, government has the obligation to act.

Nate Smith



Sarnia has become a community where dictatorship rules

Sir: Sarnians are being left behind and denied freedoms of speech, information and choice, which violates the Charter of Rights & Freedoms Act under the Canadian Constitution.

Sarnians are kept in the dark. Council and officials plow ahead, without further discussion, due diligence, and without adding these important issues to the 2018 election ballot, first.

* Electronic voting – proven not safe or secure; no control over results. $130,000 was spent on company with adverse financial history.

* Hiring out-of-province instead of Sarnia.

* Council amended Code of Conduct – a totally unconscionable move!

* City manager spending taxpayers’ dollars on limo service for Chamber event when Sarnia’s infrastructure is in desperate need of repair.

* Boat ramp completion was March, but now June. Need full disclosure on Centennial Park’s expenses.

* Fluoride added to water- medicating people WITHOUT their consent.

* $200,000 (unbudgeted) spent on 2nd floor renos, taken from reserve fund. Now starting renos for City Hall’s third floor – where’s that money coming from?

* City manager requested immediate change of title to CAO. Is a salary increase next?

* $300,000 spent on two reports – no reference to needing a deputy warden or deputy mayor, or sanctions for the Mayor, but council went ahead with own agenda.

* Hired an integrity commissioner with a trail of bias; he was paid $3,000 retainer, $280 per hour and 52 cents per kilometer. This man has already been let go from Muskoka Lakes, Collingwood, Brampton, and soon from Mississauga. Now he’s in Sarnia!

* City manager is law unto herself – bypasses requests for public meetings.

Municipal Conflict of Interest exists between members of council when voting on important issues, “If there is a matter that touches on the councillor’s direct or indirect pecuniary interest, or promotion, there is a duty of the councillor to step aside.” All deputy mayors in Lambton County are elected by the people, not appointed by council.

Sarnians are NOT given the chance for input prior to motions being presented and passed by council.

This has to change. In order to prove city hall has no agenda, all major issues must be on the 2018 election ballot, and democracy must be reinstated!

Margaret Bird

Bright’s Grove


Kudos to Fanshawe College and Foundation for project

Sir: On April 18 my wife and I attended a presentation by a group of 20 students – a project of developing a design for a piece of property in Bright’s Grove.

At present the field is cultivated for a crop of grain and bounded by Waterworks Road, Lakeshore Road, Huron Oaks Golf Course and a municipal drain.

The students are taking classes in the School of Design and the School of Building Technololgy. After they completed the project in London, four of the seven plans were chosen to be displayed and explained at a Community Information Session at our local elementary school.

We saw the ad for this event in The Sarnia Journal and decided to take it in. Up until that decision, we had paid no attention to the farmland just across the road from our local shopping plazas.

And we were amazed that so many fellow “Grovites” joined us in the school’s library. We were equally amazed with the excitement and the clarity of the students’ explanations of their design and the answers to our questions.

It seemed to be a great learning curve for both presenters and attendees.

Fanshawe College is to be commended for sharing the results of their students’ activities here in the heart of our community. We also learned that the program was supported by the Huzevka Foundation. Sincere thanks to both.

And we are aware that the field may remain a source for crops for the foreseeable future.

Wood Hustler

Bright’s Grove




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