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Week of Dec. 22

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Investors respond to city’s decision on hospital site

Editor’s note: Last week, city council directed staff to issue a Request for Proposals regarding the sale of the former Sarnia General Hospital. In 2014, five local investors had offered the city $1,000 to purchase the derelict site and develop it into Health Campus. This is their response.

Sir: In September 2014, The City signed a legal agreement to sell the former Sarnia General Hospital after receiving one offer through a public RFP.

The winning proposal called for the redevelopment of the property as a $15-million health campus and was endorsed by council in a vote of 7-1. The Agreement contained just one condition that would have allowed the City to nullify the contract and that was upon receiving the permission to sell the property from the Province of Ontario. That permission was granted and the deal to sell the property was binding on the City.

The only remaining conditions were for the developer and included a condition for the re-zoning of the property to permit health-care uses.

In March of 2015, at the re-zoning meeting to ratify the proposal that Council endorsed 7-1 in September, the mayor and council didn’t deal with re-zoning.

Instead, Coun. Kelch made a motion that had nothing to do with the zoning or the development itself. Mayor Bradley then declared that there could be no discussion and called the vote.

We argue that in the best interest of the taxpayers of Sarnia, Mayor Bradley did, in fact, have the discretion to allow discussion, to ask questions of staff that would have answered Kelch’s concerns, and to call on the proponent to address questions. He did none of these. This inaction effectively nullified the contract.

Since that time, the mayor has made many public statements that are either ignorant of the facts or intentionally inaccurate and misleading.

To set the record straight, the proponents have prepared a lengthy written synopsis of events that accurately portrays the actual chain of events leading to the $10-million eyesore that the taxpayers are now left holding.

In accordance with the policies of the Sarnia Journal, and as the synopsis cannot be limited to 350 words, the full story can be read on the Journal’s Facebook page or website, at https://thesarniajournal.ca/health-campus-proponents-respond-to-city-decision-on-hospital-property/

Sincerely,

Mark Lumley

Alex Jongsma

Marty Raaymakers

Charlie Dally

Kenn Poore

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Developer won land battle with ‘juice’

Sir: Sarnia’s city development manager recently told the daily newspaper the 26-acre parcel of land near Michigan Avenue and Modeland Road currently up for development is on a flood plain that historically was the edge of Lake Wawanosh.

The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority’s defines flood plain as land that’s “flat or low-lying and tends to flooding.”

It looks like homes valued at $250,000 to $500,000 are sitting on a flood plain. Did the developer or vendor disclose this when they did their deals? Did the lawyers pose the question? Will insurance cover a flooded basement?

Whenever I drive near Modeland and Michigan I can almost hear the sump pumps running.

How many people reading this have had building plans skewered because their property was on a designated flood plain? The reason it happened to them is they didn’t have enough juice.

Definition of “juice:” A legal team of experts on Ontario Real Estate Law and its statutes and precedents who are well versed on The Ontario Flood Damage Reduction Program of 1978 and who can arrange for Ontario Municipal Board hearings.

In 2008, a London developer purchases the 26 acres of in question. I don’t know if they knew it was flood plain or not. If they did, they probably figured they had the “juice” to go before city council and get approval for their project. They were wrong.

Sarnia had an official plan that took time and money to put together, and in May of 2015 the developer’s proposal was turned down.

But the developer ratcheted up the “juice” and filed an appeal with the OMB. The project is now a “go,” although it will be somewhat smaller.

What gives a developer the right to drag a community before a tribunal, at a cost of thousands to the community, to revise an official plan the community felt best served the needs of its people?

If you have the time and the “juice” you will get all or part of what you want, which is to buy land, develop it and make money whether the community wants it or not.

Ed Williamson

Sarnia

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Water fluoridation a great public health achievement

Sir: Re: the letter, ‘Your daily dose of fluoride.’

Fluoridated toothpaste contains a warning about ingestion because sodium fluoride is indeed toxic. A lethal dose of sodium fluoride is 5-10 grams for an adult (155 lb. man). An eight-ounce tube of Colgate for instance has roughly <0.5 grams in the entire thing.

Are you eating multiple tubes of toothpaste every day?

Water fluoridation (vs. salt or milk fluoridation used in other countries) makes sense for oral health as direct contact with your teeth provides the most benefit.

Water fluoridation makes sense when considering not every family has regular access to a dentist and/or poor brushing habits. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention listed water fluoridation as one of the 10 greatest health achievements of the 20th century and the World Heath Organization recommends 0.5-1.0mg/L.

Fluoride in excessive doses can cause dental fluorosis in teeth forming in the gums. This is aesthetic and not life threatening. This is also why its recommended young children who consume fluoridated water and may swallow the toothpaste to brush with non-fluoridated toothpaste.

Excessive doses over a prolonged period of time can cause skeletal fluorosis, which causes joint pain/brittle bones. There have been five confirmed cases of crippling skeletal fluorosis in the U.S. in the last 35 years, and they are not associated with optimally fluoridated water

Fluoride in our municipal water supply is maintained generally <0.80mg/L, but no greater than 1.5mg/L. So on the high end that’s 1.5g/1000L of water. Far from a lethal dose.

Furthermore, there are private water supplies in this area with higher fluoride concentrations occurring naturally. Yes, this ‘deadly poison’ is naturally occurring.

The fear-mongering regarding water fluoridation is akin to the anti-vaccine movement.  Rather than listen to medical experts, anecdotal evidence from other people on the Internet is sufficient.

M. S. FitzGerald

Sarnia

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A ‘thank you’ and hope for the future

Sir: Recently, I have come to realize that there may be hope for the future.

The interactions with many people during my intermittent visits to the Cineplex Theatre, when I help a many-year colleague manage his mobility challenges resulting from Parkinson’s disease, has offered opportunities to alter my previous perspective.

He has physical mobility challenges traversing the path to and from a seat. However, help is ‘ever present’!  On each and every visit, there have been offers to aid in negotiating the obstacles, most frequently occurring when the movie ends.

Affirmation that the future may be in excellent hands comes from an early 20s couple who recently made just such an offer to help.  I thanked them but refused to accept because my colleague, who is a bit stubborn and takes pride in overcoming the barriers generated by this advancing disease, prefers to rise from the chair, slowly negotiate the railing and then proceed down the steep stairs on his own.  He eventually concedes using the ‘mechanical walker’ awaiting his arrival at the bottom.

The young couple had not abandoned us and was waiting at the bottom to ask if we needed help to get to our car.  They proceeded to engage my colleague in conversation until I returned from a mandatory visit to the washroom. They were still engaged and waiting to be assured that we would be safe and able to proceed.

This 10-minute episode made my colleague and me aware of the concern and caring for the elderly that resides with our youth.

It is a window on the future of our society to which I am most pleased to have been a witness.  I thank the young couple for their selfless consideration and for opening my eyes to a very favourable aspect of our young people and our society’s future!

Respectfully,

Walter F. Petryschuk

Sarnia

 

 

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