Week of January 13

Public apathy could lead to creation of leash-free dog beach

Sir: Apathy is defined as a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. It’s hardly a characteristic any of us wants to be labelled with, but apathy can have a big voice at times.

Case in point: last year Sarnia conducted a survey on creating a leash-free doggy park on one of our beautiful beaches (Sarnia Journal, Dec. 23, pages 7, 8).

About 100 people responded and 81 supported a dog-friendly beach and – get this – 56 supported a leash-free dog beach.

Not 560 or 5,600 people, but 56.

And make no mistake what the term “leash-free” means. It means that crusty bit of sand beside your grandchild may not be spilled iced tea.

Based on 81 respondents council is now looking at feasible locations. Interestingly, Canatara is off the list because dog droppings could jeopardize its Blue Flag status. But heh, we’ve still got Baxter, Mike Weir, and Kenwick as possibilities.

Seriously?

Now, I love dogs and had one for many years so don’t want to be painted as an anti-pooch, but let’s get grounded here. Eighty-one people say yes and city council is now considering where to put this playground, because dogs apparently like to feel sand between their toes?

The city has homelessness, crime issues, carbon reduction, and diminishing biodiversity to contend with and this is on the agenda?

At last count our city had about 104 public parks, and I can say with certainty some of them only feel the wheels of city lawn cutting equipment. Underused parks sound like a good fit for happy dogs.

City Hall is conducting a survey from Jan. 17 to Feb. 7 through Speak Up Sarnia to acquire more public input on this subject. I strongly urge residents to voice their opinion.

I support some parks being conformed to meet the needs of dogs, but leave the beaches alone.

If 5,600 respondents push it through then I can accept that democracy has spoken. But I’m concerned apathy has a better chance of making a leash-free dog beach a reality.

Mike Smalls

Bright’s Grove


Keep unleashed dogs out of park

Sir: Regarding the Dec. 23 guest column, “A beach for dogs? That’s where I draw a line in the sand.”

I agree completely with this opinion piece. In Halifax, they have allowed off-leash dogs in Point Pleasant Park during times when all people, with and without dogs, like to walk and run.

It’s a very popular park for residents and tourists. I can’t begin to tell you how many times we had to raise a knee to prevent being jumped upon by a dog.

Not all dogs are trained well to recall commands. In one instance, our young son was knocked to the ground from behind. We were, of course, upset and shared this with the owner.

The owner wouldn’t claim responsibility for her poorly trained dog, and instead accused our son of enticing it!

As much as owners like to think they know their dogs – they don’t.

Unleashed dogs do not belong in the vicinity of non-dog walkers, at any time.

Cindy Dowdle

Sarnia


A ‘thank you’ to the Sarnia Journal and staff

Sir: 2021 was a difficult year.

Like 2020, Sarnians navigated through the latest restrictions imposed on us by the pandemic. We were, and are, forced to adapt and re-adapt to the twist and turns of this plague.

So too has The Sarnia Journal. You are a true reflection of our community and are a lifeline to your many, many readers.

Troy Shantz, Cathy Dobson and Tara Jeffrey kept us connected. Their unbiased reporting helped us understand what is happening in our community, and how we, as a community, have persevered through the pandemic.

One of my personal favourites is “The Weekly Trivia Challenge” made possible by Tom St. Amand. Where does he come up with this stuff?

For the history buffs in our community, Phil Egan connects us to our heritage and we look forward to his column.

I could go on, but fear I would exceed the allotted word count for “letters to the editor.”

So thank you dear editor, and all the staff of the Sarnia Journal.

You have been a beacon of light during these very dark times.

Anne Marie Gillis

Sarnia


Santa Claus’ abilities overstated

Sir: I wish to address the column, “Is Santa Claus real? We can always sense his presents,” in the Dec. 16th edition of the Sarnia Journal.

The author’s message in the column is laudable, to be sure. The world is in desperate need of “peace, love, and goodwill” and these traits are at the heart of the Christmas story. However, I am bold to suppose the real St. Nicholas would be greatly saddened and offended for anyone to suppose that he lives in people’s hearts and that he can bring peace, love, and goodwill to bear on human lives.

St. Nicholas was a 4th century Christian Bishop. And yes, he had great concern for children as well as those whose lives are made vulnerable because of the social structures of the day. However, he was first and foremost a disciple of the Messiah: Jesus of Nazareth. It is Jesus who brings “peace, love, and goodwill” to human lives.

To believe that Santa can accomplish this misses the point. Respectfully submitted,

Rev. Ian Marnoch

Presbyterian Church in Canada

Corunna