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Week of January 27

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Sarnia’s beaches have room for dogs and people

Sir: It seems that guest columnist John Dickson (Dec. 23) just doesn’t like dogs, or “hairy pets’ as he called them.

There are 4,600 licensed dogs in Sarnia whose owners support more than 25 dog-based businesses. All of these businesses, employees and owners pay taxes to the city and should have a voice.

The tourism areas of Grey-Bruce and Windsor-Essex both have multiple dog beaches, yet Sarnia-Lambton has none. As a dog owner I look for dog-friendly places when travelling, as do many others.

Having a couple of beaches that allow dogs would support both tourists and locals. That seems like an economic and tourism plus to me.

I would think Mr. Dickson, as a previous GM of Tourism Sarnia-Lambton and a business development contractor, would have seen these positive points.

Mike Weir and Canatara Park both have areas that could be dedicated as dog friendly at very little cost. Both parks have walking areas where owners can walk their dogs, so they can do their “business” before cooling off in the water. I do not believe dogs should be off-leash at the beach.

Though I vehemently disagree with Mr. Dickson’s comment that dogs normally bite when running loose, I do believe having your dog on a leash is the responsible thing to do.

I took my dog to Weir Park this summer not realizing the sign posted at the north entrance is meant for the park only, not the beach. I had positive interactions with all but one person on my trips, and that person said my dog shouldn’t be on the beach because she “stinks and it has hair.”

We are lucky to have a lot of beaches. There is room enough for everyone.

Carol Butt


City-owned pond would make a perfect dog beach

Sir: Here’s an answer for the dog beach location question, though it could cost a few dollars.

As all dog owners know there is a dog park on Blackwell Road, just behind Sumac Lodge long-term care home. Adjacent to this Blackwell Trails Dog Park is a large former gravel quarry called Logan Pond.

Many people already take their dogs to the southeast corner of this city-owned pond for a dip. It’s about 60 yards from the north side gate of the dog park.

If the city brought in some heavy equipment and made a larger, accessible sandy shoreline, it could be a perfect solution.

The beach could become an exclusive area for dogs. No muss no fuss, just dogs and dog owners. There you have it.

Brian MacDonald


Ontario lags when it comes to valuing recycling

Sir: This year’s Holiday trash disposal was atrocious. Bluewater Recycling Association put out a notice that stated: “Our wish this Holiday Season is for everyone to stop Wishcycling.”

It defined wishcycling as “the practice of tossing questionable items in the recycling bin, hoping they can be recycled.”

I appreciate their attempt at educating residents on what items can and cannot be recycled. But in our neighbourhood, blue box pick up contained countless attempts of wishcycling, including fully decorated trees thrown to the side of the road, gift bags and wrapping, greeting cards and clothing.

We are fortunate in this country to have recycling facilities, and it’s astounding how ungrateful society is for them.

I have been blessed to experience this country, having taken my first breaths in rural British Columbia, spent years living in the Northwest Territories and Alberta, and have travelled by car and plane from coast to coast.

Ontario is the most populated province, yet its recycling programs – or lack thereof – have been my most recent source of amazement.

During my time in the Northwest Territories, living in a fly-in community, a deposit was placed on plastic bottles and aluminum cans to encourage their return.

How can it be that in this developed province we don’t have a similar program in place? How can even the poorer Maritime Provinces afford “garbage policing,” which holds people accountable for properly sorting and disposing of their compost, waste and recyclables?

I know in my heart that we humans have the power to do amazing things, but in my short 32 years of life I have also learned that we are capable of despicable things.

I have hope that Ontario can begin taking the steps to prioritize recycling and educating its people. I hope that we can learn to value our things, be mindful and accountable for our actions.

I hope we can realize that we are dependent on the survival of this planet after all is said and done.

I hope we can remember that integrity is everything.


Melissa Cataford


Where is the handicapped parking enforcement?

Sir: There seems to be little observation or enforcement of handicapped parking spots around the city, including those on streets and at shopping plazas and grocery stores.

I am not certain of the fines for misuse, nor who is in charge of taking care of violators. But I have seen young and old, looking quite healthy, who park in these spots because they are close and handy, who then jump out of their cars to run into the various stores.

Almost all of these parking spots are well designated and well ignored. I hope those in charge of enforcement will assist with this problem.

Bill Douglas


Sarnia’s suburban sprawl comes with hidden costs

Sir: I have called home since 2015, and I’m concerned by the city’s reckless focus on new, greenfield development.

Sarnia’s population hasn’t increased over the past decades (The “pop. 73,000” signs coming into Sarnia are very faded). Yet the city grew a lot in acreage as more and more people moved into new, single-family homes on former farm fields.

Where is the concern you might ask?

Obvious, one is the loss of agricultural land – we actually live in one of the best agricultural areas in Canada.

However, there is a more subtle concern, one most people won’t suspect: financial bankruptcy.

Wait, what? Let me explain. The new subdivisions are low density, single-family homes (almost exclusively), some even in cul-de-sacs. The developer pays initially for all the hook-ups and services: new roads, (hopefully) new sidewalks, new sewers, new pipes, etc.

All of this infrastructure has a life expectancy. It gets old and needs to be replaced. Who pays for that replacement? The City. With what money? The taxpayer.

Do these subdivisions pay enough taxes over the years to pay for the replacement of roads, sidewalk, sewer, pipe, etc.? No.

Residents also expect a reasonable response time for police, fire and ambulance service, and unfortunately the distance from the stations is far by design.

We are going deeper and deeper into debt with each new sprawling subdivision, and your children and grandchildren will pay for it. Sadly, we make the next generation pay a huge price for our comfy new homes today.

We must change. The answer is to stop suburban sprawl and focus on strengthening and developing the inner core and associated areas. Like cities were until the 1950s, including Sarnia. This was sustainable.

My dear City of Sarnia: Please stop sprawling and make our children and grandchildren pay for it! Let’s focus inwards and make what we already have work better for all of us.

Robert M. Dickieson


U.S. political instability could have big impact here

Sir: I am concerned about what is happening politically in the U.S., with the risk of red-versus-blue violence growing and some in the media even talking of civil war.

Canadians should be thinking about their food supply, since a great deal of it comes from next door. Our prime minister should hang up his skis and get the right people together to work out a national plan for food security and distribution.

We could use the COVID-19 response as an example of what not to do.

The U.S. mid-term elections are coming and are about to fan the flames, so we should get out front on this issue. Truck drivers will be reluctant to venture into a possible war zone.

Could Americans really go that far? You know they could. Even if there isn’t an all-out red-versus-blue war, there could easily be enough shooting and bombing to impact the movement of goods.

Grocery stores will need to monitor consumer behaviour and report the first signs of craziness. I’m afraid that unrest in the U.S. could result in food rationing, the guarding of supermarkets, and military escort of trucks delivering food across the country.

It will get worse. It’s possible frightened Americans could try to enter the country via the wide-open spaces of the prairies. If that happens, Canada would need help securing its vast border.

Ed Williamson


Kudos to city for keeping sidewalks clear of snow

Sir: Kudos to the city crew for clearing all the sidewalks after the last big snowfall we had.

As an avid walker I really appreciate not having to break trail when I walk. I know I am not alone as I see lots of people out and about walking and running.

During these stressful times being able to walk safely has kept me sane. Keep up the good work!

Carolyn McLean


Are vaccines really the solution?

Sir: In February of 2020, prior to the advent of mRNA vaccines, a Japanese cruise ship named the Diamond Princess suffered an outbreak of COVID-19.

Of the ship’s passengers and crew, 81% showed no signs of contagion, 19% displayed symptoms to a varying degree, and 0.2% died, all over 70 years of age.

This incident proved itself a microcosm of our current situation.

COVID infections continue unabated, despite multiple jabs. Deaths continue at a similar rate and are confined mainly to seniors over 70, who often have co-morbidities.

“Vaccines” promoted under a banner of “life returning to normal” have proven rather ineffectual. Jabbed individuals are still vulnerable to catching and spreading COVID.

Furthermore, life is anything but normal with ongoing multiple restrictions and lockdowns, despite evidence of a continuing low COVID death rate.

Immunity provided by a jab is fleeting – it lasts mere months. Pfizer’s CEO of is now recommending a fourth dose of the same vaccine to provide adequate protection.

Yet these “vaccines” have the worst safety record ever; worse than all other vaccines combined, according to the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS. Multiple jabs increase the chance of associated “vaccine” death or severe adverse reactions.

The CEO of the Indianapolis‑based insurance company OneAmerica highlighted a 40% increase in actuarial deaths of people in the 18 to 64 years age group in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2021. That’s a huge increase and cannot be explained by the comparatively small fraction of COVID fatalities recorded. (A 10% increase is considered a one in 200 year event; a 40% increase is unheard of).

So one is left to wonder if this CEO’s experience is a harbinger of events to come. For whatever reason, elected officials and medical authorities are showing zero interest to investigate.

I do not believe COVID is the problem, and to my mind that leaves only one other culprit.

Brian Wallace


Santa not divine, but still brings joy

Sir: Regarding Rev. Ian Marnoch’s letter of Jan. 13th (“Santa Claus’ abilities were overstated”), in response to my guest column of Dec. 16.

The last paragraph of the column, which raised a red flag, read: “We can still believe in Santa in different ways, for he lives in the hearts of those who strive for peace, love and goodwill, and seeing the magic of Christmas through the eyes of children.”

This was not to be taken literally as looking to Santa as the source (of peace, love and goodwill). No one, least of all Santa, is infinite or divine.

Santa, as a myth, is a symbol of all that is good in the world. The Christmas story of the Savior born as a babe in the manger is truly the source of ‘peace, love and goodwill,’ as the reverend suggests. That doesn’t mean we cannot celebrate ‘the jolly man all dressed in red.’

Seen through the eyes of children, Santa is a fun, positive figure; he brings joy and happiness to all ages. Santa has been around for centuries, and even as an adult, I can’t imagine a Christmas without him.

Nadine Wark


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