Week of May 11

Coun. Scholten-Holt needs to earn the respect of voters

Sir: Re: The May 4 letter from Coun. Cindy Scholten-Holt, “Councillor says she’s tired of Boushy’s ‘constant disrespect.’

I am a very outspoken and in-your-face person. I say what I think and know. I have bitten my tongue and kept quiet long enough. This will be abrupt and to the point.

Coun. Scholten-Holt needs to quit whingeing. She needs to do her job, which is to take care of Sarnia.

That had been done quite nicely by our Mayor Mike and Coun. Boushy, whose hearts and minds have been truly for Sarnia, and had done so for many years without duress and unforeseen problem – until this past year.

The councillor should quit making a ‘big deal’ and a ‘new regime.’ She speaks of the old era and the new era. It seems to many of us that the new era is all about themselves, and costly.

She needs to leave the office alone and do her changes and cleaning at home.

Remember, the door will be open next election to swing both ways – it could hit her on the way out.

She should be glad she has a good job, get up with a smile and go to work and do the job she was hired and elected to do, which is take care of Sarnia.

If she uses her efforts on that, she may be able to gain the respect back.

The past is the past. Quit making a big deal out of everything.

She is making a lot of people disrespect her by the way she is carrying on.

As they say in the military, shape up or ship out.

Nancy Wilson

Sarnia

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Mayor’s bullying of staff is what’s costing taxpayers

Sir: In his April 27th letter, Coun. Dave Boushy states that a “tremendous burden” was placed on taxpayers by the additional costs council incurred punishing Mayor Mike Bradley.

But the direct reason this burden was put on our citizens was the bullying of personnel at City Hall by the mayor.

The indirect reason is that it was condoned for years by some councillors, which makes them, in my opinion, as guilty as the mayor.

A.T. Huizinga

Sarnia

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It’s not Coun. Boushy who shows disrespect on council

Sir: When this Sarnia Council was elected I thought it was good to see some new faces, including a young, attractive councillor like Cindy Scholten.

But after watching council meetings on TV and being present at some meetings, I have found it is Coun. Scholten who is disrespectful.

In a May 4letter to The Journal, she used the Code of Conduct to attack Coun. Dave Boushy instead of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, which is a government document read and respected by the public. She should read both and get to know the difference.

Amendments to the Code of Conduct have been attacked by local columnists (George Mathewson, Dec. 10, ‘Targeting free speech won’t solve City Hall’s problems,” and Dan McCaffrey, Dec. 12,  ‘Worst council in history.’)

That is what I’ve been saying to myself. If anyone is showing disrespect on council, you need only look around to see it’s not Dave Boushy. I have never seen a council act like this one.

I have known David for over 60 years and have never seen him show disrespect to anyone. He respects the mayor and the councillors, even when he disagrees with them.

What he hates is the tremendous burden that’s been placed on citizens by the extra cost of punishing the mayor and restricting him from doing his work. There is no excuse for adding walls, stripping him of his keys to his office and other conflicts at City Hall.

I feel, as I believe most of the public does, that this council, which includes Cindy Scholten, is a disgrace to Sarnia.

And by the way, a deputy mayor is elected by the people, not council.  The public did not vote Coun. Anne Marie Gillis into office when she ran for mayor or for MPP, so why would they agree to council selecting her now?  Let her run in the next election.

It is time city council started working together for the betterment of Sarnia. Sincerely,

Merial Loosemore,

Point Edward

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Artwalk co-founder sets the record straight on debt

Sir: The new president and coordinator of Artwalk has successfully requested money from Sarnia City Council, explaining that the organization was left with a debt situation that hinders the future success of the event.

When asked, he declined to specify how much debt.

During his presentation to council, it seemed like the organization needed to be rescued or bailed out to continue the event, and that his goal is to make Artwalk financially sustainable.

Artwalk has, in fact, been self sufficient for years. It has lasted so long, and continues to grow each year, because it has been organized as a true community showcase.

The new organizer has been handed a hugely successful social enterprise, a long-standing, well-established festival with strong community partnerships, participation and pride. It was a turnkey operation.

I am a co-founder of Artwalk and First Friday, and have worked tirelessly, with so many amazing people, at nurturing this baby for 14 years. I stepped down last summer for health reasons (doing too much), to spend more time with my family and to grow another local social enterprise I am working on.

I have been fielding phone calls asking about this debt, and I fear that my own endeavours may be negatively affected because of the misleading comments appearing in local media. I want to protect my reputation and I feel it is my duty to also protect the legacy of Artwalk.

It upsets me that the new organizer appears to blame last year’s team for his current financial situation.

I would like the new organizer of Artwalk to set the record straight and to commit to continuing the legacy of Artwalk, which includes a multicultural stage, children’s village, environment village, street performers, demonstrating artists and lots of the amazing local entertainment that Sarnia-Lambton boasts.

Artwalk has been an awesome community builder, revitalization effort and local celebration. I want to see it continue to enhance our cultural community well into the future.

Shawn McKnight

Artwalk: Co-founder, Past President, Past Coordinator

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Common sense needed on sidewalk cycling problem

Sir: Regarding the sidewalk cycling ban, it would seem common sense would dictate for most cyclists to avoid main thoroughfares at all times, and go the back ways.

At times, that is unavoidable and one should think the police officer at the scene would be able to recognize that.

One of the most enjoyable areas in Sarnia and Point Edward is under the Blue Water Bridge. A lot of citizens walk the stretch of sidewalk from the casino to the water plant. It is amazing to me that cyclists and in-line skaters are allowed to whiz by pedestrians on the walkway, with no warning as they pass.

I have yet to hear a bell ring or a horn honk, or even a person call out, ‘Coming through.”

Often, I swear Lance Armstrong just flashed past. I am surprised that no one has been hurt there yet, but am sure it will a happen.

My other concern is city council’s tree bylaw. I think that it should be carried a step further. If there is a huge, monstrous tree in your yard with rotten spots where branches were cut, and your branches hang over your neighbour’s property, the city should be able to tell you what you can and can’t do on your property.

If that tree breaks apart in a windstorm, what right do you have taking out the hydro, cable TV and phone lines in your neighbourhood?

It’s not likely that you would be willing to make restitution to your neighbours.

Cloey Goetz

Sarnia

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Help our cash-strapped city and scrap Sarnia Transit

Sir: Regarding the April 27 article on the lack of funds to repair and reopen Jackson Pool.

It seems like the city is always looking for $100,000 for some relatively small project such as this. I think I know where to find the money.

Sarnia Transit is a $6.3-million line item on the City of Sarnia budget. Five percent of the budget. Of this amount, $3.9 million comes from your property tax.

Therefore approximately 62% of transit operations are subsidized by property taxes. I believe strongly in subsidizing a used public service. This not one of them. Except for the College route, I believe ridership is extremely limited.

I have asked the mayor and council several times to look at the privatization of this service. Sell routes based on ridership/revenues.

No response.

To my mind, most of the routes run too frequently with too-large vehicles spewing half-burned diesel fumes.

According to the city website, www.sarnia.ca, the transit budget amounts are similar to Parks and Recreation and similar to Works (road repair). We are not and never will be a transit community.

Some forward-thinking Canadian cities of our size are dropping subsidized transit in favour of Uber.

Heck, subsidize Uber and/or taxi rides for those with an economic need, just as is done presently with Transit passes. Please encourage the mayor and council to spend budget dollars responsibly.

We need $163,000 for Jackson Pool and are spending $6.3 million driving MT buses around the city.

You may not agree. That’s fine. Everyone has the right.

Mike Lester

Sarnia 

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No to Internet voting, yes to repairing pool and roads

Sir: I read in The Journal that city council has decided to go with electronic voting. This should be left up to the public to decide, not the council!

Some people don’t have a computer and many more people are not computer savvy. The council can control who votes and who doesn’t by blocking who votes and who doesn’t.

Council has already proved that by blocking me from sending

email to Mayor Bradley.

Another thing is the Jackson Pool. It should be repaired without question. If the city council can throw millions of dollars at docking and redesigning Centennial Park for tourists, then they can repair the pool and repair the streets (they are a mess).

Also, don’t sell of off parkland that the people of Sarnia already own, just because some wealthy person wants cheap land they can steal from the people.

I expect to hear from Mr. Bradley, because he always replies.

Donald Sweet

Sarnia

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A thank you to all the people who have helped me

Sir: This is a note of thanks to everyone who has helped me over the years of living in Sarnia.

I give my deepest and sincere gratitude for receiving their kindness, generosity, hospitality, compassion, forgiveness, trust and so much more.

Only because I have received can I give. And a special blessing to my family.

Bless you.

Jennifer Tynan

Sarnia 

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Sarnia has lost a plastic surgeon who will be missed

Sir: Doctors and nurses have taken a pounding from our Liberal government over the past three or four years.

At the same time, the public has sometimes been less than charitable toward our overworked medical professionals.

In spite of all this, we have some exceptional men and women looking after our well being here in Sarnia, including my family physician, Dr. Sveta Suryavanchi.

This note is about another doctor, Dr. Anil Duggal, who has left Sarnia and now has a position at a U.S. university where his skills will be utilized.

Some specialists have terrible “bedside manners” and alienate their patients. Dr. Duggal doesn’t work that way.

His staff have been a joy to talk with. A few months ago I found multiple growths on my head. The doctor removed them all and they have healed without scarring.

Now, this approachable plastic surgeon has left Sarnia, with big shoes to fill when another is found. Here’s the clincher.

Last week he called me because I had “been on his mind.” He asked me how I was doing, then we chatted about his move and new responsibilities. I hung up after our conversation and realized how much that call meant to me, and my well-being.

The people he is now taking care of will be blessed and encouraged by Anil Duggal.

Don Ballantyne

Sarnia

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Making Remembrance Day a stat holiday good for all

Sir: Re: April 20th letter ‘Students learn about Remembrance Day best at school.’

Wilma McNeill appreciates all the support she has received for her cause and we will continue to fight to re-instate Nov. 11 as a statutory holiday however long it takes.

Many people in Quebec and Ontario do not have the privilege of attending a ceremony of their choice.

Children do not need to be in school on Nov. 11, they have the whole school year to learn about the part Canada played in the First and Second World Wars.

They would gain more knowledge about the meaning of Remembrance Day by attending a ceremony with their families and meeting the veterans.

It appears Dick Steenstra does not realize that on a statutory holiday most places are closed — federal and provincial government, municipal offices, libraries, work places, stores, etc. I don’t think anyone would find many malls open for youths to visit.

Remembrance Day should be the most solemn day of the year for all in Canada.

It has been said that a nation that does not remember their dead will soon cease to be worth dying for.

Respectfully,

Kathleen Hayes

Sarnia