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Week of September 12

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Sarnia’s downtown businesses deserve leadership of a BIA

Sir: In my role of promoting tourism in our region, I’ve had countless conversations over many years with business owners in Sarnia’s downtown (and many others) about the need for Business Improvement Associations.

Now that it’s a real possibility I hope the stakeholders will take a very serious look at embracing the opportunity.

Many people have worked tirelessly to improve the downtown and they deserve our thanks (and our patronage) but much, much more can be done, and leadership is essential.

Without a BIA, it’s often a small number of volunteers that carry most of the workload and that can only last for so long.

It won’t be easy, and not everyone will agree on everything, but that’s where a well-chosen BIA manager will help. The right person will make the most of the available marketing dollars but can also seek out additional funding from various sources, including the city, which has the most to gain.

The right person will have the time and mandate to capitalize on the many priceless assets, events and destinations and build around those foundations. The right leader will engage and pull together almost all the stakeholders and lead our city in ways that we can’t yet imagine.

And while no one person will win everyone over, the right person will absolutely love the challenge!

A thriving, vibrant downtown is invaluable to Sarnia and is in all of our best interests. Good luck!

Mark Moran, Publisher

Daytripping in SW Ontario magazine

Bright’s Grove

Local waterfront owners paying for others’ bad decisions

Sir: It is large of the federal government and Ontario, via the local Conservation Authority, to provide around $20 million for disaster mitigation, when the current high water levels were caused by the dereliction of duty of their political appointments to the International Joint Commission (IJC).

The three-member St. Lawrence Committee decided years ago NOT to draw down Lake Ontario water levels for fear of flooding out Justin Trudeau’s Montreal.

OPG (Ontario Hydro) couldn’t open the gates of the Niagara River Control Dam and flood out their political masters in Toronto either. So we, in the Erie/Huron/Michigan area, get the disaster of record high water.

Our waterfront property owners get to pick up the bulk of the cost. Many docks on the St. Clair River, which had to be replaced during the high water event of 1984, are going to have to be replaced again. They were built for that record-breaking event and are now within a couple inches of ‘normal’ water levels in this new record-breaker.

They won’t be destroyed by ice floes going down the river, but by ice that forms under them being lifted when the water level rises. That lifting will tear the screws through the deck boards and sent them on their way to Walpole Island.

Sustained south winds blow Lake Huron waters up toward Sault Ste. Marie, whereas north winds push the water down to Sarnia. The rise and fall of the river can be almost two feet.

The smart dock owners on Stag Island, where around nine out of ten docks are in danger, are going to remove their decking before freeze-up.

Maybe waterfront property owners should get some of that $20 million in return for our sky-high property taxes.

Cam Lewis 




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