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Letters, week of March 10

Well-built SCITS building is the one to keep Sir: I am writing this letter about the proposed closure of SCITS from a number of vantage points. As a downtown resident, I am concerned that the closure of SCITS will be detrimental for Sarnia.
Letters to the editor

Well-built SCITS building is the one to keep

Sir: I am writing this letter about the proposed closure of SCITS from a number of vantage points.

  1. As a downtown resident, I am concerned that the closure of SCITS will be detrimental for Sarnia. On the heels of downtown Sarnia's great revitalization these past few years, the anticipated enhancement vis-a-vis the plans for the Bayside Mall area, and the restoration of Centennial Park this year, closing the high school will nullify the many gains made in efforts to revitalize the core.
  2. SCITS is a beautiful building that should be designated a heritage property.  It is solid, well constructed and was built at a time when buildings were made of superior, highly durable materials, with handcrafted detailing by skilled craftsmen. In comparison, many others constructed in the decades that followed, are not well made, and St. Clair Secondary is numbered in that grouping. As a former educator who taught in the very well built Johnston Memorial School, I knew, and experienced firsthand, the building that was constructed to replace it.
  3. My daughter attended SCITS High School, as did my mother who will be 90 years of age on her next birthday. Notwithstanding the physical heritage of the building, why would the Lambton Kent District School Board members wish to abandon the educational and societal heritage of the community it is elected to serve and to support?
  4. The auditorium and pool have been mentioned many times in the media. I am not sure if the physical upgrades done by the LKDSB in recent years have been discussed.  During the summer months of my daughter’s high school years (2003-2007) the asbestos issue was dealt with, as was the air conditioning needs in some of the wings. Was this money all spent in vain?

In conclusion, I would like to pose the question that my neighbours, friends, and family are asking.  Why would the LKDSB not continue to support a building that has the best chance of standing for another century, as opposed to funding a poorly constructed building that will deteriorate sooner, and not later?

Nancy Forbes-Murray



Budget leaves Petrolia hospital at risk

Sir: I was interested to read Bluewater Health’s Jan. 28 news release about its proposed 2016/17 Operating Plan.

Due to new hospital funding formulas and rising inflationary costs, as well as the provincial government regulations, Bluewater Health’s Board of Directors decided to reduce costs by approximately $5 million, while maintaining quality care and services. This still leaves a deficit of $1.7 million.

The provincial government’s budget announced in February included $345 million in hospital funding (including a 1% increase in base funding). That money, divided among all Ontario hospitals, won’t erase Bluewater Health’s financial woes.

CEO Mike Lapaine and the board have been placed between a rock and a hard place. How do you provide quality patient care, and maintain much needed health care services, when extremely restrictive government funding policies face you?

Mr. Lapaine and the Board decided to submit a $1.7-million deficit budget. This is not legal, and will leave the decision about what to cut to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

I fear the decision has put Petrolia’s Charlotte Eleanor Englehart (CEE) Hospital in great danger. Ontario is systematically cutting small, rural hospitals to the point of closure. Consolidation in larger centres continues, leaving communities with few if any locally provided health care services.

This community relies on CEE. With wait-times in the Sarnia ER being between 10-12 hours, many people drive to Petrolia for Emergency services, and the numbers of visits at the CEE emergency department have risen. These wait-times are likely to increase, due to the bed closures and staff reductions at Bluewater Health.

This is a problem of the provincial government’s making. Ontario spends far less than other provinces on health care, and this must stop. The government must restore hospital funding, and restore locally provided health care services to our communities.

Please contact your MPP, Bob Bailey, the CEO of the Erie St. Clair LHIN, Gary Switzer, the Ontario Minister of Health, Eric Hoskins and the Ontario Premier, Kathleen Wynn and tell them that their plans for restructuring health care, by cutting community hospitals to the bone and by destroying small rural hospitals, is not what you want.

Shirley Roebuck

Chair, Sarnia Lambton Health Coalition


Tax-and-spend Liberals ruining Ontario

Sir: Re: The Ontario budget.

So here we go again. As if taxes in Ontario were not oppressive enough already, especially for us on fixed incomes.

Remember when former Premier Dalton McGuinty came to power and got all bent out of shape when the Conservatives left him with a $3 billion deficit?

Of course he claimed it was more, then said he would not raise taxes one cent. Then immediately went on a taxi-and-spend rampage.

In an act of dictatorship he also went against the wishes of rural Ontario and installed useless wind turbines that do nothing for the environment, spoil our lovely landscape, and add billions to the cost of electricity for Ontario's people.

The McGuinty-McWynne regimes have defrauded the people of Ontario of billions of dollars in the gas plant fiasco, Ornge helicopters, and turbine scandal. Now Premier Kathleen Wynne breaks her word and pledges a carbon tax that will do nil for our environment and raise the cost of everything.

You can do nothing in this province without this regime's long, sticky fingers helping themselves to our money. Every purchase, every transaction, and every meal out, there they are, and still Ontario's debt and deficit rapidly increase.

The McGuinty-McWynne regime has collected more revenue than any government in the history of Ontario and has only deficits and debt to show for it.

Do you know anyone whose life has become better in the last ten years, other that Wynne's, and possible some who are at the trough?

It would be good to fire Wynne but unfortunately there is no mechanism in place for that, so we will have to wait till the next election and then throw her out.

At least then, no matter who gets in, Ontario will have a government again. All we have now with this regime is a mob of tax mongers and spin-doctors.

Bob Thiessen



Could the worst premier end poverty?

Sir: I have been terribly disappointed in the performance of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. She had the opportunity to change direction after her controversial predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, and instead she double-downed on all the same controversial policies.

Yet her most recent budget contained a significant pledge, one that all Ontarians should be proud to support, a pledge to pilot a Minimum Income system for Ontario.

"Mincome" has the potential to eliminate poverty overnight by providing a guaranteed level of income. It has the potential to dramatically reduce health costs, as poverty is one of the best predictors of poor health.

It can free Ontario from the burden of managing hundreds of welfare programs, while freeing Ontarians from proving their worthlessness when making applications to these programs.

It would encourage Ontarians to go back to school or provide home care to their loved ones, rather than clamour for another government program.

And all these benefits are provided in the most efficient manner available, a simple tax tool!

Is it possible that one of Ontario's most hated premiers, Kathleen Wynne, will be the one to end poverty in Ontario?

For the good of the province, let's hope she is.

Christopher Cooke



Moving here was the right decision

Sir: My family is new here in Sarnia. We moved from Toronto mid-November.

There have been countless instances where we have seen greatness in living here.

  1. For example, while moving in we were helped by someone who had helped another family move out of Sarnia.  This young gentleman was from a church group, and after helping them out also offered to help unload our truck.
  2. We have a landlady who is just the best!  Always making sure we are comfortable in our new place.
  3. People we have met at the Bayside Centre downtown have offered help in handing out our flyers to their friends and family without being asked.
  4. Some of our customers have brought us coffee, doughnuts, soup, and even taken us out for dinner and invited us to their home for dinner. Others have given us gifts as token of their appreciation of our service.
  5. Recently my husband unknowingly dropped his wallet in the Mall parking lot outside.  We are ever so grateful to a very kind Sarnian who handed it over to a police officer, who then contacted us to arrange its safe delivery.  All of the contents were still in the wallet.  For this, THANK YOU, and we wish we knew who you are.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you people of Sarnia!  You truly make us feel welcome!

We are most certain and proud that we have chosen the best new home to call our own!

Richard and Melanie Marhue

Red Rhino TV



Church says thank you

Sir: Central United Church would like to thank the community for making our recent quarter auction a huge success.

The generous contributions will allow us to continue supporting 21 different programs in the community.

Thank you from all of us at Central United Church.

Pat Philips

Event Co-ordinator