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Week of January 28

We can’t trust leaders who say one thing and do another Sir: Like many other people I am greatly concerned about the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Sarnia-Lambton, Ontario and across Canada.
Letters to the editor

We can’t trust leaders who say one thing and do another

Sir: Like many other people I am greatly concerned about the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Sarnia-Lambton, Ontario and across Canada.

Laying aside those persons who believe it is all a conspiracy, and those who believe the Charter of Rights and Freedom gives them a right to do as they please, why do people of common sense and intelligence continue to ignore practices put into place to lessen the spread of this deadly disease?

Many innocent people have contacted this disease through no fault of their own, but there are many more who, without thought, have contributed to its spread.

My dad was a WW11 Veteran who met my mom while stationed in England. They told us many times about the fear of nightly bombing and of invasion and having to give up certain liberties for the common good.

They told us people were united against a common enemy, and of their leader, Winston Churchill, walking among them and encouraging them to be strong and united.

To be an effective leader one must have the trust of the followers. People will not willingly follow a leader in which there is little trust or integrity.

Since COVID reared its ugly head and came knocking at our doors, we have received conflicting information from our leaders is such matters as wearing masks, and not travelling at the same time thousands of people flew into Canada, some with symptoms.

Recently, we read how politicians and others leaders in their respective fields left the country for Christmas holidays while we were advised to stay home and not travel, even to see our loved ones.

If we are going to defeat this enemy then we need leaders who we can trust in, not those who say, “Don't do as I do, but do as I say.”

Phil Nelson


Developer responds to letter about Venetian Boulevard woodlot

Sir: Regarding the Jan. 14 letter, "Saddened to see another woodlot targeted." As the developer mentioned, I would like to respond.

After reading Debbie DeBrita’s comments regarding the "woodlot targeted" I do see her point. However, to build in Ontario, I don't think people realize what is required to ensure the environment is safeguarded.

First, it's almost impossible to find land that has already been razed.

Before any development can proceed, Ontario requires comprehensive studies be done. Main ones include traffic, archaeological, trees, species at risk, noise, water/flood, along with zoning requirements.

This is a very expensive process and takes at least two years.

Taking the trees first, per the report, this is mainly a scrub area and the trees will be replaced with trees more natural and sustainable to the area.

The species at risk report shows the area has about 8-12 Butler’s garter snakes that visit to feed and sun. The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks is very strict is how and where these snakes are moved.

The new area must be larger and more beneficial, and a two-year plan developed to ensure the continued development/growth of the species, overseen by the ministry.

Archaeologically speaking, most of Point Edward requires a Phase 3 or 4 study be done to preserve any artifacts that would have never been see again without development.

Both the species at risk and archaeological work cost over $100,000 each.

Point Edward needs the growth, and not every developer thinks of the almighty dollar before the environment. Speaking personally, I want this area to benefit Point Edward and the local community in every way.

We are extremely lucky to live in an area where, steps from your home, you can boat, golf, walk/run and visit either downtown Sarnia or the Village of Point Edward. I guess I am an optimist and like progress while respecting other viewpoints.

Please stay safe.

Alan Merrington


Why is the widening of Highway 40 taking so long?

Sir: I am very concerned there is so little talk about widening Highway 40 from Wellington Street south to Indian Road.

From 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily it’s a miracle there isn’t a disaster on this road.

It has a dangerous mixture of traffic, including transport trucks and tanker trucks carrying all kinds of chemicals and gasoline, and a bunch of drivers who take chances.

I have seen drivers, too impatient to wait for a truck to regain speed from a red light, pass that truck and duck back in front of a transport just feet from oncoming traffic.

The last I heard from Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey, an environmental study was underway.

If one of these chemical trucks explodes a real environmental study will be needed.

I urge everyone to call Bob Bailey's office and ask that this road widening get started ASAP before we have a real disaster.

Ken Moore


It’s time for Sarnia to address the problem of vacant properties

Sir: I have lived on a beautiful block of Devine Street for three years, and I love my neighbours.

The only thing I'd change, if I could, is fix the fact that three out of the 12 homes on our block are vacant. Think about that: 25% of the homes on my block have been vacant for three years.

It makes you wonder how many properties are sitting empty across the city – and during a housing crisis.

We can do better. And we need to hold vacant property owners accountable.

There are steps the city could take to address this problem:

1 - Enforce a vacant properties registration

2 - Tax empty properties, e.g. 1% of the MPAC value annually

3 - Increase fees for consecutive building permits without city inspection/progress

These strategies have been employed in other cities, including Vancouver and Hamilton.

I'm confident that if Sarnia created a vacant property registry website the community would provide the labour to gather data. Just look at the vigilance of neighbours during this pandemic.

Our city is everybody's responsibility, and there are creative ways to address this problem. Everything is interconnected and empty properties are an important piece of the puzzle.

I hope our leaders will consider taking action.

Joshua Walters


Young, unlicensed drivers caught in pandemic bind

Sir: Why are our teenagers, yet again, forced to carry the burden of this lockdown?

My husband and I paid  $800 for our granddaughter to take driving lessons in September 2020. She lives in a rural community with no public transport and wants to find a job, but with no transportation that is impossible.

She applied to take her driving test last September, but the earliest booking date was February 2021. We were told the wait was because of people from out of town coming to Sarnia to take driving tests.

Then her test date in February was cancelled by the COVID-19 lockdown.

We have been advised that when things reopen she will have to apply for a new driving test date, but online, and on a first-come first-serve basis.

How is that going to work?

How are teenagers supposed to get jobs if they can’t drive? Why can't Ontario do what the U.K. does, with approved driving schools testing their own pupils? It would help with the tremendous backlog of tests.

When my granddaughter can get a massage five times a week yet can't take a driver’s test, there is something definitely wrong with the system!

Shirley Ross


Mother shared memories of Spanish flu pandemic

Sir: The current pandemic is often compared to the Spanish flu of 1918. I myself do so.

I don’t presume to be an expert and I’m sure many more know more than I, but when I share the stories my mother told of her memories as a child growing up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, people seem stunned.

So I’ll tell you what she told me.

The death rate was so high at the time there were several funerals a day. Many times each day the hearse, a black carriage drawn by black horses, travelled to the cemetery.

Each body needed to be carried from the hearse to the undertakers, and none of those given the job wanted to carry the head end.

Businesses were closed, not by regulation, but out of fear.

Churches closed too, and there were those who opposed that, condemning the clergy and the elders.

As many know, more people were killed by the flu during that pandemic at the end of the First World War than by all the fighting in Europe.

My gratitude goes out to those who are issuing and obeying the regulations today.

If we didn’t listen, there would be thousands more deaths.

Virginia Anderson


Community support for Humane Society appreciated

Sir: I cannot believe how generous our Sarnia community is when donating to a cause close to our hearts - in this case, the Humane Society.

I want to give a shout-out to a pair of seniors who keep busy by helping. Margaret Dee, 87, is an avid knitter who knits small pillows and Alida Peirone, 93, fills them with donated catnip and their daughters and girlfriends help sew them up. Thank you ladies!

A big thank you also to the many businesses that sell them - with all proceeds to the Humane Society.

During this difficult time it means so much for the animal shelter to continue to receive funding.

Thank you Sarnia for your support - it's truly amazing.

Finally, any donations of yarn to keep these ladies busy are most welcome at the Humane Society.

Laura Matthias


A belated ‘thank you’ to that man in the mask

Sir: I was at a gas station in October standing in line. A man and I, both with masks, were waiting to pay.

He said something, and I assumed he was asking who was next in line. I have a hearing problem - more so with masks - and unfortunately didn’t get him to repeat it.

When I went to pay, the clerk told me the man had already paid for my gas.

I would like to thank this generous person, who must have thought I acted ungratefully.

I’m hoping that he, or people he knows, will read this and accept my thanks, many times over.

Carol DeLong


A question materializes out of thin air

Sir: If we’re not allowed to ask meaningful questions how can we expect to find the truth?

Thus I ask, with full sincerity, if a pair of jeans can’t stop flatulence from escaping, how can a mask stop a virus?

Please print this letter. I admit there is some lighthearted humor in the question, but when I ask it I genuinely want to know.

Nick Wallace


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