Poisoned pen

Ken Perry

Dear editor:
In reply to the “From the Publisher’s [Poison] Pen” (Nov. 23):
The free world, as we know it, is in a state of financial reorganization. Simply put, we have outgrown our ability to collect the monies needed to sustain ourselves in the fashion that we are accustomed to.
So something has to give!
I will not speak for the rest of town council or for the mayor, even though I have a sense of how they feel about sidewalks. As for me, I am not campaigning to remove the sidewalks from the streets and roads in Fort Frances, as the “Publisher’s Pen” author would have you believe.
As he knows better, he is a member of the Economic Development Advisory Committee, as I am. He is a very informed member of the public and he constantly asks the right questions.
Where he got his hair-balled idea that we are seeking to eliminate the sidewalks stems from one isolated case of a sidewalk that is in such deplorable and unsafe condition that it needs to be removed.
At the same executive meeting that we decided on this course of action, we also directed the powers that are to repair the sidewalk on the west side of that same street so that the residents could enjoy and safely have a decent walkway to and from their homes.
First and foremost, we all are concerned about safety in our town. Council has discussed the need to have a sidewalk on every street in both residential and commercial property locals.
We have many neighbourhoods in town that have no sidewalks at all, and a main sidewalk that forces one to hopscotch their way across the busy highway several times when navigating from one end of town to the other.
These issues need to be addressed. But at the present time, we do not have the financial resources to fix this oversight.
The sidewalk issues that we have dealt with in the recent past were not considered frivolously, but it leaves us with too few resources to maintain what we have.
Sidewalk repairs and minimum government standards tax our system to the breaking point on a yearly basis. Winter maintenance is another story.
Many towns and cities in Canada address snow removal differently than we do. If a sidewalk passes by your property, you, the property owner, are responsible for removing the snow. If you do not, the bylaw people cite you with a ticket and then the town clears the snow and sends you the bill.
If we employed this system, the town would save thousands of dollars on a yearly basis and we would need only one piece of equipment to attend to the task.
And the fines would help cover the wages of the bylaw personnel who would be kept busier enforcing another rule.
As conditions dictate and dollars allow, it is my wish that every street in our town, and every resident in all areas of town, will have a sidewalk to navigate safely through neighbourhoods that currently have no sidewalks, and can still enjoy the existing walkways that we will be able to continue to afford.
Perhaps the author of the “Publisher’s Pen” would have a different take on this topic if he lived in an area of Fort Frances that has no sidewalks, instead of where he and his family reside and he enjoys four choices of concrete paths on two streets adjacent to his home.
As I previously stated, things have to change. If not, we will not be able to afford the luxuries and necessities that we currently enjoy.
Ken Perry
(A concerned citizen)
Fort Frances, Ont.