City of Sarnia and Point Edward staff have coordinated efforts to ensure that public washrooms in local parks and public spaces will remain closed for several more weeks. A joint project was initiated last year to study park and washroom usage patterns, which officials say will help them in budgeting maintenance for the next couple of years.
While citizens continue to bolt from parking lot to parking lot, wiggling locked washroom door handles and blanketing public spaces with curse words, personal anxiety and urine driblets, staffers are betting on their data.
“The last thing we want to do is open the restrooms for public use when people are actually using these public spaces,” explained Roger Locke of the Sarnia Parks and Recreation Department.
“We’re looking to open them all right at that sweet spot when people give up checking to see if they are open or not, which will hopefully be a couple days before we can close them for the cold months again.”
The push for a ban on smoking at city parks in Sarnia has been renewed but not all are pleased with the idea.
“You socialists just want to take away our God-given rights and control everything we do,” said Sharon Hughes of Sarnia who has been smoking for the last 20 years.
“Everyone is so entitled these days, everyone is blabbing on about their rights. What about our rights? People died for us so we can have our freedom and now smoker’s rights are being trampled on and we’re not going to take it anymore, ” said Hughes.
“You do what you enjoy doing, and I’ll do what I enjoy doing… which just happens to include blowing du Maurier smoke into the faces of tiny tee-ball player’s faces and listening to their tiny staccato coughs.”
The ban was previously defeated by city council, but would prohibit smoking within 9 metres of municipal parks and play spaces, allowing families to enjoy a few more smoke-free areas around town.
Sarnia-Lambton’s medical officer of health Dr. Sudit Ranade calls tobacco use the “greatest preventable cause of death in Ontario and in Canada.” He says he will keep working on strategies to lessen the impact smoking has on health in municipalities in the area.
Sarnia resident Tom Hughes, Sharon’s ex-husband and friend, is not convinced.
“They keep complaining about us smoking but forgetting that there’s other pollution in the air as well. I can smoke 18 packs a day if I want to but it doesn’t do any harm because we’re already breathing chemicals anyway. Is everyone stupid or something?”