Vote Dick Carpani for Mayor
  Sarnia Ontario Canada

City council fails to do its job

At it approaches the end of the three-year term, the current version of Sarnia city council seems to have lost its nerve.

Perhaps councillors are wary of offending voters with controversial decisions just before the November election. Maybe they're just tired.

Whatever the case, issues of various importance are being tabled, deferred and otherwise postponed at meetings with frustrating regularity.

The most recent example is the lawn pesticide debate.

Last month, after years of meetings and discussions, council said it still didn't have enough information and decided not to act on a bylaw to restrict the use of cosmetic lawn pesticides.

Instead of putting it to a vote, it approved a "public education campaign," which satisfied no one and gave environmentalists and the, lawn care companies more time to redouble their lobby efforts.

That dodge came back to bite council this week when staff said an education campaign would require up to $100,000 and a qualified staff person.

Hiring someone to tell us about the risks and benefits of lawn spraying is not a good idea politically.

So council again dumped it back on city hall staff, instructing them to assemble a "community-based" group to design the education program.

The previous group was so riven with factionalism it couldn't function, so finding third-party volunteers with knowledge of pesticides and no prior bias will be next to impossible.

Council was elected to serve a full three-year term, not two and a half. By failing to exercise leadership and hold a vote on a pesticide bylaw, they allowed this issue to fester unnecessarily.

If councillors can't stand up and be counted, voters might just do it for them in November.

Editorial The Observer 2006 07 19


Date This Page Was Last Up-Dated:  September 02, 2006