Rays of sunshine radiate through the ‘darkness’

It seems like it’s time for some good news. Regardless of the things we disagree upon, or the darkness we’re seeing around the world, there are things being done in our community to laud.

Let’s start with the Beaver Freezer Marathon held last weekend at Hiawatha. First, I tip my hat to the person who named the event; it is witty, and racy even (pun intended). Second, what a great way to showcase our region and its amazing trail systems, as participants ski, fat bike, and run as individual competitors or teams. Even better, the proceeds are said to be going back towards trail development, which will only further benefit the area.

Switching gears, on Thursday, Brian Kelly reported in the Sault Star that a man’s sentence was doubled for his catalytic converter thefts. More and more our city is being gnawed at by drug use and the illegal means that people are using to acquire their fixes. Often, we hear of our “catch and release” system, but in this instance, Justice John Condon should be patted on the back for doubling his probation. Sadly, it says that he has a “history of ignoring court orders” and has “breached his release terms,” but it’s a start to stop someone who has plead guilty to close to 20 offences around stealing or attempting to steal catalytic converters from vehicles.

Let’s also throw some praise toward our police officers at the local and provincial level who are making a number of sizeable drug busts lately. I’m always happy to see them seizing more and more of the drugs that, had they made it to the streets, would have made our city a more dangerous place.

City council is asking all levels of government to prioritize the four-laning of Highway 17 north. It would be wonderful if the highway did not have to be closed every time there is a winter accident on the two-lane highway. It’s important that we be as accessible as possible if we want to support our neighbours in Algoma as well as attract new residents. It’s very true that some of the provincial $82 million for transportation improvements should land outside the GTA and Ottawa. Additionally, I’d like to see council push for the most environmentally friendly method of transportation, rail. Let’s get passenger rail back to Ottawa and the GTA, and to points north as well. Investing only in roads is a shortsighted solution, and rail definitely needs to be bolstered.

Speaking of transportation, how wonderful that Sault Transit riders can now track the bus they are waiting on thanks to new GPS technology installed on the buses. This is not unlike when you order an Uber (in any city other than here) and you can see how far away they are from picking you up. Ideally, we’d also see buses wait at a stop if they are running early, like they do in other cities like Ottawa. The real time information should be a real boost for transit riders.

The city is also looking at a potential housing development on the Gateway property. From past attempts, I thought it was an environmental cleanup issue that stopped past projects on the site, but perhaps soil conditions have changed, or the city is willing to foot the clean up bill. To me, this is a better use of city funds instead of the downtown plaza being contemplated. Given the price tag on that project, it really should be an election issue. Developing the Gateway site safely would be a lovely location to live, work, or play. Given the work that the college and university are doing to attract international students in record numbers, we could sure use a lot more residential housing.

From notable outdoor events, to keeping our community safer, to improving transportation, and moving towards more residential housing, amidst all the ‘wrongs’ in the world, we can smile at these local community ‘rights.’

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