There’s nothing wrong with sharing the wealth

I found it difficult to understand why Andrew Watts [“Who pays for the largess,” Letters, July 6, p.5] would get bent out of shape with the idea that men and women should be paid a “living wage.”

He believes that those working for a living wage are “relying on taxpayer-funded handouts.” To me, a “handout” is something that hasn’t been earned. Telling a worker who has completed his 40-hour work week, “Here’s your handout,” would likely elicit a response that is unprintable in this newspaper.

As to his question, “Who is to pay for this largess?” I recall Robert Kennedy’s response to the same question half a century ago. He had given a speech to medical students at the University of Indiana, in which he proclaimed that “medical care should be available to all.” One of the privileged students asked, “Who is going to pay for this?” to which Kennedy immediately replied, “You are!”

David Fowler
Wainfleet

 

Frustrated by delays in Lowes sex assault case

This Rick Lowes case is driving me insane. How dare he and his lawyers abuse the court system with 18 delays, heading for how many more?

He’s obviously been charged with three counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual interference with someone under 16. If it had been a frivolous complaint he wouldn’t have been charged. Just because he has money he’s allowed to abuse the system, not unlike a lot of people in the news these days.

But for the lawyers to come up with excuse after excuse and the judge to allow those excuses is reprehensible. Would an ordinary citizen with no money and a court-appointed lawyer be allowed to have 18 delays?

My thinking is that this poor under-16-year-old who complained is going through hell every time another delay happens. Is there nothing that the general public can do? Do we all have to be lawyers so that we can use our schedules as an excuse?

When we were kids and did something wrong, our parents fixed us right away one way or the other. Either way we got our judgment.  It’s time this case moves forward.

J. Vlym
Fonthill

 

Airport Commission actions are unacceptable

I wasn’t going to write any more comments on the airport, until what I heard and saw going on in the last month.

To start with, our Pilot Advisory Committee so gloriously touted by our Niagara Central Dorothy Rungeling Airport Commission was nothing but a means to placate the stakeholders and pilots using the field. When formed under the very capable hands of Adrian Verburg— a stakeholder/hangar owner/pilot—we all felt finally we will been listened to. Were we wrong.

The Airport Commission asked the new committee to submit a response on a number of subjects early last year. The Advisory Committee spent a great deal of time and their own funds to issue a letter to the Airport Commission on several topics. The letter was filed and never responded to until this year. We, as a group of stakeholders, asked what was being done about the information submitted. Their response was that they are up for election this year, and therefore unable to even begin to look at our committee’s suggestions.

We then read in the newspaper that the Commission had secretly submitted a request to the City of Welland for a $600,000 loan over ten years to build a group of hangars. The Commission reported 18 requests for hangar space. The funds were granted to the Commission for a reasonable rate over ten years. Strangely, the Commission had no plans drawn up or even quotes on hand to begin the project. They hadn’t even figured out exactly where to place the hangars.

They did however spend some funds repairing a stone driveway around the backs of hangar row. It still needs proper grading since the T-intersection floods over in any rain. You cannot taxi on the surface for obvious reasons—it is just a stone road. So any funds for a proper taxiway would have to come from the $600,000 received to build the hangars.

The Commission estimated that a reasonable rate to charge for the hangar space would be in the range of $700 to $800 per month. When this was released to the potential renters they disappeared very quickly. The hangar rent at Billy Bishop on Toronto Island is anywhere from $800 to $1,200 per month. Yep, a hefty amount for a single-engine aircraft, but frankly most of them are used by corporations. There are very few single-engine private pilots flying out of Billy Bishop. Naturally being able to fly out of downtown Toronto has numerous advantages to pay such a price. What is the advantage to private pilots flying out of Niagara Central Airport—especially at $700 plus per month? Most rents of hangar space run in the $300 to $400 in the larger metro areas such as Milton, Burlington, et al.

The pilots who wanted to rent hangar space at Niagara Central have since vanished to other airports around the area. Many are driving up to 100 KM to get to their aircraft, and it is still worth their while to do so from a cost standpoint.

Oh, did I mention the years-long effort to build public hangars has now changed into looking at building an industrial site on an unknown location on the field?

Like the hangars, it may be to the southwest side of the property or to the south side of the property behind hangar row. It will require a new road being built to accommodate the sites and the committee has $600,000 to burn before they run for reelection. There is one problem, however. They are totally out to lunch as to how to provide services to the new site, since the septic system seems to be in their way. It has had so many checks on its function that it could apply for medical aid. Apparently it is fine, since it took care of over 350 soldiers and civilians daily on the property during World War II. After numerous tests by numerous airport Commissions over the years, it seems that they are afraid to accept that it is serviceable to use.

So here we go again. The amount of funds wasted on studies at this airport is sinful. Not one suggestion has been properly taken to completion.

Several hangar owners who were retiring from flying and wanting to sell their hangar leases had a major shock when they had buyers all ready to purchase. One of the Commission members stated to a group that the Commission would take control of the owners’ hangars at the end of their leases. The airport essentially would take the hangar, without compensation, from the leaseholder (who probably spent at least $250,000 or more building the hangar).

The choice to the leaseholder was either remove the building and restore the property to level field, or give control and ownership of the hangar to the Commission and rent it back at a rate the Commission sets. This was found in several leases still held today. We all pay rent on the land for the space to the Commission and land taxes to the Town of Pelham. It had to do with a very old system in place after the end of the war, but nonetheless, a stupid comment by a Commission member caused all of us stakeholders and several potential new hangar owners to run to our lawyers for advice. Not one hangar has been sold to a new owner since the comment. Nor does there appear to be any being built in the near future.

If I was a potential industrial owner, building a business on the airport property, I would run from any deal they offered me. When questioned by the stakeholders at a meeting, the Commission member responsible for the comment at first denied, then back-tracked, saying he was misunderstood. The Airport Commission refused to deal with the issue directly. Their excuse was that they are now lame ducks and do not want to make decisions that may have an affect on future Commissions. In other words, pass the buck.

Strange they can look ahead to spend the $600,000 from Welland on a light industrial park without even a drawn plan. (I’m not against the industrial park. Many US airports have light industrial as a means to increase profitability.) There is no real plan yet drawn up or approval of utilities required for such a project. It is obviously going to be a giant mess.

Our Canadian Owners and Pilots group hosted a flight of 43 aircraft and better than 100 folks into our airport. They stayed at the Best Western Motel in Welland overnight then flew on to another destination. They spent money in the area. It was shameful that our Commission chose to raise the price of our fuel just a few days before the event to take advantage of the visiting pilots. There was no reason to increase the cost. They did not require any fuel delivery until after the event. The price was a direct gouge in our visitors pockets. Many of the pilots flew on to their next destination and purchased fuel at a lower rate at the next airport. What could have been a complete success was tarnished by the cheap trick used by the Airport Commission to make money. It blew up in their faces.

I could say more, but frankly it is embarrassing to to think that we taxpayers across this area elect such arrogant and frankly foolish people to our councils. While the Airport Commission does appear to support the airport, they are amateurs at running a business much less running an airport.

Jim Morrison
Welland

 

Oosterhoff’s new job doesn’t please

Oh, brother. How bad can it get in Ontario? Well, since you’ve asked, I can tell you how bad it can get.

First, the good news. Sam Oosterhoff is no longer with the Ministry of Education. Yay! Great news! He didn’t know anything about public school education anyway…

But! And you know there’s always a But! Sammy the ejit has been transferred to…wait for it…wait for it.. the Ministry of Red Tape Reduction. It’s a new ministry in Doug Ford’s new and improved government.

Are you kidding me? And, what the hell is the Ministry of Red Tape Reduction? Huh? Is this for real-real? All you boys at Queen’s Park ain’t joshing us, are ya?

Apparently, it is for real. It is not a Kids in the Hall new comedy sketch—they are back, thank the Lord, they are back, but I digress. Our exalted Grand Poobah of the Ontario clowns who sit at the seat of our provincial government has created a new harebrained ministry that will rid our provincial government of all the red tape. (Look out—Hell will freeze over next.) This idea came up when the clowns were, yee-haw, riding around and around the big circle at Queen’s Park in their clown car honking the clown car horn.

Sadly this is not a joke or a new comedy routine to be performed at the opening of the new legislature on August 8. The Ministry of Red Tape Reduction is an original idea right from inside Ontario’s friendly Bozo the Clown, Premier Doug Ford’s head.

Newly appointed to this ministry, in a government press release Sam said he is aiming at “reducing unnecessary and onerous regulations which hold back productivity and economic opportunities.”

He said, “It will be crucial to listen to, the voices of stakeholders, job creators and workers alike.”

Oosterhoff said he was excited to start work in the Ministry of Red Tape Reduction alongside MPP Parm Gill.

“I am looking forward to working closely with the Minister of Red Tape Reduction to make it easier, faster and cheaper to work, live and play in Ontario. Although I have yet to get completely briefed up on all aspects of this new role, I am thankful that the Premier is giving me this opportunity to help rebuild our economy.”

Miss Pam’s opinion—and remember, friends, I’m just a lonely old housewife—they got the name of the ministry wrong, oh, so, so wrong. The new ministry should be called, The Ministry of the Blind, Leading the Blind.

God help us, because the Devil is surely taking us to a galaxy far, far away.

Pamela Robb
Fonthill

 

COTE’S COMMENTS | Larry Coté

Will guns ever be under control?

Will the recent mass shootings here and abroad bring about any changes to the minds and actions of our political leadership? Some might say that’s a silly question as they believe their politicians are deathly afraid of bringing up the topic in their deliberations. It would appear that in the US, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has the government over a barrel as probably one of the most effective lobbies ever established.

To go against the wishes of the NRA is likely a death knell for any politician or lobby group.

But that scenario is in the US of A and should not preclude Canada from getting a better grip on gun control here.

The number of senseless mass shootings and crimes committed using guns is on the increase in both countries and yet politicians continue to ignore this tragedy for fear of losing their positions in the next election. They should be ashamed that the schools in their electoral districts need have a police presence on their premises and are locked down tighter than Fort Knox. Those shameful conditions will continue to worsen due to their lack of action on the gun control file.

Handguns, as most people know, are primarily designed to kill or maim people. Survey after survey clearly demonstrate that people want stronger gun controls but this evidence continues to be ignored by legislators. There are plenty of anomalies associated with gun control that need be addressed. It is remarkably inane that in some jurisdictions an 18-year-old can’t buy liquor but can purchase a gun.

A vendor at a recent gun show in the US was asked what was involved in getting a license to carry a gun. He said, “Basically they are taught not to shoot themselves in the foot.” At another show, vendors were openly selling guns out of the trunk of their vehicles in the parking lot of the gun show facility.

It is a scary scenario when a pro hockey player’s vehicle is hijacked in a Toronto parking lot. Even scarier is that two of the three highjackers were armed with handguns and the third accomplice with a knife. Even petty criminals in our midst are armed with illegal handguns. Who would think that we in Canada would ever be facing such growing threats in our grand country?

My gun-related proclivities are somewhat inherited. My father and two brothers were in the armed forces during WWII. However, they were never issued weapons other than tools to repair the electronics of war machinery. There were no guns in our household but for one exception that I recall. An older brother bought a hunting rifle as his friends invited him to their hunting camp. At the hunt, he raised his sights on a deer and looked directly into the eye of this beautiful animal. He was absolutely transfixed by the sight of this natural beauty and was unable to pull the trigger. He sold the gun shortly thereafter.

Meanwhile, if you have the opportunity to meet with any elected officials, bring up the topic of improving gun controls in our country. Canada badly needs to avoid the perilous and disastrous situation faced by other jurisdictions.