Sarnia Citizen and Council Question & Answer Series 

View citizen driven question and answer segments with Sarnia City Council 

Citizens' Questions - Full List

This list contains every question ever exchanged between elected officials and a citizen through the Vocalize Sarnia Q and A project. Questions are broken down by date and segment. The question number indicates the order of which the questions were submitted over time (i.e. 1 = first question submitted, 2 = second question submitted, and so on). 

*Please note: the questions represent the opinion(s) of the individual contributor and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Vocalize Sarnia. 

Segment 9 (May 2018)

1.Do you support the idea of City Hall moving into SCITS? Why or why not?
 

2.With growing concerns of falling populations, has the vacant position of Director of Economic Development and Corporate Management and Corporate Assistance been filled? These jobs would lend focus to actively pursue a course to rectify deficiency in our structure and develop a plan to meet this dilemma.
 

3. Sarnia seems to have an ever mounting of empty buildings, schools, and commercial spaces yet expands permits for new buildings –What can be done to get these buildings paying full taxes and vibrant again?  
 

4. What are legislative and jurisdictional scans?
 

5. Are you satisfied with the amount of public input that was received regarding Telephone and eVoting, and do you think the methods used for gathering public input were fair and reasonable?
 

6. There have been concern with the growing amount of drug houses in Sarnia, specifically those on Davis.  Is there any recommendations you have for citizens and their role in this societal problem, and what is the protocol surrounding finding used needles?
 

7. What is the City’s role (i.e. scope of responsibility, jurisdiction, and relating bylaws) surrounding the growing drug epidemic in Sarnia?

Segment 8 (January 2018)

1. Why on vidal street overpass was the bridge reduced to one lane for construction and had speed fine doubled signs for atleast 3 months, but no workers were ever seen repairing the road? Suddenly barricades were removed with no visible work done: how much cost to taxpayers was that? 
 

2. From vidal street all the way down to Lasalle line is one of the worst roads I've ever seen. It is also a danger to motorcycles. The plants and citizens pay large amounts of taxes. Why isn’t this road up to code?
 

3. How many major construction jobs have Bre-Ex or Golder done concerning working under water? (boat launch)
 

4. Who on city council is planning on seeking re-election?
 

5. Why does it take so long for the snow plows to go down the back streets? 
 

6. Why are we hiring outside council for the overdredging? Is there a reason why the 2 in-house lawyers are not able to take on the task?

7. While we don't often think of left wing or right wing in municipal politics, knowledge of a civic leader's wider political views can still give us insight into the people we vote for and, in turn, how they may vote on a local issue.  Where do you think most of your ideas and beliefs fit in the political spectrum: conservative, liberal, or more centrist?
 

8. Where can I find a list of everything the city funds?
 

9. In Cathy Dobson’s recent report, Mayor Bradley is quoted as saying “I’ve sought and offered other solutions in the past” – unfortunately there was no follow up question.  What solutions were proposed and how were they greeted by staff and council?
 

10. Whether we like it or not, e-voting will be the way Sarnia votes next year.  There is still much confusion as to how, when, where, what, etc.  Can you please provide insight into how the city plans to roll out training the masses and when they plan to do this?

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Segment 7 (November 2017)

1. Could you share your opinion on getting rid of the paper ballot and moving to only telephone and eVoting for the next municipal election, and explain the process of how this decision came to be?
 

2. Global News completed a 2 year long inquiry into what they are calling Canada's "Toxic secret" - could you please comment your opinion on the story, how Sarnia was portrayed, and your thoughts on the industry: are you satisfied, dissatisfied, or both, and why?
 

3. We are in our final year of this municipal term. What are some topics and/or questions you feel citizens should be considering as we near the end of this final term?

Segment 6 (September 2017)

1. Looking back on this past term, is there anything that you would do differently?

2. Does City Hall have insurance on vandalism for parks (all parks including Centennial) and how much? How does that work?
 

3. What was the TOTAL cost to taxpayers for everything related to the mayor violating the code of conduct in the workplace: legal counsel, renovations, financial settlements, integrity commissioner reports?
 

4. Did the 4 women who left city hall (re: Mayor Bradley investigations) receive financial compensation? How much total?
 

5. Do you feel information regarding local governance is delivered to the public in a clear, accessible, easy to understand format?
 

6. Why is police and fire always over budget?
 

7. It was stated in many news outlets that the boat ramp part of the project is stalled, as they are waiting on plans from contractors. Why is there no plan, and why are people saying there are no issues? What is the estimated total cost to finish the boat ramp (as of TODAY, how much more will it cost to have a functioning boat ramp back), and when is it expected to be finished?
 

8. I have read online that our City Manager sued the city and continues to work for it. Is this true?


9. Do you think it is time to investigate other locations for a possible new boat launch? Why or why not?


10. One of the cities priorities is economic innovation. Tell me how you hope to achieve new business, or what other ideas you have to meet this goal?


11. One year left of this council’s term. What do you hope to achieve in your last year?


12. In a recent Sarnia Observer article it is stated that this council will not be able to work together. What are your thoughts on this? How do you feel you can rectify this image?


13. Transparency has been called into question with regards to this council and senior administration. Why do you think citizens of Sarnia are not trusting the information coming from city hall?


14. In a short summary can you outline costs of centennial park from the original concept in 2012 to present: what has been spent and for what purposes (laymens terms), what else needs to be done (laymens terms) and what the total remaining cost will be with an approximate time frame when EVERYTHING regarding Centennial will be officially complete?


15. Jackson Pool’s future will be considered as a part of the current parks and recreation master plan. Currently a group is trying to save this pool with a petition being circulated. Knowing what happened with a group trying to save the former kinsmen centre, that petition and the majority of council ignoring their plea, do you feel this is a waste of time for the save Jackson Pool organizers?


16. Will the parking lots at Centennial be redone? If yes, is this included in the approved budget?


17. Part One: Where does the mayor and council see the city of Sarnia headed in five years time? Part Two: How are they looking to bring people, businesses and institutions to their city?


18. With the next municipal election fast approaching, there has recently been some comments by politicians and commentators about the balance of power between unelected administrators and their elected council counterparts and the effect of this balance on democracy. As a member of council, do you think that our city hall administrators typically overstep their statutory authority? Do you feel that they are now less accountable to council than was typically the case in the past?


19. What is your vision for Sarnia's future? Pretend it's 2037: What do you see?


20. Councillor Mitro stated on Facebook that for the dredging of the harbour, the contractor did twice as much as the contract asked for. Did we get a 2 for 1 deal or did this cost more? Who oversaw this: who OK’s them to go over the contract, and was this dredging a part of: the boat ramp piece of the contract, a separate part of the project, or an overall added expense to the park?


21. Part One: A lot of people are calling for the CAO to be fired. Who has the power to fire her? Part Two: I heard she is suing the city a second time. Did she already sue the city once while continuing to work for it, and is it true she is suing a second time? Will we ever get to find out what the law suit cost our tax payers?


22. Who is actually overseeing the Centennial Park Project? Is it multiple people overseeing different parts of the project? Who makes sure the work is being done correctly, to spec, and on time and budget?

Segment 5 (March 2017)

Note: For Segment 5, the roles were reversed: the following list represents questions created by councillors directed to the citizens of Sarnia

1. Vocalize Sarnia is the most positive development on Sarnia political scene in the last couple of years. It is engaging the public in a balanced and fair fashion and will assist the community move forward from the lows and tensions of the last couple of years. Why don't you approach former municipal leaders in a similar way you engaged current Council members. There is a wealth of knowledge and understanding among this select group of individuals who could be helpful to assist progress of our community. The former Mayors and Councillors still alive include Andy Brandt, Ron Gordon, Jim Mason, Al Brogden, Caroline DiCocco, June Lasenby, Don Poore, Elizabeth Wood , A. Khan, Dave Brown, Rod Brown, Elizabeth Wood, Terry Burrell, John Vollmar, Jon McEachran, Jim Foubister.


2. Sarnia right now has a very negative image around the world following the infamous demonstration in front of City Hall. Some call it Hate City. Others uncivilized society. What would you do to counter that perception with positive images of the community?


3. Are you in favour of internet voting in municipal elections? Some say that the world can be divided into those who have been hacked and those who don't know that they have been hacked. Is there a possibility that the integrity of the democratic process would be compromised by allowing internet voting?
 

4. Do you have any suggestions to current Council members to improve their performance?
 

5. What is your preferred channel of communication with your elected representatives?
 

6. Do you think individual Councillors should expense time responding to fabricated fake news and accusations in the media and on social platforms?
 

7. Do you support any measures restricting freedom of speech by your elected representatives?
 

8. What qualities in your elected representatives do you value the most?
 

9. Do you have any constructive ideas to increase voter turn out in municipal elections?
 

10. Which level of political representation are you satisfied with the most? Federal? Provincial? Municipal?
 

11. Over my 20 years on council, I have found that many folks who call me with concerns have those concerns because of a lack of information. Once I point them to the information, I find that in 99% percent of cases, folks then understand. They might not necessarily agree, but they understand. There is a notable exception: In the matter of the workplace investigation regarding the mayor, I have heard from many who have not bothered to read any of the materials on the sarnia.ca website. (The 2 investigation reports, etc.) They are asking for information from me that already exists in much more detail, on the website. In these conversations with folks, I politely point them to the site, ask them to become informed regarding the content, and then get back to me if they still have questions. Not one person, having read the materials, has called back. At least, I am assuming they went ahead and did their research. So, here’s my question…is it fair for me to have an expectation that citizens make a point to become informed (on their own initiative) about serious issues that affect the community as a “first step” toward understanding, when it comes to complex issues such as the workplace investigation?

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Segment 4 (March 2017)

*Note: Roles were reversed for this segment: the questions below were composed by City Council for Sarnia citizens
 

1. Are you concerned about escalating policing costs in the city?
 

2. The City is in the middle of the process to receive bids on the old hospital site. Any successful applicants would need to be prepared to dish out 9million in demo costs. Do you think the City should offer 4 million (to help split the cost) to the successful bidder, and do you think the City should borrow that 4 million and amortize it so that we won’t need to raise taxes to come up with the unbudgeted amount of 4 million?
 

3. Recently there has been discussion by the Chamber of Commerce, within City Hall (Council & Administration) and among Sarnians about the wisdom of borrowing some money to update and repair aging City assets: Would you be in favour of borrowing a finite and sustainable amount of money to make some of these Investments while interest rates are at historic lows?
 

4. Council recently received a report on surplus assets that the City owns. These are land, buildings and some Parkland (in whole or in part) that staff feels could be seen as available either for other uses or sale: Do you think the City should explore options for these surplus assets, to improve the use of them, or to generate funds to be used for improvements in various parks and other City Assets in need of maintenance or replacement?
 

5. Do you believe in term limits for Municipal Politics?
 

6. What is your number one concern for citizen health?


7. Since 2005 Council’s first Priority has been to reduce the debt. An aggressive Debt Reduction Policy was implemented and the debt has been reduced from $95 million to $12 million currently. Sarnia’s aging infrastructure needs are exploding despite $30 million worth of Capital project in 2017. Should Sarnia Council make infrastructure repair its first priority?
 

8. At the February 1st public meeting regarding the Sarnia General Hospital the following question was asked “What do you feel the consequence of inaction will be?” I ask you the same question.


9. Over the past few weeks we have learned that 19% of Sexual Assault cases were deemed unfounded. Sarnia Police Services reported their number was 22%. The Federal Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale called on all Police Services to re-examine all of their approaches when investigating Sexual assaults. To date the RCMP, OPP and the SQ (Surete de Quebec) are complying. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police advise municipal Police Services to follow the RCMP’s and OPP’s Lead. To date the Sarnia Police Service has not issued a statement that they will re-examine these cases with fresh eyes despite being above the National Average. Do you believe that is acceptable?
 

10. A question that does come to mind often is about the various issues that others and myself champion like the need for a Detox Center; stopping the Nuclear Dump on the shores of Lake Huron in Kincardine, speaking provincially/nationally on employment for the disabled and intellectually challenged (a phrase I dislike as everyone is intellectually challenged except Donald Trump) on First Nation’s and poverty issues. Those issues among others matter to me as an activist Mayor. Do they matter to you?
 

11. The second question is do you believe the community engagement and consultations to get public “input” are meaningful anymore? Have watched the trend here, there and everywhere on “consultations” by governments (and the private sector) that are for show and are not of substance but simply so government (s) can say they “consulted” the public. A consultant with coloured dots to stick on a Board doesn’t come close to replacing unfiltered (sometimes painful) public input directly to the people they elected. What are your thoughts?


12. And finally often end speeches with the words “Dream no small dreams for Sarnia”. What “big dreams for Sarnia” would you have as we moved forward in our second century as a City

Segment 3 (February 2017)

1. What do you think could or should be done to build upon downtown Sarnia?
 

2. Can you explain what happened with the recent crossing guard situation? (removal of guards and information to school boards and parents)
 

3. There was a rumour going around that the facility that handled recycled materials in Sarnia closed and no other company took over so all recycling goes to the dump. Is this true, and if not, what company deals with Sarnia recycling and where is their location?
 

4. What would you like to happen with Baxter Park and why?


5. What were the unforeseen construction challenges at Centennial Park?


6. How can people find out exactly what assets the City of Sarnia owns?


7. Low density (costly to service) land uses, segregated for one another, dependent upon automobiles and parking minimums comes with a large social, economic, health, and environmental cost. It’s a model of growth that soon reaches a point of diminishing returns. Would the city be willing to explore adopting a “form based code“ of zoning that fosters more green, liveable, walkable, prosperous and resilient cities?


8. What is your opinion on the basic income guarantee plan and the housing first model?


9. When a seller sells a home in Sarnia, the water meter is read on the day of close. If the seller does not pay that last water bill, it is billed to the purchaser of the home and if they do not pay it, it is applied to their tax bill. Do you feel this is fair, and why was this implemented?


10. This question is regarding unaccounted for costs in 2016: What has the total cost been for legal fees, Integrity Commissioner costs, renovations at City Hall, increased salary for City Manager, and increase in pay for a Deputy Mayor and is this information public?


11. What book has left a positive impression on your life and why?

Segment 2 – (January 2017)

1. What advice do you have for anyone who is looking at pursuing a career in politics?

2. Who or what inspires you to serve the city in this manner?

3. What has HR’s role been regarding the complaints put forth against the mayor? How have they been involved?
 

4. How do you feel about the new amendment regarding code of conduct, especially social media, and who pays for the investigations regarding a potential breach of the new amendment?
 

5. Has council investigated making our waste management program in this city more in line with current environmental views? (i.e. leaves in brown bags, curbside compost and decreasing regular garbage to one bag bi-weekly, recycling weekly?)
 

6. Can you explain what happened regarding the Sarnia General Hospital? (i.e. rezoning tabled before the sale, asbestos, ownership)
 

7. What are your thoughts on dilapidated properties in this town (i.e. why there has been such an influx, and do you feel your property standards department have tough enough bylaws to address the growing issue)?


8. If no to the above question regarding bylaws, what do you propose to give them more resources?


9. Why is the city spending money on bike lane graphics on roads that do not have dedicated bike lanes, or need to be repaved? (i.e. Devine and East as an example).


10. Where does the city stand on efforts to provide a detox facility? Is this something that we can look forward to in the not so distant future?

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Segment 1 (December 2016)

1. What improvements do you feel you have personally brought to the city of Sarnia in your time at City Hall?
 

2. Do you feel any councillors have breached your own code of conduct via social media?
 

3. In light of recent events do you feel that the mayor or any city councillors should resign? Why or why not?
 

4. Would you be open to a town hall meeting forum to address the questions and concerns of your ratepayers?
 

5. What are the 3 biggest issues Sarnia as a city is facing?
 

6. What does the next election look like? Are you running again?
 

7. What is your agenda for the next two years and how do you think you will accomplish it?
 

8. How can taxpayers find out what happens at closed door meetings, i.e. who called them, when they were held, and what the topics of discussion were?


9. Mike Bradley was docked 3 months pay in the summer.  What did council do with this money?


10. How would you address balancing the budget?


11. Why are we allowing fluoride in our drinking water?


12. Why do city road workers make so much yet do so little?


13. What rights do we have as a community to protect our local energy services (from a sell off of Bluewater power as an example)?


14. Why is it that people with addictions are so poorly treated and mishandled in Sarnia by our police and medical community?

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