Signs, Signs, everywhere there’s signs…..you know the song right ? Well anyway, it’s time to set the record straight in my opinion. I agree that signs are necessary ; I would be an idiot, let’s face it. But there comes a time when common sense should prevail and determine when, where, and “if” a sign should be erected…..C’mon, we’ve all seen the “caution, coffee may be hot”, “toys are not for human consumption” or my personal favorite “Don’t climb the fence or feed animals as this could cause injury or death” but people still don’t respect. them. I respect most signs in life, most are there for our protection but signs telling me coffee is hot or loud music at a concert is not good for your hearing is common sense. Educate the masses in a campaign and quit wasting the ink on the ticket stubs or coffee cups…It all adds up. Do you think McDonald’s doesn’t figure in their ink and advertising into the price of you sweet cup of Joe ?
Now to one of my frustrations over the years ! Porter the Train, who remembers Porter? If you don’t google, Porter. SSM, Kids and Fun, Fence, and Embarrassment. In a nutshell, back in 2006 the city got the big idea of preventing kids from having fun and get exercise. In 1943 an engine was built for the steel mill and it was put to rest in about 1967 and landed at Bellevue Park. Kid for years and years would like it as it was painted really cool. It had soft edges, handles to pull up on and you could sit at the top. I remember playing on that train dozens of tires.
Anyway in case you didn’t know, back in about 2006, the great powers that be, decided through some cost saving studies, that the beautiful toy should be fenced off so the kids couldn’t climb it and get exercise. It was was first said to be a safety issue and after some local public cry, they changed their tune to a “liability” issue through their legal department..I guess (in my opinion) the deal was already signed and done. After the outcry, they had to get their legal team to say that the Insurance company the city uses and may have a lengthy contract and friendship with, wouldn’t cover it as the premiums would be too expensive. You see, people, There are two scare tactics the administrations, corporations, governments use………higher cost to the taxpayer and liability. My first thought was to shop around for a different insurer but the city had it’s minds made up . This moral in this case is that ……A sign WOULD have been appropriate in this instance. “Climb at Own Risk, Must Be 12 Years OLD”…Something of that nature. We are now trying to bring back kids to Bellevue Park with the Splash Pad initiative and it boggles my mind. We had fun at the park before they started removing things. Who else remembers playing in those boats near the water before they were removed?I If there is a safety issue, repair it !!..put up a sign and let the damn kids play !…Too buck red tape and old school thinking.
The second bone of contention I can’t let go of is the issue where the City capped off the water fountain at Goulais and Second Line.
Last October city council decided to cap the water fountain that had been used by residents for many many years. My research has shown that the reason was about “libility”. My problem is that for a slip and fall every once in a while, do we shut down sidewalks?, streets? driveways? Let’s be realistic people, since I don’t know all the circumstances behind the the lady that fell, I do know that it was three days before Christmas and we all know when water flows and the temperature is right, it creates ice. If that were to have been me, I would have accepted responsibility and lived with the consequences and knew for next time . Now, here is where the problem starts, the lawyers and city officials got involved and instead of settling out or courts as would only be fair, as this woman and thousands of locals have drank this water for free for years; that should have been the end of it. But it wasn’t they decided to do the easy thing, Cap IT !!!……………..you got it !!!…..the city insurance provider would not insure it. It was easier to disregard the public and cap it ! I know many city officials and most do a great job, but there is an element of “We Know BEST!!.Where are the referendums or public votes on serious matters like this ? One man calls a motion, a second persons seconds it and that’s the process.
The city officials truly have a lot on their plates; they have families, and other jobs on top of their responsibilities with the city. I just think there should be more independent thought put into the votes……The late Frank Manzo (rip) would somebody who would roar and make it know that common sense needs to prevail. I haven’t researched his voting, but my hunch is he would have voted against Fencing Porter and I believe he was ill during the time the vote for capping the well came to fruition. Anyway, we need stronger people to help us not forget common sense and keep the litigators from destroying our common fabric………
My vote would have been PUT UP A SIGN “Use at Your Own Risk/Step May Be Slippery”
The above are just two cases where locally, we should have let things be left alone and put a a sign. Problem solved !!!
Now, here we go !! and outside of a small minority of people, I think most of you will agree that this SIGN SHOULD COME DOWN Essar came here about 2007;everyone was excited, they have a large company and are known for making profits throughout the world. We were saved.! They were talking about building this and building that. We were euphoric. Things started off slowly and things were good for the most part. The guys did not have to worry about getting paid and the city was making money through a strong local economy and taxes…(SO We Thought !) In a nutshell their have been pension issues, work shortage, strike votes, arbitration and from what I hear from workers on the inside, the moral has been low for some time. Going into bankruptcy protection while asking the court appointed judge to let you give retention bonuses to 23 executives to the tune of $3.5 Million dollars is sickening….In case you are not aware, they are currently trying to cut employees hourly rates and remove some concessions that were already in the previous contracts. Don’t get me wrong but when times are toughs, we work together.
If I was employed by an honest employer and he was failing to go down because of the the world economy, I would take a small pay cut…..I know many of you would….The difference to me is that this Essar plays this game all over the world. They buy up a company, ship off the profits to another company they own and where it can’t be touched. The books show they are not financially stable and they cry wolf…..We get scared and agree for them to acquire bankruptcy protection.
Here the the crux of my article……Essar Global owes us $ 21 000 000. We should be ashamed to keep that sign up!! ..City and local taxes by large corporations should be the first ones paid. A similar instance happened a few years ago and the Gov of Minnesota gave Essar a deadline to pay $66 000 000 it had owed the state and contractors. Before the deadline passed, Essar was already making payments….This tough language needs to be adapted for all business that wants to produce here. Anyway, I know removing the sign won’t happen because they probably paid that already, lol, but I still wish there was a way to shame them. Maybe the next big company that using our arena for naming rights will have written into the contract that any missed payments to any local employers will result in the sign coming down at their own cost.
Local Contractors, maybe it’s time to build a “Sault Ste. Marie Community and Events Centre” sign as a backup !
Ernest Skinner Jr.