When I was five-years-old, I contracted polio. Despite a very negative prognosis, with time and therapy, I recovered. The following year the Salk vaccine was introduced; too late for me but I was vaccinated nonetheless. For a long time in most countries, polio became a thing of the past.
In my mid-30s, I developed what was ultimately diagnosed as post polio syndrome. The virus was long gone but the damage that it had inflicted on my central nervous system and which my body had been compensating for all those years caught up with me. It wasn’t readily apparent – I looked healthy and still do – but it prematurely aged me and has imposed serious limitations. Up to forty per cent of polio survivors have suffered from some degree of post polio syndrome and it can worsen with age.
Still, I feel fortunate. I’m 72 now. When my turn comes to be vaccinated against the COVID virus, I will, without hesitation, be vaccinated. I would be a complete fool not to be.
Not over yet
Years of effort to stave off water bottlers in this and countless other communities has taken us down a path with still no end in sight. There is something ominous in the sound of an investment firm owning a local well whose stated specialty is “reviving food and beverage brands.”
Who knows what lengths that gang of corporate tough guys will go to in the interests of profits?
The battle continues …
Plans are being made to reconstruct Saint David Street North in Fergus and apparently there is an “opportunity to reimagine” the entire area.
Wider sidewalks, plantings, bicycle lanes, etc. have all been suggested.
Considering that Fergus presently has no substantial bypass road, it is not practical to be considering any changes that could reduce or constrict manoeuvring space for any vehicles. On such a major road, any kind of “jam-up” will shift even more impatient and often noisy speedsters onto our residential side streets.
Also, most people just want to park, without stepping out into flower beds and tree rings full of cigarette ends. The best and most “cost effective” answer to address “traffic calming”, is to initiate a Fergus-wide speed limit of 40km/h and “double-fine safety zones” on all residential streets.
Coupled with vigorous enforcement by extra patrol squads of police officers, there would certainly be a “calming effect.”
Just because there are engineers and designers involved, does not mean that common sense and practicality will prevail. The last “opportunity to reimagine” resulted in an oversized library with nowhere to park.
‘A water issue’
It is likely that few newcomers to Centre Wellington are aware that they have moved to a community that has a water issue.
Even many long-time residents may not know that Centre Wellington is officially designated at significant risk because of current insufficient infrastructure to meet future population growth.
The problem is that in 2016 the provincial government targeted the urban area to double in population by 2041. The township needs four new municipal wells to meet future demands. Work to address this has commenced but the requirement to determine the best locations, drill test wells, build infrastructure and obtain a permit is a lengthy process that will take several years to complete. Consequently, all citizens need to be cognizant of the water situation and act accordingly. Conservation in each home will benefit the community as a whole.
For many years Centre Wellington has been under an additional threat to its groundwater from an international water bottling company that was seeking to remove in excess of one million litres per day from the Middlebrook well, just west of Elora. Fortunately, the Provincial government enacted a moratorium on new water taking for bottling purposes in 2016.
The government proposes to end the moratorium on April 1 of this year. However, it has passed legislation whereby a sitting township council can vote to stop any water bottling company taking in excess of 379,000 litres per day. This is a good start but allowing even this amount of groundwater to be taken in an area where there are concerns would be premature.
With one hand the provincial government is suggesting township council has the authority to veto any large-scale water taking for bottling but with the other, is suggesting that a substantial amount of water could be removed from the watershed for that purpose.
And to further compound the uncertainty, it allows a future council the power to potentially reverse the veto, thereby allowing a water bottling company to seek a permit to remove groundwater in excess of 379,000 litres per day.
Groundwater extracted for bottling is water that is destined to leave the watershed and is counter to community conservation practices.
The wonder of water
With most of us locked down in our homes, this pandemic year has made us focus on the fundamental aspects of our lives. It has heightened our appreciation of the simple things; things as simple as tap water.
While we are being asked to wash our hands a million times a day, no matter what else has changed this past year, we can turn on our taps and water comes out. For most of us, this little miracle of water coming up from the ground and into our water glass is a process we don’t think about. And one we quite possibly take for granted. We might not give water much thought at all unless one day we turned on our tap and there was none.
Part of that might be because when it comes to municipal infrastructure, we don’t see the attention spent on our water. We understand what’s going on with roads and bridges because we see these work projects and the machinery and detours. But with water, the infrastructure is largely invisible to us. Out of sight, out of mind.
Consider what has happened this past year. We’ve had to pivot in these times, and the “new normal” of many working from home instead of leaving Centre Wellington for the day resulted in increased use of our water system. Our summer vacations became staycations with folks putting in backyard pools, beautifying yards and turning on the sprinkler for the kids. And yet with all of us mostly home, and using this additional water, we could still turn on our taps and fresh water was there for us.
I say kudos to our Centre Wellington operations staff who have been working in pandemic-required shifts, with a limit to who can work in any location at any given time, and how many can be on hand to deal with any unexpected situations when they arise. They’ve managed to ensure that all our wells keep working to accommodate the additional water demand.
I suggest that the next time we fill our kettle or wash our hands we give a thought of appreciation to water. And to the municipal water staff who have worked over and above to ensure that we get through this challenging time.
I’m writing about my disappointment with fellow drivers in foul weather.
On March 1 I saw blowing snow and high winds. I could count on one hand the number of drivers who actually had their headlights on. Being behind a white car in those conditions, I lost them quite a few times. If their headlights were on, then their tail lights would also have been noticeable. Without them, cars can’t be seen very well.
It’s time we made people wake up to their responsibilities as drivers. It’s a privilege to have a licence not a right.
No credit for Trudeau
RE: ‘Truly remarkable’, March 4.
I agree with Peter van Vloten that we need to be extremely grateful for science developments in vaccines.
Mainstream media and general perception a year ago could not predict where we are today. However, try as hard as I can, I cannot attribute much credit to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He was hell-bent on developing vaccines with, of all people, China? It’s simply not possible to explain away the loopy logic in that idea given the landscape. When blocked by China he delayed for months before buying vaccines from successful producers, although by then at the end of a queue.
He will not show the Canadian public the procurement contracts because the truth would likely not be helpful. Ironically in the UK the minister responsible for the similar procurement was severely mauled by their “public watchdog” last week because they were three weeks late in posting contracts to the public website. Apparently, something they do and a part of the UK’s government transparency laws. Do we ever need those laws here or what!
Indeed “transparent” is not a word we can use to refer to Trudeau. He has been quite the opposite in most of his activities (WE, SNC, Att. Gen., Adm. Norman, GovGen and it goes on and on).
The clock is ticking on how late we’ll be in getting the vaccine into citizens’ arms. Everyone I know my age in the UK was already vaccinated by mid-February. We will be several months behind.
Recently we ranked about 60th in the world in administering vaccines! In summary, Trudeau didn’t start COVID-19 but he’s certainly been very sloppy at dealing with it!
However, I am eternally grateful that we live in a time where biological understanding makes near miracles possible and look forward to sunnier days!
Approximately a year and a half ago, I sent a letter to the editor of the Wellington Advertiser begging young drivers to be extra careful driving in bad winter weather. My reason was that a young lady had been killed in a collision with an 18-wheeler on the Orangevillle Road.
I mentioned the trucking company but the Advertiser chose to delete the name of the company when they printed my letter. Since then, many others have written to the Advertiser complaining about the excessive speed and noise of vehicles on our roads.
Last week another young mother of three children and expecting twins in the fall was killed in a collision with an 18-wheeler near Grand Valley. While watching the TV news, the cameras scanned the “crash site” and I noticed the 18-wheeler was the same company that was involved in the death of the young woman on the Orangeville Road last year. How ironic!
At about 9:30am on March 4, I was on my way to my office in Harriston, and listening to the radio. A grandmother from Waterloo Region was describing how she had received a COVID-19 vaccination in the Mount Brydges area in the past couple of days. She is one of the family members providing care for her father who has dementia. He lives in that community.
This woman couldn’t give enough praise to the system as she experienced it. From the registration process to the nurses and all the other staff, she described how everything ran so smoothly. And then as she was leaving the community hall where the vaccinations were being given, she received a text telling her that her second shot would be 4 weeks hence at the same time. I was impressed.
At about 4:30pm on March 4, I was reading the letter in the Advertiser from Jim Harkness of Harriston. He wrote about the oddball arrangements for a one-day clinic in Mount Forest several days prior, and how Minto and North Wellington residents would now have to travel to Centre Wellington for their vaccinations.
What a contrast in stories of how vaccinations in this province have been set up!
RE: The “rebels without a clue” editorial cartoon of Feb. 11.
This cartoon would be a lot closer to the truth if the word “rebels” was dropped from the caption, and the caricatures were changed to those of Tam, Williams, Yaffe, De Villa and Ford.
Bad lab experience
I am writing to the lab “technician” who injured and traumatized my daughter on Feb. 10.
You had no right to yell at a 9-year-old because you had trouble “finding” a vein. If you were not pleased that a little girl is “making a fist” (as she was instructed to do on a previous visit) you should have given clear instructions, as well as understanding that blood work is not pleasant for anyone, especially children.
My daughter did not come into your establishment crying or screaming or showing attitude of any kind. Your unkind demeanour to her and your co-workers (who attempted to assist) has been bothering this poor little girl for two days and her arm still hurts from the repeated (and improperly conducted) attempts to obtain a sample.
I hope that nobody else, not even your great-grandchildren, will ever have to endure such a terrible experience during what should be a routine medical procedure. It is also inappropriate and unprofessional to make comments about a person’s skin colour.
I am writing this on behalf of my sister who fell in front of the Quick Pick Variety in Fergus.
We would like to thank a very kind and considerate couple who helped her. They called the ambulance, notified her family, got her blankets from the South Tower Animal Hospital to keep her warm, reassured her and stayed with her until she was in the ambulance and a family member had arrived.
We did not get their names. Thanks so much from the bottom of our hearts. My sister is recuperating in Groves Memorial Community Hospital. Our community has the greatest people!
Props for police
My mother was a Grandview survivor (at 14 years old). My mother volunteered at Guelph Police Services years ago. She helped young offenders through the courts, so they would receive the best legal representation in court.
I think she did this because when I was a (premature) 1 year old, a police officer saved my life. This was 1957. He came from Guelph to the farm, in Allenford, in his cruiser and brought me back to St. Joseph’s hospital and – I had pneumonia.
They saved my life.
I want to thank the police. They are the best people we have – especially the new young police officer. I commend you. Brave, loyal, and true. I salute you, I respect you.
Turning 100 poem
On Becoming One Hundred
You asked me “What is it Like?
I wish some wise words I could relay;
To ease your fears, and point the way.
Or did you inquire, for some words that inspire
Whether there’s some secret message, reserved for the aged?
So after much thought, I find that it’s not taught,
It may happen there is a way-and it may be found;
Try living each day – as if it were dated!
Only you can choose this gift of time,
Perhaps you will wisely carefully,
Infuse every gift to its full measure,
Til you have found the path for your own life’s treasure.
So is there an answer for your quest?
More I don’t know, I’ve tried my best.
For only you will know when you have walked this road,
Maybe it will be a way to inspire,
Or whether ‘twil be some road to inquire;
But surely life has saved its greatest joys,
Which are purely your very own to enjoy!
Kudos for clearing
I would like to thank the Township of Wellington North roads and works department for the excellent job they are doing keeping the streets of Mount Forest, and especially the sidewalks, clear of snow.
I walk my dog three times a day and there are some days I know I could not do it if the sidewalk plow was not out ahead of me (we are both getting up in years).
So a big heartfelt thank you from me and my dog. Stay safe.
Truth will prevail
RE: Free pass for PM? (Feb. 4).
There is an old saying “Those who live glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Probably because they will have stones thrown back at them.
We, in Canada, need to look at our own house rather than throw stones at our neighbour. Delsie Drover has highlighted some of the flaws and lack of accountability taking place within our own house. Our parliamentary actions need scrutinizing just as much, if not more, than our neighbors to the south.
But, remember that truth is truth and one must always seek the truth.
In politics, as in other areas of life, there can be opposing opinions and allegations, but, through prayer the truth will eventually prevail and be known.
Many facts have come to light regarding the workings of our government. I pray that Canadians will themselves wake up and desire truth and honesty to prevail in governments.
An open letter to Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole.
I voted for you in the leadership competition, and of course I am member of the Conservative Party.
The main reason I voted for you is that, like you, I am ex military officer. On this basis I have an understanding of the objectivity, analysis and focus of how we think and work.
So, when I see a change in that objectivity I feel I must comment:
Pierre Poilievre is the strongest weapon you have against our adversary. I believe that the reason Trudeau is in a defensive position at Rideau Cottage is because he is frightened of Poilievre.
Why on earth then would you take Poilievre out of the line and place him in a reserve position? You must not weaken your advantage at a time when an attack is imminent.
I understand that you want to bring the unions on side, if they could ever be brought on side, but that has to be part of the recovery once we have taken out the enemy.
Incidentally, I refer to the Trudeau cabal as the enemy because I believe they are the greatest threat to democracy that this country has been exposed to in peace time.
I am sorry for stepping into your sandbox, but you must explain to me the rationale you have for weakening our position.
Lower limit, double fines
I noticed that council decided to defer any immediate action regarding community safety zones in Fergus and will wait for further feedback from the “Roads Master Action Plan.”
It all sounds positive, but when I accessed the site, it would not let me suggest any comments regarding where I live. What good is this?
I fail to see what difference any waiting will make to the situation. Unless safety zones (40km/h and double fines) are implemented, it is not financially viable for the police to ticket a driver only doing 10km/h over the limit.
Safety zones with the increased fines would hopefully lead to more enforcement. The problem of vehicles zipping up and down the side streets of Fergus has been going on for years and it seems nothing will ever get done about it, any time soon.
Church is essential
A church in the Waterloo region was recently fined for opening its doors for worship. While I do not agree with the apparent cavalier fashion in which they gathered, with people arriving un-masked and with no attempt at distancing, I do applaud their determination to worship God as a community of believers.
It has been reported on nearly a daily basis how much people are hurting during this health crisis; how people are lonely; how the bereaved grieve alone; how mental anguish is being felt through separation of family and friends.
One of the main functions of the community church is to be a meeting place where families and friends gather to find support, strength and comfort as they worship God in the company of like-minded believers. Where then does it become a good decision to eliminate that resource from individuals and communities suffering in so many ways?
Isn’t it interesting to see stores such as LCBO and variety stores remain open because they fall under the heading of essential services, but it’s okay to close the church? If it is so vital that we have access to liquor and lottery tickets, how much more important is it that we are able to meet as a caring community from which many receive their spiritual strength and peace in the face of very challenging circumstances. How much more is the local church an essential service?
While I appreciate the efforts of many clergy to offer a worship time online, I feel this truly does not meet the many spiritual needs of your flocks.
Worshipping through word and song as a community, even while adhering to the masking and distancing protocols, brings a degree of satisfaction and hope and joy to those who believe.
Is there no one in our local churches who will stand up for the rights of the church to be treated as the essential service it is?
Maureen and Doug Sargent,
‘Only one way to think’
RE: VanLeeuwen out, Dunsmore in as deputy mayor, Feb. 25.
How dare any councillor have a different opinion than Mayor Kelly Linton!
In our climate today, there is no room for any dissenting view or opinion. After all, there is only one way to think. Every councillor must be on the “same page” as Mayor Linton.
Perhaps it is time that Linton create a check-list of all important issues. Any councillor who cannot check off every item as compatible to Mayor Linton should not be allowed to run. That way there will never be any dissention, and Centre Wellington can move progressively forward in a perfectly smooth manner. All independent thought would be eliminated!
Perhaps Centre Wellington can eventually create the position of mayor for Life. Why burden tax payers with elections when everyone thinks the same as Mayor Linton?