Today’s letters: Ambitions for Alexandra Bridge are too broad

Saturday, Jan. 13: Readers decry federal and municipal infrastructure schemes, and Ottawa’s ‘naming’ policies. You can write to us too, at [email protected]

Article content

Sagging under the weight of expectations?

Re: Replacing the Alexandra: Ottawa’s new bridge is challenged with the heavy weight of symbolism, Jan. 6.

Article content

Randy Boswell’s interesting article has my blood boiling at a time when we are in the midst of an economic crisis. Can we possibly expect anyone — an architect/engineer/contractor/dreamer — to achieve what’s needed to build a bridge of such monumental scope? A bridge to celebrate the new while using the old; while advancing reconciliation as well as commemorations; also considering the two provincial relationships; meeting the principles of sustainability; and encouraging active transportation?

Advertisement 2

Article content

What I find preposterous, even insulting, is that meanwhile, the government is unable or unwilling to repair, rebuild or replace a proper prime ministerial residence. Instead, it is intent on building a pie-in-the-sky bridge — and yes, all for $800 million we don’t have.

Philippe Whalen, Limoges

Name bridge for reconciliation

Regarding a name for the Alexandra bridge replacement, I suggest “Reconciliation Bridge” or Recon Bridge for short. What better than a bridge to symbolize the gap that has been “bridged” — and which we are still attempting to bridge — with Indigenous peoples on many levels? What better place to showcase this than a few steps from Parliament Hill?

Marc Dufault, Orléans

City’s name game just wastes resources

Re: What’s in a name? In official Ottawa, that’s a complex question, Jan. 9.

Thank you, Randall Denley, for your logical and straightforward column about naming various parts of the city.

Why, oh why, does the city not simply name things so as to indicate their function, rather than using anyone’s name? (I have written about this before, but my thoughts fell on deaf ears.) This would certainly resolve many of the issues Denley points out, avoid potential racial or political controversy, and also make it much easier for everyone using the infrastructure.

Advertisement 3

Article content

I recall when we had County Road 6, 8, etc., which somewhere along the way were renamed for particular people, and I still can never remember which is which when I’m trying to navigate somewhere. I also have little or no idea what or who the new names represent. And I will never remember the new name of the bridge along the newly renamed western parkway.

All of this is a vast waste of time spent by city officials trying to “include” everyone. Let’s just exclude everyone from the naming convention and get on with it. As Denley pointed out, we can use names like Greenbelt, Main Library, etc.

Pat Tierney, Cardinal

Denley’s right about naming policy

Randall Denley has stated what many of us have believed for some time. He should be lauded for his candour.

Lee Belford, Ottawa

Vandalizing advertisement was censorship

Re: Ad in Brewer Arena by Canadian oil and gas was simply gaslighting, Jan. 6.

Good grief! The apparent willingness to self-righteously vandalize public property because you disagree with the message is not only a crime, but sounds a lot like censorship.

Oil and natural gas are still a legal product, as is their advertising. Besides, the taxes generated pay a lot of government expenses.

Advertisement 4

Article content

Have you ever seen someone arrive at the rink not in an automobile? Seems like smart advertising directed at their customers

Bernie Myers, Ottawa

No justification for defacing ad

I am disappointed that the Ottawa Citizen gave a petty vandal more than half a page to justify his reasoning for defacing public property. If he doesn’t agree with the message, to him it makes perfect sense to deface it, rip it down or do what ever else he likes, who cares about rule of law?

Should we should start teaching this approach in schools? Disagree with something or don’t like a message — why, simply deface it, or rip it down.

I think this man should refrain from defacing public property. I also believe repaying the cost of his vandalism is insufficient; he should have been charged with petty vandalism.

Kevin Gardiner, Ottawa

Chernushenko is ignoring current reality

I am fully sympathetic to David Chernushenko’s concerns about the existential threat of rapid climate change, and the need to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

However, I am equally aware of a recent warning from Hydro Ottawa president and CEO Bruce Conrad that residents must be prepared for the loss of electricity in emergencies that last up to 72 hours. Part of this preparedness is the use of either portable or stand-by home generators which, unless one has solar panels, are powered by fossil fuels, typically natural gas or propane.

Advertisement 5

Article content

For many of us this is the reality on the ground.

Ian Hammond, Ottawa

Hey Senators, it’s a team effort

What in the HE-Double-Hockey-Sticks is wrong with the Ottawa Senators? High expectations every season, only to have our hopes smashed all over the ice, usually in the first month, then the carnage continues. Old coach, new coach, new owner, different goalies, doesn’t matter, it’s just a repeat of the previous season.

The power play, for the most part, is powerless, the penalty kill is abysmal, the offence is offensive, the defence, well, see penalty kill and you will get the idea. Goal-tending leaves a lot to be desired, with little help from defence.

Coach Jacques Martin is probably the most defensive-minded coach in the NHL, and knows that you can win with just one goal if you can keep the puck in the opposition’s end and out of your net. But, when you only have two or three players with that mindset, you can’t win. The rest of the team has to buy in.

The Senators seem to have forgotten that this is a team effort; individual talent will not be enough. Isn’t that obvious by now ?

Advertisement 6

Article content

Brian Clark, Barrhaven

Wartime housing was good strategy

Re: Look to Canada’s wartime housing strategy to help address current crisis, Jan. 8.

My late father, Rene, was mayor of Aylmer in the late 1940s. With the full co-operation of C.D Howe, the most powerful minister in the government of prime minister Louis St. Laurent, dad was instrumental in the construction of 125 homes in his community immediately after the end of the Second World War. These homes, on Aylmer Boulevard and Wychwood Drive, housed many who had served in the war. These homes still house many families, a tribute to the vitality and commitment of citizens and others like my dad.

Emile Therien, Ottawa

ByWard Market may soon be a no-go zone

Re: Given Ottawa Council’s inaction, the ByWard Market is becoming a no-go zone, Jan. 4.

I would like to thank Mohammed Adam for his recent article on problems in the ByWard Market.

When my parents purchased their condominium on George Street in 1989, the market was clean, bustling, sunny and diverse. Real farmers sold their goods along the market streets. Many interesting small shops were run, often by second- and third-generation owners and good restaurants were within walking distance.

Advertisement 7

Article content

I acquired my parents’ condominium in 2007 when the market was still a great place. Our building is attractive and well maintained. However, our surrounding area is becoming far less attractive.

Utilitarian high rises have blocked the sun, turning once-pleasant streets into dark, chilly canyons. Constant, noisy construction that blocks traffic lanes and sidewalks makes access to the area by car and going for a walk practically impossible. The problems caused by those with substance abuse and mental-health issues, and increases in violent crime, have caused our property values and enjoyment of our neighbourhood to decrease dramatically.

Many requests, suggestions and presentations on this subject have gone unanswered or unresolved. We have been poorly served by our councillors and city council as a whole for too long. It is time to make concrete plans to reclaim and rehabilitate this area.

A first step should be to decentralize services that deal with the homeless, sick and disruptive. We need to ensure that these people are helped in a kinder, more sensible and effective manner. It is obviously irresponsible to crowd them into a small area that cannot provide the facilities and care they deserve.

Advertisement 8

Article content

I fully expect that without immediate and dramatic changes, the market area will soon be removed from guidebooks as a city attraction, and will likely be mentioned as an area to avoid. Hopefully, this is still preventable if prompt action is taken.

Patricia MacRae Ottawa

Toronto police don’t owe apologies

Re: Toronto police chief apologizes after officer delivers coffee to anti-Israel protesters, Jan. 8.

I don’t think Toronto police Chief Myron Demkiw has to apologize for anything. He should be commending the act. As mentioned in your article, why can’t it be construed as a friendly/humanitarian gesture that could lead to de-escalating tension?

I’m disappointed that Liberal MP Marco Mendicino and others can only think of using force to resolve this issue. And for the protesters: “Free Palestine of Hamas” should be their slogan.

Fred Theberge, Orléans

Mary Dawson was simply marvellous

Re: Mary Dawson, former ethics commissioner, was an influential trailblazer, Jan. 4.

Thank you for the wonderful obituary of Mary Dawson.

Mary and I became good friends as we participated in the Executive Management Program. We travelled to several countries together and, notwithstanding her amazing intellect, she was also an extremely fun person to be with. Definitely never lost her Maritime ways.

Advertisement 9

Article content

Rest in peace Mary; you will be missed.

Edna MacKenzie, Ottawa

Communism memorial should be kept simple

Re: Victims of Communism memorial focus on Vietnam could create backlash, documents warn, Jan. 8.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that the Victims of Communism memorial would be anything but generic. Instead, it’s listing events and victims? That’s a perfect example of “perfection being the enemy of the good.”

This seems fraught with the risk of making two types of errors: including those who shouldn’t be included; and excluding those who should be. As well, it would require constant updating (and it’s not free).

Moreover, history is contextual. It’s also in the eye of the beholders. What is deemed bad, or fine, in one context or time becomes problematic in another with a change of knowledge or context, for example.

Why are we going to this level of detail? Do we have to make everything so hard?

L.J. Ridgeway, Ottawa

Sex worker might be serving too

Re: Military police threaten to charge sex worker who offers discounts to Canadian soldiers, Jan. 9.

It is not that often that I get a chuckle from a front-page headline, so thank you for giving me a laugh before I went out to shovel snow.

Advertisement 10

Article content

Historically, when overseas, the military police used to publish a list of establishments that, due to their illegal, illicit or immoral practices, were deemed “off limits” to military personal; that list was generally considered to be a guide for the best places to visit.

In light of Christina Lea Gilchrist’s brazen, unlawful use of a controlled military uniform in her advertising campaign, I have to ask: Did anyone at least thank her for her service?

Ed Storey, Nepean

Why the fuss over sex worker?

With all the world’s serious issues, does a sex worker versus the military really warrant a top-of-page-one headline? I don’t believe so.

This whole issue makes a “mountain our of a molehill.” Christian Lea Gilchrist’s ageless vocation and wearing a partial military uniform hardly presents a security threat to our nation. She has never alluded to being a military member.

It seems a safe bet the military police did not initiate this investigation but rather were directed by a higher authority to pursue such action. I hope next Halloween, the ordering authority does not purse similar action against youngsters who wear some part of a Canadian Forces uniform for their trick-or-treat evening.

Advertisement 11

Article content

Al Jones, Almonte

Canines versus climate change

Your newspaper added new meaning to the word “juxtaposition” word with the placement of two articles in the NP section of Wednesday’s print edition.

First, in a rather large article with a sizeable photo, we learned that South Korea has banned the sale of dog meat. Evidently there is a taste for canine in that country, and a wandering pooch may end up as someone’s supper if he/she or it (when neutered) is not careful.

Meanwhile, in a much smaller article directly below that one, we are apprised that the Earth’s global heat record was reached in 2023. Last year was the hottest year ever recorded. Now, that seems fairly important, at least to those of us who would not like to soon see the end of civilization as we know it. Shouldn’t that little piece of life-threatening information be given a bit of a more prominent space — perhaps front-page coverage?

Or is our world simply going to the dogs, in more ways than one?

Jake Cole, Kanata

Recommended from Editorial

Article content

Leave a Comment