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Pay for postal service

On the one hand, it has become prohibitively expensive for Canada Post to provide door-to-door daily mail delivery (Postal workers to protest proposed cuts, Jan. 3). On the other hand, many Canadians are upset at the prospect of losing this valued service. A compromise: Canada Post continues to provide door-to-door service to households and businesses which pay a monthly fee, while others collect their mail at a central location such as a neighbourhood depot.

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Brisk and beautiful

Re: This winter proves nature is amazing, Jan. 9. What a wonderful perspective to read about our past and present winters.

Having wintered in Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland and Alberta (as well as in Europe), this is my third winter in Manitoba, and the one that made me feel the most alive.

Granted, it is also the coldest winter I have ever experienced, but also the most amazing. There's nothing like that crispiness in the air in our world of snow and ice.



Paying more for less

Has Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh ever even been to a cottage in the Whiteshell (Cottage-fee hikes in mail soon, Jan. 9)?

Mackintosh picks the exact wrong example to prove his point when he says additional funds are needed to "cover service costs such as winter road plowing."

Every summer, my 82-year-old father solicits donations from the neighbours so we can collectively pay to have our bay plowed. We draw our own water from the lake using our own pumps, pay for the installation and use of electrical power, install our own septic tanks and pay for their emptying, and take our garbage and recycling down to the depots.

Without fairly assessing how much rates should increase based on individual properties, generational cabin owners will be forced to sell their properties to the ultra-wealthy and watch as our beautiful lake turns into a centrepiece for bigger, more extravagant city-like homes.

I have spent all my adult years defending the provincial NDP as fair-minded, humanitarian and ecologically progressive to that same 82-year-old man collecting money to get our bay plowed. I'm pretty sure I will never win my argument now.




I was shocked at the editorial stance your newspaper has taken regarding cottage fees in the Manitoba provincial parks (Whining in cottage country, Jan. 9).

I own a cottage on Brereton Lake in the Whiteshell Provincial Park my grandparents built in 1953. It has been in the family since then and has now come to me.

I know costs have gone up, I fully expect park fees to increase, and I'm certainly prepared to pay my fair share -- if I knew what that was.

Manitoba Parks is required by law to present a budget to all stakeholders in the parks so they can see where the money is to be collected and spent. They haven't done that.

The only information we've been given is an outline of capital projects, many of which have already been completed: providing Wi-Fi, new washroom and shower facilities, and new parking spaces for the campgrounds, as well as a sewage lagoon which will benefit everyone.

Most of the proposed expenses do not benefit me as a cottager, yet I'm expected to pay for them. In the time we have had our cottage our garbage, water and emergency services have all been centralized, with most located many kilometres from our cottage.

If the provincial government wants more of my money, they should explain how it will benefit me. Why should the cottage owners subsidize campgrounds and casual visitors? Simply saying we don't pay enough without any facts to substantiate that statement sounds a lot like "make the rich pay."

None of my neighbours at the lake is rich, nor am I.



Olympic transformation

With all the problems facing the world today, no one can honestly justify spending $51 billion (and counting) on any sporting event, be it the Olympics or soccer's World Cup.

These events are supposed to be a world stage for athletic endeavours. Instead, they have degenerated into a spending frenzy by the host country and a forum for every political activist's agenda.

Sochi was to be about sports, but instead has become a breeding ground for criticism of Russia's human rights, Putin's politics, global warming and more.

Is the success of the Olympics to be judged on the amount of money spent as it becomes a political battleground? If so, then maybe it's time to discontinue such extravaganzas.



Jets could learn from Blue

Maybe the Winnipeg Jets should reflect on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' present situation resulting from a complacent management that waited too long before making the necessary changes to field a competitive football team (Ailing Jets sink to new low, Jan. 9).

The Winnipeg Jets have a solid financial foundation but are represented by a mediocre team that consistently fails to make the playoffs.

Will management wait too long until frustrated fans lose hope of cheering on a winning team on the ice? Winnipeg fans deserve better.



Kudos to street-cleaner

Re: Snow job, or just new reality?, Jan. 8. Last Friday morning, my garbage was collected a few days late. The graders immediately followed the garbage truck to plow the street.

Unfortunately, all the garbage carts were curb-side and the graders couldn't do an efficient job. Suddenly, a young hero jumped out of a front-end loader and moved all the garbage carts up their respective driveways so a proper street cleaning could be completed.

The street is now graded and the driveways barrier-free. Well done, young man.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 13, 2014 A8

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