Sarnia mayor still hopeful for county-wide mask bylaw

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley. September, 2019 Photo by Melanie Irwin

Despite considerable controversy, Sarnia residents have been complying with the city’s mandatory mask bylaw.

Mayor Mike Bradley said since the bylaw came into effect on Friday, there has been a noticeable increase in mask wearing in the city.

“The community is keeping us informed here at city hall about how the masking bylaw is unfolding and it’s been very positive,” said Bradley. “There’s seems to be a huge lift in the number of people wearing masks, whether they like it or not, they’re accepting the decision of Sarnia council.”

The bylaw, approved by council in a 6-2 vote on July 27, carries a fine of up to $1,000 for noncompliance, but officials are taking an educational approach rather than confrontational enforcement.

The Sarnia mayor has failed twice to gain support for a county-wide bylaw and is not ruling out a third attempt to get Lambton County Council to reconsider the matter.

“Well I am known as the patron saint of lost causes and often those causes turn around. A perfect example is Sarnia Council where I could only get two councillors to support to have a bylaw in place just a couple of weeks ago. The public spoke very loudly where the read I have is the community wanted to move forward and they wanted to protect each other. I will wait for the opportunity again and if the county doesn’t move I think it’s the very wrong message to send to the rest of Ontario,” he said.

County council’s next regular meeting is September 2.

Another lower-tier municipality is considering implementing its own mandatory mask bylaw as well. The Town of Petrolia is surveying residents and business owners in advance of a discussion at its meeting on August 10. The short survey is available until Thursday, August 6 at 10 a.m.

Feedback can also be forwarded to Petrolia’s municipal clerk, Mandi Pearson, at mpearson@petrolia.ca.