Editor’s note: This letter is addressed to Glenn Harding of Chatham-Kent Public Works.
Sir: There was an “encroachment notice” letter was in my mailbox on the evening of Nov. 6.
It is disheartening to receive such a letter.
A basketball net that securely sits at the curb on our road is creating complaints within our neighbourhood (or the city), to the point where your department goes out of their way to leave a letter in my mailbox? The net is no further in the way than a car parked on the street.
We have approximately (minimum) 20 children within our block of homes on Maryknoll/Lancefield. This neighbourhood we live in is a well-sought-out area due to the families, schools and amenities in our area. This area is the perfect area where many families, couples, friends, dog lovers of all ages go for bicycle rides and walks.
Vehicles only infrequently pass along our street.
The park close by, Ellis Park, as lovely as it is, research the statistics. How often it is used? I can confidently guess there is more activity within my block of residence than there is at this community park.
We are a family with six children. A few are aging and moving onward with their lives. However, our youngest is four. All are actively involved in sports, the community and OUTSIDE time.
We are always outside with our children. Backyard. Front yard. The street.
Our road is the perfect road (and a memorable one) where we have taught our kids to toss the football, learn to ride a bike, play road hockey, rollerblade and, yes, shoot some hoops. We have decorations, sidewalk chalk, spray chalk, chairs to watch the kids, flowers for them to water.
Feel free to drive by and witness our busy healthy outdoor activity with our children. And this is what you view from the front. It does not include the sandbox, kids’ fort, pool, trampoline, swings/slide, yard games we have set up in the back.
As a human being, representative of the municipality, perhaps even a parent – this should be your ideal goal: Our neighbourhood; to see families and children active outside. That’s the way the world was 20-30 years ago before social media, video games and streaming services consumed the young minds of children.
A few years back, I called the city to inquire and obtain a sign that read “Deaf child in the area.” I was told those no longer exist. So, we purchased some signs on amazon for our lawn, advising people to drive slow. We have a daughter who is labelled as such. Wearing her helmet and rollarblading or on a bicycle limits her ability to safely hear with her one (below normal) hearing level. We adapted and dealt with the situation.
We are the second-to-last house at the end. There is no reason why people need to go 50-70 km/h at the end of the road or starting off. We often yell at drivers to slow down, sure with the fear of repercussions. But our children’s safety is worth it.
Perhaps your focus could also be on the holes/sinkhole along the sewer 100 feet away from the basketball net, where the two pylons have been resting for many months. It’s also where my children ride bikes and walk to school.
I ask you this, re-organize your thought process and priorities. There is no difference of that basketball net sitting along the curb in comparison to a vehicle.
Kindly reassess your concerns and advocate for our neighbourhood.
I end this letter by stating, that your letter was probably placed in our mailbox because we have a large amount of active children.
It was assumed the basketball net was our property. However, it is not.
The net belongs to our neighbours across the street with one teenage boy.
Their kindness has been extended and encouraged onto other families. They value and appreciate the opportunity for family bonding and good physical health, limiting “screen time” with children.
The net is placed at the curb. The basketball is securely attached. It is an open invitation for anyone in the area to utilize. The kids, grandchildren of neighbourhood, even the parents will occasionally shoot a hoop.
This letter has been forwarded to the owners of the net.
They will remove it, as directed from your ridiculous letter.
Once the spring arrives, I will be inquiring for the net to be readily available again. My kids adore this and deserve it. Our community deserves this kindness, collaboration and activity.
Aline Middleton and family