I believe that a huge part of my service as your mayor depends on two-way communication about issues and challenges facing Pelham and Niagara. Part of that communication involves my weekly / bi-weekly columns.

I began writing a column for our local newspapers in late-January 2007, shortly after I was first elected to serve as your mayor. I have also published it on a “blog” site – that I call an “online journal” – since April 2008 at www.pelhammayordave.blogspot.ca.

I am the only Niagara mayor who consistently writes a column. Each column takes me between 1.5 to 3.5 hours to write. To keep it to 425 words for the newspapers, I use much of that time researching and editing.

I also try to incorporate web links to supporting reports, maps, or video recordings so that the information can be as complete as possible.

How do I decide on a column topic? I write about what people ask me about or express concern about. Many columns are updates on progress or information about recent council decisions; many invite your participation in municipal matters.

Through the years, I have given advance notice of numerous special meetings and open houses, of special events, of upcoming council debates, and of construction projects.

I also write about regional issues – like Niagara Regional Police facilities, or about how to replace regional councillors, or about budget changes.

Some columns focus on federal or provincial matters. These include several columns about our successful work to convince the Ministry of Natural Resources to continue to protect the Fonthill Kame and about a proposed new Southern Hospital.

Finally, some columns appreciate the work of others – like our hundreds of committed and tireless volunteers – or are more light-hearted in nature.

The greatest numbers of my columns for you have been about budgets and property taxes – things like Council’s pre-budget consultations, capital and operating budgets, property taxes

and tax rates, and changes at the Province’s Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).

And there have been many more topics – like the town’s property at Rice Road and Regional Road 20, proposed new developments, and recreational and cultural issues – and many, many more columns – 266 to be exact!

I deeply appreciate the local media continuing to publish my column week after week. And, I appreciate you reading them and being part of a dialogue so that we can continue to work together to improve our beloved Town and Region.

You may contact Mayor Dave at mayordave@pelham.ca with questions or to suggest future topics. Check out links for documents and past columns at www.pelhammayordave.blogspot.ca