Please include rural Fenwick in moth spray program

I would like to bring awareness to how bad the gypsy moth infestation is in the Ward 1 area. We followed all the recommendations on how to treat the trees with caterpillars but we are losing the battle. We have over 30 mature trees on our property, there is no way we can reach the larvae.

It is so awful that we cannot sit outside to enjoy our garden. From driving around this area, I can see it is not just our property.

Can our Town Council please include us in rural Fenwick to be part of the spray program in 2021?

It will just get worse and worse each year until we lose all of our trees.

We should be outside enjoying summer right now, not stuck inside due to the infestation of moths. Thank you.

Paula Clifford
Fenwick

Axe not what your Legion can do for you, but rather…

It is fair to say that many of us these days could use a chance to do something good, to help those around us. The Royal Canadian Legion on Highway 20 in Fonthill has been doing just that, and now they need our help. Toni and her team of selfless volunteers have been providing meals to those in need since the beginning of the lockdown. 7000 meals to be exact, that’s 53 meals a day since we went into COVID hibernation!

Here is where they have run into a problem—the hood in the kitchen has broken down and needs to be replaced. A new hood is $10,000. This is where myself and two fellow axe throwers, backed by the Niagara axe throwing community, decided to do something about it. We are hosting an axe throwing tournament to raise as much of the money as we can for the replacement hood. Due to the ample size of their patio and inside space, we are able to host a tournament where everyone can stay socially distanced.

Here is where you come in. We are looking for two things from the community that Toni’s team continues to support. We are asking for support from local business in the form of door prizes. Using their event hall as a staging area we will be conducting an open-to-the-community raffle, keeping pandemic safety in mind. Second is an invite to join the tournament or stop by the Legion on August 15 and enter the raffle, or the 50/50. You could even stay and have an ice-cold pint on a socially distanced patio and watch a match or two. Lunch is available for $10!

The tournament is on August 15 starting at 11 AM. The throwing starts at 12:30. All proceeds— after the cost of insurance and wood —are going directly to the Legion.

Finally the fun COVID stuff: We are still dealing with a pandemic, and like it or not we need to do this responsibly. When people are not throwing they will be be six feet away from anyone not in their bubble. Conveniently there are ample tables on the patio distanced appropriately.

When throwing, we have spaced the targets so they will be six feet apart from their competitor. If the axes land in a way that retrieving them will stop them from being able to distance properly, they will take turns retrieving their axe.

If your business is able to donate, or you are interested in more info, please email us at [email protected] or Jamie Treschak directly at [email protected]

Jamie Treschak
Pelham

Young partygoers, are you listening?

Friends, Canadians, countrymen and women, lend me your ears. I come to bury COVID, not to praise it.

I have given great thought to the contents of this letter. I will use the strongest weapons that I have to reach the ones who hold my fate within their grasp, the only weapons that I have to fight this insidious virus and those who do not care. The weapons are my words and my memories. So this letter is for all our young and old Canadians, much younger than I at nearly 88, but not too young to understand the power they have to control the outcome of this “war” we all are waging. They hold my future and yours in their hands.  Now memories take me back to another time, and other young people. World War 11 has begun, and two very young men—my cousins, Frank Rogers, 19, a star athlete at Port Colborne High School and his older brother, Lennie, 21, recently married to Beverley—sign up to become fighter pilots in the R.A.F. and to travel to Europe to fight for Canada, their home and native land. They wanted to defend our borders and maintain our freedom against a foreign enemy. Our town was proud of these courageous young men. But my cousins were never to return from war. Both Frank and Lennie were killed in active duty, Frank, April 12, 1943, age 19, in the night sky over Britain during a training session, and Lennie, nearly 22, with his crew of eight, on a night mission to Hamburg, shot down by a German fighter plane, somewhere at sea. These two young Canadians sacrificed everything! Their parents, Ted and Ethel, sacrificed two sons. Ethel became a Silver Star mother and lived until 92 without her sons by her side. Her daughters were without their brothers, a young wife, Beverley, without her loving husband. The boys’ dad, Ted, died just as the war ended. Our family knew his loss was just too much to bear. He had served with his own father and brother in the First World War, and knew full well how many willingly sacrificed everything they had to give.

What are we asked to sacrifice in this subtle war we now are fighting?

What we are asked to do is simple and may SAVE many lives—wearing masks, washing our hands, keeping a socially safe distance from others, and importantly USING SELF CONTROL. I ask you once again…Do You Care? Are you willing to sacrifice a brief time in your life for the good of so many? Is this generation as stoic as mine once was? What are you willing to sacrifice for others? Do you care? Will you reply to my letter? My words may seem harsh but I believe they ring true. The fate of our world may be left up to you.  

S. M. Lazareth
Fonthill

Readers react to Kenyon diversity call

Editor’s note: Of the five Ward 1 candidate interviews the Voice has run so far, none received as much reader feedback than that of Colleen Kenyon, the retired teacher and Fonthill resident who arrived as a transplant from Kitchener-Waterloo in 2018. Drawing particular notice was Kenyon’s opinion that racial and cultural diversity are “sadly lacking in Pelham.”

Good ideas, but she has to understand that this is a community of 17,000 people, not 100,000. She also said something about how this town has a much older population. Everything she talked about is for a big city, a very big city. We can’t do all this fantasy about doing all kind of things for this or that group of people. The truth about this town is we are small and we do have a certain percentage of older people. That’s not against the law. We pay taxes, we chose this town to live in. And if she wants to bring all those changes, my advice is [move to a] bigger city. Our main street has couple of restaurants, a gelato place, and couple of shops. That should be enough for her to see that she are dealing with really small town.

Gordana Cica Laban
Via Facebook

Oh, brother. It’s about being more inclusive. We just moved here three years ago and sorry to say this but it is very white here. We could do with more cultural diversity. Just my opinion.

Cathy Thompson
Via Facebook

Who moves into a neighbourhood and says, “We need more <insert skin colour> people here”?

We’re a community of people who live here and work here and shop here and learn here and play here. We are who we are. I love that Colleen sees us as a place where agricultural refugees can live and work and shop and learn and play as well. If they want to integrate into the community, that’s great! We definitely could use more skilled farm labour.

I don’t think it’s a matter of being more culturally diverse, though. It’s a matter of allowing people to live with other people where they fit and are needed.

Wanda Bolhous
Via Facebook

Appreciates efforts by all related to cannabis bylaw

My husband and I watched the live streaming of the July 13 council meeting, where the new cannabis bylaw was passed unanimously.

The development and approval of these comprehensive and ahead-of-the-pack regulations did not happen by serendipity; they are the result of several factors:

– The philosophy of our Mayor Marv Junkin to be proactively open to community input;

– The formation of the Cannabis Control Committee, that included community members, Councillors and staff, working together;

– The exceptional and informed leadership of Dr Tim Nohara, PhD, Chair of the CCC;

– Council for providing financial resources for getting the support requested by the CCC;

– All members of the CCC for the many hours of time spent on this endeavour, and especially to the late Councillor Mike Ciolfi for the dedication he showed in his role.

This open and collaborative process makes us feel fortunate to live in Pelham.

Earl and Tillie Clapp
Fenwick, ON

“Wild west” at quarry

Just by watching the video of the recent Wainfleet Council meeting, the NPCA delegation presentation and the following discussion on Council, there was absolutely no sign of anyone, Township or NPCA, with a single plan to tackle anything. That item on the agenda ended up with both Wainfleet Council and the NPCA agreeing what a great job they were all doing without offering a single solution.

Whilst COVID-19 may have be an additional factor, to pretend it is somehow a new problem that Wainfleet has not faced before is no more than a rather pathetic excuse by those elected to protect the best interests of the residents who they supposedly represent.

Wainfleet Township Council, the NPCA board, both are looking for someone else to blame and whether it is visitors or Wainfleet residents the “solutions” they come up with will likely not work and as usual it will be the Wainfleet taxpayers who are expected to pay for it with increased taxes.

The real Wainfleet “wild west” is an elected council, who, having promised during the last elections to protect Wainfleet’s agricultural and rural character, have totally sold out to their planners and any developer out there who will come into Wainfleet and build.

There is no difference between visitors who contribute nothing to Wainfleet and leave only garbage, and developers, who are encouraged by Wainfleet’s planners and council to see Wainfleet as just one huge potential building lot from which they can profit.

Provincial policy and the updated Niagara Region Official Plan states that Wainfleet can sustain a maximum of 16 new single residences per year from now until 2041.

With a provincial maximum of 16 single family residences per year in Wainfleet just how many are currently approved and being built in Wainfleet today?

Andrew Watts
Wainfleet

Going, going, gone

Just when we thought the worst of the long-running reconstruction of Pelham Street was ending (i.e., the road was paved, the sidewalks laid and the landscaping had begun), we awoke last Tuesday to the dreaded sound of chainsaws. Quickly scurrying over to Pelham Street, I saw to my shock and horror white “X’s” marked on two old-growth maple trees and a crew in the process of taking one of them down. These dreaded X’s had seemingly appeared overnight, as we had been more closely observing the trees of Pelham Street since another old growth maple had been taken down several months earlier due to the reconstruction (as referenced in my recent letter to the editor). We assumed that was it for the tree takedowns. Boy, were we wrong!

My immediate calls to the Town went unanswered and despite leaving messages seeking an explanation for this action none was received that day; this in the hope of at least temporarily halting this destruction pending a full explanation for it.

The tree service supervisor, who was up in the bucket taking down the first tree, kindly agreed to come down to talk to me. When asked, he advised they were retained by the road construction contractor to remove these trees and he understood the Town had approved this action. He did not know the precise reason for the removal, though ventured it was likely due to the amount of root damage done to these trees during construction. I asked him how he could know that for sure and he could not say, since I noted the new road was paved and the sidewalk had been poured for some weeks now. I kindly asked if he would refrain from further cutting these trees pending my receiving an explanation from the Town. He said he could not. I asked him what was his opinion of the health of these trees. The tree he was cutting had some dead spots in its crown so it might be on its way out. He opined the other tree looked perfectly healthy. I asked him if he had previously taken out the old growth maple mere metres from these trees and he affirmed he had. When I asked him about the health of that tree he advised it was healthy in his opinion (which was what we had observed after seeing that tree cut up).

I received a call back from a Town official on Wednesday. An explanation was provided, with the primary reasons for removal being the amount of damage done to the tree roots during water pipe installation (and it was an arborist’s purported opinion this would lead to the untimely death of these trees and a resultant safety/liability issue), along with a homeowner’s request for removal due to visual hindrance when exiting their driveway (which had reportedly been negatively altered due to the road construction).

Calls were made to Councillors Kore and Wink. What was the big hurry for taking down these trees? After all, the trees have only been there for a hundred-plus years, and we are aware the homeowners in question have lived at this residence for many years.

In discussion with the Town official along with Councillors Kore and Wink, it became apparent that there is no formal process available to Town residents to question and/or contest this kind of action. All agreed that the Town’s April 2016 tree policy is very inadequate and definitely needs to be changed. The Town official advised this revision needed to be done within the context of the Climate and Sustainability initiative the Town has been undertaking. We couldn’t agree more! Interestingly, in reading over the Town’s Climate and Sustainability webpage not one mention is made of the word “trees.” Many “assets” of the Town as related to sustainability are listed, but trees don’t make the list. That needs to change.

Interestingly enough, the Town’s tree policy currently reads: “Tree removal decisions by the Town are carefully calculated, as the preference is ALWAYS to maintain and enhance the tree canopy.” Well in this case, ALWAYS wasn’t ALWAYS! Councillor Wink advised that the Town’s tree planting history is very poor, noting that for every tree removed two are to be planted. Following the Haist Street reconstruction undertaken several years ago, where 100 trees were removed, he asked me to guess how many trees were replanted. I guessed 50. Turns out I was too high by 47 trees.

I cannot rule out the possibility that the Town’s explanation for removal of these trees may have been reasonable. However, we know little about how the Town arrived at this decision and there was no opportunity to review/question this. At the table were the homeowners who made the request for removal (and their representative) along with Town employees, but no one from concerned citizenry. Who spoke for them—who spoke for the trees? Clearly no one!

Councillors Kore and Wink stated they would ensure that the Town’s tree policy will be fully reviewed and updated in the months ahead. The Town official advised me that this was now part of his mandate and he expected to complete this work by early next year. I requested that a strong mechanism be put in place for citizens to be officially notified regarding decisions about Pelham’s tree canopy. This should include not only input but good-faith discussion and negotiation (which could include the option for a second professional opinion—we would have considered paying for an independent arborist’s report in this case had we been given half a chance). We will closely monitor what transpires in this regard, with the sincere hope that what has recently transpired on Pelham Street and Station Street will not be repeated. We fully expect that proposed revisions to Pelham’s tree policy will be open for public review and discussion.

Finally, my wife and I reflect upon and are grateful for the nearly 40 years that we have walked by these now absent trees on Pelham Street, comforted by the shade they cast on a hot summer day, our son hugging one as he learned to walk, their resilience in withstanding the winds of winter, bending but never breaking, awestruck by the beauty of their changing autumn leaves, let alone for the tons of CO2 they have sequestered over their lifetime. We encourage you to reflect about the trees in your and/or your family’s life, and what meaning and emotion you might attach to them. If these trees matter to you, then let us ensure this Town treats them with the care and respect they deserve.

Graham Pett
Fonthill

OP-ED | Larry Coté

Unmasking the masking dilemma

Within the Niagara Region, to mask or unmask is no longer a question. The wearing of masks in enclosed public places and riding public transit is now the law. Most people will perceive the bylaw to be a reasonable measure to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus that has reached pandemic proportions globally.

Prior to the adoption of this bylaw many in the community voluntarily adopted mask-wearing to help curtail the spread of the virus not only among their immediate family and social circles but also the wider community. According medical professionals, wearing masks, frequent hand washing and social distancing greatly contributed to flattening the rate of infection wherever such measures were regularly practiced.

Regional Chair Jim Bradley, in a media briefing about the bylaw said, “As we move into Stage 3, it is more important than ever that we take precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. I am confident that Niagara residents understand that wearing a mask means they are good neighbours and considerate of those in the community.”

And that brings to mind those few citizens who resist the wearing of masks and might resist compliance with this new bylaw. Frankly stated, they are unwitting about the benefits of a mask and such abstinence is grossly inconsiderate of their fellow citizens. Excuses for not wearing a mask don’t hold water and serve to spread this terrible disease. Most of the masks in use do not prevent one from being infected but rather help prevent spreading the disease to others. What rationale would be acceptable to explain why one would contribute to making others in the community sick, or even die, by such irreverently incautious and egocentric thinking?

Perhaps some of these unmasked egotists might give some thought to their contribution to the enormity of the consequences associated with the second wave of this pandemic. It is predicted to begin in early fall. Economists and health care professionals predict that it could be as bad, or even more devastating than, the initial stage. The enormity of its impact is largely dependent on measures taken to control and degrade the current pandemic. This second wave, in the absence of a vaccine, could wreak unimaginable havoc on all aspects of the economy and society.

In efforts to lessen the impact of this first wave governments have expended billions of dollars in support payments of all sorts. If, as predicted, the second wave is anywhere near the severity of the first, then what might be the government’s capacity to continue such bailouts? Can the exhausted healthcare system withstand another onslaught like, or worse than, the first? Will businesses, large and small, be able to continue to borrow beyond their credit limits and abilities to repay? Will the unemployed find work?

Perhaps those who resist wearing masks might respond more reasonably to the threats they, and their fellow citizens, are facing by complying with measures to rescue the community from the claws of this pandemic.

 

PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin

Regional Council mask vote was the right decision—for now

Last Thursday night, Regional Council passed, almost unanimously, a mask bylaw for the Region. Anyone entering a public building after July 31 within the Region must be wearing a mask.

The fine, if issued, would be $1,000.

The NRPS have already stated that they do not have the resources to enforce this bylaw, leaving the task of enforcement to either Regional bylaw enforcement, of which there are seven, or to area municipal bylaw staff.

I have always been reluctant to pass this bylaw for this very reason. Without the manpower to enforce this bylaw, it becomes a suggestion. I am afraid that there will be confrontations between pro-mask people and people not wearing a mask. It must be remembered by everyone that the bylaw allows exemptions to anyone with a medical condition that prohibits the wearing of a mask and also to anyone with a disability that keeps them from correctly putting a mask on their face. At no time do either of these groups have to provide proof of same. Also the bylaw does not apply to children under five years old. The bylaw, unless reviewed by council, will end October 1.

The days leading up to the vote saw councillors inundated with emails from both sides stating studies that provided evidence that their side was right, and the other side was out to lunch. Many emails were from practicing medical doctors, mostly from the Toronto area. The doctors were adamant in their beliefs that the masks were very effective when people were in close contact with one another, with no room for social distancing. It was their testimonials that swayed my vote to the yes side, along with a small peak in numbers of cases that occurred last weekend. If the overall average numbers remain low during the next 60 days of Stage 3, I will be very reluctant to vote for renewing the bylaw past October 1.