Thomas J. Crick, Aug 4, 1963-Feb 26, 2017

Tom would have been 57 years old on Aug. 4. In recognition of his birthday, we are donating $1000 to Pancreatic Cancer Canada in Tom’s memory. We are able to do this because of the generosity of everyone who purchased a Keith’s Pie Recipe Book from the additional printing.

As you can see from the picture, Tom was very happy baking those wonderful pies. However, the best part was coming out of the kitchen, two coconut cream pies in his hands, and hearing the reaction that he got from everyone in the coffee shop. He felt so good knowing he brought such delicious pleasure to so many people.

Thanks to all of you who have supported this effort.

Vilma Moretti
Fonthill

 

OP-ED | Larry Coté

Pandemic takeaways

There are many lessons to be learned from the COVID-19 outbreak. It is said that experience is the best teacher and one hopes society’s leadership will have learned these lessons well from the pandemic experience.

Among the most crucial lessons highlighted by this pandemic proved to be the inadequacies of the care system for seniors housed in long term care facilities (LTCs).

Lamentably, many succumbed to this virus that proved to be so frustratingly untreatable due to the medical professionals’ unfamiliarity with this novel viral strain. Unfortunately, the residents of both the private and not-for-profit LTCs were significantly over-represented among the victims who contracted the disease. And, due to the compromised health status of many of these seniors, the mortality rate was also much higher among all those who contracted the disease.

Such tragic statistics now reveal both the enormity of the problem and the urgency of the need for resolving the matter. This highly contagious virus burst through the inadequate infection barriers in Ontario nursing homes and, so far, has killed some 1,800 residents. Eight health care workers in these homes also died during the pandemic. Most notably, these numbers account for fully two-thirds of Ontario’s total death toll attributed to the virus.

According to the province’s Long Term Care Ministry, new infections continue to besiege the 626 nursing homes in Ontario. That ministry reports that 387 of these homes had outbreaks of the virus since the onset of the pandemic. Due to the severity of the outbreaks in some LTCs, the Ontario government directed nearby hospitals to assume the administration of these homes. In other cases, in a highly unusual move, the military took over the operations of some homes overwhelmed by the number of virus infections. Subsequently, the military reported on the abysmal conditions and shocking inadequacies they discovered.

Now for some positive news, thank goodness. The Ontario government announced the establishment of a commission to investigate the extraordinarily deadly effect COVID-19 has had on the residents of Ontario’s nursing homes. The panel chosen to lead this commission is comprised of highly qualified and experienced professionals, who are expected to specifically investigate how this virus decimated the province’s LTCs.

It is expected that this panel will look into a number of factors rumoured to contribute to the severity of the impact the virus had on nursing homes. Too many residents to a room, insufficient staffing, part time PSWs working in more than one home, inadequate staffing levels, and a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) are just some of the factors thought to contribute to the vulnerabilities of the nursing homes.

As a result of this panel’s investigations, one might expect the commission to propose remedies to rectify the shortcomings of the province’s malfunctioning LTC system. An even more pivotal expectation is for the provincial government to implement these recommendations as quickly as possible. Our seniors deserve better, and this might well be the start of that amelioration process.

 

OP-ED | Gary Accursi

A few midsummer thoughts

The Region of Niagara and the province recently mandated masks in indoor spaces and anywhere that two meters of separation is not possible. Many have pushed back at this concept as an infringement of our rights and freedoms. On a certain level, I guess that it is, but at times our freedoms are trumped by a greater good. Experts have told us over and over that the primary vector for the spread of COVID-19 is air droplets. They have also told us that there are folks who are either asymptomatic carriers or whose symptoms are so slight that they are easy to ignore. Masks have been shown as a simple way to stop the spread of these airborne particles from such individuals. Thus by wearing masks we are protecting the most vulnerable. We are giving up a modest right for the greater good. The controversy reminds me of the debate when seatbelts were made mandatory. There were huge debates, but at the end of the day giving up a small right ended up saving a great number of lives.

Cannabis

At last we have a series of changes to the Official Plan and zoning bylaws designed to help protect the community against unscrupulous or uninformed operators of cannabis growing operations. Are these changes perfect? Will they stop the emergence of new operations or the growth of existing operations? Not really, but what they will do is provide the local community with some degree of oversight—and, when coupled with the noxious odour bylaw, some degree of teeth for enforcement. It has been a sad story. The feds and the province were all too quick to jump on the cannabis bandwagon. Whether it was for a vision of rapid tax grabs or as an appeal for votes in the various elections is unknown, but despite numerous experts advising to take their time and to put the appropriate oversight in place they charged ahead. The net result was that the proverbial ball was dropped into the local municipalities’ laps. The net result is that the local municipalities had to spend time and money to try and develop new legislation to protect their community. I congratulate the local Cannabis Control Committee for their dedication and hard work to develop what the council has recently enacted. Does it satisfy everyone? Not likely, but I believe the changes are reasonable, well-thought-out, and more importantly defensible in court. I am interested to see if a challenge will be mounted by the industry either at the LPAT or at the court level.

Short Term Rentals

This is another touchy issue and another issue that the feds and province decided not to get embroiled in. Local municipalities were again left to grapple with a disruptive industry which definitely impacts local communities. Airbnbs and short-term rentals are now recognized as legitimate industries and they exist around the world. Many small communities up until recently had only been touched by this movement in a very small way, with little or no impact, and as such their planning documents were inadequate to deal with the issues that have arisen in recent times. I believe that the recent bylaw changes in Pelham will help alleviate some of the issues and again give some level of oversight and enforcement powers to the Town. Is it perfect? Does it satisfy everyone? The answer of course is no, but it is a good first step which can be tweaked as the Town moves forward in the process. Again I will be interested to see if anyone will challenge this in court or before the human rights tribunal as an infringement of their rights to deal with their property.

By-election

Wow. Seven candidates have declared for the Ward 1 by-election. Absolutely terrific. Congratulations to all of you! It has been debated if a by-election should have been called or if an appointment should have been the order of the day. I think council made the right decision despite the challenges of mounting an election in the middle of a pandemic. I have no doubts that our Clerk, Nancy Bozzato, and her team are up for the challenges. Given the amount of time remaining in the current term, I believe the decision to hold a by-election is totally justified. This decision reinforces one of the tenets of a democracy: the ability to hold open and free elections.

Having seven candidates, all with diverse backgrounds, ideas, and points of view, affords the residents of Ward 1 a wide range of choice. Whether the candidate lives in the ward or not is totally irrelevant. They all are citizens and have met the requirements to qualify as a candidate. Remember that once elected, they represent the interests of the whole town not just their ward. It is far better to look at the skills, background, ideas and experiences that each candidate brings to the table and base a decision on those characteristics. Ask what the current council needs are to facilitate them carrying out their role. To me there are several overriding needs with this council. I will be looking for a candidate who has the ability to create consensus and to work with groups with very strong opinions. In addition, I think we need someone who brings a strong voice in support of the volunteer advisory committees and the Town senior staff. Someone who can bring these assets to the table will facilitate this council moving forward cohesively to accomplish positive things for the community.

Lastly, with regard to the by-election, I want to point out that another very important principle of a democracy is participation by the public. Typically, voter turnout for by-elections is very poor. Don’t let this happen in Ward 1. Get involved, ask your questions, take the time to consider the issues, and above all take the few minutes needed to vote on Election Day. Your active participation ensures the success of our democracy. Remember if you don’t vote, don’t complain—you got the government you voted for.

Passing of Bill Sheldon

I was very saddened to learn of the passing of Bill Sheldon. I met Bill 15 years ago when he and I served on the Downtown Beautification Committee. I remember being taken aback by this gregarious, opinionated individual who had no hesitation in expressing his opinion. I soon came to learn that Bill was a committed citizen volunteer with a great deal of knowledge and experience and a passion for his community. We became good friends and subsequently served together on the Community Centre Oversight Committee, where his knowledge of construction and construction management were invaluable. He soon earned the respect of all who were involved. He contributed greatly and helped bring the project in on time and under budget. Bill also brought his passion to the Summerfest Committee and to the Committee of Adjustment. In addition he worked tirelessly on the design and planning for the return of the Pelham Arches. He was recently awarded a Peer Award at the Volunteer Recognition Night for his work in the community.

Bill’s passion and commitment, his outspokenness, his knowledge and his robust laugh will be sorely missed by those who knew him and worked with him. To his family I would like to extend my sincerest condolences and a great big thank you for sharing Bill with us all. Pelham was made better by his presence and contributions, and I can’t help but feel that we are all a little poorer for his loss. I will miss you, my friend!

Former Pelham Town Councillor and mayoral candidate Gary Accursi spent two terms on council representing Ward 2.

 

PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin

Thirty-minute wait a good sign

With the new masking bylaw now in effect, everyone will be watching closely the Niagara Region’s Health page, which lists the latest C-19 numbers. Too early of course to be attributed to the bylaw, it is good to see zero new cases for Saturday, Aug 1, and only five the day before.

With the majority of cases now occurring in the 29-39-year-old age bracket, hospitalized cases of C-19 in Niagara remain at zero. These are great numbers, although we have only been one week at Stage 3, with its increased business openings, and increased outings by the general population.

It is great to see the town’s restaurants doing a healthy outdoor patio business. While out and about last Thursday evening I came across one patio which had a 30-minute wait time for a table.

The Town’s recreation facilities continue to run smoothly, with both rinks at the MCC now open. Basketball has started up with an evening programme, so that daycamp users have left the building before the basketball players arrive. This is essential so that the Town can still keep the overall number of people in the community centre below the provincially regulated number of 50.

With the increased revenue from the ice rinks, along with reduced incurred expenses, Town staff are projecting a C-19- related deficit of less than $700,000, down from the approximately $850,000 that was previous estimated.

The federal government has released $4 billion dollars to the province of Ontario, which is to be distributed to the 444 municipalities in Ontario. Town staff and councillors are anxiously waiting to hear what Pelham’s share will be.

Nominations for candidates wishing to be elected councillor in Ward 1 closed on Friday at 2 PM. Seven residents have thrown their proverbial hats into the ring. With this many candidates, it should be an interesting summer for Ward 1 residents. I wish all candidates the best!

On the farm front, our wheat harvest is complete, with a great yield received. With below-average rainfall during June and July in our neck of the woods, wheat has proven once again that it likes hot, dry summer days…don’t we all!