Federico’s approach to cannabis growers not realistic
In his reaction to the recent Town charge against Leviathan for illegal growing at its site, Ward 1 candidate Mr. Federico suggests that we should aim to combat adversity between the Town and its cannabis industries, and that we should collaborate instead.
In an ideal world this makes sense, but we need to keep in mind that past collaboration between the cannabis industries and the Town’s former council and mayor (with a focus on development at any cost) brought us to the current situation.
We must keep in mind that the causes for negativity about cannabis operations can be laid at the industries’ own respective doorsteps. For example, CannTrust and RedeCan have shown an enormous disrespect for the residents living near them by failing to address serious odour issues. Leviathan’s and CannTrust’s illegal growing has shown lack of respect for the authority of the Town and the rights of the community. These behaviours are not conducive to earning the privilege of collaboration.
Rather, the onus should now be on the cannabis industries to do some major fence-mending. Then we can talk about collaboration.
Mr. Federico was in the running for my vote, but not anymore.
They came for a book signing
A book I have written
during this coronavirus
during my recovery
from cancer surgery
during my little sister’s death
during the hell we all
are living through.
But they came!
Dressed in their armour.
The car door opened and there they were
Mother and daughter
Tall and small
Masked and holding
bottles of sanitizers
Not guns or knives
Instead, their weapons
Beneath their masks
That they were smiling
And I, beneath my mask, smiled too.
Our masks are symbols of our LOVE
LOVE for each other
LOVE for our country
LOVE for our lives.
Pride in who we are
And so we bite
the proverbial bullet
Against a common enemy.
We are not provinces nor territories
We are not towns or cities or villages
We are not privileged
We are ONE.
We are CANADIANS.
We too are the “front line”
What we do matters!
So please remember…
The mask you wear, the distance you keep.
the hands you wash
You do it all…..for love.️
S. M. Lazareth
COMMENTARY / OP-ED Dennis Edell
Trucks and traffic‚ or a healthier Pelham?
It’s been almost four years since Sulphur Springs Road was closed due to a washout of Twelve Mile Creek. And while there is still access for residents on either side, trucks have not been able to cut through to the 406. Motorcycle groups no longer roar through the twisty back road on Sundays. And many of the road’s residents could not be more delighted.
In August the Town voted to approve a contract to reconnect Sulphur Springs Road where it crosses Twelve Mile Creek. When this idea came up last year we asked council to reconsider this option in favour of a much less expensive hike and bike option for reconnecting Sulphur Springs Road. We suggested including a small park at the former bridge site. And we even know of one sponsor who wants to be involved in creating the park.
Should council now decide not to reconnect the road it would create a year-round active transportation opportunity and a beautiful natural heritage site. It would importantly preserve the aquatic habitat of the Upper Twelve Mile Creek watershed. This is not just another stream with fish in it. In fact the headwaters of Twelve Mile Creek is Niagara’s most significant cold water resource. Home to a threatened population of native Brook Trout and other aquatic species, Upper Twelve Mile Creek represents a rich source of biodiversity, forests and fauna not found anywhere else in the Niagara Peninsula.
While the contractor may offer an “environmentally sensitive” design, the fact is any road option must carry the load of the heavy trucks that would use this road. Hardened construction materials needed to prevent another washout will disrupt a sensitive spawning area for Brook Trout, may create currents that increase sedimentation and aggravate property damage from flood incidents that are increasing each year. Whereas if we adopt the “soft” option of a hike and bike trail, we can use natural materials to gently divert the creek with minimal disruption of its natural course.
Council must now reconsider the road option. The Town needs to preserve what little is left of one of our natural ecosystems. A decision now not to re-open the road will save the Town money while protecting environmentally significant areas, water resources and systems that will foster and enhance local biodiversity into the future.
Let’s choose nature over traffic. A “Hike and Bike” option for Sulphur Springs Road offers a healthy alternative we can all enjoy and an all-season showcase of Pelham’s natural beauty. ◆
Dennis Edell is the president of the Niagara Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada. The Niagara Chapter manages Healthy Twelve Mile Creek (healthytwelvemilecreek.ca), a landowner stewardship project to restore and protect the Upper Twelve Mile Creek Watershed.
DSBN REPORT Nancy Beamer, Trustee
Board, staff working together to enhance school safety
It is a certainly a trying and confusing time for students, parents, staff, and trustees. As a board, we have been having online information sessions on a weekly basis. At these meetings, Director Hoshizaki fills us in on the details he is getting at his meetings with the Ministry of Education, the directors in other districts, and the Health Department. We tell him the concerns that our parents across the region are expressing, so yes, even though the actual staffing and procedure processes are being set by senior administration, trustees do have input on the decision making.
Class sizes are being finalized as the data from the return to school questionnaire has been analyzed and contact has been made with parents who did not complete the questionnaire. Until the final number of returning students for each school was tallied, principals could not figure out their classes or staffing. This has now been finalized and teachers have been given their class assignments. Teachers who did not feel comfortable returning to their physical classrooms have been given classes in the virtual online school.
All schools have been visited to assess how the spacing will be achieved. Depending on each school’s numbers, there may be a need to utilize gyms and libraries to make the spacing work. To help with distancing, schools have introduced new signage and directional markings, etc. Classrooms with no sinks are being equipped with sanitation stations. Each school has enough PPE on hand to last for six months and this will be replaced as needed. Extra cleaning staff has been hired to keep up with the new demands. Many church and community groups have offered the board the use of their buildings. While at this time we do not need the extra space, their offers are deeply appreciated. Communities working together—wonderful!
The online school will be very different from the way it was in the spring. Last March, the closure of the schools came as a shock to everyone. Students and teachers quickly had to relearn a whole new learning/teaching process. Everyone acknowledges that the approach was somewhat haphazard but everyone had to adapt. Some were better at it than others. Since then, we have had time to develop a comprehensive plan. Online summer school courses were a good opportunity to try out the new system and revamp areas that needed improvement. Students in these courses felt they received quality teaching and teachers were able to give feedback on what worked and what didn’t. The fall online school is based on this model. Students will be required to be online at certain times with their teachers and attendance will be taken twice a day, just like in the physical school. The teacher will teach a lesson while the students are online. If work is assigned, the student will not have to be online but if they have a question, the teacher will be available. There will be set breaks for nutrition and stretching, etc.
This will be a much more regulated approach to student learning with teachers who are well versed in online teaching. At this time approximately 5700 elementary students have opted for online learning.
Using social media and the board’s website of Frequently Asked Questions, we have tried to keep parents informed of new developments. Also, a parental information guide has recently gone out to parents. You can view the guide for both the online school and actual school on the DSBN website.
From September 2-5 teachers will be in their schools learning all the new health procedures that are being implemented. That way they can become familiar with the new daily routines and see if everything has been covered and make necessary changes before the students come back. Classrooms will certainly look very different. Rugs, couches and other soft material items have been removed. In most classes, there will no longer be groupings of desks. All desks will face forward and will be properly spaced to help contain droplet spread. Masks will be mandatory for students from Grades 4-12. The schools will be providing all students with two masks but children can also use ones from home and are encouraged to practice regular washing of masks. It has been suggested that students use lanyards to avoid dropping their masks or placing them on their desks. While the schools will not be supplying these, parents are encouraged to check around their houses to see if they have them on hand. These could also be made with things already in the home. A craft project?
As to health screening, the board has to follow the directive of the Health Department and they have been slow in finalizing a procedure. The Ministry finally sent the report out last week and all boards must abide by their direction. Schools have plans in place if a child/teacher gets sick at school and they will be able to provide a tracing of other people the student/ teacher has had contact with while in the school. After that, it is taken over by the Health Department.
We all understand how difficult and stressful the reopening of the schools will be. Children are very aware of the moods of their parents; if parents are upset or angry about the plans to return to school, children will pick up on this. Sitting down with your child, especially the younger ones, and calmly talking to them about how this year will be different will go a long way in reassuring them that this will be a safe and happy time. Hopefully, the number of COVID cases will continue to stay low and all our children, teachers and parents will stay safe and healthy and we can eventually put these drastic measures behind us. But until then, we must stay the course!
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have other concerns. 905-892-5280, or [email protected] ◆
PELHAM AND COVID-19 Mayor Marvin Junkin
With numbers remaining low, re-openings cautiously progress
With school openings in Niagara just days away, it is great to see COVID-19 numbers continuing to be low even as Stage 3 enters its third week. As of this writing we saw no new cases in Niagara, with an effective reproductive number at 0.4, well below the acceptable level of 1. Days to double is at its all time highest rate, 752.
Niagara District School Board is saying that 80% of its students have opted to return to the classroom, as opposed to continue learning by virtual means from home. This is hardly surprising as a big part of school is socializing with friends and interacting with each other.
A huge development on the COVID-19 front is the imminent approval by Health Canada of a saliva test for the virus which would augment the rather uncomfortable nasal test. The saliva test has already been approved for use in many southern US states, and with a 94 % conformity rate to the nasal test Health Canada is expected to follow suit very soon. The three main benefits of this test are that it is cheaper than the nasal test, it does not have to be administered by a healthcare worker, and one just has to spit into a container and send it to a lab. Contrary to current government policy, some experts think that any child with symptoms should be given a mandatory test to help prevent clusters. If saliva testing does indeed get approved in Canada, this level of testing does become feasible.
On the Town front, facilities continue to reopen with ever-evolving protocols in place. Effective last Friday, Town staff are no longer administering temperature tests to any person entering Town facilities. As of this writing staff will continue to ask the standard questions and gather contact information.
The fall reopening for the MCC is based on provincial guidelines for recreational facilities. Some highlights are: 50 people will be allowed on the ice at one time, and 50 spectators are allowed as long as they follow social distancing rules. Both arenas will have change rooms open with no showers. The walking track will be open with users having to make reservations, no running will be allowed. The track will be cleaned/ disinfected once a day. Also, as per provincial guidelines air dryers in the washrooms will be disabled with paper towels being used instead.
Proposed programming at this point in time is as follows: stick and puck programs, shinny, public skating, ladies learn to play hockey, senior learn to skate, return of Brock fitness, senior fitness, chair yoga, pickle ball, and some after-school programs for youth. The old Pelham Town Hall is scheduled for reopening, with safety rules developed by Town staff to be enforced.
With our continued low numbers in the Region it is great to see not only our facilities opening, but facilities throughout Niagara opening up, encouraging people to get back to their exercise regimes. Has COVID-19 left us? No, of course not, but by continuing to follow the recommended safety protocols there is no reason not to get on with this thing called life!
On the family front, our middle son Zach will be joining present-day explorer Adam Shoalts on a canoe trip in Labrador. Plans came together very suddenly and Zach is ecstatic to get this once-in-a-lifetime chance to join our locally raised adventurer on one of his trips. Good luck, boys! ◆