Open letter to PATC chair
I’d like to thank you, Bea Clark, and your entire Pelham Active Transportation Committee team for the tireless work in helping shape our community and upgrading the Steve Bauer Trail.
This trail has become a vital artery for students, pedestrians and cyclists. As an avid cyclist and walking enthusiast, it’s so nice to see that our community planners are thinking about the health and safety of our constituents.
For the last two years I’ve been pushing the idea of making Port Robinson Road and Station Street a designated “community safety zone,”regularly contacting our Town Council and my local council representatives. I’m a resident of Port Robinson Road and there has been noticeable population growth in this area of Pelham with many more residences to be built in the coming years. Therefore, planning for growth needs to include safely (transitioning) from our sidewalks to our trail system to our roadways.
As seniors, townspeople, and students begin to utilize these corridors to walk and cycle more frequently, community safety on the roadways of Port Robinson Road and Station Street needs to be reassessed. I have engaged our Town Council and started to share the frustrations of my neighbours — speeding on these roadways is a regular occurrence and it will only be a matter of time until a pedestrian/ cyclist will be struck by a vehicle.
Drivers are blatantly disregarding the speed limit and the stop sign at the intersection of the Steve Bauer trail and Port Robinson Road.
Speed controls must be put in place (period). Bicycle lanes must be widened to meet acceptable standards and brightly lined to safely separate riders from vehicular traffic (period). Street lanes must be narrowed to entice drivers to slow down in this residential area (period). Proposed street “C” where it intersects with Port Robinson Road must be built to allow for a safe and clearly constructed pedestrian crosswalk which should include a three way stop (period).
I hope that you will help advocate for these changes Bea, and stand with the residents of Port Robinson Road and Station Street!
Correcting some fundamental misreading
Janet Gritter’s letter [“Would criticism of Christian faith extend to Indigenous rituals?” Letters, Sept. 9, p.6] contains a few fundamental errors as to what I voiced in my previously published letter and I would like to respond.
First, I ask Ms Gritter to read my letter again and try to find any criticism of the Christian faith. There is none. My letter was a polite response to a column in the Voice written by Pastor Weatherby and my assertion that I can find happiness in my life without going to church. I want to make it clear that I’m fine with Ms Gritter attending her church; I simply don’t want to be told that it would be good for me to do so as well.
Secondly, Ms Gritter should realize that an opinion expressing views contrary to hers doesn’t automatically constitute a “rant,” nor does it amount to “politically correct tyranny.” Surely we can live and let live, and exchange differences in opinions civilly without attaching such pointless labels to contrary opinions.
Finally, I completely fail to see where Ms Gritter has gone with her references to Indigenous chiefs’ prayers, government funding for aboriginal language revival, and Jesuit Priests keeping records of native languages. This has absolutely nothing to do with my original letter.
Fear, faith, and COVID-19
In the September 9 edition of the Voice, a letter writer objects to a reader who found it amusing that Pastor Weatherby suggests that “church is good for you.” I have no doubt that “church is good for you.” The social isolation resulting from COVID-19 has made it clear that membership in an active social group is essential for mental health.
The writer then proceeds to make the extravagant unsubstantiated claim that, “in an era where fear has greatly enveloped the world the only known antidote to fear is faith. Full stop.” Faith, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “a strong belief in the doctrines of a religion based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.” I would suggest that fear in response to COVID-19 requires not faith but action. I put more trust in hand-washing, masks and social distancing than faith. This is my antidote, it reduces my risk and therefore my fear.
South of the border, mass rallies without masks and social distancing has resulted in the US leading the world in COVID-19 infections and death. The US has 5% of the world’s population and 20% of COVID-19-related deaths. Appropriate action, guided by science, would have prevented this outcome. There is no evidence that faith protects against infection.
As in many dangerous situations, the choice is between a passive reliance on faith, and proactive actions to ward off negative consequences. Shakespeare recognized this dilemma through Hamlet: “Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them.”
Wants to contact Good Samaritans
On Saturday, August 29, my motorcycle broke down on the Lincoln Bridge around 3 PM. Two males in their early 20s tried to fix the chain on my motorcycle, without success. They drove home to pick up their trailer, loaded my motorcycle, and then gave me a ride home. They left something here, which I wanted to give them back. Would it be possible for you to place this in your paper so I can give the item back to them?
Expand anti-speeding measures
What about Highway 20 between Pinecrest and Peach tree? Traffic coming up the hill is downright ridiculous. Speed limit of 50 km/ hr and most traffic is in the 70-80 range. A flashing yellow light or speed indicator is necessary here for sure. Just ask anyone attempting to turn left from Pinecrest, Hillcrest, and Peach tree.
Too many non-residents using dog park
I recently acquired a rescue dog and wanted to take her for a run at the off leash dog park. Because the dog is new and I am unsure of her social skills, I have been trying to take her for a run at the off leash dog park to let her run alone in the enclosure. This is to avoid potential conflicts until I am confident of her ability to interact with other animals.
Since Friday, when I received the dog after she was transported from South Carolina, I have tried to take her to the dog park. I have tried daily many times, from sun up to sundown, but it is always busy. So today I decided to ask people at the park where they live.
Not one person was from Pelham. Four were from Welland and the other ignored my question. A lady in attendance told me that this is a common occurrence.
Many people from neighbouring communities use this park daily. Do they pay taxes in Pelham as I do and have for 30 years? No, so why are they free to take over our dog park?
I walked around and noticed dog excrement all over the place as people are socializing at picnic tables and not paying attention to their dogs’ actions. I believe that this park should be for Pelham residents only as our taxes created it and maintain it. Signage needs to be erected to inform non-residents of this with the possible threat of a fine if caught using the park. Possibly the bylaw enforcement people could do periodic checks, issue a few fines and maybe these people will stay away. The fines issued could help supplement the cost of maintaining the park.
It is unfair that I cannot use this facility because non-residents have taken it over for their own usage. I just live up the road, also on Centre Street, and check it often. Always too busy. Their are many reasons why a dog may need to be alone for a run, old age is one of them. My recently deceased pet was never able to go there as she was too old to be bullied but still needed to run. I am asking that the Town address this issue.
Wake up, Ontario—use your masks!
Growing up in Ontario in the ‘30s, in the small town of Port Colborne as one of two daughters, I and my sister soon learned about rules and regulations. We knew they were enforced by our parents to keep us safe. Sometimes we didn’t like their rules and we thought about breaking them but we knew a strict punishment would occur. We would be grounded or our allowances taken away— meagre as they were in those days—so we followed their rules and stayed safe.
Over time we have faithfully followed rules at home, at school, and while we worked—seat belts, helmets, traffic signs, parking meters, texting limitations, smoking restrictions, drinking and not driving, these are only a few of the current guides we follow. Just as my sister and I were penalized for breaking our parents’ rules we are now fined if we break the rules set forth by our local, provincial or federal governments today. These rules are not issued to revoke your rights. They are meant for your protection and the protection of others.
Masks are no different!
They are worn now for a reason and a damned good one. Are you tired from all the nonsense from people who object to wearing a mask? I am!
In a country, in a province, in a town where brilliant people walk amongst us, how can so many be so unaware, so uninformed, so resistant?
During this pandemic, our law enforcers who make “the rules” need to make the wearing of masks indoors and in crowded areas mandatory, and fine those who choose not to follow the safety guidelines. I have ongoing health issues which make mask-wearing a bit tedious, but I wear my mask for others as well as myself. Masks may be a slight inconvenience but they may also save your life.
And now we’re seeing the impact of large, unmasked crowds. Give your heads a shake, Ontario. Stay away from large gatherings for now—mask it or casket. We hold our country’s future in our hands. Let’s all step up to the plate. You are never too young or too old to do the right thing.
S. M. Lazareth
COMMENTARY | Larry Coté
Accolades and alerts abound
Compared to other regions across the province, the Niagara Region has done a pretty fair job of fighting and controlling the COVID-19 virus. Certainly, Niagara has had some worrisome infections, but thanks to the frontline workers in the health system the infections, hospitalizations, and mortality rates are below some other jurisdictions across the country.
Having the chutzpah and capacities to challenge this terrible disease, it is only fitting and proper that the whole of Niagara acknowledge these heroes in the healthcare field with resounding applause and befitting accolades. Many individuals, businesses and organizations have acknowledged this heroism and it is hoped that the Regional government will somehow publicly acknowledge the grateful appreciation of all the residents of Niagara.
However, in doing so, the Region must reconfirm and widely promote measures necessary to to further contain the spread of this virus while opening up the Region to “Stage Three.” Each and every sector must avoid becoming complacent, letting its collective guard down and allowing this virus to spread its nasty ailments to any sector of the population.
As more and more people begin to leave their places of isolation they will likely be inclined to begin to practice near-normal behaviors and activities. Letting down the guard against the spread of this virus will certainly increase the volatility of the “second wave” medical professionals are predicting. To make matters worse, the arrival of this second wave will likely coincide will the onset of the annual flu season. The medical community believes these two coincident illnesses could overwhelm the health system. This potentiality need be widely publicized and the residents must keep up their guard until medical research develops an antiviral vaccine that will protect from the ravages of this awful virus.
There is another substantive reason why our entire collective must not let its guard down. Medical researchers are now discovering that this novel virus can have lasting and debilitating effects on those who contract and survive it. So again, this “novel” virus demonstrates another of its novelties by leaving survivors with lingering health deficits both physical and psychological. Recent evidence indicates this virus affects not just the lungs but other major organs throughout the body as well, including the heart and brain. At this point in the research the hope is that these after-effects are temporary and treatable and not permanent and untreatable.
So then, each and every Niagara resident might consider a couple of commitments. The first is to join a Region-wide chorus to express sincerest gratitude to the front-line healthcare and other workers who have literally saved many from the ravages of this terrible COVID-19 virus. Nothing less than resounding, standing-ovation type accolades hopefully promoted by our civic officials.
Secondly, civic leaders must continuously promote and enact measures that curtail the spread of this grievous virus and remind people that the community is not yet unassailable by this terrifying pandemic. Meanwhile: Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. ◆
PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin
COVID numbers tick up slightly in Niagara; garden beds delight
A significant number was reached in Canada on September 11, no deaths due to C19 were reported on that day—the first time this has happened since April. On the other hand, in Niagara, we have had two consecutive days of three new cases, dropping our days-to-double rate from over 600, to its current number of 329. The current effective reproductive number is at 1.7, which is well above the desired 1. The average number of cases hospitalized in the past seven days is zero.
To date, in Niagara, there have been 953 confirmed cases in a population of 448,000, which represents 0.21 per cent of the population.
Back in April—was that only five months ago? —Public Works brought a report to council outlining that the Department would need an additional $21,000 to plant and maintain the Town’s flower beds. With the possibility of a large deficit, brought on by the pandemic, council voted not to spend this money, but instead voted to have staff organize a competition that would involve community groups and residents stepping forward to plant and maintain the beds with the participants vying for prize money. The competition would be judged by the Town’s Beautification Committee over the Labour Day weekend.
Well folks, the judging has been completed. The winner, by the slimmest of margins, was 3rd Fonthill Scouting, shown above, with that group planting and maintaining the North Pelham Gateway sign. One of the leaders of the group, Kent Ratcliffe, informed me that over the course of the summer over 20 scouts had contributed time and love to the garden.
The order of finish of the other groups is: 2nd place went to the Pelham Garden Club for the Centennial Park flagpole; 3rd place finishers were the Meridian Fonthill group, who looked after the Peace Park garden; and rounding out the competition were Shawn Petlichkov and Daniel Kilmowicz, who were sponsored by Lookout Point, with the gardens at the front of Town Hall.
I took the time to visit all four locations on the weekend and I was amazed at the arrangement and beauty of the plants at all four locations. Great job everyone! Council and the residents thank you for making our town that much more attractive. ◆