A banner year

We wish to thank our partner, the Town of Pelham, for a job well done. Our new banners depicting veterans from Pelham were placed last week along Wellspring Way at the community centre— eight new banners with 16 veterans. The banners on South Pelham were placed last week.

We had to retrieve our new banners from Alberta— a slight mix up— but the Town was ready when they finally arrived home. Many thanks to Leah, Dave, and the Fire Department for a job well done.

New applications for veteran banners are now available— sponsorships are $185, at Town Hall and at the Legion.

Rick Hatt, Legion 613
Fonthill

Want fresh? Forget the supermarket.

Thank you, Mr. Wright, for highlighting an important issue regarding the availability of fresh fruit in Niagara’s greenbelt [“Buy Niagara, buy fresh—but buyer beware,” Letters, Oct. 28, p.4]. I am here to tell you not to give up hope as here at Duffin Appleworks we are truly “farm to table” and have the 100 acres of fruit to back up this claim. We grow our own apples, and not only do we sell what is in season but take care to pick each variety at its optimum peak of readiness and taste. We do not pick to ship but rather pick to eat!

I often have people come into our store asking for an apple that they have seen at one of the establishments that you refer to in your letter. I explain to the customer that this particular variety is not ready yet and we will not pick them prematurely, as all of our fruit is tree-ripened without any chemical assistance to do so. People taste the difference throughout the season, starting with the first picking of the Paula Red apples at the end of August to the final picking of Idareds in late October. By the way, did I mention the honeycrisp in between?

Our orchards start directly behind the market—no smoke and mirrors, just doing things naturally, as nature intended. Mr. Wright, I invite you to come to Duffin Appleworks and we will give you one of our apples grown from our farm as I do for all of our customers as they sample our latest picking. Like a fine wine, we pick no apple before its time!

Kim and Bill Duffin
Real Farmers, Real Food

Wishes hunters would hunt elsewhere

In this 2020 there is definite need for change to what is allowed in the hunting world in the built-up area of Pelham and Wainfleet by O’Reilly’s Bridge.

Hunting along the river should not be available to hunters anywhere along its course where residences back onto it.

Killing geese and ducks in the Welland River is not hunting in my estimation. Real hunters are macho men who travel miles and miles by vehicle and go deep, deep into the woods and their violent sounding rifles and guns awaken no unsuspecting fowl-loving and respecting persons.

So a hunter with no property to hunt on, or a hunter with property to hunt on but who prefers to expand their killing fields, contacts a local landowner farmer and seeks permission.

Permission secured, that is that. Off they go, early morning, and before the geese and ducks try to settle in.

Real sportsmanship. The hunters have no consideration for households that are victims to their blasting and care not if those households are housing sick people, elderly people, young mothers up half the night with young babies.

There is nobody out there policing how many geese and ducks they are bagging, and I personally tend not to believe they are being eaten, as they claim.

I plan to check with the Conservation Authority regarding the hunting on the river.

What right do hunters have to kill the geese and ducks even though they have their almighty licence and permits, which is just a money grab for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, or Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks? Seriously, why am I as a person who deeply appreciates these birds being denied by some hunters I have never met? As a taxpayer here for many years, I resent hunters just barging into my backyard. At the least, hunters should be made to contact neighbourhoods, not just one landowner.

There are many people against the hunting taking place in this now built-up area, though they stay quiet—but hunters, the feelings towards you are still there.

The geese loved their natural way of spending most of their days relaxing on the river up until the nasty guns came along. The geese would seek inland protection and then rightfully so farmers feared for their crops, but this was brought on by hunters. Hunters who say they are doing nature a favour by sticking their oar in — well you are not.

In fact you are making it worse for all.

I want the geese back in the river where they belong, and you, Mr. Hunter, back at where ever you came from, and leave us all in peace. We are taxpayers here and you are not.

Faye Suthons
Welland

 

COMMENTARY | Diana Huson, Niagara Regional Councillor

Regional Council reduces COVID-related deficit to $5.3 million

Can you believe it’s November already? I’m not sure what happened to October but if you had the chance, I hope you were able to visit some of Pelham’s most beautiful natural spaces to view the fall colours at their peak.

I’m a big fan of the St. John’s Conservation Area, the Gerry Berkhout Trail, and our newly paved Steve Bauer Trail. I’ve found that getting outdoors is a great way to get a bit of exercise and also some fresh air. Being outdoors has been proven to contribute to lifting your mood and lowering anxiety. Knowing how difficult the last eight months have been, even for me, it’s important to do things that contribute positively to your mental health. I hope all of Pelham’s citizens are in good health at this challenging time.

At the Region, our financial team has been closely tracking the COVID-19 financial impact in preparations for our upcoming budget development. The net cost of the pandemic to the Region is currently $35.9 million dollars. However, in undertaking a number of cost mitigations, and in redeploying some resources, staff were able to reduce our deficit to $5.3 million dollars. We have already received funding from the Province to help with this shortfall, and are also expecting to apply to an additional funding stream for municipalities to help mitigate further COVID-19 budget pressures. Staff are anticipating further costs relating to prevention and containment of COVID-19, especially with regards to managing our long-term care homes, emergency services and public health, so it will be important to be mindful of how these costs are incurred and their potential impact on our upcoming budget.

The 2021 budget should get final approval by January. The proposed capital budget largely focuses on investing in infrastructure renewal and responsible growth. The Region currently owns and operates over $7 billion in infrastructure assets, including roads, bridges, water and wastewater facilities, which need to be maintained on an ongoing basis. This year our infrastructure gap was identified at $1.1 billion dollars, hence investments have been made to reduce this gap as a priority for the upcoming year.

Additionally, a significant commitment has been requested to support the development of a new south Niagara Falls water and wastewater treatment plant. Development of this facility will help offload demand on some of our existing water and wastewater facilities, while providing additional capacity to support the growth of an estimated 97,000 people and jobs throughout St. Catharines, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls and Thorold. The Region will be looking for infrastructure funding support from upper levels of Government and anticipates construction to begin in 2025. The Province has set Niagara’s growth numbers at a population of 674,000 by 2051, so this will be an important project to help us plan for our future.

There has also been an important change to our woodland bylaw. This bylaw regulates good forestry practices pertaining to woodlots of one hectare or greater. In addition to updating the bylaw to address and remove some important gaps, enforcement of the bylaw will move from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) to the Region as of January 31, 2021. The NPCA has been, and will continue to be, an important partner in addressing these responsibilities. However, this change will allow the NPCA to focus on the work needed to maintain and update our conservation areas.

The Region is currently developing a new official plan, which will include a component on natural heritage. So, in this regard, it will be important for the Region to build capacity pertaining to environmental policy and protection capabilities. Please keep an eye out for opportunities to provide public feedback on aspects of the new official plan, currently in development. Public feedback is essential to ensuring that our policies best reflect the needs and interests of our communities.

Finally, as you are most likely aware, our new waste collection services took effect on October 19. As a result, garbage collection has been reduced to once every two weeks, with recycling and organics continuing on a weekly basis. This change was made for a number of reasons. Firstly, the costs of garbage collection had increased, which meant taxpayers would have paid more for the same level of services. But more importantly, our waste diversion rates, being the percentage of waste not going into a landfill, had levelled off at 56 percent. We’re hoping these changes will help increase diversion rates and preserve landfill space for items that can’t be recycled or composted. It can also help reduce our impact on climate change. If you haven’t done so, I highly recommend downloading the Niagara Region Waste app, which specifies your collection dates and what items are picked up when.

I hope everyone had a healthy and safe Halloween! Please remember to participate in a moment of silence this Remembrance Day to recognize our veterans and the sacrifices they made on behalf of this great country and our citizens.

 

PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin

Science evolves—listen to the experts, not the politicians

The hardest part that political authorities have in trying to control this pandemic is that on any one aspect of this event, there are usually three or four prominent scientists taking opposite positions on courses of action. It is hard to believe now, but at the beginning of this pandemic most western public health officials were not advocating masks, even when at that time, eastern countries such as Korea were insisting that their usage was a big part of their plan to control the virus. By the time we were two months into the pandemic, most, if not all jurisdictions in North America were recommending their use, if social distancing were not possible.

Now of course, in Ontario, like many other areas in Canada, you must use a face covering in public indoor spaces.

In B.C., that province has so far resisted calls to make masks mandatory, although a family doctor in Burnaby B.C. is asking for a court injunction to require the practice. A sister of mine, who is 78 years of age, and who lives close to Nelson, B.C., was recently telling me that on a shopping trip to that town, she was the only one in the stores wearing a mask. Of course, it could be argued that by its geographical distance from any large city, Nelson is in its own “bubble.” It will be interesting to see if indeed the province does go to mandatory mask wearing.

On the Town front, at Monday night’s council meeting I will have presented a motion that, if passed by the majority of council, will instruct Town staff to do a technical review of all aspects of the Rice Road, Highway 20 storm water management pond.

I requested this because of severe erosion occurring just north of Highway 20 due to the extreme force of the water exiting the pond. This erosion is carrying silt from this location and depositing it all along the downstream waterway, damaging the habitat of wildlife and fish living in the Niagara Region’s only remaining year-round flowing cold water stream.

If this council has any concerns for the environment, and I believe it does, then we cannot treat this jewel located within our boundaries simply as a drainage ditch. Furthermore, this is the third storm water management pond that the Town has had to deal with erosion problems.

As these are engineered ponds it is disheartening that the Town is having to spend money to fix these erosion problems, which should not be occurring in the first place.

Until next time…