Appreciates excellent vaccination procedure

I want to give a huge shout-out to the Niagara Health System’s organization of giving out the vaccine. I got my shot yesterday and I cannot say enough about the organization, the efficiency, the incredible utilization of both professionals and volunteers—and did I say efficiency of getting the shot-in-the-arm we all needed, literally and figuratively.

I had to go to the Seymour Hannah centre in St. Catharines because that’s where my age group had an opening. My husband was able to get his shot last week at the Meridian Centre here in Fonthill because of his age group. Regardless of the venue, we have been talking about the incredible organization of both sites.

My appointment yesterday was at 9:40 AM and by 10 AM I was going back to my car to go home. I was lined up in the 9:40 line at 9:30 with health card and appointment verification in hand. Oh and an umbrella in the other hand! By 9:35 my line started moving and I was inside the door, being checked in, then being directed to another lady with a computer who was double checking information on my application, then followed the green arrow to the next lady who sent me to Valerie at station 17, who then asked me the usual questions about how did I feel, was I allergic to any medications, was I on any medications, and have I had an annual flu shot in the past two weeks. She put a sticky on my trousers that had the time of shot written on it, and before I knew it she had shot me and I was to go and sit in a chair with a paper on it, because it had been cleaned, and wait for 15 minutes, put up my hand to indicate time and then I was released to the exit lady who gave me a printout of what shot I had been given and the date. My husband had the same experience at the Meridian Centre except that he was too early for his appointment but that didn’t stop him from being finished earlier either.

Bing bang bong and we’re both done. In two weeks we are guaranteed to be 93 percent immunized, and will be 99 percent after the second shot we’ll both get at the end of July. Although we’ve been fortunate enough to be healthy and wise about the last 18 months or so, it is an incredible feeling of relief to know that the scientists have made us even more safe regardless of what may come our way. We will continue to do our part in keeping ourselves and others around us as safe as possible, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t a train.

We are both incredibly thankful to all the nurses, doctors, and volunteers for all their diligence and expertise.

J & J Vlym
Fonthill

Gypsy moth spread will continue in some areas

I’m glad that certain areas of Pelham are being sprayed for the gypsy moth. I also appreciate the advice for how to prevent this invasion.

Fact being, agricultural acreage, as well as sensitive areas like the woodlands that you hike, are not being serviced with this spray, which is offered to select areas in Pelham. The gypsy moth will continue to invade your areas. Just a heads-up.

Paula Diamond
Effingham

 

Easy way for anyone to protect young trees

Do you like trees? I do. Do you like the trees planted along the roadways by the Town? Do you have trees planted in your yard you want to flourish for many years? You can do a simple thing to help. Get rid of the tree ties and stakes!

During my evening walks around subdivisions in Fenwick, I have noticed something that needs to be fixed or we will needlessly lose many trees. Many of the deciduous trees on the boulevards have been staked and tied and then left for several years without follow-up care. These trees in the Cherry Ridge subdivision are slowly being strangled, and what a waste of many years of tree establishment. If you have a tree staked, help it out and get rid of the ties around the trunk now!

I have been walking with my wife and our dog around the neighbourhood, cutting or bending back wires attached to stakes used to keep trees upright after planting. I am sure some neighbours wonder what the heck I am doing and why. Photos I have taken show the damage people really do not notice until it is possibly too late. This damage caused to trunks is not irreparable if caught soon enough to let the tree heal. Staking trees is to allow them to root and establish without blowing over. However, this staking is only really needed for one year, or two at the most.

Why don’t trees blow over in the wind if they grow up as a seedling? Trees respond to a remarkable thing known as “Thigmatrophy.” This term was first introduced to me in my undergraduate days as a Horticulture student at U of Guelph. Tree trunks develop strength by swaying in the wind and as well the trees will slowly establish more roots to allow it to survive without support as it naturally would if left alone. Staking with flexible ties is the preferred method provided they allow the tree to gently move and strengthen the trunk.

In some cases, it is practical to stake a tree after planting if the amount of top growth is high relative to its root area at time of planting. Tall trees with larger canopies and a small root ball at planting can use a bit of help but only for a year or two at most. It is important to remember, even in these instances staking is only needed for one year or two at the most then ties should be cut and stakes removed. The same is true for the bamboo training poles on some trees affixed using rubber ties. After year two in the final planting spot, cut the rubber ties and remove the bamboo pole.

So, if you like trees planted by the Town or have some in your yard that have been staked—be kind and help the trees by at least removing or untying/cutting the support wires to allow the trunk to grow properly. Help the trees avoid being strangled and slowly killed over time! It takes many years to get a healthy mature tree, give it a hand and let it stand and grow on its own!

Kevin Ker, PhD
Fenwick

 

Genba—the place where value is added

Loosely translated, the Japanese word Genba, sometimes Gemba, means “the actual place.” In business, Genba is the place where value is created, and in manufacturing it is that small, particular point in time when value is added to the product. It is not the collection of the wood and screws for the table. It is that important time when the screw is driven into the wood to put the leg on the table. With respect to the proposed Merritt Road extension, Genba is the Environmental Assessment and consultation now being undertaken by the Region.

Much has been made of the fact that the Merritt Road project will take a load off of Highway 20. That is probably true to a certain extent. In my mind, I believe there will be an economic liftoff, caused by pent-up demand, in the almost immediate future. I don’t really expect that the new traffic on 20 and Merritt is a zero sum game. I believe that, in fact, traffic will increase on both—driven by commerce and development on 20 and development on Merritt.

If you look deeply into the nature of a project, a project is not action. A project is a series of managed conversations that give rise to actions. The quality of our actions is governed very much by the quality of our conversations. On March 24, 2021, a very informative and well attended virtual meeting was held to discuss the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Study for Merritt Road and Rice Road in Pelham, Thorold and Welland.

I believe we need to tend to the nature of our conversations in order to originate action on so many of the issues facing us today. One of our most common topics is the loss of our small town atmosphere. Growth is going to happen. The task is to mold that growth around what we want for our Town. You don’t have to listen very hard before you hear the commitments of our residents to design the future.

The scope of the project is really quite considerable, starting with several land use policies, and it will have significant impacts on Merritt Road and I think the immediate area. I mentioned that a project is a series of managed conversations. The next phase is critical to the overall formulation of the project. This phase is where we can have conversations about possibilities.

Here we need to be enrolled in the new possibilities. What we need here is a spirit of new frontiers to invent ways to protect our wetlands and natural assets.

Here is my most immediate wish list of possibilities. The current information includes cross-sections of the various road segments, including drainage and planting and furnishing zones. We need a commitment to Low Impact Development Features in these zones. Low Impact Features are critical to our stormwater management and biodiversity.

There is a Public Information Centre in the spring and another in the summer. You can request to be added to the Study Contact List to receive notices of future consultations. You can visit the project website for updates at niagararegion.ca/projects/regional-road-37. It is important to take a look at these access points, if you have an interest. I think it is worthwhile because, remember, this is where the value is added. This is important.

I understand that over 100 people signed on to the first public consultation. That should considered a success by any standard. I am grateful to the staff at the Region for establishing this process. I believe they are committed and welcoming listeners.

Wayne Olson
Pelham Town Councillor, Ward 1

 

COTE’S COMMENTS | Larry Coté

A crucial community component

Over the last few years, I have enjoyed the privilege of writing for the Voice of Pelham. Humbly, I am proud to be identified as a contributor to this newspaper. The Voice is known in the media business as a community newspaper. That definition identifies a publication that shares an interest in and with a specific community. Very often these are smaller-sized communities and consequently the circulation numbers for newspapers serving them are smaller than their larger brethren. As such, community newspapers tend to cover subjects that their larger media cousins do not, and generally eschew coverage of worldwide happenings and events. Primarily, their topics of interest are confined to their immediate community and close surroundings.

The importance of newspapers to the community they serve is recognized in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982) that guarantees and protects a number of freedoms, including freedom of the press. Likewise, the first amendment of the US Constitution also recognizes the importance of newspapers by guaranteeing their freedom of expression and independence.

In practice, community newspapers are recognized not only as of interest to the residents of the communities they serve but also may be seen as essential to a community’s proper functioning. Like their larger counterparts, community newspapers have been challenged by new technologies in recent times. Much of their advertising revenues have been lost to electronic media. That scenario is currently a major concern and under deliberation within the news industry. However, and in spite of their dwindling numbers, these news outlets continue to play important roles as forums for local happenings and issues.

One of these roles is known in the news business as accountability reporting. Basically, this role is to serve as one of the watchdogs and interpreters of public issues and events in the community. For instance, this might involve gathering and compiling such factors that contribute to a community’s operational efficiencies and sound fiscal management.

This specific role often becomes a bone of contention for some politicians who disparage such reporting. Perhaps they are uncomfortable with being publicly scrutinized or taken to task for decisions not perceived to be in the best interests of the community and its residents. Some might observe the possible irony that many politicians enjoy good press but abhor bad publicity.

And so it is, under the ever watchful eye of of the local press the best interests of the community are being served by the presence of its community newspaper.

For those who might doubt the value of the contributions of their community newspaper might ask: Who has the most to lose if their community newspaper were to cease publication?

An interesting question and an even more interesting answer.

 

PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin

New record in Pelham cases means caution still needed

Active Covid cases in Pelham reached 121 on Saturday, which translated to 67.2 active confirmed cases per 10,000 population. This number was the third highest in the Region, behind Welland and Port Colbourne, and another record high for Pelham. As of last week, some 90 percent of local cases were self-isolating at home, with no Pelham residents on ventilators.

The vaccine clinics held in Pelham at the MCC went extremely well, with over 900 vaccinations given per day.

Fire Chief and head of bylaw enforcement Bob Lymburner reports that there have been no incidents of significance anywhere in the Town, as residents are respecting the provincial protocols and adhering to self-distancing standards.

On the Regional level, 252,504 doses of the vaccine have been administered, with approximately 4600 doses being delivered daily. Nearly one-third of all Niagara residents have received their first dose of the vaccine, although only 2.4 percent have received both shots. It must be remembered that the first shot supplies 80-85 percent of the total immunity, although not for at least two weeks after receiving it. Broken down by age groups, 92 percent of all residents over the age of 75 have had their first shot, 80 percent of the 70-74 age group had at least one dose, with the 65-69 age group being at 48 percent vaccinated with the first dose. The next age group, 60-64 year olds are at 44 percent, and the last group 40-59 year being at 23 percent vaccinated.

Daily new cases in the Region are hovering right around the 200 mark, with 189 as of last Friday, with our worst being 222 new cases in a single day. As of Saturday, there were 88 people with COVID in regional hospitals, with 15 in ICUs. Some of these patients were transported in from other regions of the province. Let’s hope that our low number of hospital admissions continues on and quickly decreases in the future. As regional vaccination numbers increase, this should be a likely scenario.

Provincial coronavirus stats continue to be very disappointing. Daily new cases are around 4500 per day, with the death toll being around 30 per day. There were 2287 COVID cases in hospitals throughout the province on April 23, with 818 of these being patients in ICUs, 593 of these being on ventilators. The last two numbers quoted were both higher the day before, while hospitalized numbers had decreased by 63 patients from the day before.

Nationally, Canada experienced 8372 new cases on April 22, with the seven-day average being 8444 new cases per day. As of April 23, there were 23,883 COVID-related deaths in Canada. Some 10.5 million Canadians have received at least one vaccine dose, with this number representing 28 percent of our total population. Like the regional number, the national number for those completely vaccinated is still very low at 2.6 percent.

Like many Canadians I was very happy to see all flights from India and Pakistan terminated for 30 days. However, if the federal government had really wanted to something worthwhile, instead of banning planes they should have banned passports. There is a huge difference between the two. With COVID running rampant throughout India it doesn’t make sense that we are allowing on average 700 citizens of that country into Canada on a daily basis, most of these being students. If remote learning isn’t an option for these students, then schooling should be delayed until both nations have the coronavirus under control.

Area mental health activist Steven Soos has initiated a federal petition, endorsed by Dean Allison, M.P. for Niagara West, calling for a study to declare a national mental health emergency. Being a recipient of numerous emails from both Pelham and Niagara residents detailing their stresses with this pandemic, I fully support this initiative. Mr. Soos just recently presented a request to all area municipalities to support a similar action at the provincial level, which was passed by 11 of the 12 councils. For anyone feeling an immediate need for help, see the opposite page in this paper for a list of organizations ready to assist. Until next time…