Transient farm odours not as bad as skunky pot

Kudos to you, spring fragrance tainted! [“Spring’s fragrance tainted,” Letters, May 3.] I only wish more of the communities would make their voices heard.

I was originally raised on a farm, and although yes, spring did bring into our home the fresh air of new growth, we had our own farm aromas. It was never as offensive as what comes into my windows today—the smell of cannabis.

Two years ago we retired to Fonthill to be close to family and to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding area. Now on almost a daily basis that smell invades our home, our backyard and even our car while driving in the Foss Road area.

I get that communities need corporate growth, but at what cost? The taxes that all those subject to this offensive smell almost daily pay should count for something. Everyone needs to make their voices heard and the authorities need to pay attention.

Sue Bailey


Enjoyed feeling the Bern

I moved to Fonthill back in February of this year so I am new to the area. I read the Voice every week so that I can become familiar with places and what is happening in my new community. So thank you for publishing this paper every week.

I thought your writer Bernie Puchalski was great. I got pure pleasure reading “Walk 33,000 steps in my shoes” [Column Six, May 5]. I shared it with a few people and all of them thought it was so well written and just an overall feel-good story. I hope Mr. Puchalski will make a guest appearance every so often.

Samantha Stevens


Open letter from Fonthill Lions

The Fonthill Lions Club Inc. would like to thank the Town of Pelham, Mayor, councillors, and staff for investigating the concerns we are having over the excess water flow into the creek alongside the Fonthill Lions Club Inc. park. We feel this needs to be improved and have voiced our concerns along with the other parties involved (Pelham Cares and Trouts unlimited). We understand the Town has requested staff to engage in an engineering study and recommendations to eliminate our concerns. On behalf of the Fonthill Lions Club Inc. we thank you.

Lion Jake Dilts, Clean the Creek Coordinator
Fonthill Lions Club Inc.


Open letter from Pelham Cares

Dear Mayor and Town of Pelham members of council: On behalf of the board of directors of Pelham Cares Inc. we would like to extend our sincere appreciation of the time and research that is currently being put forth on the Twelve Mile Creek erosion issues. Pelham Cares’ property is seeing significant damage and severe environmental impact as the erosion is approaching our driveway and nearing our building. Any progress taken on this project is appreciated. It is encouraging to have the town of Pelham and participants engaged in conversation to rectify this issue. We look forward to hearing the solution and the next steps will be in resolving this issue.

Tracy Homewood, President, Board of Directors
Pelham Cares Inc.


Maybe it’s okay to delay surgery

I have been reading about the “Ear for Emmett” campaign with great fascination for the last several months. I tried to reach out to the family, as I was born with same condition as Emmett. I guess unfortunately for me I was born in 1956, and there was no such thing as a GoFundMe organization. When I tried to ask the family some questions about the procedure Emmett was going to have I didn’t get a reply.

I have managed to live a very productive and good life with only having been born with one ear. I do have an ear prosthesis now, but before that I survived quite nicely. I managed to play all sports in my youth, coach hockey, and be involved in Pelham Minor at the executive level. I worked at General Motors for 40 years as a pipe-fitter. I have been married for almost 44 years to a wonderful wife and have two adult children. Unfortunately our youngest son passed away eight years ago.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that there is a lot of children that are born every day with physical and mental disabilities that don’t get a chance to have the opportunity that Emmett’s parents are trying to give Emmett. I would never deny this boy the opportunity to get this procedure, I just think that sometimes it is better to wait until a child is older and more developed as a person before having such a procedure done.

There are lots of other people who have been born with this condition who have also done quite well. One person in particular is a member of the band KISS, Paul Stanley.

I hope Emmett and his parents do well with this procedure and I hope everything works for him, however not everyone is perfect.

Rick Page


Defending Ford government’s sick leave policy

I read a number of comments in last week’s edition regarding paid sick leave. As MPP for Niagara West, and an advocate for workers and job creators across Niagara, I would like to clarify the province’s plan to introduce the Ontario COVID-19 Worker’s Income Protection Benefit.

Our government recognizes the critical contribution of essential workers across the province. In fact, Ontario was the first province in the country to provide unlimited job-protected leave and is the only province in Canada to introduce a provincial sick leave program for COVID-19.

Our government negotiated a $1.1 billion paid sick day program with the federal government in July 2020, and our government is offering to double the federal benefit, providing all Ontario workers with up to $1000/week, or $25/hour, for four weeks.

In addition to the existing federal program, our government is introducing the most generous paid sick leave program in Canada for COVID-19, reimbursing employers for up to three paid leave days related to COVID-19 for every employee. Under this new provincial program, employees will have access to up to $200/day for three paid sick days. Together, these two programs would allow workers to take up to 23 sick days off, and receive up to $4600 for that time.

This new program will ensure there are no more gaps. This program protects the health and safety of essential workers. Employees can take the time if they have symptoms, if they need to be tested, if they need a mental health day, or if they need to be vaccinated. Employees will be paid for their missed days by their employers. The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), as a trusted third-party partner, will reimburse the employer for the costs of days taken. To be clear—unlike the Liberal proposal by Michael Coteau, MPP for Don Valley East—the province’s program will not put the financial burden on struggling small businesses. Our program supports workers without harming job creators.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, our government has been supporting essential workers, whether through PPE supports, emergency child care or expanded workplace safety. Now we are supporting essential workers with a generous sick leave program.

When our government signed the agreement on paid sick days with Ottawa in 2020, every single worker in the province was provided access to the $1.1 billion federal program. Yet, as of April 11, only $418 million has been accessed nationwide. This means that there is still over $682 million—over half the money budgeted —left in this fund. It is frustrating that these improvements were not included in the federal budget—despite $100 billion in new spending.

For months we have been advocating for Ottawa to fix the gaps in their program. Last week, the Globe and Mail, and other media outlets, reported on our offer to top up the federal sick day program.

To provide national context, for 81 years, governments at all levels and of all political affiliations have recognized the federal government is best equipped to operate and manage employment support programs, from Employment Insurance (EI) to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Outside of these employment benefits program, paid sick days have been the outlier in Canada, with paid sick days historically being the responsibility of the employer and/or union collective agreements.

In a recent interview with CBC News, Dr. Jim Tiessen, Director of the Master of Health Administration Program and Community Care at Ryerson University, agreed the federal government is the better choice to administer a paid sick day program.

As we continue to work together to stop the spread of COVID-19, Ontario will continue to support essential workers and their families, and actively work with the federal government to establish a collaborative and sustainable solution that looks beyond the pandemic.

For local residents in Niagara West who have additional questions or concerns about sick leave in Ontario, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (905) 563-1755. I am here to help.

Sam Oosterhoff
MPP Niagara West


Government not the enemy

All people who have been a victim of COVID-19, whether it be as a patient or as one who mourns the loss of a loved one, your enemy is not any government official! Your enemy is the hundreds of foolish masked and un-masked people who blatantly defy commonsense regulations not to protest among large gatherings of people!

What do you expect your officials to do—put police in jeopardy by ordering them to swarm the protest and arrest everyone? They are already getting a bad rap. How about we bring out the military? What’s a few more millions of dollars added to our already failing economy? How about using fire hoses?

Until this utter idiocy comes to an end, get used to ICU overcrowding, triaging of your loved ones in the hospital, increased unemployment due to COVID, and increased deaths. Unfortunately, those protesting think they are immune to such tragedies. They are not.

Mike Benson
New Dundee


Plenty of blame to go around

With all due respect to those who blame citizens for this ongoing disaster, they are wrong. The government, starting with the Feds, failed us from the beginning of the pandemic by not taking ownership and delegating decisions down to the municipal level— not mandating masks, not imposing travel restrictions early enough, etc. This pandemic also exposed the gross negligence of our seniors living in long term care homes, who died because our system failed them.

The Ontario government added to the fire by introducing restrictions that were confusing and in some cases plain silly. More people would respect the rules if the Ford government hadn’t burnt the goodwill and trust of the people of Ontario.

Lockdown #1 was received with fear. Lockdown #2 with a little annoyance. Lockdown #3 with plain anger — not just by the vocal few who think this is a joke, but also by the people who have been following the rules.

Blaming the younger population, many of whom are within a working age bracket and likely with young children is unfair. With schools cancelled, how do we expect parents to work so they can feed their families? Or even closer to home, how old are the (wonderful) people risking their health everyday for close to minimum wage at our local grocery stores?

My family is doing its part by staying home, but we live in privilege: I have a job that allows me to work from home, we have a car that allows us to safely drive to the grocery store, and heck, we have a home with a yard for the kids to play. Let’s not forget every situation is different. I am yet to see or meet these partying kids or reckless socializing adults many are blaming.

We are now at the mercy of the government’s embarrassing vaccine roll out, and until they get their crap together, we will continue to see a rise in cases, an increased strain on our ICUs and finally…more deaths.

Diego Lopez
Via Facebook


Skaters and the pandemic

Skaters don’t necessarily go down in huge groups [Halfpipe lockdown doesn’t stop some skateboarders, May 5, p.11]. I’ve seen one or two kids together there. Kids need to get out. They need to be safe about it, I agree, and I’m sure most of them are. This pandemic has been really tough on the young people in our community, cut off from school, friends, work, fun. Let’s not forget that many of these same teens are on the front lines serving us food and coffee and haven’t been a priority group for vaccination. Easy to moralize about their behaviour while you’re having your safe driveway visits or signing petitions to open golf and tennis, but walk a mile in their shoes, or better yet, try to imagine how you’d feel if you were 17 and going through this last year. It’s been tough on all of us, not just on Boomers and Gen X.

Thomas Keenan
Via Facebook


PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin

Hiccup in numbers; more MCC jabs; finances improving

The decline of daily new cases of COVID in Ontario, which had fallen from a high of 4600 to a low last week of just over 2600, hit a hiccup when Friday’s number of new cases rebounded to just over 3,400. As of Friday, Ontario had 486,000 cases, with 8,236 deaths.

In Niagara on Friday we had 121 new cases, up from 74 on Thursday. Total deaths have unfortunately reached 395. In Pelham, our active cases were at 40 per 10,000, which puts us middle of the Region. Some 96 percent of all COVID cases in Niagara have seen those diagnosed positive staying at home to self-isolate, with 3.5 percent of cases admitted to hospital. These two numbers have remained fairly consistent throughout the pandemic.

On the vaccination front, it was great to see Pelham receive another seven days of clinics at the community centre, between May 6 and May 22. These clinics will have an increased number of stations, so each session should see vaccinations reach a total of approximately 2000 per day.

On Wednesday afternoon, I sat in of the Audit Committee meeting and was pleasantly surprised by the Town’s financial numbers. I will go into more detail in next week’s column, but I can say that our debt levels are going down, and our reserves are going up, which is exactly what you want to see in any town’s financial report. Although still high, our level of debt can be called manageable, due in a large part to the sale of East Fonthill lands, and continued growth in the town.

When I suggested the idea of an audit committee shortly after I took office, our Treasurer was very much on board with the idea and got behind it 100 percent, welcoming the extra level of scrutiny of the Town’s books. With the addition of Councillor Olson, we now have 3 CPAs on the committee. Listening to the interaction between Committee members and the Town’s finance department, it is great to see the Town’s finances discussed in such great detail, with everyone having the same goal—an efficiently run town.

Until next time…