Come on out this Friday in support of Emmett

The Fabulous Fenwick Lions club is all about community. We try to live up to our motto, “We Serve.” As such, we are doing a fundraiser for a three-year-old Pelham boy in need of a major surgery. We would appreciate your support.

Please come out to our May 28 Fish Fry Fryday, from 4 to 7 PM, at Centennial Park Fenwick. Cash donations gratefully accepted.

All proceeds from this event will be going towards the Emmett Gervason life-altering ear surgery fund. Emmett was born without a functioning ear canal. The out-of-province surgery will cost an estimated $250,000. Stop by for some Fish and Chips and help support the Gervason family. A GoFundMe account has also been set up at gofund.me/579dd63f

Thanks for your continued support.

Lion Jeff Pickup, 1st VP & Secretary
Fabulous Fenwick Lions Club

 

Looking out for Lookout

I just paid our annual membership fee online. Since I’m a techno dolt (among other dolts) I just wanted to make sure my account isn’t of the automatic annual recurring variety. If it is an automatic deduction, then keep the extra payment and, as Jerry Seinfeld would say, “Buy yourself something frilly.”

I’d like to take this opportunity to make a suggestion regarding the membership benefits. For those of us subscribers in the “Lookout” neighbourhood (yes, that term is having more meaning every day), it may be more appropriate to have three free sex-trade worker visits.

Pak Pijlott
Fonthill

Editor’s note: The reader’s generosity is noted and appreciated. To put minds at ease, however, there is no automatic renewal option for Voice membership. Renewals go out on a WWR basis—When We Remember. As for targeting membership benefits based on neighbourhood, may we suggest that doorbell security cameras may be the better option for Lookout?

 

MCC donors on board with “agreeable outcome”

In the last week’s “Publisher’s Corner” column, attention was brought to the council-approved modifications to the second floor of the Meridian Community Centre. Those who closely follow the goings-on at Town Hall will know this is the formal location choice for an installation honouring the late councillor Mike Ciolfi. Details remain intentionally ambiguous about the works in support of a public unveiling to come sometime later this year (pandemic health considerations being a major determining factor of when that will actually happen). The work is not complete, but what I’ve seen is attractive.

The idea of making a new space with a local history theme on the second floor of the MCC is one that has been in circulation ever since the MCC opened. The Town has a hospitality advisory committee, upon which Councillor Ciolfi sat, that has discussed different ways that local history might be recognized on the second floor, while recognizing that the donors must still be honoured. While the tragic death of Councillor Ciolfi was unforeseen, the design and fundraising efforts currently underway are merely a continuation of this earlier advisory committee work with which he was involved. I can confirm that council approved the formation of a working group to complete this project, which Councillor Haun heads. One of the working group’s members was in communication with Mountainview Homes during the planning stages as was mentioned in the Voice’s reporting.

I understand that any potentially impacted donors have been consulted and that the work being undertaken by the working group will result in an agreeable outcome that continues to recognize the donors, but also has space recognizing Councillor Ciolfi. For example, the Upper Arena Lobby will remain solely sponsored by Mountainview Homes. I would be remiss not to mention that Mountainview Homes has continued its generous community support by yet again making a contribution to the MCC, this time specifically towards the Ciolfi memorial that will be adjacent to the Upper Arena Lobby. The Town is lucky to have community champions such as Mountainview Homes, the volunteers on the memorial working group, and the previous and current councils that gave birth to the MCC and have now made it more-or-less financially viable, at least outside of pandemics.

David Cribbs
Chief Administrative Officer
Town of Pelham

Editor’s note: We couldn’t agree more. All things considered, in response to the changes proposed for the MCC’s upper lobby, and they way they were communicated, Mountainview has indeed been exceptionally accommodating.

 

Appreciates assistance

On Wednesday, May 12, a man fell on the sidewalk in downtown Fonthill. A big thank you to all who helped. He is doing well, healing with stitches, cuts and bruises. It’s so nice to live in Pelham, with such caring, thoughtful people.

Don and Karen Beckett
Fonthill

 

Slow walk to nowhere has gotten old

A friend of mine said he just waited six days to get a new garden rake from one of our big box hardware stores under the new online ordering rules. I had to wait only three days and two phone calls, four emails, and 40 minutes in a parking lot lineup for my three bags of cement.

I may be going out on a limb, but I think that we can do better than that.

There were six vehicles in front of me as I arrived at my internet-appointed pickup time. Thirty-five minutes later, as the lineup was cleared, a guy walked over to my window, but slowly, like in a dream. He asked me what I wanted. Stranger still.

I said this is my order number. He said what is your order number. I repeated the order number off my phone. He is not checking it against his list.

I say you should be looking at your list of orders when I give you the number. He says, like a cop, what is your address? What is your phone number? Thats not the order number. It should start with “S-O.”

I look around on the email until I find some undesignated list of numbers that starts with S-O. I also check to make sure I have pants on because it seems like I am not in Kansas any more.

I say it’s three bags of mortar—would you like a stool sample? He looks puzzled and after an eternity says I am going to look into this for you.

I am so happy as I watch him slow-walk back into the store. And I mean SLOW. Its an Olympic level of slow walking. Its a long time before he reemerges, floating effortlessly across the pavement with a pallet cart and my three bags. I have time to watch all the other staff do the slow walk as well while he is gone.

It occurs to me that there is a lot of this hopelessness going on. It obviously infects big corporate structures like this store. But our governments are really good also at wasting everybody’s time and accomplishing very little, except multiplying their bureaucracies, gathering more and more information for no purpose, and spending billions on half-baked computer systems and all that goes with them. The Wizard of Oz response to the pandemic is a good example of this. A simple problem to solve with no answer in sight.

People, give your head a shake. We do not have to put up with this slow walk to nowhere.

Steve Matthews
Ridgeville

 

Open letters to Mayor Marvin Junkin on Option 3C

Editor’s note: Readers who are encountering the term “Option 3C” for the first time are invited to first read Regional Councillor Diana Huson’s commentary below for background.

On behalf of 475 members of the Pelham Tree Conservation Society, there is a major disappointment that you did not support the Option 3C for the Merritt Road extension. We are asking you to reconsider your vote. As we see it, “Anything less that Option 3 doesn’t appear to conform with the Provincial Policy Statement.”

Option 3C, as you are aware, includes small linkages between significant features such as wetland and woodlands outside of urban areas, as well as inside of them if the linkages are in a natural state. It requires buffer along the edge of the significant woodlands or wetlands in urban areas, the size of which would be determined after a developer paid for study. As well, 3C allows for the possibility of adding enhancements areas (places where environmental restoration could occur adjacent to a significant feature) to the Natural Environment System in urban areas.

The staff report said these additions would only require 1.5 percent in urban areas.

Under Option 3B, which doesn’t include any of elements mentioned above, woodlands and wetlands inside of urban areas are unlikely to survive over time.

As you are aware, the Pelham Tree Conservation Society goals are:

To promote the preservation of our urban forest; to educate the public about the value of trees; to help promote public discussion on the value of trees.

Mike Jones
Pelham Tree Conservation Society

Mayor Junkin, I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate the beautiful natural spaces we have in Fonthill and in other parts of beautiful Niagara. So many of us enjoy these spaces on a daily basis for our physical, mental and emotional health, and quality of life. Our wonderful woodlands and wetlands are teaming with life! I would love to see them take priority over excessive development, therefore l respectfully ask that you will choose option 3C on which Natural Environmental System will be implemented in Niagara.

B. Burger
Fonthill

Mayor Junkin, I must add my voice to the concern raised by Mr. Mike Jones and the many members of the PTCS regarding your vote for option 3B instead of 3C at Regional Council.

We are temporary stewards of this planet, and thus far it is the only one supporting life as we know. Furthermore, we have a responsibility to leave it in the best shape for future generations. This applies to everything we do from the global to the local level.

So, let’s do the right thing and protect as much as possible of our current environment and habitat. I implore you to change your vote, and vote at the upcoming Regional Council Meeting for the much better option (3C) available to protect some lands within the Town of Pelham.

Together we can make and keep this a better place.

Dr. Uwe Brand
Fonthill

Mayor Junkin, I see the vote on Merritt Road environmental protection as being a local variant of the National “Pipelines or no Pipelines” controversy. We either step in and take resolute measures to protect the climate and our environment, or we leave it for someone else to do. I plead with you to take the more far-sighted and difficult road.

Dave Nicholson
Fonthill

We have been following proceedings at the Region regarding environmental stewardship as this will impact all of our legacy for the next decade and more.

Surely now is the time to cement our collective legacy in acting to answer the question: Will I leave this planet in a better state than I found it once my time has come, and what could I have done differently to have positively impacted that outcome.

We respectfully implore you to vote for Option 3C.

Graham and Edie Pett
Fonthill

 

REGIONAL COUNCIL UPDATE | Diana Huson, Regional Councillor for Pelham

Choosing the right option now means a better future

This past week Niagara Regional Council was tasked with endorsing an option for our Natural Environment System (NES), which is an important component of Niagara’s new Official Plan. This document will guide how and where growth will take place across Niagara. The NES component specifically addresses planning policies with respect to Niagara’s natural environment and response to climate change. A decision on the NES was critical to begin the next phase of work on the natural environment work program, allowing for the development of mapping and policies. Staff presented council with three options:

Option 3A – Consisting of Provincial minimums

Option 3B – Exceeding Provincial minimums, and protections for woodlands in urban areas

Option 3C – Exceeding Provincial minimums, and protections for woodlands, and protections for small linkages between woodlands and wetlands, as well as buffers on non-regulated features in urban areas

Regional staff recommended Option 3B after extensive consultation with the public and local planning staff. They felt this was the best option to balance competing interests between constituent concerns, local planning comments, and input from developers. However, they also clarified they would be happy to proceed with whatever direction council determined.

The Planning Committee recommended 3B after an extremely close vote attempting to change the endorsement to 3C. I once again tried to amend the recommendation at council to 3C, however council opted to endorse both 3B and 3C to appease some concerns over mapping and avoid making a decision on a singular option but still allow for our Official Plan work to proceed.

I’m fully supportive of Option 3C and I’m happy to tell you why. The singular question before us is, “What natural features do we want to protect in our urban areas?”

My answer is all of them.

Our urban areas are the ones that will experience the most growth and development over the next few decades. I believe these natural features are the ones that truly reflect our local character and charm. It’s what will preserve our “small town feel” in the face of growth, allowing for growth outside of those areas.

The most important aspect of Option 3C is the linkage features. These linkages connect natural spaces and more accurately reflect a systems-based approach (i.e., science!) to managing and protecting them. We’re not talking about building anything new here. These linkages already exist. Therefor the question is whether we want to acknowledge and protect them, or consider them optional. Failure to protect them could potentially make them developable!

Opponents of 3C were primarily concerned with municipal autonomy. They felt local municipalities should be responsible for determining what local linkages should be protected through local planning decisions and policies. They were concerned about the Region “taking over” planning decisions. In other words, they felt 3C was stepping on their municipal toes and local councils were better to make those decision.

The reality is what we’re trying to accomplish is setting a minimum standard for environmental policies. Local planning and councils have the ability to go above and beyond a Regional policy direction should they wish. By allowing for 3B and hoping local municipalities implement 3C, we’re really missing the mark when it comes to the opportunity before us. I was ready to embrace the responsibility before us even if others were not.

When you diffuse responsibility across a great number of people (i.e., the 100-plus councillors in our 12 local municipalities) it becomes the responsibility of no one. We’ll end up with a hodgepodge of environmental planning policies scattered across Niagara, because everyone could, and most likely will, make different decisions. No one wants that. And regardless of what option is selected down the road, the Region is a partner with our local municipalities. They must work together, collaboratively and cohesively. The do so now, frequently and effectively.

So, the fight for 3C will live for another day, another meeting and another vote. I truly felt we had an opportunity before us to set a vision for Niagara to the benefit of generations to come. There’s a bigger picture here that seemed to be lost on a few. Municipalities are important partners in the fight against climate change. In fact, good land use planning is one of our most effective tools for adapting to climate change, and once we lose our green spaces, they are gone forever.

Let’s not lose sight of the incredible opportunity before us and the gift we can leave our children, and their children for generations to come.

 

COTE’S COMMENTS | Larry Coté

The Highway Traffic Act is loud and clear

Awhile back this spring, the Niagara Regional Police announced a new initiative they are calling “Operation Loud and Clear.” This means they intend to issue tickets for unnecessarily noisy motor vehicles. It is uncertain if the April 1 date of the announcement was NRP’s attempt at humour or just a slow news day. Most people don’t need be reminded who is commemorated on that specific date.

I openly admit that I am in no way, shape or form a car buff, and so I declare a level of ignorance about all things automotive that would fill the trailer of a diesel-powered eighteen-wheeler. I drive through a touchless car wash three or four times a year whether my old crock needs it or not. The bottle of windshield washer fluid I bought is still unopened in the trunk because it doesn’t include a diagram of where to pour it. All I remember about my high school auto class elective is the mnemonic that explains the four-cycle powerplant to those in the academic stream: suck, squeeze, bang and blow.

So with that admission I find it difficult to understand why certain car buffs compete for the loudest engine noise on the roadways. Why would damaging the ear drums of people for miles around turn their crankshaft?

Do these auto-engine-amplified-aficionados not realize that by driving these noise makers, they themselves will be stone deaf by age 30-something, or even sooner. What is it that they don’t understand about auto manufacturers spending millions on the effort to quieten engine noise.

Regrettably, the penchant to make the most irritating noise has spread beyond the hot rod crowd. Some motorcyclists are hell bent for leather to outdo their four-wheeled road warrior brethren. They may be heard to boast at the local Tim’s that “I’ve got way more decibels than you.”

Perhaps psychologists and others who explore minds might be able to explain what motivates people to remove factory installed mufflers and replace these with mufflers that don’t muffle, or shedding them entirely. Does thunderous engine intensity have something to do with the measure of one’s machismo? Does ear- splitting engine noise have anything to do with masculinity? What exactly is it that equates decibel level with a perceived self image?

So, if you are one of those who drive one of these noise-making monsters that cause dishes to fall from cupboards and fillings to pop from teeth, maybe you could explain what it is you are attempting to project. We haven’t yet heard of a trophy for having the most thunderous engine noise and you are a large part of the reason that we can’t hear so well anymore.

But alas, your reign of aural terrorism is about to be quietened. The introduction of the near-silent electric car will mostly eliminate those piston-packing, four-cycle, V-something engines. Harley Davidson is selling electric motorcycles. So maybe you should get ready to amplify your near-noiseless car’s audio system if you want to remain loudest among the most irritating audiophiles on the road.

 

PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin

Steady improvement in cases; June 30 for 30 challenge

It was great to see outdoor facilities were allowed to reopen as of last Saturday, especially with the great weather we are experiencing. At the same time that the provincial government announced the opening of the outdoor facilities, it also announced plans for the reopening of the province, which are based, largely, on the percent of the population that is totally vaccinated.

Case numbers continue to fall all across the board, with Niagara’s new cases consistently below 100 per day. As of last weekend, active cases in Pelham were at 31, with active cases per 10,000 now at 17.2, which is middle of the pack for the 12 Regional municipalities. The highest was Port Colborne, with 25.3, and the lowest was Fort Erie, with 11. Provincially, new daily cases are now usually below the 2000 mark.

Just as the Niagara Region is renewing its Official Plan for the first time in nearly 50 years, the Town of Pelham is updating our comprehensive zoning bylaw, which had its last renewal in 1987. Most of this work is being accomplished by Town Policy Planner Tara O’Toole. Since late February, Pelham planning staff have been hosting “Tuesday’s with Tara,” which is the opportunity for the public to engage with Ms. O’Toole on the details of the revised bylaw. Tara has set aside dedicated time to have one-on-one conversations with the public pertaining to this bylaw. She informs me that she has many positive discussions with members of the public regarding future plans that they may have for their property, concerns they may have with proposed changes, and suggestions for changes that they feel are appropriate.

Updating the zoning bylaw is one of council’s strategic priorities and information regarding the proposed new zoning bylaw can be found at the Engaging Pelham webpage at engagingpelham.ca/comprehensive-zoning-bylaw-review

On the webpage you can connect with Tara through email, or you can contact her directly by phone by calling Town Hall, 905-892-2607 ext. 335. This is a bylaw that is important to everyone, so please, give Tara a call for information or to give her your comments. “Tuesdays with Tara” is very catchy. Don’t know what we would have done if her name had been Vanessa.

Now and then, as your Mayor, I must challenge the residents, businesses, and organizations of Pelham. Challenge them to show their spirit, pride, and unwavering support of the community they call home. And so, with that in mind, I am laying down the gauntlet and challenging you to get active for the entire month of June, every day, for 30 days. It doesn’t matter if you’re nine or 90 years old—you can play a part in making the Town of Pelham the most active community in Canada.

This challenge is part of ParticipACTION’s National Community Better Challenge, and it comes with a $100,000 prize toward supporting local physical activities initiatives in Pelham. This would make our Town Treasurer very happy, and a happy Treasurer is a happy Town!

The Town’s recreation department has created a calendar of activities to help you get moving for the month of June. Appropriately named “June 30 for 30,” anyone and everyone can participate. All you need to do is track your minutes through the app or by calling them into the Town.

The timing of this challenge is fitting given that June is also Recreation Month. It doesn’t matter how you participate. It could be playing tag with the kids in your yard, going for a walk on the Town’s trails, biking the picturesque routes throughout the rural areas, or getting some gardening done. It all counts.

During this pandemic, I’ve seen firsthand and heard many more stories about Pelham residents, businesses, organizations, and groups answering the call to participate in virtual or distanced events, attend our drive-through parades, and engage with one another the community in safe ways. This challenge is no different, and why I believe we can win this thing.

All challenges in the June 30 for 30 calendar can be done safely and consider health and safety measures. As more amenities open up, so too will your options in how you participate.

Everything you need to know about the June 30 for 30 challenge and how to participate can be found by visiting www.pelham.ca/june30for30 or by contacting Leah Letford at [email protected] or 905-892-2607 x352

So, Pelham, what do you say? Do you think you have it in you? Do you think you can help make the Town of Pelham the most active community in Canada? I believe you can. Now get out there and get active!

Until next time…