Expect noise if you live near Hurricane

Very disappointed to read this kind of article and how Gail [Levay] is portrayed [Wanted: Peace and quiet on Hurricane, May 26, p.1]. She does not deserve this negative narrative at all. She is a very kind woman and has had that business for a long time.

I have lived on Hurricane Road for 20 years and grew up on Parkdale Crescent. We used to have a train going through daily and the booming lumber yard business with its saws and hammers going all day.

The trucks and motorcycles on Highway 20 are constantly noisy but that is what happens when you choose to live in this neighborhood.

Barb Hollingshead Johnston
Via Facebook

 

Car wash supporter says go home

On May 27, two days after the Voice article, “Wanted: Peace and Quiet on Hurricane,” hit the stands, a car wash supporter drove her truck into our driveway at 7:15 AM, blared her horn repeatedly and then rushed off. An accomplice drove their own car throughout the community of Stonegate retirees, again blasting horns all the way.

It seemed like it was a message that if we hate a noisy car wash maybe this additional racket will bring us to our senses. I guess they didn’t figure that we’re already awake from the car wash, which cuts loose at 7 AM, which is 15 minutes earlier.

Anyway, perhaps hoping for a Darwin Award nomination, the same driveway stunt was tried the next day, at the same time, only this time I guess the driver mistakenly thought we old, frail homeowners were still snug in our beds. WRONG.

We filmed her, stopped her vehicle, confronted her and all the while she was waving a copy of the Voice in our faces calling us assholes.

A few days later, after reporting her to the police, we received an email from Ms Hornblower: “I am so tired of you people coming into my neighbourhood and causing trouble. I grew up in this neighbourhood. Go home. We don’t want you here.”

Rings of car wash owner Gail Levay’s “We were here first” entitlement position, doesn’t it.

This is still Canada, right?

I’ve lived here over 20 years. Where’s home? How many years does it take for someone to be able call somewhere home? Well, according to Ms Hornblower it wouldn’t be where I live now. I guess it would be where I was born—in Victoria, BC, coincidentally the same town where Ms Hornblower’s daughter now resides. I wonder if my relatives are demanding that she “Go home” to Fonthill?

So why are some members of the community being driven to such passionate rage?

Perhaps the answer lies in the inaction of our Town coupled with the inflammatory statements of our own Town officials.

Our goal in this is has never been to put anyone out of business, yet the Town’s Chief Administrative Officer, David Cribbs, and Fire Chief Bob Lymburner suggest in their hyperbolic statements that they don’t wish to close down a business and deprive someone of their livelihood, insinuating that the mean old residents are the bad guys here and that this is our objective.

Shutting down or repairing those air dryers which are violating the noise bylaw will not drive the car wash out of business. This car wash operated without air dryers for over 20 years, during which time there were virtually no complaints from nearby residents.

Is it so unreasonable that we residents are asking them to not disturb our community as the law requires? We are not the offenders here. We are the victims. Why should we have to sacrifice our quality of life for the benefit of Gail Levay?

We don’t want to see the car wash close down—we just don’t want it to disturb the peaceful enjoyment of our properties every day, hour after hour. From 1989 to 2008 it operated quietly. Why does this new car wash need to make a racket? We’re willing to live in harmony. Are they?

All that’s necessary for everyone to dial this down is for the car wash to repair or replace their ten-year-old, worn out dryers. No car wash has ever been in that location with loud dryers operating and disturbing everyone. In the past it was a “wet car wash,” with the vehicles exiting wet, not dry.

The fact that the property was zoned for a car wash before the residences were built is not a license for them to now make as much noise as they wish.

The only way they are getting away with this is because the Town is not enforcing their written bylaw, misrepresenting our position, which is proving to inflame some members of the community and in the process encouraging the offenders. Soon the pressure will be on the operators to spend far more money than any of us wish by constructing fences, etc., instead of simply quieting their dryers.

If the Town doesn’t support the residents and take action, then regretfully, the next step we are preparing to take is organizing a boycott of the facility and legal action against all parties.

All this can be avoided with some common sense on the part of the owners, coupled with a desire to be good neighbours, and we can all go home to our Fonthill residences in peace and quiet.

Pat Gray
Fonthill

 

Eyewitness says maybe egg cart disappearance not really theft

Regarding the story about the disappearing egg cart [Naughty man nabs nice boy’s egg cart, June 2, p.3], I watched an older gentleman in a black pickup take the cart. I was northbound on Effingham. The cart was right beside the road. There was no sign on it that I could see. It looked to be put out for trash. After passing by, I pulled over.

I watched in my rearview mirror as the man pulled over to look. He opened it up, looked inside and put it on the back of the truck. I was watching him because if he didn’t take it, I was going back for it. It truly, honestly, looked like it has been put out for trash. There was no sign on it whatsoever. It looked to me like a cooler I had seen at Lowes last year for the patio. I thought that was what it was. I didn’t pay attention to his looks, truck or plates, because I simply thought he beat me to an abandoned treasure. It was during the day. The cart was right beside the road where trash would go. I’m sure I could probably figure out the time. I truly believe he thought it was trash, because that is exactly what I thought too. I’m so sorry this happened to this boy. I hope by knowing that it was an honest mistake will make him feel a bit better.

Name withheld
Welland

 

“Shareholders” may turf a few “board members” come next fall

Let’s say that the Town of Pelham is a publicly traded corporation — much like a Canadian Tire, McDonalds, Rona, et al. The physical assets, procedures, intellectual property, etc., (the “assets”) are owned by the shareholders.

In the case of the Corporation of the Town of Pelham, the roads, public procurement, administrative procedures and practices, etc., are owned by us (taxpayer) shareholders.

As in a publicly traded corporation, a board of directors (Town Council) is selected to set strategy, ensure that the best interests of the (taxpayer) shareholders are protected, and that the funds they they have invested in the corporation —their taxes—are spent with all due diligence.

As in other corporations, the board of directors (Town Council) hires a top manager, a CEO (or “CAO” in municipal-speak), who in turn hires department directors and staff to oversee the judicious use of the assets, etc.

The board of directors (Town Council) are selected, and their salaries are paid by the (taxpayer) shareholders. Their role is to attend board (council) meetings solely to represent and act in the best interest of us (taxpayer) shareholders. They are not attending meetings or performing the functions of councillors for their own gain, political agenda, playpen antics, or personal vendettas.

Considering their recent sophomoric conduct, maybe the Gang of Four should be put on notice to amend their ways. Otherwise, come next fall, they should not be surprised to hear “You’re fired!” from us shareholders.

Bill Gibson
Fonthill

 

Timberrr: helmets advised for Nursery Lane pedestrians

A Town-owned locust tree continues to shed its dead branches over the sidewalk near our home on the southwest corner of Nursery Lane and Deer Park Crescent. This issue with the offending tree was initially reported to town staff early in 2019. At that time a pink ribbon was tied to the tree trunk and we were informed that a “work order” had been created to resolve the problem. By 2020 the ribbon had been removed (likely by a passerby) and the tree had still not been trimmed.

Again Town staff were contacted and we were assured that a work order had been issued. Fast-forward to 2021 and the tree continues to drop dead limbs to the sidewalk.

Upon reporting the issue to Town staff this past week we were told a work order had been established, however, this was not a priority issue.

We beg to differ with this statement, as the tree overhangs the busy sidewalk on the south side of Nursery Lane. Hopefully three work orders will be a charm, and we will get this tree trimmed in 2021. In the meantime, notice to Nursery Lane: HEADS UP!

The Young Family
Fonthill

 

What’s a little poop between geese and humanity

Upon reading of a plan in Welland to “control” its Canada geese, my reaction was let’s hatch a plan to relocate the Welland Mayor, Welland arena and canals land foreman Chris Vennell, and any involved councillors out of their happy place. Remember that elections are creeping up fast—thankfully.

Canada geese—what a proud name to be respected, one would think, but not in Welland. Instead precious taxpayers’ money was spent to remove geese from a water course that they are naturally attracted to. There are Canadian destinations that actually welcome waterfowl as a tourist attraction and find benefits. Did the public ever have a chance to give input on this?

Always about the poop. Hate to draw it to your attention, Mr. Vennell but even you are not above this. Neither are addicts, homeless, every living breathing creature, and yet that is allowed along with discarded needles.

You bullies of goslings and ducklings cannot see that a constant stressing of these creatures, even destroying their nests and eggs is inhumane. Waterfowl legs are sensitive and have no knees, and are not meant to go through long grass and rough terrain but are forced to by inhumane means, even pyrotechnics.

Having owned ducks, I know it is not difficult to remove poop.

Your staff should be delighted to have good-paying jobs during Covid, unlike many, so to clean up goose poop is not a stretch. This whole scenario is worrisome. What are you teaching children? What do you know about coexisting with nature? Are any humane societies or legitimate wildlife groups taking note of this?

Geese do have their purpose—for one, eating deadly ticks—and their poop is comprised of grasses, unlike that of meat eaters. So once again maybe the wrong creature is being relocated.

Faye Suthons
Wainfleet

 

If only there were some sort of day of rest…

My neighbours and I live in home that back onto a townhouse development. We moved here on retiring and looked forward to some quiet time in our yard as we came from an area near the QEW which was quite noisy.

Unfortunately, because we back onto this development, we are bombarded with all types of noise—lawnmowers, blowers, people on phones who don’t realize we can hear every word, party people who don’t give a damn, reno jobs which go on forever at times, dogs barking. You name it, we have it all! Our ratio is approximately three townhome yards to one back yard…so you can imagine.

During this time of Covid, we are forced to be home more than not and it takes a toll on our mental health. All we ask is one day a week where people back off and take a day to enjoy their yard, listen to the birds, and enjoy the breeze in the trees.

It can be a weekday or on the weekend—just give us one day! Or even a half day, so we can enjoy one meal outside without having to yell at one another.

R. Obelnycki
Fonthill

 

COMMENTARY / OP-ED | Colin Brezicki

Two hundred and fifteen pairs of shoes

Three days after the discovery of the unmarked burial site on the grounds of a former residential school near Kamloops, B.C., Charlottetown’s city council voted to remove John A. MacDonald’s statue from a downtown intersection.

Not so long ago I would have objected to such a decision. Why can’t we have two opposing thoughts in our head at the same time, I would have asked. Why can’t we accept that our principal nation-builder and first Prime Minister was a product of his time? That he, like many in his day, believed Indigenous people were a primitive culture and needed to be “schooled” in the white man’s civilized ways.

Now I believe statues like his should be relocated to museums, along with the outdated and inhumane ideology they symbolize.

As a child in Canada I was taught that ideology. The White Man’s Burden in Kipling’s words, the mission to save the souls of benighted people while providing them with the skills to survive, even flourish, in the new world order. “To take the Indian out of the child” were MacDonald’s own words. Our attempt to assimilate Indigenous children assumed that we really are superior beings. Unwittingly, Charles Darwin gave the assumption credence, providing a rationale for imperialists and colonists to place themselves at the top of the evolutionary ladder and impose their will on those below.

Social Darwinism is an offshoot of this ideology. At best it’s…okay, there is no at best. At worst it gave us the Holocaust, systemic racism, and residential schools.

While we contend that nations and cultures of all stripes throughout history have oppressed, enslaved and sought to eliminate other nations and cultures, in no way does that excuse the horrors of what happened here at home. The gruesome discovery in Kamloops make “context” irrelevant. The question now is what do we make of our nation, our real history and finally, ourselves. If, as our Prime Minister declares, the failure is Canada’s, how do we mark Canada Day from now on? Can we continue to cherry-pick the good while ignoring the bad?

The question now is what do we make of our nation, our real history and finally, ourselves

I’m long past due for a personal reckoning here. Not a hand-wringing, hair-shirt-sackcloth-and-ashes reckoning. Nor, as a friend recently put it, an exercise in performative lamentation or virtue-signaling. Quite simply, I need to examine my own mindset and understand how I got here.

Growing up in the Catholic school system in the ‘50s I was taught by the nuns to believe that Canada’s history was all about the pioneering spirit of settlers from France and Great Britain, people who ventured into a harsh climate and hostile territory inhabited by primitive tribes. With the settlers came the missionaries, men like Father John de Brébeuf, who went amongst the natives to educate and convert them to the new ideology. My nun-teachers talked about the residential schools still thriving across the country. I remember a nun from the Order visiting our Grade 6 class to tell us about the important work she was doing.

And we ate it all up like the submissive, god-fearing children we were.

It took me years to summon the courage to leave the Catholic Church, not entirely sure that I wasn’t risking my soul in the process. Fear and guilt are easily ingrained in the young and hard to eradicate.

Something else that became ingrained was my assumption that those British and French settlers came from a superior civilization with benign intentions. Imperialism wasn’t a bad word back then. Neither were colonization, assimilation and conversion. Even the “savage” Iroquois who murdered Brébeuf acknowledged his courage by consuming his heart, believing it would give them his strength. Our parish priest once drove his clutch of altar boys to the Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland so we could pay homage to this great saint.

The Hudson’s Bay Company, the Mounted Police, the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Sir John A. MacDonald became, against all odds we were repeatedly told, pillars of a great new nation. I grew up to feel proud of the country my parents had brought me to from Scotland, where John A. was also born.

Were the nuns being selective with the truth of our history, or, more likely, was it all they knew and wanted to know? One can voluntarily submit to an ideology.

Were the nuns being selective with the truth of our history, or, more likely, was it all they knew and wanted to know?

We knew nothing of the 215 back then, or the 3200 deaths reported by the Truth and Reconciliation Committee. In fact the Committee examined only 139 of the 1300 residential schools in Canada that were privately run, or run by other religious institutions or provinces. In the weeks and months to come we will likely learn of many more unmarked graves, while many Indigenous parents will never know what happened to their children, because they’re gone as well.

What the survivors endured during their “assimilation” is already well documented, but the discovery at Kamloops has horrified Canadians like nothing before. Some, like Jason Kenney, will try to “move on” and excuse the past by the convenient law of relativism. Others might want to lay it to rest, as it were, and not investigate further. Still others will maintain that Canada has already made reparations and continues to do so, and how much is enough anyway.

As if Kamloops is about “us.”

Yet, it has to be exactly that at some point, and for many like me, a starting point. I must exorcise the remains of a terrible ideology that makes me complicit in this horrific narrative.

If I continue to regard my country only as a benign nation that came by its strengths honestly and has earned the right to proclaim them then I remain an accomplice. If I assert my Canada to be “the envy of the world,” an inclusive nation with civilized values and claiming a high moral ground, while overlooking the children’s bodies buried under that ground, then I remain an accomplice.

The Charlottetown council initially planned to make things nice by seating an Indigenous figure next to MacDonald. It was Kamloops that made them realize what an obscene “reconciliation” that would be.

Will the 215 pairs of shoes laid out on the steps of Charlottetown’s provincial building finally change how we think about who we are as Canadians? Or will we continue to flatten Indigenous lives so they fit what we were told about them?

Isn’t it time we listened to them tell us who they really are? As Inuk journalist Ossie Michelin remarked, “When you remove us from our own stories we lose who we are.”

I’ll begin by reading the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee and go from there. It’s better late than never.

 

COTE’S COMMENTS | Larry Coté

Economy over education—the wrong choice

Regardless of one’s politics, the question of whether to reopen or keep the schools closed was a very complex conundrum. Among the complexities is that there are more than a few intelligent people on both sides of the debate. Who is right?

On one side of the issue are those who fear that bringing large numbers of people together in relatively confined spaces could be a potent breeding ground for spreading the virus and its variants. Adding to that is the danger that students and academic personnel could contract the virus and transport it home to their households. Also, dealing with such large numbers of persons would make it difficult to intercept non-symptomatic carriers who enter the confinement of school premises.

Another facet of this debate is that virtual learning has proven to be significantly less effective than in-class learning. This is especially true for the younger learner segment. Face-to-face teaching and learning is a crucial element in an efficacious learning system.

There is some legitimate fear that this loss of progressive learning will be difficult to regain for this current crop of students, due to these lengthy learning interruptions. When classrooms reopen teachers will be required to revisit past learning before progressing beyond the former levels of achievement. Although there were only a few weeks left in the school term before summer break, that time was crucial to re-orient and help students to catch up to their prior learning levels.

There is a growing concern among the educational and medical communities that the mental health of students may have been jeopardized by the closures. The social and behavioral development of learners attending school with their peers is a crucial gradient that has been missing due to these closures. Many other recreational and athletic activities were also shuttered and that only added to that developmental deficit.

Another disconcerting aspect of school closures has been the impact on family life routines. The shuttering of schools had enormous consequences for working parents who needed to arrange for the care of their school-aged children during the work day. For many, working from home was a less-than-effective solution. Meanwhile, these same parents were also required to oversee the children’s virtual learning program and all this in addition to their regular household chores. Their multitasking skills were challenged to the limit.

As former educators, my wife and I have experienced the joys and benefits that come from students learning. On a personal level, we watched with great excitement our children’s learning and now enjoy the same with their offspring. We do not wish to see today’s learners disadvantaged, short-changed or deprived of a proper education in any way. Instead we wish to encourage and see them excel to the fullest extent of their capabilities.

I hoped the schools would reopen a week ago so as to minimize the harm these closures inflict on students, their families and our future. With this decision, it appears the Premier favored the health of Ontario’s economy over the well-being of that Province’s students.

 

PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin

Cases keep heading down, vaccinations keep heading up

As Covid numbers continue trending downward, both nationally and locally, many Ontario residents were disappointed by the Ford government’s decision to keep schools closed until September. With both scientists and doctors, especially those working in the mental health profession, urging the government to reopen provincial schools, even if it was on a regional basis, parents had expected some kind of reopening plan.

The Provincial government has stated that if Covid numbers continue trending downward, it may reconsider moving up the reopening of certain businesses from the present June 14 date.

In Niagara, on June 4, 12 new cases were reported, the lowest such number in many months, with hospitalized numbers in the Region at under 40.

The total number of first-shot vaccines administered in Niagara now is 305,798, representing 58.4 percent of the population. Although only 5.4 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, this number should start to creep up over the next several weeks, as the dates for second doses have, in most cases, been moved up.

Last Tuesday, with the help of Councillor Olson, and many Town staff in attendance, we raised the Pride flag at Town Hall. Also in attendance were two representatives from the Pride community.

Pelham, along with all other municipalities of the Region, has just recently signed documents committing us to be a community practicing diversity and inclusiveness, which I am more than happy to promote.

June is seniors month, which is when governments of different levels take time to acknowledge the substantial contributions that seniors and older adults make in our community. This year, the theme for Seniors Month is Step Safe, Active and Connected, which is particularly fitting as we continue to cope with the impacts of Covid across Niagara. With seniors being the most vulnerable to the virus, this group, more than any other group within our society, has had to deal with long periods of isolation from family members, at least until the vaccines were administered. It was so heartwarming when we saw on the news grandparents finally able to give their grandkids hugs in person, not just over zoom.

On the Town Hall front, our staff in the finance department continues to lead all other Regional finance departments, Pelham being first to file our Financial Information Return with the provincial government. This is something all municipalities must do on a yearly basis. Financial Information Returns are a set of numbers that depict the overall health of the municipality. In our case they continue to improve, as does the general financial health of our Town.