From left, Mayor Marvin Junkin, Councillor Marianne Stewart, Pride Niagara chair Enzo DeDevitis, and Councillor Wayne Olson, on the occasion of the benches' unveiling in June, 2021. DON RICKERS

Last Friday was a day of celebration for Pelham Town Council, and an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to inclusivity. Mayor Marvin Junkin said that he was proud to raise the Pride flag earlier in the month at Town Hall, and equally happy to unveil a new multi-coloured bench at the Peace Park, to celebrate Pride and the LGBTQ+ community. The benches were unanimously approved by council back in April.

“Pelham is a community of diversity and inclusivity, and council wanted to show that all are welcome,” said Junkin, in his remarks to those assembled. “It’s going to get lots of use, and we’re hoping that the community will see this, and realize that we’re reaching out to all groups.”

One bench has been placed in the Peace Park, with others at the Meridian Community Centre.

Fundraising in underway to support another bench in Fenwick this fall.

“I grew up in Niagara, and to see this bench, and rainbow crosswalks, and all these other initiatives happening, is amazing,” said Enzo DeDivitis, Chair of Pride Niagara. “Fifteen years ago, I would never have thought that we’d get here. Thank you for making the effort, as leaders in the municipality. It’s equally your responsibility, as it is ours, to raise awareness and acceptance. Thank you for taking the lead.”

Junkin responded, “This was something that obviously took too long to get going, but I know I am very proud to be part of this initiative, as are my fellow council members.”