After honour of service, appreciates tribute
It has been such a tremendous honour to have served this wonderful community of Pelham for over two decades, with the last 11 years as your Town Clerk.
I enjoyed meeting so many of the great people who call Pelham home, and was so humbled by the overwhelming outpouring of best wishes on my recent retirement. Whether you sent along a card or a note, or participated in the beautiful outdoor reception held last week, your kindness means so much to me and to my family.
Pelham has been my lifelong home, and I was so proud to have served her well. Pelham truly is the Heart of Niagara as shown by the many people who make it so. Sincerest thanks.
Return to familiar “whine” country
Yearly at this time we see the same person whine about the issue of allowing hunting in the area [“Please consider neighbours before allowing hunting,” Letters, Sept. 22, p.6], a continued repeat of the same uneducated nonsense.
This year’s letter has pursued a different vein, the noise issue. Those in the know understand a deer hunter is not firing off rounds all day and perhaps may only require one round, perhaps two. This is typically on farm property where heavy machinery may run for hours, multiple times per year. Duck hunters may be firing many more rounds as that is part of the equation. This would be on a local river, where power boats make noise of various decibels.
We do know this person’s distaste for hunting, but some of these neighbours as mentioned may be hunters themselves. Do we let the deer population run rampant? If this person truly needs all hunting to stop for whatever reason, she should run for office and get the law changed on hunting.
I haven’t hunted in decades, but I guess we are all annoying in our own way. What annoys me is seeing the waste of space in the paper, which I typically read cover-to-cover weekly.
Request to approach the bench—and sit on it
Mental wellbeing, good health is supported by public spaces. They should include a view overhead to the magic of the sky unrestricted by concrete pillars, leafy trees, shrubs and benches. As Pelham continues to be rightly concerned with development fees, affordable housing and replenishing the reserve funds, et cetera, where are the necessary green spaces, where people can walk to find solace in nature? Benches in thoughtful locations would offer both a comfort and a thread of community belonging.
It’s worth noting that the more desirable living areas offer less concrete and more natural landscapes.
Intensification may be a provincial mandate but healthy Pelham taxpayers are also a necessity.
COMMENTARY / OP-ED | Councillor Wayne Olson
Reflections on Reconciliation and the young
I approach the journey of Reconciliation not as a teacher but as an eager student with a personal responsibility to understand, learn and change. I do not know exactly where we are on the road to reconciliation but I do know that the end is not in sight. There will be wrong turns and distractions but our aspiration of Truth and Reconciliation must be constant.
Relatedness is the foundation of every endeavour. Relatedness can only be invented in conversation. Projects can only live in the quality of the conversations that are created and maintained, not in any given action or set of actions. Let’s open ourselves up to authentic speaking, committed speaking, and listening for commitment and listening and speaking possibility.
A critical part of Truth and Reconciliation will be the listening. Listening with compassion is just to “get it.” Appreciate what it is like for the other person. Not to help, fix, change, agree or disagree but to resist your natural reactions and powerfully recreate the experience of the other person.
Most of the conversations that we hear around us and in our heads are given existence by what we already know, have thought before, have experienced in the past. We exist in that present “reality” unless we purposefully commit to an expanded possibility for the our future. Our strength must be in translating our intentions into new possibilities.
The basic element of our Truth and Reconciliation relationship will need to be the expression of commitment from each party. The purpose is of the relationship is service to our created commitment. Everything needs to stem from commitment: the commitments we make and the commitments we keep.
We fool ourselves very easily. Pride lies to us. It would be arrogant to think that we can come up with all the answers alone. I have a number of suggestions. But I want them to be seen for what they are at this particular point in time: borrowed, too practical, ignoring feelings (again), respecting time too much, unilateral, judgmental, space-grabbing, even colonial by nature and falling short. I’m not happy with this.
It’s time to let go of these old rags. We have fooled ourselves far too often. I have witnessed the damage and the insufficient results. It’s time for new possibilities.
I am quite willing to give them all up in the Spirit of Possibility in order to generate a new future. I would turn the file over to our residents with the best instinctive understanding of the Seven Grandparent Teachings: Humility, Courage, Honesty, Wisdom, Truth, Respect and Love. Authentic communications come naturally to our kids.
They are an untapped source of energy and idealism. Let them be our guides on our journey and mentors to our learning. I would be delighted and fascinated to listen. Apprenticeship is a proven concept and I would be proud to an apprentice in the spirit of something of such importance.
Apprenticeship is a proven concept and I would be proud to an apprentice in the spirit of something of such importance.
You are, of course, free to reach your own conclusions, but I have tremendous faith in them. Imagine the support our youngsters get from our wonderful educators. In my mind’s eye I can see a young scholar reporting on the day at school. “Today we worked on implementing the Report on Truth and Reconciliation and let me tell you why we have to do it and how we are going to go about it.”
Imagine the explosion of pure energy that would create! Masters of listening and speaking possibility. Leadership can come from any point on a round table. I am quite willing to follow. We might only need a bit of patience and cooperation but we can do this.
We will need an umbrella agreement so let’s go ahead and agree upon a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation with our local Friendship Centre (not a new idea, it’s already been done). I don’t know this but I expect the resources are already in place with our school boards. If so let’s give them greater prominence and visibility.
Finally, we need to give our support and resources to our youthful champions so that they might find progress in this important journey. It time to check our rank, suppositions, experiences, notions, and impatience the door. We will be rewarded with a more equitable future and the reward for our patience will be more patience. I would be happy about that.
I hope that many can attend our Town Hall on Friday, September 30, at sunrise, about 7 AM, for the raising of the Every Child Matters flag in recognition of National Truth and Reconciliation Day. ◆
REGIONAL COUNCIL UPDATE | Diana Huson, Regional Councillor for Pelham
Climate change, Reconciliation on Region’s radar
Last Thursday’s Regional Council meeting may have been a short one, but it included some important Region in two specific motions, both passing unanimously.
The first included a motion on climate change, put forward by Chair Bradley at our Planning and Economic Development Committee, and was amended by Mayor Sendzik to include a declaration of a climate emergency. The motion noted that climate change is a significant threat to both Niagara’s natural environment and economy, and acknowledged that Niagara has been impacted by both shoreline and escarpment destruction. Extreme weather events have also damaged our infrastructure and caused an increase in freeze-thaw cycles. It’s also created significant challenges for our agriculture sector, impacting irrigation and at times creating drought-like conditions that are detrimental to our crops.
The cost of climate change is significant. A recent study by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Insurance Bureau of Canada estimated that climate adaptation has cost Canadian municipalities $5.3 billion annually. This includes significant increases to insurance premiums resulting from extreme weather events. On the bright side, resilient infrastructure investments have the potential to return $6 in future averted losses for every $1 spent proactively, proving that they are a worthy expenditure in that they have a good return on investment.
The motion asked staff to complete an inventory of past Regional initiatives and gather best practices across Ontario on community and corporate mitigation efforts. These findings will be presented at a future council meeting, along with a climate mitigation and adaptation proposal. Further to this, the Region will be hosting a climate summit to evaluate policy options and coordinate a climate action plan. I believe this motion has the potential to create some positive momentum for climate action in Niagara that can be both meaningful and impactful.
The second motion asked the Region to commit to recognizing September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by sharing stories of residential school survivors, their families and communities. It was coupled with a corporate training program for Regional staff and Councillors consistent with Call to Action #57 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. This Call to Action is one of 94 recommendations in the report, which highlights the need for professional development and training for public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples at all levels of government.
Marked in past years as “Orange Shirt Day,” this day is an important day of reflection and solemnity. This day provides an opportunity to bring awareness to the tragic legacy of residential schools in Canada and is particularly notable as it’s the first year it will be acknowledged as a federal statutory holiday. However, it’s also particularly salient because of the grim discoveries of unmarked grave sites of children at former residential school locations over the past year.
A number of Niagara’s municipalities will be marking September 30 in some way, including Pelham, and I would encourage all peoples, including non-Indigenous, to observe and participate in whatever way you can. It’s important to note that municipalities have an important role in advancing reconciliation, as noted in a number of Calls to Action highlighted in the report. This will require further commitments that include consultation and building better partnerships locally with our Indigenous communities.
Aside from these initiatives, I participated in my first FCM board meeting last week discussing a variety of national issues with councillors and mayors from across Canada. It’s interesting to see communities from across the nation finding commonality on a number of issues. I also expect the debate on the Natural Heritage option (3B or 3C) of the Official Plan will return to committee in the next month or two and will draw a significant amount of attention by both council and the public. It should be an interesting few months! ◆
PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin
Entry to community centre now requires vaxx proof
New developments on the Covid front include the potential for a pill which would be able to treat the virus. Like all things medical these days, they can be engineered to boost the immune system to fight infection, block receptors so viruses can’t enter healthy cells, as well as reducing the amount of active virus in the body.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, located in the US, reports that there are at least three promising antivirals being tested and results of these tests are expected in early winter. To be most effective, the pills must be taken as soon as possible after a positive test for the virus. It will be interesting to see how this line of defense is accepted by the public.
As of Wednesday September 22, anyone wishing to enter the M.C.C. has had to show proof of full vaccination status, per Ontario regulations. As with all provincial policies, there are of course exemptions, one being any person under 17 who is partaking in an organized sporting event. As a safety precaution the Town hired a security firm to help with the screening of patrons and to help explain the provincial rules to those not yet up to date with this information. Please visit Town website for full details.
Also, following other municipalities, Pelham’s E.O.C. has adopted policies to address both health and safety considerations, as well as the new mandatory passport vaccination regulations. Highlights of the adopted policies are:
All Town employees must confirm to Human Resources their vaccination status by October 18, with the information kept in confidence by H.R.
Every staff member must have their first shot by November 1 and the second by December 10, 2021. Failure to be double-vaccinated by this date would start the employee down a road of disciplinary measures, which management is hoping will not have to be travelled. As is the case across the country, anyone with a medical or a religious exemption will not be required to show proof of vaccination.
The Sulphur Spring project is once again on track, with the contractor having to re-apply because of some necessary in-field changes that had to be made to ensure the continued non-interference with the quality of water in the stream itself. I would like to join with Town staff and applaud the office staff of both the NPCA and the NEC for expediting this process, allowing the contractor to get back at ‘er. Now if we could just get a little cooperation from Mother Nature. ◆