Another relatively short Pelham Town Council meeting was dominated Nov. 15 by proposals surrounding Pelham’s observance of 2022 as the “Year of the Garden.”

Council voted to further pursue four of seven green initiatives laid out in a staff report, shooting down the idea of another open garden bed competition, championed last year by Ward 3 Councillor Lisa Haun.

Neither Haun nor Ward 2 Councillor Ron Kore were in attendance for last Monday’s virtual meeting.

The staff report had recommended against holding another such municipal contest, pointing out that “unfair advantages” could exist between entities such as commercial nurseries and community volunteer groups.

Last year’s pilot competition was won by the 3rd Fonthill Scouting Group.

Ward 1 Councillor Marianne Stewart was the only member to support continuing the project, saying that to offset those concerns, different categories of contestants could be structured.

The staff report had alternatively suggested joining Ontario’s “Communities in Bloom” initiative, a province-wide competition in which municipalities go up against other municipalities of similar size.

However, Director of Culture, Wellness and Recreation Vickie vanRavenswaay pointed out that Pelham’s past involvement in the contest required a significant commitment of resources.

“I’d like to put it on the back burner and find out what resources are needed from staff and council and what the cost would be,” Ward 2 Councillor John Wink said. “I think it’s a good initiative, just not this year.”

I think it’s a good initiative, just not this year.

With that option removed, council ended up endorsing four others, to be costed and presented back to members in December:

◼︎ Creation of pollinator gardens.

◼︎ A municipal partnership with local charity Pelham Cares.

◼︎ A municipal partnership with the Pelham Garden Club.

◼︎ Investigating a subsidized rain barrel program.

Political allies Stewart and Ward 3 Councillor Bob Hildebrandt were the only votes against a partnership with the Pelham Garden Club. Meanwhile, the potential return of a rain barrel program —which Pelham operated a few years back — found support with all members except Ward 1’s Wayne Olson.

“Any water that ends up in a rain barrel doesn’t end up in a stormwater management pond,” Mayor Marvin Junkin said. “I am sure with all the new building we have in Pelham, especially with an environmentally conscious population we have in town, I can’t help but think the rain barrel initiative wouldn’t be well received.”

Somewhat related environmentally, council voted to have Pelham join Unflood Ontario, an organization comprised of multiple Golden Horseshoe municipalities committed to reducing flooding via natural infrastructure.

“The Town would do well to join, at no cost involved,” Junkin said.

However, allies Stewart and Hildebrandt disagreed, with Stewart saying that the organization could request membership fees in the future.

“I’m just concerned with staff time involved in becoming part of one of these organizations,” Hildebrandt added. The motion passed regardless, 3-2.

Council asks for stop sign at Pelham and Hurricane

Stewart was also the only no-vote on Wink’s successful motion to direct staff to implement an all-way stop sign at Pelham Street and Hurricane Road.

While such measures are generally subject to a litany of traffic studies, precedent exists in Fonthill with an earlier T-intersection stop placed at Haist Street and Brewerton Boulevard.

“This is a long stretch of road that doesn’t have any interruption whatsoever,” Wink said of Pelham Street, north of Highway 20, which has been a subject of resident concern over speeding in recent years.

Public Works Director Jason Marr said that traffic on Pelham tends to come in faster southbound from rural areas, but that the stretch “isn’t really critical” from a speeding perspective as it is a collector road.

Marr did acknowledge however that a pedestrian crossing would be a positive addition at Pelham and Hurricane, something that stop signs could create.

Covid update

Pelham had four active cases of Covid-19 as of Nov. 15. [Note: 15 active cases as of Wednesday, Nov. 24.] Fire Chief and Chief Bylaw Enforcement Officer Bob Lymburner told council that in Niagara Region, the age 20-39 demographic was the largest that remained not fully vaccinated.