Former mayor running for Ontario NDP

I occasionally hear Fonthill old timers, of which I am now one, lament about the growth of the town over the last decade and how they miss the “good old days.” Some were opposed to the replacement of the aging Pelham arena with the beautiful new community centre. Others were opposed to the development of the land surrounding the recreational facility, which today is home to hundreds of new, young families who have decided to make our community their new home.

And with them comes new commerce, new spending, new ideas. new opportunities, new businesses, new capital, and yes new growth. All those new homeowners and businesses pay taxes that help support the community’s infrastructure. That is all good for healthy and growing communities. The alternative is stagnation and a slow death. I mention all of this because a person who was instrumental in a lot of this growth is Dave Augustyn, Pelham’s three-term mayor and former member of Niagara Regional Council.

The vision of that council and Augustyn’s foresight is now abundantly evident. We have a growing, vibrant town featuring the new community centre, a place for residents of all ages to gather and enjoy a wide variety of recreational, social, health and community activities. It’s home to the Jr. B Pelham Panthers, Southern Tier AAA Admirals, Pelham Raiders Lacrosse, Niagara Centre Skating Club, Pelham Minor Hockey Association, and the Pelham Panthers Basketball Association. The MCC is home to our champions. It is also a recognized Seniors Active Living Centre and home to Active Living Lounge for those 55-plus. And the facility will continue to attract new young families to the area.

Mr. Augustyn has been chosen by the NDP of Ontario to represent the Niagara West riding in the next provincial election scheduled to be held on or before June 2, 2022. Our riding is currently held by a 24-year-old conservative Christian, Sam Oosterhoff, a representative who is often in some public and political trouble. Although I’ve never voted NDP before, I’ve already decided that I’ll be supporting Dave Augustyn in the next provincial election. I encourage others to do the same.

Rick Woodward
Fonthill

 

More reaction to David Augustyn’s NDP candidacy

Yikes! How can we forget David Augustyn and his cronies, they cleaned us out and disappeared in the dust. Does he really think everyone has forgotten his unprofessional exit and the financial mess he left the Town in?

Was Andrea Horwath’s head under a rock when she was so thrilled to have this political con artist on her team? A leopard doesn’t change his spots, so it will be very interesting to see the outcome of this new love of Niagara and all he wants to do for families, etc. All this man is after is padding his pension, which will be quite generous if he should get the votes needed.

I encourage all new people to this area to read the articles in the Voice and remember them at voting time. We do not need another catastrophic mess when things go sideways again. The developers (thanks to the ex-mayor), that have built on every piece of land they can get their hands on are putting the cart before the horse as usual.

Yes, we all want to see people able to buy homes for themselves and families, but they are being packed into these developments, and, as usual, the infrastructure is not up to the task. Roads are going to need to be widened, and many more stop signs and lights are going to be needed. Not to mention that so often our stores are out of product, not only because of Covid and shipping problems, but because we have a lot more people in the area.

R. Obelnycki
Fonthill

 

He’ll be 100 times better than what we have now! Despite that editorial.

Celeste McCollum
Via Voice website

I have voted NDP my entire life. I am beyond stunned that this man has been chosen for my riding, after what he did in Pelham. You have given Sam Oosterhoff a guaranteed reelection.

Joan Hart
Via Voice website

 

NDP leader Andrea Horwath’s announcement that Dave Augustyn, former mayor of Pelham, is the approved nomination candidate for Niagara West is a real punch in the gut.

No politician lasts forever but the destruction that they spread during their time in office does, and, case in point, just look at the myriad cookie-cutter houses replacing rich farm soil, green space, and orchards in Pelham. Highway 20 is no longer a pleasant drive but it is a succession of vehicles spewing into the atmosphere.

I thought the NDP would be a welcome relief from the Doug Ford pave-over mentality and the ramming-through of highways like the 413, and I was overjoyed when Horwath spoke out against such development. But now she has brought on a man capable of just that mindset.

Faye Suthons
Wainfleet

 

Everyone deserves another chance, but in this case I think we need to wait until Phellham freezes over.

Duncan McNaughton
Ridgeville

 

COTE’S COMMENTS | Larry Coté

It’s a matter of speed

Just a few years ago Fonthill was considered by many to be a somewhat peaceful rural community. The pace of the roadways throughout the town seemed to be cautious, slow and respectful. But alas, all that has been thrown to the curbside. Caution be damned. Getting from Point A to Point B in the shortest amount of time, and faster than the last time, is now the rationale to put the pedal to the metal. It appears that speeding drivers think they are the most important on the roadways and other more community-minded residents should give way to their self-acclaimed importance.

This newspaper has received numerous letters to the editor submitted by residents concerned about how perilous their streets have become and the large number of drivers who routinely ignore speed limits. At such velocities, the speed signs are nothing more than a blur and dismissed as so much roadside clutter. Pedestrians are seen to be such a nuisance even if they have the right of way.

Just two roadways from many to choose from are mentioned here to illustrate how dangerously rampant the penchant for speed has become.

The first example is Lookout Street, on the west side of town. The average vehicle speed is near equal to that of a fully throttled fighter jet as it clears the runway at takeoff responding to a national security threat. Many of these autos would easily overtake the pace car at the Indy 500.

The other example is Highway 20, both East and West. This roadway is colloquially known as a highway (technically, it is “Regional Road 20”) yet drivers disregard the reality that it is a major thoroughfare within the town. Some observers postulate that the average speed on this particular roadway is likely near twice the posted speed limit. In addition to automobiles, speeding vehicles include phalanges of motorcycles, groups of fully loaded dump trucks, and semis of all sizes. It is a risky business to pull onto this roadway from any of the egresses of the many commercial enterprises along its length.

We hope not, but sooner than later it is likely there will be a terrible collision due to these speeding vehicles hurtling throughout the town with reckless abandon.

Not long ago the Town decided to slow down the traffic on Haist Street by installing speed bumps that will rattle the dentures of any unsuspecting or disobedient driver. It is to be hoped that the municipality will consider further traffic-calming strategies that will make the local roadways safer.

If police radar units were to regularly monitor some of these speedways the revenue collected from this plethora of speeders could quickly pay down the debt incurred by the building of the community center.

It is important to recognize that young, school-age children regularly use these thoroughfares. Continuing to countenance excessive speeds on the roadways within the town serves to increase the danger for these carefree youngsters.

When you drive, help make this town a safer place for all. Please slow down.

 

PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin

Cross-border traffic set to increase with testing dropped

As expected, Health Canada has dropped the requirement of travellers having to obtain an expensive PCR test upon returning to Canada, as long as they have only been outside the country for 72 hours or less. At up to $300 per test, this requirement was greatly hindering day-trips to the US. It was very strange to see the Buffalo arena two-thirds empty with the Leafs in town, but that was due, no doubt, to this requirement. As of November 30, this protocol will be lifted for fully vaccinated Canadians.

The number of fully vaccinated residents in Ontario is now at 86 percent, which is no doubt keeping the province’s hospitalization rates low, even as the daily case numbers are approaching the 800 mark. Remember you can still get Covid while being fully vaccinated, but the symptoms should be a lot less severe.

In our Town, active cases are at twelve, and our test positivity rate is currently a rather high five percent as of this writing.

At Town Hall, staff have completed their work on the Town’s budget, and in the coming weeks council will be reviewing and discussing these same numbers as we reach a decision on next year’s tax levies. More on this in future columns.

Christmas in Pelham kicks off this year with our outdoor Christmas Market in the Town Square, December 3, 4 PM to 9:30 PM. Bring the family, and shop locally in the booths set up by local artisans. Enjoy fresh local food and beverages all while listening to live music, and of course Santa will be there! Check out the Pelham.ca website for more Christmas activities, including the Christmas Card contest, light and decoration tours, and letters to Santa. And don’t forget the Santa Clause Parade on December 11, at 1 PM, with the route starting at the Bethany Christian Reformed Church, on Balfour Street, running to Canboro Road through downtown Fenwick, to Church Street, and finishing at Centennial Park.

It’s great to see these very popular events return to the town in their usual format, happening of course due to the continued relaxing of the Covid restrictions.

Next Friday, November 26, I will have the pleasure of dropping the puck at centre ice at the community centre to start the Regional Silverstick Hockey Tournament. This tournament will run the entire weekend. Residents I am sure will join with me to wish all of our local teams the best of luck throughout the tournament.

 

 

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. I was disappointed to read the letter from Rick Woodward in support of Pelham’s ex-(tempting to add “disgraced”) mayor, David Augustyn. I remember Mr. Woodward from his many years managing the marketing and promotion for the Pen Centre Shopping Mall in St. Catharines. It is unfortunate, but in a way not surprising, that he now seems to be in the business of promoting David Augustyn. Mr. Woodward’s statement that the “alternative” to the transformation of Pelham into yet another GTA exurban commuter community is “stagnation and a slow death” is exaggerated nonsense. The “alternative” to ugly, tightly-packed rowhomes on treeless streets is the preservation of green space and the preservation of farmland. The “alternative” to the Augustyn council rubber-stamping these ugly designs—and the eyesore strip malls on Highway 20— would have been to take a more considered approach. Niagara-on-the-Lake has managed to do this for many years, retaining its charm and character. Why couldn’t Pelham? Why was the Augustyn council so keen to pave this town over, handing over our destiny to developers through questionable financing means? What happened in Fonthill is about to happen in Fenwick due to what this man and his council approved. I also want to note that no one disputes that the new community centre is a fine facility. It certainly should be for the $36 million we taxpayers spent on it. What anyone with any sense objected to is the underhanded, devious methods used to sell the public on how it was to be financed. The very provable fact is that the Town of Pelham continues to be in relatively poor financial condition, due almost entirely to the MCC debt we will be paying off for decades. Mr. Woodward now apparently wants to promote David Augustyn like he promoted Pen Centre. However, if there’s anything that this pandemic has taught us it is how we became way to dependent on unnecessary, disposable crap. I hold out hope that the voters of Niagara West soon come to realize what the residents of Pelham already know, that buying what David Augustyn has to sell is bad for the environment, bad for our wallets, and bad for our souls.

  2. So now simply being a Christian is a black mark? In his letter supporting the former Pelham Mayor Augustyn, Rick Woodward wrote, “Our riding is currently held by a 24-year-old conservative Christian, Sam Oosterhoff, a representative who is often in some public and political trouble.” Since when is being a conservative Christian worthy of condemnation? This is bigotry, pure and simple, and Rick Woodward owes MPP Oosterhoff, and the many conservative Christians in this community, an unqualified apology.

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