Pelham Town Council moved to undertake a drainage study in the Webber Road/Farr Street area, and essentially approved the reconstruction of the Fonthill Arches at its December 20 meeting.

In the last virtual gathering before Christmas, residents Tony Ruberto and Peter Biagi made a plea to members to do something about rampant drainage issues on their properties on the south side of Webber. The lands have seen deteriorating conditions for several years due to ongoing residential construction, while the Town debated its own responsibility in the matter.

Ward 2 Councillor John Wink recommended an approach comprised of a public meeting and a drainage study, for which cost the Town would ask Niagara Region to pay 50 percent.

CAO David Cribbs suggested stronger language.

“It needs to be a strong, proactive motion,” the CAO said.

The amendment passed, with the Town committing to the project regardless, up to a price of $50,000.

Council also unanimously gave the Arches committee the green light to rebuild the Pelham Town Square structure, once stamped engineer plans are approved by staff. It also includes a $30,000 bridge loan from the Town to the committee to be repaid by the end of 2022. The project is to be mostly paid for with some $100,000 in private donations, and Arches committee chair Frank Adamson hopes construction will begin as early as spring.

However, Ward 3’s Bob Hildebrandt still voiced his displeasure about the proposed design, and questioned whether the ongoing pandemic would even allow a Summerfest to occur in 2022.

“To me this is an image project,” Hildebrandt said. “That to me is not the image I’m looking for in the centre of town.”

Ward 2’s John Wink said it was this council’s “final kick at the can” in terms of the Arches, and successfully moved to have the Town waive building fees on the structure.

Covid-19 update

With cases of the new Omicron variant skyrocketing across the globe, Fire Chief and Chief Bylaw Enforcement Officer Bob Lymburner bluntly stated that there are “very difficult days ahead of us.”

A mandatory work-from-home policy for applicable Town staff commenced on Dec. 21.