A Jan. 10 Pelham Town Council virtual gathering in which Mayor Marvin Junkin concluded, “It’s amazing how fast the meeting went,” was highlighted by a Regional staff appeal for approval of its Vision Zero road safety proposal.

Council ultimately voted unanimously to endorse the plan, which will see automated speed enforcement and red-light cameras deployed across Niagara as part of a province-wide measure to reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths.

Although it is expected the project will launch later this year, no location in Pelham is identified as one of the Region’s 13 initial designated “community safety zones.”

While vehicular speed limits are naturally reduced around schools, the project aims to install the cameras and other safety measures at those and other strategic locations, with the intent of gradually expanding them around the Region.

Vision Zero was adopted by the province in 2019 and has been in effect in larger population centres such as Toronto, Peel and Hamilton since then. Some 522,000 tickets have been issued to date.

Regional Director of Transportation Services Carolyn Ryall told council that 32,500 tickets would need to be issued from Niagara cameras to pass a break-even point financially. After that, monies would be split between the Region and its municipalities, income that would need to be dedicated to road safety measures.

While the Regional presentation assumed that some $300,000 would not be recouped either through delinquency, legal appeal or court costs, Ward 3 Councillor Bob Hildebrandt asked specifically how much money Hamilton has lost on the project. The Region’s team said they would look to provide the information.

Ward 2’s Ron Kore asked if the project would impact the police budget. Ryall said the project is designed to be in partnership with the NRP, but did not have specifics on existing police budgets.

Water budget Jan. 24

Council passed an updated list of user fees, but Ward 3 Councillor Lisa Haun took issue with why water and wastewater fees were listed before said budget is scheduled to be passed at the next meeting. Citing the ongoing pandemic and 2022’s “Year of the Garden,” Haun wondered aloud why the Town would recommend residents “go plant a garden, and then we’re going to charge you a fee for watering that garden.”

Treasurer Teresa Quinlin-Murphy agreed, and said the specific fee should not have been in the package. It will be updated with the Jan. 24 water and wastewater budget.

Covid update

Pelham had 184 active cases of Covid-19 as of Jan. 10, as the Omicron variant continues to run rampant globally. Fire Chief and Chief Bylaw Enforcement Officer Bob Lymburner reported that 33 percent of current cases in Niagara were due to omicron. The MCC remains closed per provincial regulations, with Town Hall open via appointment only. CAO David Cribbs said seven Town employees have been laid off as a result.

Park Place North

Kore recused himself from the latest discussion around the proposed Park Place North development. Town Clerk Holly Willford told the Voice that Kore “advised myself and council just prior to the recording / streaming being turned on that his conflict is that the proposed development is adjacent to his business.” Yet how proximity to a franchise supermarket that he manages, located on land that he doesn’t own, would result in a conflict of interest wasn’t immediately apparent. Kore did not respond to a request for comment, and as of seven days after the council meeting he had yet to provide the Clerk with the required written declaration stating his reason for recusing himself.

The developer of the land has submitted three proposals: one features two apartment buildings and a retirement residence, one has two apartment buildings and 58 townhouses, and another a retirement home and 43 townhouses. Director of Community Development and Planning Barb Wiens said the developer would finalize their plans before the next step in the process.

Bauer Trail needs section names

Ward 2 Councillor John Wink moved a motion on a recommendation from the Active Transportation Committee that the Town add descriptive nomenclature for the separate portions of the Steve Bauer Trail. Because the trail system is 22 kilometres long and broken up into sections, there is concern that emergency responders cannot easily locate people if they suffer an injury or emergency on the trail.

A cycle in the park?

Hildebrandt half-jokingly took aim at the Canada Games’ planned cycling route through Pelham this coming summer, saying that the chosen path “seems pretty tame” and that local cycling clubs exert themselves more.

“It’s a pretty easy route,” the biking enthusiast said.

According to a map provided by the Canada Games, the route runs up Church Hill, down Canboro Road to Effingham, where it elevates uphill to Tice — avoiding the steep Effingham hill altogether — before heading west on Tice, north on Cream, and east on Metler before re-entering Fonthill.

“Perhaps they’re not in quite as good a shape as Councillor Hildebrandt,” Junkin said.

Director of Recreation, Culture and Wellness Vickie vanRavenswaay said the route was determined by the Canada Games, but offered that Church Hill does provide some uphill exertion.

“It’s not nearly a challenge,” Hildebrandt surmised. “I think they probably rode it in their car.”