Dave Nicholson, Mike Jones, and Graham Pett at Niagara Region’s proposed extension of Merritt Road. DON RICKERS

On the PATH to habitat preservation

The former Pelham Tree Conservancy has re-branded itself as Pelham Advocates for Trees and Habitat, or PATH.

“Our goal is to promote the preservation of our urban forest,” said group chair Mike Jones, “and to educate the public on the value of trees and natural habitat. PATH has been incorporated as a not-for-profit organization, and we’ve broadening the spectrum. We can now apply for grant money to achieve some of our goals, expand our base, host public meetings, and offer new opportunities to those concerned about the environment.”

With some 530 members on its Facebook page, the organization has put in place a nominal fee of $10 for a regular voting member, and $20 for a family membership. Children age 11 and older may join, part of the group’s strategy to “engage kids and let them have their voice on the future,” according to Jones.

Memberships are available online via e-transfer. PATH’s new website can be viewed at pelhampath.ca

A cleanup of the Steve Bauer trail was slated to start last Saturday and continue through this Friday, April 22.

“We’re going to be calling on all the members to come out at their leisure,” said Jones. “We’re asking them to take photos of their cleanup effort, so we’ll have pictures on our Facebook site. We are also participating in Pelham’s Environmental Earth Day event at the Meridian Community Centre on April 23, from 9 AM until noon.”

Jones said PATH will be following that up the same day with its first annual “Earth Day Call For Action.”

“On April 23, from 1 to 3 PM, we’re asking environmentalists from all over Niagara to come and participate, and share their concerns. Peace Park in Fonthill will be the rallying point. We’re asking people to come on out with their families and friends.”

The Voice spoke with Jones and fellow board members Dave Nicholson and Graham Pett last week at the corner of Merritt Road and Rice Road, the spot where the Region is planning to build an extension roadway to Highway 406.

We’re asking people to come on out with their families and friends

“This is a provincially significant wetland area,” said Pett. “We are strongly opposed to the development of the roadway, and housing builds on these 25 hectares. There’s an official planning meeting at the end of the month at Regional Council, and we’ll be giving a presentation. We have major concerns because this is just such a flood-prone area. If they put a roadway through here, where’s the water going to go? They can’t put in stormwater sewers, because it’s too low. Imagine the amount of aggregate gravel that will be needed to build up the roadway. It will be an enormous height.”

“If you go down to Cataract Road, after every rain, the road overflows,” added Jones.

“This is the one remaining areas of forested land that stretches from the Fonthill Kame right through to the Welland Canal. There are plenty of deer in this area that will end up getting displaced,” said Nicholson.

PATH feels that it makes more sense to improve Port Robinson and Quaker roads, rather than carve a new vehicle artery out of a sensitive wetland area.

“Building this extension only saves the commuter a few minutes,” said Pett.