In remembering Lafleur, we see our own mortality

This past weekend had me thinking about why the death of hockey great Guy Lafleur struck a chord deep within. Never really a Habs fan, nor did I follow Lafleur’s career that much. True, his hockey talent and flair on the ice was unmistakable in the ‘70s. Who could argue there.

Hockey and life itself seemed much simpler five decades ago. Remember the long hair, the bell bottoms, as well as the freedom the ‘70s ushered in.

Perhaps being a hockey player myself spurred me to harken back to my teenage years during which I spent countless hours skating on an outdoor rink, totally oblivious to the challenges of adulthood. No thoughts of inflation, interest rates or health issues ever crossed my mind. The simple joy of indulging a passion that gave priceless memories took centre stage. Lafleur’s passing prompted a little sentimental reminiscing. Bet I was in good company this past weekend.

The shortened life of Guy Lafleur clearly underscored my own mortality. After all, he was only a few years older than myself. The powerful reminder that Father Time spares no one, celebrity or not, is undeniable. We all have to pay the piper at some point.

The extra wrinkles, the hair loss, the aches and pains certainly become harder to avoid. Yet, there remains a beautiful flip side to time’s marching. Each day, we all have an opportunity to be a positive influence in the lives of others.

Mr. Lafleur humbly cemented a legacy that touched many. His untimely passing offers a valuable opportunity for each of us to think about our own legacy. The passing of a hockey legend does indeed offer plenty of food for thought.

Rob Shook


Sees conflict of interest

I was shocked to see the photograph in the newspaper taken at the courthouse of Charles Duncan with his new partner, Barbara Vyrostko. I am aware that she is the Executive Director of Community Living for Welland/Pelham, a prestigious and honorable position of trust, overseeing and ensuring that the rights of the most vulnerable members of society are adhered to—not at all unlike the victims of her chosen partner, Charles, who violated that trust as a family physician.

He has been proven guilty in a court of law on not one, nor two, but six counts of sexual assault, and is presently awaiting sentencing.

We all have the freedom to choose our partners, but with and within that we must also be accountable for any and all consequences of our decisions. As a taxpayer who is in part paying Ms Vyrostko’s salary—$112,000, according to the 2021 Sunshine List— I believe there is a conflict of interest here. Harboring a convicted sex offender is certainly not what I want my hard-earned tax dollars to support.

I wonder also why the Board of Directors of Community Living have not commented on the fact that a convicted sex offender is cohabitating with one of their top executives.

C. Dougan

Editor’s Note: The Voice reached out directly to Ms Vyrostko, and to a Community Living Welland Pelham executive board member, for comment, neither of whom responded.



Salute to the clean-up crews

Wow! Talk about inspiring! While driving to Earth Day events last Saturday morning, I could not help but noticing the many town residents with yellow garbage bags in hand scouring roadside ditches for garbage and debris. It wasn’t just the roadside ditches that got a makeover—the Steve Bauer Trail and the areas both north and east of the MCC benefited from the hard work of our civic-minded residents. Your hard work does not go unnoticed. Everywhere you go around our community looks nice and clean.

In these fast-paced times that we now find ourselves, and with “time” always in short supply, I just had to reach out to all of our residents involved with the clean-up and give you a heart-felt thank you!

Mayor Marvin Junkin
Town of Pelham


Appreciates empathy over Ridgeville parking issue

It’s nice to see that people still care about our town and preserving the quaintness that is slowly disappearing. [“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” Letters, April 5, p.5.] Our biggest problem since day one is there has never been enough parking from the Ridgeville redo that ended up with less parking than what they started with. It shouldn’t be rocket science that when you are designing spaces that you put in proper parking to accommodate the growth. We are still hoping that we can get more parking spaces in Ridgeville to make it easier for our patrons to shop. Thanks for your concern.

Bobbi Lococco


Earth Week sees residents on the right PATH

Earth Week provided an opportunity for Pelham Advocates for Trees and Habitat (PATH) to have a major impact on Pelham. Twenty-two kilometres of the Steve Bauer Trail were cleared of litter, and PATH members were photographed cleaning around the MCC. Two construction sites were also cleared prior to the major pickup on April 23.

PATH, and other environmental groups, were encouraged by the Town to set up information booths at the MCC while residents picked up their rain barrels. We thank the Town and our visitors for this opportunity to spread our message.

The 1st Annual Rally on Earth Day for a call for action (AREA) was held in Peace Park and was organized by PATH. Environmental groups demonstrated to the public and all levels of government that they are united in combating the climate crisis. This coalition, a grassroots movement, will work for Climate Change Action.

Marie Jones, an elder from the Mohawk Nation, gave this event her spiritual blessing. Mayor Junkin welcomed everyone on behalf of the Town. Sixteen environmental leaders voiced their concerns for the environment. The indigenous “Strong Waters Women” drummers were a highlight of the afternoon.

We thank the Mayor, Town and Regional Councillors, Jim Bradley Chair of Regional Council, Dave Augustyn provincial NDP candidate, CHCH-TV, and our community for attending.

We also thank everyone who made Earth Week a great educational and active celebration.

Remember: Earth Day is every day! Follow the PATH.

Mike Jones


MUNICIPAL MATTERS | Leah Letford & Amanda Deschenes

Pelham event programmers work behind the scenes to combine all the elements of an event, like a baking team creating a specialty cake. There is a combination of art and science as the “ingredients” are sourced, combined, moulded and prepared before being served up for the community to enjoy.

The planning to create these events does, in some cases, begin a year or more in advance. Such as making sure Santa can attend the Christmas in Pelham events, since his calendar fills quickly, or sourcing enough chocolate eggs to fill a truck for the Easter Bunny.

Designing the event from concept to completion, planners evaluate the crucial components, from site and logistics to entertainment and decor. These ingredients are the high-level direction for the event recipe. Once the overall event design is determined, staff work backwards to create a timeline and schedule to ensure each ingredient is secured and in place. This process involves staff from multiple departments and dedicated community groups and volunteers working together.

For Easter, the process included chocolate eggs sourced months in advance to ensure the Easter Bunny and six helpers could be ready to transport the truckload of eggs, over 60,000, to hide in the park in the early morning hours before the annual hunt.

Attendees to an event are the focus as the recipe for the event is built. What is the experience they will have when they attend? At the Easter event, the big question is whether each child will have a collection of eggs that will make them smile during the hunt. Will they be excited at the rush of the bell at the start of the hunt and the potential to meet the Easter Bunny? The event team keeps the children in mind as they focus on how they will be able to interact and engage with all of the elements. The goal of the event team is to have attendees enjoying the experience without thinking about the process that occurs behind the scenes to bring the event together.

Pelham has a proven track record of providing award-winning events for the community. From the larger-scale events like the annual Pelham Summerfest, to the community events like Easter and Earth Week. The team that works behind the scene is a roster of staff, countless community volunteers, committee members, and entertainers all dedicated to working together to create engaging and memorable events. Like following a recipe, the team brings in the elements of the event and combines them for the final product, mixing, measuring and adjusting as they go.

After each event, the most valuable part of the process is the debriefing and event feedback. The process is reviewed and refined yet again, and elements are adjusted to make the event even more deliciously enjoyable the next time.

Pelham’s municipal events, though, have a secret ingredient mixed into the recipe—the sense of community brought by neighbours and friends who attend.

See you at the next event in Pelham!