Fundraising chair Paul Snack, left, and Rotary Summerfest lead Frank Adamson. DON RICKERS

T-shirts, flag available for Canada Day in effort to see iconic attraction rebuilt

Fundraising during the pandemic was arduous work, and it’s been no picnic in the post-pandemic period either.

But that has not deterred the Fonthill Rotary Club in its effort to rebuild the iconic Fonthill arches in time for summer events.

Frank Adamson, the local Rotarian leading the Summerfest Committee, has committed countless hours to seeing new arches grace the vicinity of Town Square and Pelham Street.

The latest fundraising items are Canada Day lawn signs at $20, and T-shirts with Canada Day and Raise the Arches themes, available at $25.

“At this point, we’re shy around $25,000 of the $175,000 budgeted for the project,” said Adamson. “We figure the lawn signs and T-shirts should bring in around $5,000.”

“As far as the steel fabrication for the new arches is concerned, the steel is right now being hot-dip galvanized so it won’t rust. The structure itself is complete. The main issue is coordination with the company that’s going to install the helical piles for the support columns, drilling and screwing them seven feet into the ground. All the construction trades are just crazy busy. We need a crane to get the steel up, and other specialists for the concrete bases.”

GGS in Vineland, located near the QEW and Victoria Avenue, is the Niagara company doing the fabrication work.

Sadly, it is unlikely that the new arches will be in place for Summerfest. Adamson said that the intent now is to have the arches in place for the Canada Summer Games in August.

Paul Snack chairs the fundraising committee for the local Rotarians, and is working closely with Adamson on the Raise the Arches project. Fonthill Rotary has an array of fundraising ventures, including the Family FunFest which happened last Saturday at Bissell’s Hideaway, and drew a crowd of some 1500, a significant increase over the previous year.

“We partnered this year with students at E. L. Crossley to promote the Family FunFest event,” said Snack. “One of our strategies at Rotary is to work with youth, so we joined forces with a class at Crossley, where they were required to work on a real-world business project. We’ve been meeting with them every week over the last number of months. One of our Rotarians, Janet Cripps, is a teacher at Crossley, and has been our lead on the school’s end. It’s turned out to be a lot of fun, getting the kids engaged. They’ve been great salespeople, giving sales presentations and raising awareness at local elementary schools.”

Key contributors to the arches project include Lucchetta Homes, Willowbrook Nurseries, and Zavcor Trucking, but countless smaller donations have come in from local businesses and individual residents of Pelham (including the Voice).

Pelham Town Council has committed $30,000 towards the construction of the arches in the form of a bridge loan, and the Summerfest Committee is putting up $10,000 for the cause. Niagara’s organizing committee for the Canada Summer Games is providing $10,000 for shade sails on the arches, and updated, high-efficiency lighting will come via a grant from Niagara Region.

A cycling event — part of the Canada Summer Games — to take place in Pelham the second week of August, will have its start and finish at the arches. A post-event party under the structure, with beer sales and entertainment, will be another fundraiser.

The previous arches, intended for only one season’s use in 2012, lasted six years, and received a Niagara Community Design Award. They were comprised primarily of plywood, and blew down in a windstorm in February 2019 after having been damaged by a motor vehicle. The new steel and concrete arches should have a lifespan of 50 to 100 years say proponents.

Pelham Council previously accepted a plan to modify the original design to three sets of centred arches, included moving the arches 16 feet in from Pelham Street and 16 feet in on Pelham Town Square, west of the Town municipal building. Both Fire Chief Bob Lymburner and Director of Public Works Jason Marr were supportive of this redesign, which will allow unobstructed turning for large trucks such as Pelham Fire’s aerial ladder truck.

Contributions to the Raise the Arches project are still actively solicited. Queries can be directed to Frank Adamson at 905-892-0200, or by email at [email protected]