Kudos to Welland Hospital ER

Saturday, after going to a Pelham walk-in clinic (online hours differed from note on the door), then a Seaway Mall clinic and finding them both closed, I called several in St. Catharines with no luck. (I did learn that the Walmart in the Pen Centre has a walk-in clinic.)

So I went to Welland Hospital. Triage was quick and then I waited. I observed helpful and courteous staff. A wee child crying to go home was offered stickers. A woman with a brace on her arm was offered a pillow to rest it on. Three hours later I went home.

I am grateful for their care, good organization, and positive attitude.

L. Morgan


Reminder to take special care of newly planted trees

This is a notice to tree lovers and their neighbours who have recently planted new trees. If you have planted or have had the Town plant new trees in the past few years, it is a critical time in your tree’s life. The summertime can be very stressful on young trees and cause adverse effects.

Drought stress is common during heat waves and the long period between rains. During those periods, trees cannot absorb as much water as required for the tree to grow or maintain their daily functions. There are different factors to consider. It could be the soil compaction, high water evaporation rate and lack of rainfall.

These few reasons can be examples of tell tales signs of drought stress. Some visual cues are an early drop of leaves, leaves changing colour, curling of the sides of the leaves and some completely brown leaves.

One must remember that if these conditions continue, the tree may have a long-term effect by which the tree growth may be slower or even halted. The leaves may become smaller, less colourful and early leaf drop. The tree may become pest accessible.

The good news is that one simple and crucial way to help protect your invested interest during summer droughts is to frequently water the young tree. To ensure newly planted trees have an optimal growing condition to become established, watering is essential.

Increased growth will result if regular watering is done for the first few seasons.Each newly planted tree is recommended to receive 2.5 cm (1 in.) each week. Water dripping is the most preferred method because the water will penetrate deeper into the root system. This can be done by allowing a slow drip from a hose at the base of the tree for approximately fifteen minutes every three days or by installing water bags on the tree, filling them every three days.

To help improve water penetration and reduce competition from weeds and grass, the tree’s trunk should be kept mulched at 5 cm (2 in.). There must be a clear ring around the tree free from the mulch, do not allow the mulch to form around the base of the tree!

Remember, every tree has enormous value, not only monetary but in climate-related benefits, personal health benefits, cooling effects from the tree, potential energy savings, and helping their role in maintaining biodiversity. These are just a few reasons for increasing our tree canopy in the town of Pelham.

I would like to recognize the Safe Tree Ltd. staff Jessica and Kait, and the Town of Pelham Street Tree Maintenance “A Guide For Home Owner” created by the Town of Pelham Operation Department with the assistance of the Pelham Tree Conservation Society for their enlightenment on this topic.

Happy tree growing season!

Mike Jones
Pelham Advocates for Trees and Habitat


Municipalities working in silos

One of the reasons for the Wainfleet Fire Hall “boondoggle” was as a result of directives from the Fire Marshall’s office that the pretty impressive Wainfleet volunteer firefighters should “clean up their act,” mainly the paperwork and records that did not meet the standards of paper-pushing bureaucrats and had little to do with the competence and performance of the volunteer firefighters themselves.

That this current council have embraced it as their chosen mission and legacy also has little or nothing to do with a lower tier municipality preventing a dysfunctional Regional Council from suddenly becoming a best option for moving forward? This Wainfleet council is merely emulating their upper tier colleagues, spending money they do not have in the hopes their names may be remembered.

If the anyone actually believes that bigger and bigger government, and an ever increasing number of highly paid bureaucrats is the solution to Niagara’s problems, I would only suggest they take a look at our present governments at federal and provincial levels.

Niagara Region takes 46 percent of every Wainfleet tax dollar for what? Primarily to ensure the 50 percent or more of our Regional taxes are available for Regional councillors’ stipends and expenses and the almost exponentially increasing demands for Regional staff salaries, benefits, pensions, and annual increases.

Forcing amalgamation on the 12 lower tier municipalities would only serve to further reduce the influence of the 12 communities to have any say in the future of their families and their chosen homes.

Far better to dissolve Niagara Regional government entirely. It may be messy to begin with but with 12 municipalities suddenly doubling their budget—who knows, even a Wainfleet council may be able to make a rational case for this new fire hall.

Andrew Watts



It’s time for a renewed focus on local agriculture

Mayor, Town of Pelham

I have always been a strong believer in advisory committees to Town Council. As both a former councillor and now as Mayor, I can say that it is beneficial for council to receive advice from dedicated, focused teams of residents.

When running for the office of Mayor, one of my major platforms was to form an Audit Committee consisting of members of council and interested qualified members of the general public. The new council did form this Audit Committee and two citizens, both CPAs, were appointed to the committee along with three members of council. By all measurements, the committee has been a resounding success and played no small part in the Town’s Finance Department achieving North American-wide recognition for transparency of reporting two years in a row.

Now after serving almost four years as head of council, I strongly believe that an Agricultural Advisory Committee would greatly serve Pelham’s interests. Very few, if any, of our Town’s Senior Leadership Team members have agricultural backgrounds, and the same can be said of most elected officials. Although I feel Town staff does an excellent job in reaching out residents for opinions and thoughts on policies, with the efforts by Town staff during the last two years of working on our new zoning by-law amendment being a prime example, it is nevertheless clear to me that a committee made up of members such as market gardeners, greenhouse growers, field crop growers and orchard growers, meeting on a regular basis, would go a long way in bringing both council and staff the much needed agricultural perspective on any new policies or bylaws that are being contemplated.

The Niagara Region has its own Agricultural Committee known as “ACAP,” which stands for Agricultural Policy Action Committee, and it sits once a month to review and comment on any new policies that the Regional staff are working on. Just recently, this committee helped to reverse a proposal put forward by Regional staff that would have attached development charges to all new agricultural buildings within the Region. The agricultural industry is not only a big part of the cultural makeup of Pelham, but this industry continues to innovate and flourish, changing its methods of operation and the very tools and machines it uses in order to stay viable in an ever-changing environment.

With climate change being a reality and rainfall patterns changing around the planet, governments, both local and national, must take whatever steps are needed to keep Canada’s agricultural producers viable. Keeping all governments up to date on the ramifications of their actions would be a big first step, and an Advisory Committee skilled in agriculture would pay great dividends to the community.

Now, let’s support our farmers directly and take advantage of Pelham’s weekly Farmers Market, every Thursday at Town Hall!



That maddening game of golf

Golf is a game that lifts the spirits of only a select few who regularly come close to scoring at or near par. So why is it such a popular pastime? The answer confounds even the most skilled psychiatrists.

There are hoards of golfers so unhappy with their scores. And they blame their confounded golf clubs, grips, balls, shoes, greens keepers, the weather, and many other factors except their own inadequacy. Many golfers, after a bad tee shot, commit to buying a new very expensive golf club to correct their slices, hooks and whatever other miss hits are driving them to obtain the technology that will cure their golfing imperfections.

Like so many duffers, I have quit golf more times than I can count. Yet I soon give in to that dream of playing a game that comes close enough to par so that the scorecard will be framed and hung prominently over the fireplace. That is much to the disdain of the golf widow who doesn’t appreciate how it adds to the décor.

I know a number of decent golfers and when they are off the golf course and away from other good players, they appear to be quite near normal people. But when they are on the links or meeting with other skilled golfers they become totally different personalities. If you watch them in a group, you will see them swinging an imaginary driver or stroking a ball out of a sand trap with a fantasized wedge. To some, they appear to be choreographers designing a new dance routine.

The ads for golf clubs boldly promise that if you buy that glistening new putter, you will regularly be dropping putts from so far away that you can hardly see the cup. A new set of irons will get you to the greens in regulation so often that you will be looking at birdie putts throughout the round. The technologies associated with golf club design easily rivals the science of building spacecraft.

I must admit here that I am a member of a fraternity of senior golfers that is more like a brotherhood than an uncaring collectivity. The range of athleticism and golfing skills varies from duffer to club championship levels. There are more visible body part replacement surgical scars, knee wraps, bandages and pregame pharmacological injections than would be seen at the nearest health facility. It could be unwise for anyone with low self esteem to join this group. The jovial repartee among members often includes character debasement and the degrading of intelligence.

Golf is more than just a game to those committed to membership in a club and those who pay green fees on a regular basis. The desire to play a good game before teeing off, the execution of some good shots and the post game replay are just some of the joys of playing at golf.

Finally, give golf a break. Even if you don’t score well, your spouse will certainly enjoy the break.