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Pelham Town Council again shot down an option to create parking at the Shoppes of Ridgeville at its July 25 meeting, with three members balking at the potential $26,000 price tag.

The area has long been highlighted as being in need of extra parking spaces, with Ward 2 Councillor Ron Kore recently asking for another staff report on the matter.

With that report presented to council last Monday, however, Kore had shifted priorities.

“Even though I put the motion forward, I’m not going to agree with spending any money, is there a problem with that?” Kore asked Town Clerk Holly Willford.

Having been informed there wasn’t, Kore explained that money from reserve funds would now be better spent on fencing around a stormwater management pond near a playground in East Fonthill.

“I just can’t see spending $26,000 … when we have a major issue with the River Estate Park where we needed fencing right away,” he said. “I’m not saying parking is not important in this area, but I think our kids are more important….I’m hoping we could divert this money over to protecting our kids.”

Even though I put the motion forward, I’m not going to agree with spending any money, is there a problem with that?

Kore later moved a motion to investigate paying for just that, but because neither the parking nor the safety fencing was included as a budgeted item for 2022, funds will need to come from Town reserves.

“I hope we can get some type of expense and erect this as soon as possible,” Kore summarized.

While the fencing issue will be discussed at council’s next meeting, the Ridgeville parking matter was referred to the next council in 2023 — despite the attempts of Mayor Marvin Junkin, Ward 1 Councillor Wayne Olson, and Ward 3 Councillor Bob Hildebrandt to push the funding through. While those three voted in favour of the cheapest option — $26,000 for an asphalt parking lot on the site of the Ridgeville water station —Kore, Ward 1’s Marianne Stewart and Ward 3’s Lisa Haun voted against. It was defeated on the procedural rule of a tie because Ward 2 Councillor John Wink was absent.

Junkin said the business owners in Ridgeville have a right to be frustrated with the Town at this point, given the ongoing concerns and the fact that tour buses have no place to park in the area.

ArriveCAN’T

The frequently divided council found common ground in the even more divisive area of Covid-19 politics, with members unanimously agreeing to endorse a letter from the Town of Fort Erie asking the federal government to make the ArriveCAN app optional and not mandatory.

The correspondence did not mention why anyone would voluntarily choose to use the much-maligned app, and Hildebrandt also made a successful resolution to not only endorse the letter, but distribute it to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and all area MPs and MPPs.

“As a first-world nation I think it’s ridiculous that we’re still under the gun on this, it’s so deeply flawed,” Haun added.

The smartphone app, which requires anyone entering Canada to upload vaccination information prior to arrival, has been widely derided as a boondoggle, complete with technical glitches that tell vaccinated people to quarantine when no quarantine is required.

Long delays continue at Canadian air and land ports of entry, in part because many people don’t have the app — including seniors who may not own a smartphone.

“These seniors cannot understand why this app has not been taken away at this point,” Hildebrandt said.

Toilet talk

Bandshell Committee member Annie Holtby made a presentation to council asking to explore of the idea of permanent public washrooms in the vicinity of Peace Park and Town Hall. To date, the popular summer event has relied upon port-a-potties. She added that permanent toilets could also serve the Farmer’s Market and Christmas Market.

Junkin concurred.

“I agree wholeheartedly,” the Mayor said. “The Town has definitely outgrown the port-a-potty phase. I use these [facilities] when I go to an international ploughing match that’s out in the middle of a field.”

Jane Haist naming project deferred

Staff reported back to council on Junkin’s motion to find a way to honour late Pelham Olympian Jane Haist, presenting nine possible existing or planned local parks or recreational trails for naming. Interestingly, one of them is the E.L. Crossley sports field, although such a designation would require approval of the District School Board of Niagara and not the Town. Junkin asked the matter be deferred until Haist’s family could be consulted.