Council again fails Ridgeville

This is to express my disappointment in Pelham Town Council for not approving the creation of parking at the Shoppes of Ridgeville. This area of Ridgeville is a little gem that still stands as a reminder of what Pelham used to be before the so-called urban planners and developers desecrated our small town.

Town Council could not find it in their heart to approve $26,000 for a cause that would benefit all citizens, however, they had no problem at all giving $70,000 to a special interest group (Trout Unlimited), money which seems to have evaporated as to date there has been no return on this investment.

Council had the opportunity to restore a bit of our lost culture but alas failed once again. October 24 can’t come soon enough for this voter!

Rose Galway


Just Say No to Drugs Monolithic Apartment Blocks

I was pleased to see the recent letter by Craig Edwards raising once again the concern of prospective ten-storey apartment block “monoliths” within the Town of Pelham [“Ten-storey monolith may be coming to Fonthill,” Letters, Aug. 10, p.5]. In approaching this issue it may be helpful to know that a Provincial density mandate kicks in at eight storeys. Any municipality permitting a building of that height loses jurisdiction, in that merely upon developer application the Province can then impose the further acceptance of up to 12 storeys without local recourse. (For visual reference, the taller apartment block immediately to the north of the Seaway Mall is ten storeys.)

So it is essential that we get rid of this zoning hazard once and for all, ideally reverting to the maximum building height of five storey prior to the David Augustyn administration.

On this point, I was also pleased to recently hear that the Augustyn council may unknowingly have passed any zoning allowing up to ten storeys. This raises the question of how, exactly, we came to be saddled by this perennial threat in the first place. Perhaps members of the 2012 council could be induced to respond on this point, as this hazard was acquired on their watch. Is it possible that planning staff failed to fully apprise council of the content they were approving? We just don’t know.

In my view, Mr. Edwards is quite correct: this does not represent good urban planning, nor in my experience does it represent what voters want. Virtually all voters I encountered in previous election campaigns were shocked upon learning of this hazard, and thought it ridiculous that such a thing had ever been seriously contemplated by any council. Certainly, the imposition of apartment blocks onto our skyline would adversely effect all of our property values. Why this simple relationship is beyond any council member escapes almost all voters.

So why is this even still a threat? Virtually all members of cthe current council publicly promised to make the elimination of ten-storey zoning within our Town a high priority during the last regular election cycle. Further than that, they also promised to revoke any such permits already granted (of which there was already one at 80 Meridian Way, directly behind the Food Basics). To date not only has none of this happened, but we are now threatened by this application for a second zoning amendment that would permit another monolithic apartment block of up to 12 storeys on Port Robinson Road.

We need to do much better. We need to pursue the “missing middle” in urban planning, namely, well-designed, low-rise development, permitting us to get away from any resort to high-rise apartment blocks. In my view, one of the few modifications needed is a somewhat heavier emphasis on more green urban pedestrian spaces. We can get this if we want, but that would mean electing those able and willing to control planning staff in favour of enacting the will of the public.

Wally Braun


Reaction to Olson and Coté commentaries

I was particularly interested in the comments of Councillor Wayne Olson, and columnist Larry Coté in last week’s issue. Thank you, Councillor Olson, for the very precise, concise explanation for the status of the Niagara Central Dorothy Rungeling Airport [“It’s time for a new airport scenario,” Municipal Matters, Aug. 10, p.5]. Now it is understandable where the airport stands amongst the bureaucratic fog that previously existed. The Councillor’s recommendation for proceeding should be accepted by the Commission.

One thought, though—would provincial and or federal governments be interested in the NCDRA for climate change mitigation or disaster relief use? The recent usefulness of remote small airports in such circumstances across Canada does stand out as examples. There will, undoubtedly, be more to come. Be prepared.

Regarding the unfortunate hospital experience described by Larry Coté [“Healthcare in jeopardy,” Coté’s Comments, Aug. 10, p.4], it is regrettable that such stories happen. It is challenging for any system to be perfect, but the reality is failures do occur.

Now, there are individual good news stories from the Niagara Health System too—I being one of them. Diagnosed in October 2020 with Stage Four lung cancer, my NHS oncologist was very quick to add a CRISPR-type test for me that identified a mutation occurring in only three percent of lung cancer patients. Following two courses of oral specialty drugs that finally lost their effectiveness in June 2022, I have just begun an 18-week course of chemotherapy. My oncologist ordered home care through the HCCSS (i.e., OHIP) which provides scheduled nurse, PSW, and physio support to manage my health through the period. So, as of August 2022 I am still here and enjoying life at 85, thanks entirely to the NHS team of doctors, nurses, technicians and support personnel.

Doug Symington


How large must the elephant in the room become?

Having watched the suffering and deaths that prior provincial premiers created in their privatization for profit of our long-term care homes, and its endorsement by our current regime, is anyone truly surprised that the current puppet of the wealthy has allowed our health system to erode to the point that he can now introduce private health care as a solution?

One can visualize the names on the boards of directors and foresee the new legislation that forbids inspections of the private facilities without a forewarning.

Is this truly the best we can do?

Tom Airth


Not a fan of the Conservative front-runner

Mr. Poilievre would have some believe he rejects the same government he has willingly taken a paycheque from since graduation. As for credentials and or accomplishments during his tenure in government, none have come to light. Mr. Poilievre speaks of creating a free-for-all society. What does he mean? He spins words to incite dissatisfied people to protest. He suggests he agrees with the anti-vaccine, anti-government factions. He supported the convoy protest in Ottawa. Mr. Poilievre states he wants to be the Canadian leader. This angry man wants to install himself as “the gatekeeper.” Think about that.

Mr. Poilievre constantly requests funds from everyone to further advertise his negativity. We live in a democracy. That’s his choice. However, Canada does not need or want a despot.

With little political experience and his lack of congeniality, Mr. Poilievre should not be chosen as the Conservative party leader.

L. Morgan


Strong mayors a weak idea

If any political commentator still believes that it is politicians who are making the decisions that affect all our lives then they have not been taking very much notice of how our present government in Canada works.

And to try to compare the way “strong” US mayors operate is merely playing smoke and mirrors and is totally irrelevant to what we, the electorate, are allowing to happen to Canada, to its provinces and to its municipalities.

There are no “strong mayors,” just ones who do a lot of glad handing and promoting their imagined successes, few of which ever succeed or satisfy a large number of their own constituents.

Listen to any council meeting and after all the mayoral bluster that same mayor will instruct his CAO or other senior department head to submit a report back to council, and that report and its recommendations will almost always be accepted and passed by a mayor and council who haven’t even read the report.

I think that a Doug Ford majority is a tragedy for Ontario, but to even suggest that city staff are impartial and only want to support the best interests of the communities who employ them, and who pay their very generous salaries and benefits, is the biggest myth of all.

Andrew Watts


THE NEXT | Catherine Brazeau

A room with a view

What do you do when a room you walk into no longer fits? The other day I received an invitation to a reunion in my inbox. Not the expected high school homecoming, but a work reunion. A former boss has decided it would be great to get us all together again for a tribute to the good ol’ days. Suddenly, the chance to revisit that time in my life together with all the vulnerabilities, anxieties and insecurities of my youth (the stuff I thought I’d left behind) has resurfaced. Reunions are such a marker in time aren’t they? I’m imagining myself back in that old room again together with the judgment of my peers.

Maybe some rooms just aren’t meant for us anymore.

This doesn’t mean it was the wrong room then. In fact, that room was once exactly the right room. That room was where I belonged. I got to meet and know so many interesting people in that room. It also made a lot of future things possible. I’m glad I got to experience that room. That room was a gift for that time.

But that was then. And this is now.

Truth is, my brief stint with the company means there’s not much history really, other than feeling like a veteran from a collective pressure-cooker of demands, and that insatiable hunger for recognition. Some periods in your life are so hard and yet, strangely, you miss them.

It got me thinking: why do we go to reunions anyway? Because, well, we’re curious. I confess part of me wants to know if my old colleagues are (a) still alive, (b) good-looking, and (c) rich. (You know, those old guardians of self-esteem.) I imagine this reunion could go one of two ways. At best, we’ll stand around and tell old stories, experience that warm ’n’ fuzzy nostalgic feeling as we catch up with each other, have a few drinks and then exchange emails. Or at worst, I imagine a lot of comparison and judgment, gossip, and bragging—armour-up, y’all.

All I know is that when I walk into a room now, I need to walk in as fully myself. I’m not talking about a better, more together self. Just a truer one.

I have a complicated relationship with the good ol’ days. Goal-setting, achieving, working hard, and blind determination to “make it” in the world was paid for by the lack of attention to many of the important things in my life. Age and grace have given me perspective. I realize now that my next self was always there, hiding underneath all that, waiting to emerge, but I was never compassionate enough to pay attention to her.

Instead of going, maybe I’ll just send a group email to let everyone know the only things they’re really interested in knowing: Yes, I’m still married, I could use a little Botox, I now drive a zero-social-class car, I wear comfy pants all day and spend way too much time writing about the darkest corners of my life (I know you don’t have those) for a book I’ll probably never finish. Decidedly unremarkable. I know, I know, the party won’t be the same without me. But right now I’m loving this room I’m in.

Until The Next…


SHAKE IT UP | Rob Shook

Fortune favours the dogged

In the hearts and minds of committed and casual golf fans alike, the Open Championship holds a special place within the pecking order of pro golf’s major championship events. The baked, windswept fairways, the enormous greens, cavernous bunkers all on display against a backdrop punctuated by the occasional cry of a passing seagull. The ambience is seductive indeed. Having the spectacle unfold on the revered grounds of The Old Course at St. Andrews represents golf’s Holy Grail for players and fans alike. Few would argue this. A few takeaways came to mind that Sunday a few weeks back.

In golf, as in life itself, Nothing can be safely taken for granted. The unpredictability that overshadows life’s flow does indeed keep one invested. Same holds true in golf. I would hazard a guess that few on that final Sunday morning would be of the opinion that Rory McIlroy would not be victorious at the tournament’s conclusion. Cam Smith woke up that day with ideas of his own. The table was set for high stakes tension and drama.

The Open’s captivating finish reaffirms the fact that storybook endings seldom come true.

As we all witnessed, fan-darling Rory, who had the Claret Jug within his grasp as he stood on the tenth tee, was flat-out beaten by the Aussie with the mullet and the golden putting prowess. Cam Smith spoiled the party in dazzling fashion. Disappointment is as much a part of the journey as is winning the prize. Ask anyone who engages in a sporting pursuit and plays for keeps. Who among us has not tasted the bitterness of loss at least as often as the sweetness of success. Sport mirrors life in many ways. You win some, and you lose more, it seems. By the way, I was rooting for Rory like many others.

Sometimes, you have to push yourself beyond your perceived comfort zone and go get it. Period. The interplay between playing it smart and safe, vs. going after it full throttle was on full display that Sunday afternoon. McIlroy played solidly. Smith played on fire. Big difference. Big difference in result too.

Sweating the small stuff consistently can often make the difference between victory and watching from the sidelines. Ask any club pro, and they will endorse the wisdom of practicing your short game far more often than pounding golf balls with your big stick.

It ain’t pretty, but it’s the shortest route to a lower golf score. Doesn’t it ring true that one’s approach to putting in the effort often determines one’s trajectory in the process.

Why is it then that regardless as to which driving range you visit, you’ll usually see twice as many weekenders concentrating on hitting their longest drive, as opposed to practicing their wedge game? Guess the wow factor wins out, watching that bail sail 250-plus yards.

Inevitably in life, as in sport, a process is always at work that ensures a changing of the guard. Nobody, regardless of stature, skill set, or degree of accomplishment, holds the reins of victory forever. Tiger Woods became soberly aware of this as he stood on the Swilcan Bridge that fateful Friday. Ebb and flow ensures that fresh talent has the platform to evolve. Thank goodness for that. Keeps things worth following.

One day soon, that youthful Italian amateur golfer, who won the low amateur silver medal this year, will be cradling that very same coveted Claret Jug that he saw Cam Smith caressing. Every dog has its day so to speak, and time is the great equalizer across life’s spectrum. As true in life’s unfolding as in life’s conclusion. We all know this intuitively. Sometimes it is easier to simply forget.

Let us hope that the Open Championship remains just that. Open to the game’s very best, regardless of which golf affiliation these players choose to support.

For all the duffers out there, enjoy every shot, because there will always be that one beauty that brings you back to the first tee.