Picnic success a credit to all

I would like to thank all the volunteers that stepped up to help the North Pelham community picnic be the success that it was! From the kitchen staff, who did an outstanding job in their preparation, the burger flippers, the wagon /stage on which Copper and Iron did an outstanding performance, the morning set-up and take-down crew, The Third Scouts of Fonthill for the parking duties and expediting the clean up. And mostly our community for their attendance and support, also our local merchants for their generous donations making this event a first time success—thank you one and all!

Mike Tucker, President
North Pelham Youth Association


There’s a song for that

During the early ‘60s, when we were in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, my friend Jim was looking at plans for building a fallout shelter in the basement of his house, so he could save his family from the nuclear war that was looming ahead for the world. He bought canned food and stored it in the fruit cellar so he could be prepared for the inevitable crisis. Fortunately, JFK prevailed and the world was spared.

Since I am a ‘60s girl and grew up with folk music and rock and roll, I remember a song that fit that situation. It is “The Merry Minuet,” also known by its first line: They’re rioting in Africa. (Google the lyrics and watch the Kingston Trio sing it).

The last stanza goes like this: But we can be tranquil and thankful and proud, for man’s been endowed with a mushroom shaped cloud, and we know for certain that some lovely day, someone will set the spark off, and we will all be blown away! They’re rioting in Africa, there’s strife in Iran, what nature doesn’t do to us, will be done by our fellow man.

So here we are, in 2022, in a climate change crisis and with a war in Ukraine. The Russians have control of the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia and who knows who has their finger on the red button.

Of course, this reminds me of different lyrics: Where have all the flowers gone—gone to graveyards every one. When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?

Vilma Moretti


Open letter to Town Council

On behalf of the Board of Directors of Pelham Advocates for Trees and Habitat (PATH) along with many concerned citizens of Pelham, we would like to make clear our position on the proposed Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw that will come before you to vote on at the Regular Council Meeting on August 22, 2022.

We recognize the work that has gone into strengthening environmental protections from what exists in the current Zoning Bylaw for the Town of Pelham; however, this new proposed bylaw does not go far enough in its climate change mitigation, or in making environmental best practices mandatory in zoning and development decisions. It does not reflect as serious a consideration of the impacts of the climate crisis and of extreme weather events as is warranted. For this reason, from our position of environmental advocacy, we do not fully endorse the new Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw.

We recognize the added protections the new Zoning Bylaw offers for EP1, EP2, and EP3 designations. We hold Ms. Wiens and Town Planning staff to their word that these designations will safeguard against the development of environmentally sensitive lands within Pelham in a way that the current bylaw does not. We also note the assurance that has been repeatedly given that the new Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw is a living document, and can be amended on an ongoing basis. It must be appropriately stringent and forward-thinking in its climate mitigation and adaptation, policy and planning as the climate crisis intensifies.

If the Zoning Bylaw passes on August 22, we will approach our councillors to discuss motions for amendments to be put forward at a future council meeting. We respectfully ask you to represent the best interests of the residents of Pelham by remaining responsive to our efforts to improve this bylaw, viewing future development in our town through a climate change action lens.

Mike Jones, President/Chair


REGIONAL COUNCIL UPDATE | Diana Huson, Niagara Regional Councillor (Pelham)

Reflecting on Women’s Advisory Committee

Early in this term of council, I was successful in creating a new Women’s Advisory Committee that was tasked with considering ways to address the underrepresentation of women in public office, but also to consider the unique economic, social and cultural experiences of women that are directly impacted by public policy decisions. The Committee came together in 2020 after a very competitive application process (nearly 60 individuals applied to participate) and met entirely virtually over the past two years. It had representation from all areas of Niagara, a variety of organizations and backgrounds.

The Committee was successful in making a number of recommendations that were adopted by council. One such initiative included adopting gender-based-plus analysis (GBA+) training across the organization. GBA+ is an internationally recognized policy and research tool used by a number of organizations to examine how different populations are affected by government decisions. The tool helps government to determine if any group benefits more than others. It was an important exercise to create a more inclusive organization but also to reflect on how we deliver services and ways to improve to ensure that diverse voices are more adequately captured in the delivery of the Region’s services or interaction with our staff.

The Committee also recommended Regional participation in the 16 Days of Activism campaign against gender-based violence, in response to a delegation from the Canadian Federation of University Women. The campaign is an internationally recognized initiative that brings attention to gender-based violence, strengthens support for local work in this field and brought attention to an issue that became more pronounced during pandemic lockdowns. Lockdown requirements meant that victims of home-based violence were isolated with their abusers. Additionally, distancing requirements either made shelter space restricted or unavailable at this crucial time. It was an incredibly timely campaign and it was also the first time the Niagara Region had participated. The campaign included a range of activities, staff training and a public panel discussion.

We also made a recommendation, and were successful in attaining a grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, that allowed us to extend the Seat at the Table program. This program aimed to provided training and support to encourage more women and racialized individuals to consider running for public office. Four virtual workshops were held to help bring attention to the different levels of government, how to run a campaign and dealing with criticism or difficult situations. Hundreds of participants joined the sessions over the entire campaign and hopefully led to a few people adding their names to ballots across Niagara.

In our final meeting we also received a presentation from Niagara Regional Police Services (NRP) to provide an update on the establishment of the human trafficking division. This unit was first created during this term of council. I distinctly remember receiving a presentation from the NRP highlighting the need to establish this unit largely because Niagara’s hotel and accommodation sector provides an environment for human trafficking to thrive (due to the abundance of accommodation options).

During the pandemic, human trafficking activity had to pivot, just like all of us, which took these activities increasingly online but also shifted these activities to Airbnbs from hotel rooms. They highlighted the importance of requiring these non-traditional rental sites to register with the municipalities so the NRP have adequate information in conducting their investigations and protecting victims.

In reflecting on the short two years the Women’s Advisory Committee was able to meet, the committee engaged with some nine different Regional presentations from six different departments and had significant impact and influence over the organization. It engaged in policy discussions that included community services, child care and the Niagara Poverty Initiative. Discussion also helped shape the new ten- year economic development plan, the new official plan, public health and transportation policies. There were also significant discussions that informed the Region’s new diversity, equity and inclusion action plan. As a group we were proud and pleased to see the extent the committee was able to achieve in such a short time. Imagine if we had a full four years!

Reflecting on the work and the impact of this committee is important, because a municipal election is right around the corner. Once the dust settles on the election results this October, both the Niagara Region and the Town of Pelham will seek to recruit members of the public to sit on a variety of committees, such as the Women’s Advisory Committee. These committees range in focus on a variety of municipal issues including financial management, planning/development, agriculture, event planning, active transportation, social policy, and a number of other important issues.

These appointments provide a unique opportunity to help inform and shape municipal policy without the need to become an elected official. This is a great opportunity to give back to your community and lend your particular area of expertise to the betterment of your community. So when the call goes out, I encourage you to seek out these opportunities and put your name forward! It can be a very rewarding experience and your community will be better for your contributions.



Ignore it at your peril

Global warming! Blah, blah, blah. Most of us have heard enough about this issue to last us a lifetime. In spite of that, climate experts suggest that the timeline to an irreversible disaster may be shorter than many of us realize. But have we listened to those precautionary predictions? More importantly, are we making changes to our damaging ways?

Apparently not enough. Our recent extreme weather events are proof positive that we ignored Mother Nature’s earlier warnings. And now she may be beginning to lose patience and taking more drastic measures to get us to pay attention.

Even in our little burg of Fonthill, Mother Nature recently sent a stormy message in the form of a warning that resulted in a lengthy power outage. She admonishes us to listen more intently if we want to avoid the intensification of the damages.

There is an ever-growing list of natural warnings to choose from. How about the melting of the ice pack in our northern regions? Nope. That doesn’t effect or have a direct impact on most of us so let’s light up another smoke stack or unadvisedly burn even more carbon fuel.

How about ocean warming and the pollution of those vast bodies of water? Nope. Very few of us live, work, or play near these waters so why should we notice or care. Mother Nature warns about the depleting fish stocks that many rely on to stave off hunger. Why worry about the tons of one-use plastic products we dump into the oceans annually. Outta sight, outta mind seems to be our mantra.

Oh, and what about the forest fires raging across our continent? Across Europe? Experts claim these are fed by the abnormal heat waves that dry the forest and provide fuel for these uncontrollable tinder boxes. Nope. Again, the smoke and ashes do not disrupt most of us going about our business so we don’t need to heed the alarm bell that Mother Nature is ringing to awaken us.

Each day, many of us take in our first deep breath by reaching for an aerosol puffer on the bedside table. After years of breathing air polluted with toxicants of all sorts many of us have damaged our lungs to the point where we need to medicate to breathe. Did we take the time to determine the causes of such deplorable conditions? Nope. That to seems to be too much of a bother for too many of us.

There are many perilous conditions that should awaken us to change our ways but to our own peril we continue to ignore these signals that warn and threaten our futures. To change our habits and take better care of our environment seems too out of reach yet for too many of us.

Let us hope that Mother Nature doesn’t give up on us and will be gentle in helping us to see the error of our ways.