Small business owner Frank Adamson is looking to unseat incumbent Mayor Marvin Junkin. DON RICKERS

BY FRANK ADAMSON
Candidate for Pelham Mayor

What a year this has been shaking off the vestiges of Covid and returning to some sense of normalcy. We saw the return of the Tenth Anniversary of the Pelham Summerfest party on the hill with picture-perfect weather and an amazing crowd of partiers made possible by the hard work of Chair John Wink and the volunteers of the Summerfest Committee as well as all the Town staff and service club volunteers.

The Thursday night market and concert series were an outstanding success made possible by the work of Gayle Baltjes and her team of volunteers on the newly resurfaced area of Peace Park. Kids and families had a blast at the Rotary Niagara Family Funfest held at Bissell’s Hideaway, with proceeds going to Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Citizens have been enjoying a myriad of activities at the MCC and we now have two outdoor splash pads in Fenwick and Fonthill and outdoor pickleball courts in Centennial Park, thanks to the efforts of Town staff in securing government grants.

The Canada Summer Games made their way to Niagara for two weeks of competition and cultural events. Rotary and Rotaract Clubs in Niagara were responsible to coordinate the 12 Torch Relays, select participants, map out the courses and provide support. I was honoured to bike the torch with three other cyclists from Fonthill to Fenwick and back. The women’s and men’s cycling event took place in Pelham and a celebration of Alberta coinciding with the concert series with an attendance of over 7,000. The newly erected Arches served as the backdrop to the medal ceremonies.

Ten years ago Todd Barber with the support of the Summerfest Committee and approval of Pelham Town Council erected the iconic plywood arches designed to provide shade to the service club volunteers for beer sales for one season. They lasted six!

Due to the vision and perseverance of the Raise the Arches Committee, Rotary and the Summerfest Committee and over $200,000 in fund raising, from businesses, clubs and a substantial tourism grant…none of it at the expense of taxpayers, the Arches have risen. During the installation of the metal frames Councillor Bob Hildebrandt told the Voice that, “The Arches represent something tangible, that people can see, touch and relate to. They are an element of tradition, something that integrates the community and brings people together. They represent a focal point for events in the community.” From our first presentation to Council over three years ago to last week when the cement bases were poured we persevered through Covid and significant cost increases to success. We will have both Christmas under the Arches and a return of the arches to Summerfest next year. I would be remiss not to give credit to the late Bill Sheldon, Vice Chair of the Summerfest Committee, and the late Councillor Mike Ciolfi, for their tenacity and commitment to see them rise again.

All of the above and so much more have brought life and joy to our community. And most of it due to the efforts of community minded citizens with a desire to make Pelham a fun place where we can live and play. We are blessed to have the Steve Bauer Trail, the John Nemy Trail and the Gerry Berkhout Trail, the Isaac Riehl Memorial Skate Park, the MCC and by the looks of it a new library on the horizon. We have a walkable and bikeable community and six golf courses. We are home to Wellspring Niagara Cancer Support Services, Pelham Cares and vibrant and active service clubs and the Royal Canadian Legion and a volunteer fire department to be proud of. We have much to be thankful for.

A new council and mayor have the opportunity to work together cohesively in achieving good value for every tax dollar raised

I made a decision a few short weeks ago to enter the world of local politics as a candidate for the Mayor’s office. Politicians have it within their power to achieve good, to make the community a little better than it was when they came in. That is solely my intention. A new council and mayor have the opportunity to work together cohesively in achieving good value for every tax dollar raised. Working with staff, service clubs and the public at large we have the ability to develop a strategic plan and annual goals and objectives, something that I have championed in EMS, hospital administration, the United Way and Rotary International. We need to reach out to people to ask, What’s your vision? I am big on collaboration and consultation. We need input from multiple voices.

While going door to door in the new east end housing and condo development, Kin Court, Hurricane Road neighbourhood, Cherry Ridge in Fenwick, and the Rolling Meadows/Haist Street areas, I have been listening intently to people’s issues and concerns. As well I made a point, as a small business owner to visit every business in Fonthill, Ridgeville and Fenwick.

What surprised me most was that people were impressed that I and my team of volunteers were taking the time and effort to reach out and listen to their concerns.

Traffic congestion and noise on Highway 20 as well as increased traffic and speeding on Port Robinson Road. Dying trees around the holding ponds, and the smell of marijuana production in south Pelham and Fenwick. Issues around too intense development of housing and the potential for high rise- apartments and more traffic. Unsustainable tax increases. I do not have a magic wand or all the answers, but I do know by listening, by hearing, by caring, by consulting we can work together with our citizens, staff and both Regional and Town Councils to resolve or mitigate some of these issues.

It was reassuring to hear though, that most of them enjoyed, to the most part being a part of the fabric of Pelham, loved the amenities, the services, the activities available at the MCC, our libraries, kids and seniors programs.

We are blessed to be living here. As your new mayor (or not) I am committed to continue my service to Pelham/Niagara.