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Letters & Op-Ed, August 18 2021

Small policy adjustment could make big difference I have had many people say to me that it is very sad, looking at the current urban development, that it has taken away the “charm” of Pelham.

Small policy adjustment could make big difference

I have had many people say to me that it is very sad, looking at the current urban development, that it has taken away the “charm” of Pelham. Not the number of homes, or the size and style, but the details that make a structure appealing. It has got me wondering why the Planning department has not used their authority to put in place “architectural controls.” It is a little late now but with small architectural details and colours in place for builders to follow, without adding to construction costs, people would not be sad that the new area has now got the “Big City feel.”

Ann Gledhill Fonthill


Big thank you for Storywalk participation and help

As some of you may know, we at the Pelham Public Library ran, in partnership with the Lincoln Public Library, a "Storywalk Explorer" program so that members of the community could read a picture book while exploring a local sight.

Two weeks ago we put up a storywalk around the downtown community. A great deal of fun was had by all and we heard many success stories. I would like to give a big shout-out to the very supportive community businesses that took part in this great event. Thank you to Beamers Hardware, Lifetime Vision, Everyday Market, the post office, and Studio W Salon. Also a big thank you to the residents of College Street who let me use their lawn—you know who you are!

Only two storywalk locations left to visit this summer.! Check us out Aug 16 - 22, at St. John's Conservation Area, and Aug 23 -29 at Charles Daley Park.

We thank you immensely.

Jennifer Bennett Children and Youth Coordinator Pelham Public Library


City, town—same difference

The following comment, written by Lori Keenan of Vancouver, appeared in the Globe and Mail “Letters to the Editor,” on Friday August 13: “The greatest threat to the health of our cities is the lack of affordable housing. Until this changes, our youth —the most vital part of the population — will exit cities in droves.”

Please substitute the word “cities” with “Pelham and area.”

Ric Gretsinger Fonthill


Natural selection is not the same as "chance"

In last week’s edition of the Voice, Pastor Rob Weatherby outlined how many ingenious designs found in nature have inspired human inventions [“Made in Heaven,” Faith Lift, Aug. 11, p.19]. He then posed the question “How did this design get there?” He suggested two possible answers: 1. It evolved by chance over a long period of time. 2. It was created by intent by a very intelligent designer. He preferred the latter.

Pastor Weatherby completely misrepresents Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Darwin never suggested that evolution occurs by chance. He demonstrated that evolution occurs through natural selection.

Natural selection: “The process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring,” from the Oxford English Dictionary.

Alan Bown Fonthill


The gift that keeps on giving

In reference to John Chick’s article about Town Council, in the August 4 edition of the Voice [After summer break, lengthy agenda results in four-hour marathon, p.3], it appears that the citizens of Pelham are the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to subsidizing the Welland Airport, recently renamed the Niagara Central Dorothy Rungeling Airport. Apparently it services Welland, Pt. Colborne, Wainfleet and Pelham and is run by a commission.

Less you get confused, this “airport” does not conjure up the image of an “airport” in the traditional sense.

It has two paved runways and one turf runway, no illumination for night landings, no air traffic control tower. It cannot land aircraft on Instrument Landing System (ILS) approaches. However, it does accommodate outside tie-downs and inside hangar space for itinerant light aircraft for clients requesting same. Most clients seem to be recreational flying enthusiasts who enjoy this pastime and who pay normal landing and storage fees as do others.

It was a flight training school for pilots during WWII not unlike the one in Dunnville.

However the cost of running this “airport” far exceeds the revenues it generates and the citizens of Pelham pick up the major portion of this tab. Repaving a $180,000 botched paving job now costs $2.4 million to correct and Pelham’s portion is $600,000. However I could find no actual cost for the paving job back in 2018. The most recent financial statement (paragraph 9, page 11) states that as of December 31, 2018 there was a balance owing the contractor of $180,322, but in 2019 the contractor and the commission mutually agreed to settle this dispute on the basis that the Commission pay $79,789, which was 50% of the remaining balance at that time.

If the total cost of paving in 2018 was $180,000, as the Mayor implied, then how did it jump to $2.4 million in 2021? Was there no Request for Quotation (RFQ) for this project in 2018, which would have been contrary to standard operating practice?

The big question is: Didn’t the council pass a motion to transfer ownership of this airport to Niagara Region back in 2015? Did it ever get done? Why not? How can the current council rescind it six years later?

How does this airport benefit the average citizen in Pelham who may never use it? It is not like our fire department, which the average citizen may never have to call upon but we certainly understand the benefit a fire department provides to the community. Possibly but to a lesser extent the same argument may apply to our community centre.

How many citizens in Pelham actually use that airport and how often? I am sure there is a large number of citizens who would dearly love to have a municipal subsidized golf course, which they could play at reasonable rates and not be saddled with high membership fees. And let’s face it, the property would definitely be an appreciating asset for the Town.

Are industries attracted to Pelham because we have this airport nearby? On the contrary. We moved here in 1975 because Fonthill was known as a bedroom community. Now it is known as a retirement community. It was never promoted as the industrial hub of Niagara, and was never intended to be.

What do we have to lose by not investing in this airport? Some councillors say we have an appreciating asset. However, our $27,000 annual expense eats up more than the annual rate of this appreciating asset plus we have a one-time charge of $600,000 which we have to absorb. And as one councillor told me, “If we wished to dissolve this arrangement then the property would revert back to the Crown for $1.”

To be perfectly clear, I have no issue with those who use the airport, recreationally or otherwise. My concern is that our council and staff need to come up with more creative ways to address this problem which do not place the financial burden on the citizens of Pelham.

Frank Feeley Fonthill


Bandshell damage reprehensible

My wife and I were out for a walk this morning, enjoying a sunny Sunday morning in beautiful downtown Fonthill, and came across this scene [photos above] around the Bandshell at Peace Park. It is disheartening to find this kind of littering and vandalism in our neighborhood. It is also hard to imagine how something like this could have occurred with no witnesses.

If you witnessed this, please contact the Town of Pelham with any information you have. If you witness something like this in the future, please notify the police and report it to the Town. Yes, we cleaned it up. The trash bins are conveniently located right next to the Bandshell. Unfortunately the newly installed bench will require repairs.

Dave Schulz Fonthill



If we love our children

According to recent estimates, there are 2.2 billion children on this globe. It is their destiny to be our descendants and our responsibility to leave them a viable, healthy environment in which to live.

However, some recent events highlight how we have failed in that obligation for some while now, and are continuing that shortcoming to this day. Some experts predict that unless we change very soon, it will be too late and the devastation will be irreparable.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report signaling ‘a code red for humanity.’ In that account, the panel claimed “Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many changes becoming irreversible.”

We are witnessing increases in wildfires, heatwaves, animal extinction, ocean warming, air and water pollution, flooding, pandemics and other calamitous events that have made headlines over the last number of decades. The records show that such devastating outcomes are increasing in frequency and intensity and need be taken notice of by each and every one of us. Its not someone else’s problem to address this issue. It is yours and mine. All of us are the culprits and each of us must take notice that we can’t continue our excessive and pathogenic treatment of the environment.

Pollution doesn’t just happen. You and I cause it and only you and I can remediate such harm to our environment. Remember, this is the one we are leaving to our children. And at this point, this legacy doesn't look too promising.

If we love our children, then starting today each of us must make a commitment to curtail the many ways we harm our environment on a daily basis. Be mindful, this is the one our children will inherit from us. What will be the quality of that legacy. Poor or rich?

Global warming is primarily caused by and the result of human activities. The extent of these deleterious activities have overwhelmed the earth’s abilities to absorb and repair the damages we inflict on its resources and systems. The pace of global warming that has taken place need be curtailed and reversed only if each of us eradicates our harmful behaviors and conscientiously replaces these with measures that contribute to restoring the health of our globe.

Whether we like it or not, our politicians are responsible for allocating the resources and activities needed to stop the damage and restore the health of our planet. It is we who are responsible to ensure that our elected representatives establish the issue of global warning at the top of their priorities. Then we must continuously prod these politicians to enact measures that penalize polluters and encourage environmentalists.

The health and welfare of our children should be more than enough motive for us to change our harmful ways and leave our progeny a healthy environment in which to live. These benefactors will gratefully applaud our gift of a healthier planet long after we have left this earth.


PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin

Niagara vaccination rate plateau, Sulphur Springs delay

Niagara Health System announced that as of August 15, they would be permanently closing the Covid vaccination clinic at the Seymour- Hannah arena. The Health System, going forward, will shift their focus to “pop-up” vaccination clinics that offer walk-in vaccinations with no appointment required. Last week, there was just such a clinic held at our MCC. Refer to the Niagara Region website for more information.

Obviously as time moves on these clinics are seeing fewer and fewer numbers. Health officials across the country are hoping that total vaccinations will top out at the 80 percent range. In Niagara, the latest figures show that 71 percent have had their first shot with 63 percent having both. For various reasons, it appears that the Niagara Region is going to come up short of the 80 percent goal. That is unfortunate, with so many our population, here in the Region, being made up of seniors.

This past Thursday, August 12, I had the pleasure of welcoming Pathstone Mental Health Services to the Town. They will set up their clinic sometime in September, upstairs in the Kinsman Room at the MCC. The Town would like to thank the several community groups who made generous monetary donations to make this clinic a reality. We all know that this pandemic has caused all of us increased levels of anxiety with our youth also affected, what with school closures and sport activities shut down completely for several months. Thankfully, sporting events are approaching returning levels, and as of now schools will be reopening, come September.

There was a media event held at the washout on Sulphur Springs Drive this past Saturday. CHCH news, at my request, sent a crew down to look at the site and interviewed some of the affected residents about the five-year closure and their anticipation about the road reopening, hopefully this fall. Just hours after it was announced that the TV news crew was coming to Sulphur Springs, the NCPA announced that all conditions have been resolved and they were ready to award the long-awaited work permit to the contractor. The contractor, Duffin Construction, is now waiting for a similar permit from the Niagara Escarpment Commission, which Kim Peters, a Director with the Commission, has assured me is just a rubber-stamping process following the approval by NCPA. If this is correct, then hopefully work can begin this week, albeit a month behind the scheduled starting date. Once again, allow me to point out that the federal agency involved in this project, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, issued their permit months ago...just saying.