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Letters & Op-Ed, December 14 2022

Covid hasn’t gone anywhere. Here’s how we know. As the winter sets in it is obvious that we are still a long way from eliminating Covid. In fact the number of cases is not going down.

Covid hasn’t gone anywhere. Here’s how we know.

As the winter sets in it is obvious that we are still a long way from eliminating Covid. In fact the number of cases is not going down. Last week, my wife, who has not been to any social gatherings since Covid, decided she would go back to attending church and went to several events over the weekend.

In retrospect not a good decision, as several days later she tested positive for Covid and now is quite sick. At these gatherings there was no social distancing nor mask-wearing.

I am sure that who she got it from didn’t realize that they had the bug. “It’s only allergies or a sniffle, I always get a cold as winter sets in,” would I imagine be the rationale used in attending an event.

We need to get smart—don’t go out to parties, bars, church, concerts if you are not feeling well. Wear a mask, social distance, and keep those hugs and bugs to yourself.

Len Wright Fonthill


Is this arena seating or economy class?

I went to the panthers game last Sunday for the first time at the new arena, and what great hockey to watch. Unfortunately the seating was so cramped I had no leg room at all. I’m six feet tall, and I could not move, and neither could my buddy, so we stood the whole game.

I would say 80 percent of the spectators were standing. I asked a few people about the seating and they all said the same thing—no leg room. I hope the Town can look into this problem and fix it so we can sit and enjoy the games. I will be attending more games but I will stand up. Maybe the town could put up stools to watch the hockey.

Gary Birch Fonthill


Appreciates stroke signs advice

Many thanks for printing the letter from Brenda Horton concerning her husband’s stroke of her husband [“Grateful for speedy, capable medical treatment,” Letters, Nov.30, p.5]. All the information and facts were more than helpful, especially to those whose age might make them vulnerable to this health issue.

Brenda Horton must be credited for passing along this valuable message, along with the paramedics for recognizing the symptoms of stroke and taking the patient to the correct hospital.

Margaret Campbell Fonthill


Planned community one solution to housing issue

I read many opposition letters to housing developments, however with little offerings of a solution.

One simple word “Townsend.”

Add a few more words: Townsend, Ontario, was assembled in the mid 1970s by the Ontario Government for a planned community of 100,000-plus residents.

Jobs? Townsend is surrounded by industry-ready lands. Great location for any of the new upcoming EV vehicle subassembly. Name an industry it can work there.

Doug Ford, put your imagination to use. Instead of struggling to cram ever more into exiting cities, expanding boundaries, let’s use what was planned 40 years ago.

Great location for many of all housing categories. High-end, condos, apartments, even the mini houses looking for a location.

Brad Gautreau Fonthill


Don’t sacrifice Greenbelt to greed

There is something critically wrong with how Canadian politics operates today. Premier Doug Ford has been completely outed lying baldfaced to Ontarians, promising not to go into the Greenbelt. Yet this same man can continue to boldly go on with plans to build Ontario by carving up precious farmlands, wetlands, forests, and the list goes on. A person would be fired for what he has done under any other position. Why are there not systems in place that would fire him from being Premier?

Instead he will kick the farming community in the face, share wealth with developers who suspiciously bought when they did. Folks, the man is laughing at us in my opinion, and you can see his new gig is to display a sign whenever he is speaking which reads, “Building Ontario.”

Immigrants are said to be coming in huge numbers soon and for their sake I hope not, because they will be coming to Ontario where we are under siege by a dictator and his developer buddies.

Praying justice to prevail before all is lost in the name of greed.

Faye Suthons Wainfleet


Beware the “Amazon” phone scam

We have received many calls recently from people claiming to be with “Amazon Customer Service,” and that charges were made on our Amazon account, $1499 and $470. One day last week we had six calls within an hour!

Each time I said, “This is a scam,” but the calls kept coming…got really angry with one caller and he told me not to ever call him again. That was quite funny!

Today when “they” called I asked him to send me an official email from Amazon and he hung up. I then called Niagara Regional Police and they said a lot of people have had the same types of calls. So please beware—do not give them any information. There are a lot of scams out there.

Sandra Paterson Pelham


COMMENTARY / OP-ED | Councillor Wayne Olson

Putting nature on the balance sheet

It’s not news that we are facing a some very serious, interconnected, global challenges. Traditional views about housing, the cost of living, a presumed recession, climate change, and, I think, governance, are proving to be unsustainable. Aside from the usual full plate of issues, the Town can still do some great things for the environment.

The pandemic has certainly spotlighted the importance of safe and healthy outdoor spaces and green infrastructure’s role “as a universal good.” There is a vast variety of green infrastructure starting with trees, rain gardens, and pollinator gardens, running to distributed solar power and alternative transportation technologies.

Climate change must be on every agenda. I hope to suggest that the new realities of climate change offer a route to an improved, cheaper and longer-term relationship with the problem that will produce better solutions than we have experienced until now. Solutions inspired, motivated, informed and guided by protecting Mother Earth.

People need to be mindful of the important historical reality. A body of incredible knowledge had evolved over time where Indigenous people lived within environmental limitations. Cultivation has taken place in Niagara for over 700 generations, and the land still produces thanks to our Indigenous friends and the farmers who are wonderful stewards of the landscapes and their food-giving capacity.

There was a very sustainable economy until a new technology arrived that turned things upside down. It was a technology that imposed shorter-term evaluations and largely lost track of the longer-term implications. It was a new technology based upon the premise that if one doesn’t take something somebody else will.

A sad legacy but a legacy that can no longer be sustained.

The new time-based technology realized intuitively that time wasted is never to be recovered. The new technology said that “faster is better” and “more is even better.” Economies of scale were pursued but the activities failed to take into account the health cost and the environmental cost.

“Natural infrastructure” is a term that covers ecosystem-generated solutions that provide the fundamental, practical needs of our daily existence: freshwater wetlands that provide flood protection, water provision and water purification. Water is the thread that connects us.

We need to think about the environment in terms of integrated systems because so many things are impacted by change. Traffic studies that focus on wait times for travel and parking give little consideration to the travel demands of the physically, economically, and socially disadvantaged, and are not useful.

Our current models consistently undervalue non-motorized modes of transportation. It’s the same thing with Natural Infrastructure. We fail to see the value and importance of our wetlands and forests as we make compromises for short term gain.

The answer, I think, is to create a project evaluation process that always includes a climate lens. This provides a potential range of benefits including improved water quality, livability, property value, and social and health revitalization. We should fully recognize the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of natural infrastructure.

But we don’t do that. We only measure the cost side of the cost-benefit equation. From food to health and security, nature provides many undervalued benefits. I have said many times that nature is our ally in this battle. It has been said that, “the reward for patience is more patience.” We need to give nature time and space to recover.

The big challenge is in how we facilitate the type of investment that’s going to be required. As we move towards net zero beyond 2030 there are further investments that are much more difficult and larger. In order to be precise in our decisions, we will need emphasize data accuracy and planning.

The numbers are numbing. The G20 Global Infrastructure Outlook indicates that US$94 trillion in investment is needed by 2040 to close current infrastructure gaps. A further $3.5 trillion is needed for achieving universal household access to clean drinking water and electricity by 2030.

Engineered infrastructure can be a major threat to biodiversity and ecosystem function. The impact of roads on deforestation and habitat fragmentation is well documented. According to the World Economic Forum, Future Of Nature and Business Report, 29 percent of the threats to biodiversity are caused by infrastructure development including roads, dams, and energy production facilities.

Traditional methods of valuing infrastructure puts the focus on a narrow set of financial indicators that do not measure the underlying value of nature — or the cost of its loss. Nature has been traditionally viewed as a limitless resource for humanity to exploit and not as an asset with an equity value.

As a result, natural capital fails to receive investment capital proportional to its true value.

There is good news. Nature can provide essential, effective and undervalued solutions.

Research by the International Institute for Sustainable Development shows that nature-based infrastructure provides identically effective and more resilient infrastructure service, while being up to 50 percent cheaper than traditional “grey” infrastructure. In addition, nature-based infrastructure added net present value is 28 percent greater than grey infrastructure.

Experts suggest that the process begins by defining “green infrastructure” and assign monetary values to the benefits and the costs. Undoubtedly, these values will be arbitrary but they can’t be misleading. We know the costs with great precision. The benefits will take some extra informed and realistic estimation.

Aside from the usual full plate of issues, the Town can still do some great things for the environment. I am hopeful that the Town’s new Asset Management System will give us the ability to consider lifecycle impacts of all our decisions. Someone called this “Putting Nature on the Balance Sheet.”

I also know that there are many “low hanging” opportunities that can be done at very low or no cost to the individual or the taxpayer. I’m thinking about the efforts of residents that provide “personal” environmental projects like trees and plants. The Pelham Garden Club reported an almost 80 percent increase in its number of members. That shows that Pelham is engaged and willing to work for nature. I see, first hand, the enthusiasm of our staff to make good decisions for nature.

Finally, there is a movement within the accounting profession to report present on our “green” assets. The supplementary state should show the cost acquisition and the value of each natural asset. It should also show the environmental cost of every error that we make with our precious natural assets. A way will be found.

Thank you to the Voice for this opportunity to write to you and say thank you to our residents. In the final analysis, Leadership is Action. I am grateful for the leadership and the knowledge of the many groups that are acting for nature.



Here comes a new Voice

It was not such an unexpected shock to learn of the demise of the printed version of the Voice of Pelham. However, that does not diminish the bit of sadness that accompanied the learning of that decision. Like many devoted readers I will miss the tactile rustle of holding the paper in hand while my eyes visually scan the familiar layout of pages. However, most of us have evolved and learned to live with the many technological changes that have virtually disrupted some of the routines to which we have become accustomed.

While I enjoyed receiving the Voice at my doorstep every week, I admit to also having iPads, ebooks and other electronics to inform and entertain me. In fact, I used some of these devices to write, edit, and submit this column almost weekly.

If you observe the trend in the publishing and merging of the urban dailies, the end of the print versions of these newspapers is likely not far off. The downward trend in subscription rates and advertising revenues is due to the uptake in online usage that has virtually bankrupted many printed page producers. Notice how your daily newspaper has actually withered in physical size and the amount of local news content has been reduced to being a mere shadow of its former coverage.

Obsolescence is not a new and unfamiliar process to most people and has often disrupted their familiar routines. For example, look at the current auto industry and the onrushing conversion from carbon-fueled vehicles to battery-powered ones. Transportation industry experts predict that gas-powered road vehicles will be obsolete in a dozen or so years. That is not a long time for the millions of drivers to adjust to this new reality. Hopefully, not too many drivers will have to be forcefully dragged from behind the wheel of their oversized gas guzzling SUVs.

Although I admit to not being an unbiased person when it comes to the Voice, I am comfortable in saying it has been an icon of excellence and an important contributor to the Pelham community and even wider. Under the direction of our publisher, the number of awards this community newspaper has won are a testament to the outstanding and upstanding qualities throughout the presence of the Voice in this community. Thankfully we can expect those qualities to continue with the digital version.

There likely will be some discomfort to the routines of some regular readers. However, most of them will quickly adjust to clicking on the Voice icon on their digital devices to catch up on what they formerly read on the printed page.

Hope to meet with you again on online in the New Year. It’s easy. Just go to to continue to enjoy your community news.


THE NEXT | Catherine Brazeau

Let's talk turkey—real turkey

Fresh or frozen? Shot full of Bourbon and butter… or do you head to the barn, grab the fattest bird and, well, you know? Personally, I prefer fresh over frozen — just me, my bird, and my skills (minus the killing and plucking part). Of course, cooking a turkey is more than just a test of skill. Turkey has become a sort of memory-making machine. It’s not only got to taste good but it has to be Instagram-worthy (which is more than you can say for me by the end of the day), with all that crispy, golden skin and savoury stuffing bursting from its cavity forever evoking memories of Christmases past. That’s a lot of performative pressure! Anyone who’s ever cooked a turkey knows it’s a lot of work. Plus the cooking time has got to be just right so that the dark meat is cooked thoroughly and the white meat isn’t as dry as cardboard. (Praise be to butter, butter, and more butter!) But the real reward for cooking a turkey is enjoying it the next day without having to spend all that time and effort making it.

One of my favourite next-day meals is the humble hot turkey sandwich: a hefty pile of meat on white bread — yep, white bread — smothered in gravy with a dollop of homemade cranberry sauce and reheated garlic mash on the side. Is there anything better?

Frankly, I’m fairly competent in the kitchen and I make a pretty good turkey. I’ve sure had plenty of years to hone my skills. Which is why I also know a good turkey when I taste one. And by good I mean made with love and good things. I admit to having some hangups about food. If you don’t know me very well you might even think I’m a bit of a food snob. (For the record, I do enjoy a Velveeta grilled cheese and a box of KD once in a while.) But those who do know me know I just have trust issues. Here’s why.

When turkey is not turkey

About 20 years ago we took a trip up north to visit family. Traveling anywhere when the kids were young was pretty good. Their needs were simple and unsophisticated back then. Thankfully, my husband always has simple, unsophisticated needs. Unfortunately, I have complex, sophisticated needs, which can sometimes make traveling with me a pain in the ass.

So here we are in small-town northern Ontario, searching for a good restaurant. Let me tell ya, the struggle is real. It was getting late and everyone was getting a bit hangry (you know, that unwelcome combination of hunger and being pissed off at the world and everyone in it). Knowing that my needs are complex and sophisticated (I prefer the word discerning), the family likes to offload restaurant selection to me. They’re an acquiescent bunch.

“Pick a place to eat mom.”

“Okay, I’ll let you know when I see a place that looks good.”

(In my head: Look, stop asking me to pick a place to eat all the time. Don’t you know choosing a restaurant is the hardest thing in life for me? I need to analyze the situation. I have standards and criteria and expectations!)

While we’re racking up time and kilometres, driving back and forth along Main St., Nowheresville, I suddenly heard “PICK A PLACE ALREADY!” We’re talkin’ capital letters and lots of exclamation. I was now anxiously scanning the landscape for what looked like a good place to eat while frantically applying my inner rubric for restaurant selection. That’s when I spotted… Rialto’s.

The name speaks quality, doesn’t it?

Here’s how my inner rubric works: Rialto is in Italy. Italy equals great food. So far, so good. But are the windows clean enough? Is the parking lot full? Why is nobody inside? Maybe folks just eat early in this forsaken town. You get the idea.

My husband pulls in, parks the car and we hustle inside while I continue to mentally reassess my choice using a scale of one to ten.

Atmosphere: Zero (probably due to the ghost-town vibe). Windows: Zero (not sure why the host didn’t seat us at the window ‘cause the place is empty!) Service: Zero (I already hated the service before any was rendered). My bad attitude: Ten.

We’re handed some menus, you know, the ones that can withstand innumerable amounts of germ-y touches and interactions. I don’t recall much Italian on it except maybe those roadside faves: spaghetti and pizza. All of the sudden deciding what to eat felt like an exercise in risk management. What’s healthy here? What can they not screw up? What’s least likely to be infected with salmonella, e-coli, listeria? (Did I mention I have trust issues?) No wonder I always end up ordering last. I need time to run that rubric through my head. I still remember all these years later my husband ordering the surf ’n’ turf. I thought to myself… in this place? Clearly, he doesn’t have trust issues. The kids ordered chicken fingers or something equally benign. Suddenly, it was my turn to order.

“What’ll ya have, ma’am?”

(Ma’am? Do I look that old already?)

I decide to inquire about the hot turkey sandwich.

“Um… the hot turkey sandwich… is it real turkey?” I asked. (Purely information-gathering, but no doubt came across as pretentious).

“Real turkey?” she replied.

“Yeah, like it’s not that deli turkey roll stuff, right?”

With a hint of mockery, she confirmed “It’s real turkey, ma’am. It’s good.”

I just wanted to believe.

Our meals finally arrived in what felt like for-ev-er thanks to my husband’s surf ’n’ turf. (They were scrambling to find some traps and a body of water.) But what also arrived was a moment of truth. The truth that says, “You eat with your eyes first.” So here’s what glorious sight mine eyes beheld: On my plate was a perfectly round slice of white meat-like substance smothered in thick, glistening whitish goop together with an ice-cream-scooper-sized mound of mashed potatoes and a few limp veggies.

At that moment I realized that Rialto’s was a bridge too far.

As for the rest of my family, they kept their heads down, ate what was in front of them and said nothing. nothing! Oh, they knew all right. They knew better than to utter a single word. They gazed at my disgust, then at each other, and made a pact-of-silence. Because they all knew what was coming next. Tears. Followed by anger. They knew better than to ask me what was wrong, for fear I would lash out in a menopausal rage. I was loaded and ready.

Needless to say, not a morsel of meat-like substance entered my pie hole.

“Didn’t you like your dinner?” asked the server with fake-y concern.


I offered no explanation.

She offered no apology.

The end.

The family breathed a silent sigh of relief. They hate it when I embarrass them by complaining.

We paid the bill, hopped in the car and was headed back to our motel when I spotted a grocery store. And just like the woman in the Ikea commercial, I yelled, “Stop the car!” I ran in, grabbed a yogurt, a salad and a bag of chips. Thank God. Real food.

The silence continued back in our motel room. I admit, an attempt was made to lighten the mood (my family are not completely without compassion and empathy) but I became increasingly agitated that nobody wanted to engage my sorry self in a conversation about what happened. I wanted to rant, dammit! But they weren’t havin’ it.

Instead, they were loving me. Teaching me. Mercy me! They were handing me that precious silence so that I could dwell as long as possible in my own ungrateful, unbending, judgmental thoughts as a gift of clarity. Ah… silence. That place — maybe even the place — where we find our truest selves. I went to bed, curled up under the covers of victimhood, and finally nodded off for the night. Family sure has a way of shaking down your flaws, don’t they?

Well, it’s Christmastime again. And that means we’ll all get together around the table over another turkey, where everyone will delight in trotting out memories of my crimes and misdemeanours. With just two words — remember Rialto’s? —roars of laughter will inevitably follow. Yes, the recall has begun, except now I can look back and see the outrageous hilarity of it all.

So, to my dear family who are reading this I want to say… I beat you to it this time guys! You won’t be resurrecting this story about Mom behaving badly again this Christmas. Because it’s time to pull out some of those Dad stories — you know the ones. Yeah, let’s go there.

Ah, family. To love them is to know them… too well.

Until The Next…