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Letters & Op-Ed, July 21 2021

Excellent turnout for Library book sale We've just returned from the Pelham Library's book sale. A huge shout-out to all the volunteers who ran this event. Absolutely amazing.

Excellent turnout for Library book sale

We've just returned from the Pelham Library's book sale. A huge shout-out to all the volunteers who ran this event. Absolutely amazing. The crowds were there before opening and my guess is that they will be there long after closing. The number of volunteers, tables, boxes of books, reloading of tables that make you want to check the table again. On and on—an amazing event and a good fundraiser.

On the negative side I almost got run over by a stupid cyclist who is good enough to be on the road. He didn't need the trail to ride on and interfere with all the Sunday "old folks" and "young folks" walking. Very very dangerous. No manners at all.

J. Vlym Fonthill


The town at the top of the Twelve

Discovering our many waterfalls draws thousands of visitors to Pelham and the Niagara Region in the spring and fall. Back in the day there were many water courses draining from the escarpment year-round. But sadly, development, deforestation, and population growth have caused these streams to dry up during the summer. The cold, spring-fed Upper Twelve Mile Creek may be one of Pelham residents’ favourite environmental features, but it’s also one of only a few Niagara streams that still flow year-round and support native cold-water fish species like Brook Trout. Yet as our town grows so are we degrading this valuable resource.

Urban development—like what we see up and down Highway 20 in Fonthill—brings about a fundamental shift in the natural water balance. As vegetated land is replaced with hard surfaces like buildings, roads, and parking lots, surface runoff becomes the primary drainage mechanism.

As water runs off paved surfaces it picks up sediment, road salts, metals, oils, pesticides, and other harmful pollutants, which are conveyed directly from above the watershed into Twelve Mile Creek.

Before these vegetated lands were urbanized, most storm water falling on the Fonthill Kame moraine either evaporated with the help of the vegetation or percolated into the leaky glacial soils. As we paved these areas and put impervious rooftops over our structures, we diverted most of this evapotranspiration and percolation into a much larger volume of fast-moving surface runoff to very fragile stream channels. These large runoff volumes have contributed to increased erosion, higher risk of flooding, property damage, and the destruction of the natural biodiversity of Twelve Mile Creek. You can easily observe the excessive water flows and the corresponding damage to the properties of Pelham Cares and the Lions Club at the outlet of the pond below the community centre on the north side of Highway 20, or at the outlet of the stormwater pond at the north end of Station Street.

Conventional approaches to the management of urban runoff include structural practices such as wet ponds and detention chambers, focused on detaining stormwater and controlling the rate at which water is discharged into receiving waters. In recent years, unique flood events attributed to climate change have shown that these approaches are not enough. Urban water runoff management must become more holistic, and we must have a greater emphasis on green infrastructure and low impact development (LID) if we are to preserve Twelve Mile Creek for the next generation to enjoy.

The good news is that existing conventional stormwater management approaches can be successfully adapted to incorporate more of these practices in order to promote widespread adoption of the water balance approach by engineers, planners and other practitioners in the development industry. The water balance approach seeks to recreate the original pre-urbanization balance of evapotranspiration (from vegetation), percolation back into the cooling and cleaning soils of the Fonthill Kame moraine, and runoff in stream channels. We can start to return to a more natural state as it was before the massive changes precipitated by intense human land development.

More good news—the Town of Pelham is considering taking an important and bold step to preserve the precious natural heritage that is Twelve Mile Creek. Councillors and the Mayor are working in partnership with Town engineers and planners to engrain green infrastructure and LID as policy in the Town’s design manual. Rather than hoping for an arbitrary or haphazard adoption of these principles, a green infrastructure and LID policy will ensure that developers, builders, and Town planners adopt natural or built systems at the design stage. This policy will yield huge ecological benefits and help to maintain pre-development water flows.

Pelham can pride itself on being the “Town at the Top of the Twelve” only if there is a Twelve to be proud of. By taking a holistic approach to stormwater management, we will join a growing list of progressive municipalities that have taken the important step to ensure our grandchildren and their grandchildren will enjoy natural resources like Twelve Mile Creek.

Dennis Edell Chair, Niagara Chapter Trout Unlimited Canada



Rebels Without a Mask

A small number of people have declined wearing masks and getting a vaccine that reduces the prospect of spreading the Covid-19 virus and its variants. Some of these people claim to have medical conditions that precludes the donning of a mask. The remainder of those who disregard these lifesaving measures have some peculiar reasoning to support their rejection of these standards. To put at risk their own lives is their right, but to put others at risk exceeds the limits of that right.

At the onset of the pandemic, some anti-mask advocates claimed it was a hoax. Perhaps some unidentified agency was attempting to control the behaviour of a presumably witless population. The origin of such a theory remains a mystery. This rebellious lot claim to be more canny than the majority of people and first to recognize this groundless plot.

Others of their number claim the vaccines were employed to depress the intellectual and reasoning capacities of those naive enough to allow themselves to be jabbed by some surreptitious syndicate.

Oddly, whatever their reasoning to reject measures to control the virus, these people willingly abide by most other civil contrivances. Drivers need obtain a licence in order to comply with that practice. Why not reject that measure? To enjoy recreational fishing, adults are required to obtain a licence to participate in that activity. Why not ignore such a requirement? Social conventions frown upon public nudity. Why not cavort about town topless and without trousers?

The 20 percent of the population who remain unvaccinated and reject medical science will likely encounter inconveniences, if not difficulties, in the future. They may be denied access to a number of activities and services, both public and private. For instance, some cruise lines will not allow unvaccinated persons to use onboard amenities such as pools and casinos in order that they not contaminate such facilities and endanger others. As these people knowingly accept the risk of contracting this vicious virus, there are rumblings that their health insurance may not cover the costs of treatment and hospitalization if they contract the virus or its variants.

There is another serious sidebar to the rejection of the vaccines and the wearing of a masks syndrome. The longer the original Covid-19 virus is allowed to linger the greater the probability that more vicious and resistant variants will develop and spread.

Some objectors to the wearing of masks and being vaccinated are being offered incentives to encourage compliance with these measures. Medical science has determined that in order to effectively control this pandemic, a plateau referred to as herd immunity need be reached. Such is said to be reached when 80 percent or more of the population has been fully vaccinated. Should these incentives not convince enough of these vaccine delinquents to avoid putting their neighbours at risk, laws may be enacted to require compliance.

Thankfully, the majority of the population have accepted as their civic, moral and humanitarian responsibility to do all they can to comply with the measures to halt the devastation of this deadly virus.


PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin

Cases, camps, and crops all looking good

With the province’s implementation of Step 3 last Friday, the residents of Ontario are that much closer to getting their lives back to normal, whatever that might look like. From all of the smiling faces shown in restaurants and the packed gyms also appearing on local TV, this step has been anxiously anticipated for some weeks now. With the continued forecast of wet weather the opening of inside dining has occurred just in time.

Daily new Covid cases in the region continue to come in at ten or below, no doubt due mostly to the good vaccination rates among Niagara’s residents. As of July 14, nearly 68 percent of Niagara’s residents have received one shot and nearly 49 percent have been fully vaccinated. These numbers are somewhat below the provincial numbers that show some 78 percent of all eligible residents have had one shot and 50 percent age 12 and up are fully vaccinated. The province continues to vaccinate between 175,000 and 200,000 individuals daily.

With the move to Step 3, the Town is again renting ice time to various skating groups, and the swimming pool is also now open. All users are expected to follow certain Covid guidelines as issued by the Niagara Health department. All of the Town’s summer day camps are full with waiting lists of children who couldn’t get in due to the great response to the programs.

With all the recent moisture, field crops in Niagara are looking better than they have in the past 25 years, although it has made the harvesting of an excellent wheat crop somewhat challenging. It is great to see so many roadside stands throughout our town offering for sale the various food choices grown in our region.

Until next time...