Monday, December 21, 2009

Pelham Welcomes Olympic Torch

Here are the notes for my speech at the Royal Bank in Fonthill, welcoming the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay to Pelham.

Thank you and good afternoon everyone!

On behalf of Pelham Town Council,it is a great honour to welcome you today as our community welcomes Canada – and the world – with open arms and glowing hearts.

The Town of Pelham is proud to be one of the one-thousand Canadian communities to host the Olympic Flame.

As the Flame is passed along through our streets, you’ll see a glow of excitement as our community shows our Olympic Spirit and Canadian pride.

From hockey trials and figure skating this morning, to the pre-torch parade, to activities in Peace park this afternoon, we are sharing in the Olympic spirit.

And while the flame is in our community for only a few minutes, I hope you will celebrate for hours, and remember this event for many years!

Special thanks to each the volunteers who worked hard to ensure this was a memorable and magical event.

And, congratulations to all the torchbearers who have been selected to run through Pelham’s streets.

It’s just 53 days now until the start of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The sea of red and white here in Pelham shows we are ready to celebrate with the rest of our country.

Thank you, congratulations, and enjoy the rest of today!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Next Steps Taken in New Firehall

Town staff erected a yellow sign last Friday at 766 Welland Road. The sign, which indicated that the property has started the process of being rezoned, says “to permit the development of a Fire Station.”

You see, the Town recently finalized the agreement of purchase and sale for the 4.9 acre property that is required to replace for Pelham Fire Station #2 at Welland and Canboro Roads in Fenwick.

You will recall that in August 2008, Council established a Fire Station #2 Replacement Committee. The Committee determined that the Town needs a new Fire Station for several reasons: the current vehicle bays do not have enough room for future vehicle requirements; parts of the 60-year-old building are structurally inadequate and are cracking and deteriorating; there is not enough on-site parking for the volunteer firefighters during calls; there are significant safety concerns with as firefighters backing-up vehicles into the bays after each call.

The Committee also determined that the required improvements cannot occur on the current site. An additional vehicle bay attached to the current building would eliminate vehicle parking for the volunteer fire fighters, for example.

The Committee developed a “site criteria matrix” to help establish the best location. Using the matrix, the committee evaluated existing public lands. Those lands ranked less than 55% of the requirements for an ideal site.

In December 2008 and January 2009, the committee invited public landowners to submit options for a new site; these sites were evaluated with the same site criteria matrix.

The 766 Welland Road property received the highest score – well-above all other properties.

The northern portion of the site, which is in the “Urban Boundary”, will accommodate the new ±10,000 square foot Fire Station, most of the parking, and the driveway.

The southern portion – approximately 2.6 acres – is adjacent to Centennial Park and could provide much-needed emergency access to the Park.

The Federal and Provincial investments of $990,000 each make the $2.9 million project possible.

Following the re-zoning of the property, the Town will need to hire an architect to design the facility for this specific property.

A Site Plan will also have to be approved. The Site Plan will ensure that the property’s uses fit as well as possible to the uses of surrounding properties. This Plan will likely make use of fencing and landscaping to minimize any impact on neighbouring properties.

Construction could begin in the spring of 2010 with completion in late-fall.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Unprecedented Capital Budget: Turning Years of Wait into Month of Action

You will note that I use the word “unprecedented” when letting you know about our 2010 Capital Budget. Why?

First, Council adopted your Capital Budget on Monday, November 30. That’s both the earliest ever for the Town, and the first in the Region. Since we are ahead of the rest, I hope the Town will again save money on our early tendering of projects.

Second, this Capital Budget is the largest ever for Pelham. Why is this year’s $14.5 million budget nearly three times more than last year’s $5.4 million? This budget will utilize the unprecedented investments that the Federal and Provincial Governments have promised to Pelham.

Those unprecedented investments mean unprecedented improvements for Pelham in 2010. These include revitalizing Downtown Fonthill, reconstructing Haist Street, replacing Pelham Fire Station #2, renewing and making accessible nine playgrounds, and adding-on to Town Hall.

Some of these projects have been years in the waiting. These investments will turn years of wait into months of action.

You will recall that a capital budget plans for the acquisition or rehabilitation of major infrastructure and equipment that have a long life. Such capital assets include municipal buildings, arenas, trucks and vehicles, roads and sidewalks, and water/sewerage pipes.

(The operating budget provides for the “day-to-day” expenditures such as salaries, wages, benefits, heat, hydro, and routine maintenance of buildings and infrastructure.)

So, what else is in the budget?

In addition to the projects I listed above, this Capital budget will build a better community:
• New Town Website: to improve interactions between staff and residents;
• Upgrade to Town Information Technologies: seeking Federal investment to integrate the Town’s systems;
• Investments in Recreation: including a new ice resurfacer, and significant upgrades to Centennial, Harold Black, and Marlene Stewart-Streit Parks;
• Renovations to Old Pelham Town Hall: seeking Federal investments to improve the condition of this important historic facility;
• New Library automation system;
• Engineering of Pelham Street South of College: advancing by two years this first step in reconstructing the road and adding sidewalks South of College;
• Replaces a 1988 backhoe and two trucks;
• Renews nine other streets.

Thus, your 2010 Capital Budget will continue our Town’s revitalization through the further progression of our infrastructure. Thanks to the unprecedented investments of the Federal and Provincial governments, the budget supports community spirit, prosperity and growth. It also provides responsible, well-planned, and future-focused investments in Pelham.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Next Steps in Downtown Revitalization

Since I am a perpetual booster of all things Pelham, you will not be surprised that I am excited about the upcoming revitalization of Downtown Fonthill!

You see, just last week we took another step closer to a shovel in the ground on the $2.5 million revitalization of downtown Fonthill from College Street, across Regional Road #20 to Broad Street.


The company hired to finalize the detailed engineering design held a “public information centre” regarding the street reconstruction and streetscaping improvements.

Don’t worry in case you missed it; the information is posted on the front page of Town’s website at and they are inviting your comments until December 11.

Within the study area and based on significant average daily traffic counts (of approximately 8,000), Pelham Street functions as a local arterial road. In the development of the design options, the consultants considered the need to provide some level of safety for cyclists, to maximize the pedestrian realm, to provide on-street parking, and to ensure adequate fire vehicle maneuverability.

They suggested a standard 3.5 metre lane width “based on the volume and nature of traffic and the need to meet provincial and local engineering standards for a safe roadway.” After looking at three other options, they recommended “Option 2: On Street Parking (both sides)-No Bike Lanes (except from
College Street to Church Hill Street).”

Their reasons? The design (which is also available in detail on the Town’s website) provides for the same number of on-street parking spots, expands or improves the pedestrian realm, complies with recent planning studies (like the Community Improvement Plan and Urban Design Guidelines), links with the Regional Bikeway Network, and provides additional boulevards to enhance business frontage.

I was impressed that the picture boards also included a graphic representation of how the revitalization might look. It included an image of the current situation and an image of how that area could look with the preferred design. It not only included a new road and sidewalks, but the images also removed the overhead hydro and telephone poles, added decorative lights and trees, and delineated parking spaces.

The consultant suggested that following streetscaping design review meetings in January / February 2010, the detail design should be completed in “Winter 2010”. The construction could be tendered in the spring and should be completed next fall.

And so, it will be gratifying that the vision that so many have worked on for so many years will become a reality during the next year.