Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vibrant, Creative, Caring and You!

If you have ever been involved in strategic planning, you will know that taking time away from the pressing demands of your job, life, and immediate responsibilities can be very powerful. It can lead to “outside of the box” thinking. It can bring people together for a common purpose and to develop common plans.

With the help of Angela Carter, a local facilitator, Council and Senior Staff recently undertook this type of comprehensive review of the Town’s Strategic Plan. Councillors used a full-day session in February and a follow-up meeting in April to bring forward the vision and desires of residents that we heard during last fall’s municipal election. We endeavoured to bring the voice of the community to the plan.

During these sessions, Council and Staff redefined the mission and the vision for the Town. I am pleased that that process ignited a new passion and excitement for Pelham’s future and revealed a bond and strength for moving forward.

The new Mission for the Town: Serving and enhancing our unique blend of urban and rural lifestyles.

And, we also developed a new Vision for Pelham: The most vibrant, creative, and caring community in Niagara.

This vision inspires innovation through creativity and calls for a community that is alive and vibrant.

We also identified six key strategic themes as prevailing priorities for the coming years:
• An Open, Welcoming & Inviting Community;
• A Connected Community;
• Balanced Growth;
• An Engaged & Integrated Community;
• A Self-Sustaining Community; and
• Environmental Responsibility.

From these themes, Council and Staff established a set of outcomes and general strategies to ensure that the Vision could be measured. Once Council adopts the Plan, Staff will create a business plan to identify timelines and who will be held accountable for the strategies and action.

But, part of being “An Open, Welcoming & Inviting Community” means that Council remains committed to engaging you and other residents in the Strategic Planning process. We want to hear from you and encourage additional input, ideas, and actions prior to formally adopting the plan.

Therefore, the Town will host a public open house on Tuesday, May 3 at 6:30 PM in the Council Chambers at Pelham Town Hall to allow you to review the Plan and provide feedback. The draft Strategic Plan will be available for your review on the Town’s website prior to the meeting.

I hope you will review the Plan and provide your reaction so we can continue to work together make Pelham the most vibrant, creative, and caring community in Niagara.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Help to Revitalize Downtown Fenwick

Just as are making the final push for Fonthill’s Downtown, I wanted to bring you an update about Downtown Fenwick and invite you to be part of its revitalization too.

You will recall that in late 2008 the Town applied for funding from the Federal and Provincial government to revitalize both Fonthill’s and Fenwick’s Downtowns. The $7.1 million application envisioned major infrastructure enhancements: water, waste-water, and storm-sewer improvements; burying of hydro cables; road improvements; and proper streetscaping – better parking, brickwork, decorative lampposts, benches and planters.

In early 2009 we heard we were successful in achieving two-thirds funding to revitalize Downtown Fonthill. As you know, we started that construction work last summer and the revitalization will be complete by June 30. In fact, they have pulverized Pelham Street from Regional Road 20 to Broad Street and are constructing a new watermain and storm sewers. In the portion south of RR#20, the contractor is placing the tree beds and will be commencing the sidewalk construction, brick boulevards and planning of trees into May.

You will recall, however, that the Federal and Provincial governments deemed the improvements for Fenwick as a second project and ineligible for that 2009 funding.

But, in December 2009 the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario announced a second “intake” for the Community Adjustment Fund. In January 2010, the Town applied for $2.3 million of that program’s funding from the Federal Government for the revitalization of Fenwick’s Downtown.

We had hoped that the $2.7 million project would provide help “calm” traffic by creating urban design features – like pedestrian crossing treatments or gateways – that work with the road design to slow traffic. We had envisioned that the works would help to visually distinguish the downtown core, provide decorative roadway and pedestrian lighting to improve safety, and widen sidewalks to help make it more walkable.

Alas, we did not succeed in securing those funds and Council will have to budget for the works and / or keep pursuing grants.

However, the Town, through our engineering consultant, has continued to design a revitalized Downtown Fenwick. And, they are finally ready to publicly display the design options and to get your feedback and thoughts.

You and your neighbours are invited to review the plans at a special Public Information Centre on Wednesday, April 20 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at Old Pelham Town Hall. I hope you will provide your feedback on the options so we can continue to work together to improve Pelham.