Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2012 Town and Region Budgets Approved

Both Pelham Council and Regional Council have adopted early budgets for 2012.

You will recall that a capital budget acquires, builds, or rehabilitates major infrastructure or equipment with a long life. Such capital assets include municipal facilities and buildings, trucks and vehicles, roads and bridges and sidewalks, and water/sewage pipes and plants.

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

Rates budgets fund special services like water, waste water, and waste management. Not everyone across Pelham or the Region receives these services, and Provincial rules demand separate water and waste water budgets.

On Thursday, December 1, Regional Council adopted your entire Regional Budget for 2012 – including the Capital, Operating, and Rate budgets. Not only does this +$750 million budget include the work of Departments like Public Works, Public Health, Community Services, Integrated Community Planning, and Corporate Services, it also includes budgets for outside agencies like Niagara Regional Housing, Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, Niagara Economic Development, and Niagara Regional Police Service.

This is the earliest in recent memory for the Operating, Rates, and Agency portion of the Region’s Budget! I am especially pleased with this, not only because it means we can start issuing capital project tenders and concentrate on finding efficiencies, but also because I had the honour of Chairing the
Region’s Budget for 2012.

Then, on Monday, December 5, Pelham Council adopted your 2012 Pelham Capital Budget. Pelham’s Capital budget will continue to improve the community:
• Regional Road #20: work together with Region on the reconstruction from Rice Road to Station Street – including new sidewalk (north side), streetlighting, and water / waste water improvements;
• Downtown Fonthill: “fine tune” and complete streetscaping;
• Downtown Fenwick: complete redesign plans, review structural integrity of historic flagpole, and earmark revitalization funds in future years;
• Investments in Recreation & Culture: including replacing Harold Black Park Soccer shelters, installing new bleachers and develop detailed design for Phase 2 & 3 of master plan for Centennial Park, and develop a Cultural Master Plan;
• Concession and kitchen improvements to Arena;
• Continue renovations and renewal of historic Old Pelham Town Hall;
• Fire Service enhancements: start two-year process of replacing all SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus), and also begin schedule of replacing bunker gear;
• Retrofit and improve Cherry Ridge Subdivision Storm Water Management Pond;
• Finally, develop a Master Plan for the Town’s 32 acres at Rice Road and RR#20.

Your 2012 Budgets will continue our Town’s revitalization and our Region’s service and enhancements.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Public Meeting about the Future of Pelham

Next Monday, the Town will host an official public meeting about the Town’s new Official Plan and the East Fonthill Secondary Plan. These plans will help solidify the future direction of growth and development across all of Pelham!

The province dictates that all Towns and Cities must have an “Official Plan” (OP). Essentially, an Official Plan contains policies and guidelines that outline where commercial, agricultural, industrial, and residential developments can occur. It uses a series of maps to demonstrate those areas.

Pelham adopted our current Official Plan in 1987. We started renewing and modernizing the OP in the late 1990s. Then, in the early-2000s, the Province began changing their governing policies – Greenbelt Plan, “Places to Grow”, Provincial Policy Statement. This forced the Town to adapt our proposed policies and guidelines.

After much work, the Town will host an official public meeting to listen to public comment regarding the Official Plan.

The public meeting will also focus on the East Fonthill Secondary Plan.

The “East Fonthill” area lies between Rice Road and Station Street / Steve Bauer Trail and from Regional Road 20 to the Town’s southern boundary (half-way between Merritt and Quaker Roads).

While much of these nearly 500 acres of lands are currently farmed, the entire area was added to the Urban Boundary by an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) in 2000. It is estimated that at least 5,000 people could be living in this area within 20 years; that is why the Region installed water and sewer trunk lines in 2007/08.

The OMB decision required the Town to undertake a “Secondary Plan” – more detailed policies and guidelines – before allowing development to proceed.

Some of the goals of the East Fonthill Secondary Plan include ensuring a well-designed, attractive, pedestrian-friendly community with a mixture of housing types; encouraging significant retail / commercial development while at the same time protecting the existing Fonthill Downtown; providing a “Greenlands System” that protects existing environmental features and integrates with the Steve Bauer Trail system; and developing a pedestrian / cyclist-friendly and transit-ready road network.

The official public meeting on Monday, December 12 at 7:00 PM at Old Pelham Town Hall (491 Canboro Road at Centre) will allow you to provide comment, suggestions, and improvements to these two plans.

You can find the final draft plans on the Town’s website at and at Town Hall and the Libraries.

I look forward to receiving feedback on these plans because they will shape the future of our Town.