Sunday, June 26, 2016

Happy Canada Day, Pelham!

Canada Day 2016 in Pelham is our opportunity to gather with family and friends and to proudly celebrate all it means to be Canadian and to live in our great community.

This year, volunteers have worked with Town Staff and sponsors to put together a fabulous celebration!

Thanks to the Rotary Club of Fonthill & District for organizing amazing children’s activities from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Harold Black Park! Expect bouncy castles and activities, hands-on games and activities, and face painting.

On your way to and from the Park, check out the Grand Parade on Haist Street, starting from 1:00PM from A.K. Wigg School to the Park. Don’t forget to wear your favour red and white shirts and hats to show off your Canadian pride! Watch out for the Pelham firefighters – armed with water – or grab some candy and Canadian flags from other parade participants. Join us for the opening ceremonies at approximately 2:00 PM at the flag pole at Harold Black for the singing of the National Anthem and the cutting of the gigantic, free Canada Day birthday cake (thanks to Fonthill Sobey’s).

In addition to great food and music sponsored by Niagara Peninsula Energy, and Sawmill Golf Course, join in other activities at Harold Black Park, including: Knights of Columbus Soccer Challenge at 2:30 PM; Poutine Eating Contest at 4:00 PM, sponsored by the Fonthill Lions Club; or watch the Krusher BMX Stunt Team at 5:30 PM and 7:00 PM. And don’t forget about the amazing fireworks at 10:15 PM, sponsored by the Fonthill Volunteer Firefighters Association.

Or, if you want to “chill” at Peace Park in Downtown Fonthill instead, join in for free Canada Day Birthday Cake at 2:20 PM and musical entertainment by Honest Frankie from 2:30 to 4:00 PM.

Finally, don’t forget about the free shuttles – running noon to midnight (except during the parade between 1:00 – 3:00 PM) throughout the entire Town.

Special thanks to the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage for additional funding and support!

You and I are also blessed to have so many of our neighbours and businesses working to make our Town a prosperous, vibrant and caring community. I continue to marvel at the work and dedication of so many generous volunteers who form the foundation of our vibrant community throughout the year – not just on Canada Day.

As you and your family and friends commemorate our country’s 149th Birthday, I hope you will join me in celebrating and in giving thanks for Pelham and for Canada.

For more information, please see the Town's website at:

Monday, June 20, 2016

Maple Acre Library Renovation Starts

It was great to start this week by ceremoniously beginning the renovation and revitalization of the Maple Acre Library in Downtown Fenwick. I was pleased not only because members of the Advisory Committee, the Pelham Library Board, Friends of Maple Acre Library, and Town Council could hold demolition tools, but because renewing the Library Branch has been talked about and desired for many, many years.

Council and the Library Board recognized years ago that the aged Maple Acre Library branch required renewal; we struck a joint committee back in 2008 to make recommendations. While that committee looked at many ideas – building a joint Library / Firehall (prior to the new Fire Station #2), constructing a new library either in Centennial Park or at the former Fire Station (Welland Road at Canboro) – it got a bit stuck on the details and options.

To get things moving, the Town retained a consulting firm in early-2013 to conduct facilities and operational reviews. This review recommended that the Maple Acre branch become a kiosk-type operation, instead of a full-service branch. This recommendation was rejected by the Board and met the ire of the community-at-large.

To break the impasse, Council initiated combined Council, Board, Friends of Maple Acre Library and community creative problem solving sessions in late-2013 to early-2014. Working on the challenge – “How might we provide the most appropriate library services in Fenwick?” – led to an April 2014 resolution of Council to “continue library services at the Maple Acre Branch.”

That spring, Council struck a tripartite working group to recommend a “state of the art, ideal, and resilient library” in Fenwick. In September, the group proposed renovating and adding on to the original 1919 Maple Acre building with a “learning commons”-type library with “rentable, flexible, multi-purpose, open space” and an area for the community’s “significant historic records.” Council accepted the report and approved a $1 million for the design / build of the facility in 2015, and asked the working group to oversee the design.

The renewed Library will include these features with the exterior to follow the Town’s design guidelines for Civic Landmark Buildings (like Libraries): “Where additions or external alterations are proposed, the design should be sympathetic and subordinate to the heritage aspects of the buildings while clearly distinguishing between that which is new and old.”

The Maple Acre Library has been a part of Fenwick’s history and downtown since 1919. I am pleased that the Library’s redevelopment maintains that history and continues Council’s commitment for the ongoing revitalization of Downtown Fenwick. I hope this renewed community library will be enjoyed and cherished by generations to come.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Have Your Say About Public Art Options

I hope you can provide your feedback on something that has been talked about and planned for many years – a gateway / public art feature at the Eastern entrance to Pelham.

You see, various Town planning documents – the East Fonthill Secondary Plan, the East Fonthill Site Master Plan, and the Downtown Master Plan for Fonthill & Fenwick – have called for a gateway feature or public art installation at the corner of Regional Road 20 (Hwy 20) and Rice Road. This location “…represents an opportunity for the Town to develop a significant gateway element, integrated with the design of the stormwater management pond, to promote Town identity.”

Now that the development in that area is proceeding, Council earmarked $200,000 in the 2016 Capital Budget for this feature.

The Town received 25 national and international submissions for qualifications to our Call to Public Artists in January 2016. Through a review and evaluation process, a Public Art Selection Panel shortlisted three finalists who each provided a submission.

Pelham Gates: by Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins. “The integrated artwork rises eighteen feet into the sky to welcome visitors to the area. Tall poles resemble reeds or grasses, elegantly curved to suggest movement resulting from a gently blowing wind…part to reveal the water beyond but also as a gesture of welcome or embrace.”

Sculpture: by Juanjo Novella. “The Sculpture has a great presence and at the same time is very dynamic. Despite the size, scale is human, among others, this is determined by the presence of the open faces and you can enter, allowing different views and that the sculpture is very diverse. The human being does not feel self-conscious about the sculpture, but feels himself elevated and part of an experience.”

Pelham House: by Kip Jones. “The intention is to create a unique site-specific work that has multiple uses as a meeting place, a recognizable intersection and a place of introspection. The concept of Pelham House speaks to the relationship of humans to nature in a way that reflects on its harmonious inter-connections — it is a dualistic vision, as in mind and matter or yin and yang.”

Please provide your feedback at or in writing with the forms at Pelham Town Hall until June 17. Your comments and response to the questions will be reviewed and considered by Pelham's Art Selection Panel before they make their final selection and recommendation to Council for approval this summer.