BATY: Niagara Escarpment Plan under review

This year, 2015, a year of significant reviews of provincial policies.

The Niagara Escarpment Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Plan, the Greenbelt Plan as well as the Growth Strategy Plan are all up for review.

In addition there are plans to review the Metrolinx plan, the Wetlands policies and the Conservation Authority policies.

Having served a two-year term and a current three-year term on the Niagara Escarpment Commission, I am awaiting a decision by May to see if I will remain a member of the NEC.

During the last two years we have devoted considerable time to the consideration of possible changes and improvements to the Niagara Escarpment Plan and to updates which would align the policies and wordings among the various plans under review.

The Niagara Escarpment Commission is comprised of eight members of the public and eight members of the municipalities in which the escarpment is located plus a chair.

All members are reviewed by a secretariat and appointments result from an Order in Council of the Provincial Cabinet. Meetings are held monthly at the headquarters in Georgetown with one day policy meetings in the spring and fall in the Niagara region and in the near north.

The Niagara Escarpment Plan outlines land use designations, development criteria and related permitted uses, including farming, forestry and mineral extraction.

It also provides the framework for a string of 141 Niagara Escarpment Parks and Open Spaces (NEPOSS) linked by the Bruce Trail, Canada’s oldest and longest footpath which stretches 773 kilometres (480 miles) from Queenston Heights to Tobermorey

The escarpment extends beyond our province through New York State and on the west to Michigan, Wisconson and Illinois. Designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1990, the Niagara Escarpment is an internationally recognized landform and is the cornerstone of Ontario’s Greenbelt.

A landscape of rich biodiversity, home to hundreds of Ontario’s Species at Risk, vital watersheds, agricultural areas and 450-million year old geological history, the Niagara Escarpment is a treasure to protect for future generations of Ontarians.

Unlike municipal boundaries and other boundaries, the Escarpment areas are not identified by straight lines. First protected in 1985, the escarpment is protected

by identified zones. These are the Natural Areas, the Protected Areas, the Rural Areas , the Mineral Extraction Areas , the Recreation Areas  and the Urban Areas.

Since first identified, there has been considerable improvements to mapping and on-site inspection and consideration is being given to upgrading the boundaries of the various protected areas based on modern science and mapping tools.

As the spring approaches, why not consider a hike along the Bruce Trail to explore our treasure, the Niagara Escarpment.

Brian Baty is the directly elected Niagara Regional Councillor for Pelham and is a member of the Niagara Escarpment Commission. He can be contacted at [email protected]


AUGUSTYN: Capital Budget means more improvements

Since Town Council approved a $6.5 million Capital Budget a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to inform you about some major improvements planned for Pelham this year.
Finish 2014 Projects:
First, of course, the Town’s and Region’s contractors will finish three major projects from 2014:
• “Uptown Fonthill”: The reconstruction of Regional Road 20 from Peachtree Park to Lookout Street, and of Haist Street from Canboro Road to Regional Road 20 still needs the top coat of asphalt, sidewalk completion, and landscaping.
• Downtown Fenwick: The contractor must still finish the brickwork (and install 195 engraved bricks), construct some sidewalks and curbs, install lampposts, remove the hydro poles, sod and landscape, and add a top coat of asphalt.
• Port Robinson Road: More sidewalks, sodding and landscaping, a top coat of asphalt and other features will complete this project.
Pelham Street North:
Council acted on requests from area residents and approved the reconstruction of Pelham Street North and part of Hurricane to mitigate potential ditch overflowing and property flooding. Not only do we intend to rebuild the road and upgrade water and sewer lines (as needed), but we will add storm sewers to control water from Pelham Street and Hurricane. Staff hope to design in the Spring and tender the works for late-Summer.
Finally Roland Road:
The folks who travel Roland Road can attest that the section from Sulphur Spring Drive to the Thorold boundary (just before Hollow Road) desperately needs fixing.
Council and I appreciate your patience after spring floods made it the worst road in Pelham! You will be pleased that we approved funds to reconstruct that section of Roland this year.
Maple Acre Design-Build:
Thanks to the work of a special Friends of Maple Acre / Library Board / Town Council subcommittee, Town Council agreed to maintain the heritage portion of the Maple Acre Library (approximately 500 square feet), demolish the former fire station portion, and add-on another 3,500 square feet to continue to provide library and other public services in Downtown Fenwick. Council set aside $1 million for a design/build of this type of renewed Maple Acre Library; the design process should start by the Fall 2015.
Active Transportation Master Plan:
Pelham’s recent Bicycle Friendly Community Silver and Walk Friendly Ontario Bronze awards highlight our significant progress in making our Town more walkable and cycle-able and helping residents become more active.
Now, Council approved funds to develop an “active transportation” master plan to help guide future infrastructure planning and decision-making and to further encourage more human-powered transport like walking, running, and bicycling.
I look forward to working together with you on these and other improvements in 2015.
You may contact Mayor Dave at [email protected] or read past columns at

Crossley art shines in showcase

E.L. Crossley visual art students came home with prizes from a St. Catharines art show last weekend.
Art work by Caleigh Ellis and Jenn Lea were selected by a jury for “best in show” for $150 prizes.
Meanwhile, the sculpture “Shattered” by Jared Rempel and Paige Bukovac received enough votes for the People’s Choice award.
In International Women’s Day show at Rodman Hall Art Gallery focused on relationships.
The artwork addressed issues of violence and abuse in dating and relationships with a goal of raising awareness.
Led by visual arts teacher Sherry Wilkinson, the Crossley students took part in the showcase of Niagara student art called The Journey to Healing and Empowerment.
It was organized by Coalition to End Violence Against Women in cooperation with Rodman Hall and Brock University.
Among those attending were: Jim Bradley, Ontario Minister of Environment, St. Catharines mayor Walter Senzik, Deputy Police Chief Bryan MacCulloch, coalition chair Sandy Toth, Rodman director Stuart Reid, and Peter Veitgan from Brock’s visual arts department.

Canada’s role in the Civil War

Author Bryan Prince says Canadians played a big role in the American Civil War.
More than 48,000 men went down to fight – over 1,000 of those were freed African American slaves who risked everything to fight.
Speaking to the Probus Club of Pelham, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award winner for work in Canadian Heritage told the story of a few men he uncovered while researching his book.
He wrote My Brother’s Keeper: African Canadians and the American Civil War.
“I love to find out not just the battles of the soldiers, but the whole broad story on where each person came from and what happened to them after the war.”
Prince says the notion of helping the Union was quite controversial.
Abraham Lincoln had stated the war not to end slavery, but to keep the Union together.
Prince says those coming down also risked recapture due to strict rules on slavery remaining in many of the states.
“So many got away from the horrors of slavery, made it to Canada and started new lives. Why would they risk everything going back to fight in the war?”
Prince says there were many.
Adventure, high paying bounties and the promise of the same pay as white soldiers were big ones although many found out most promises were not true.
“The biggest draw was the hope to reconnect with lost loved ones,” Prince said.
While those above the border could taste freedom, they often left loved ones behind or had become separated at auctions.
With many changing their names to avoid detection in Canada, it was no easy task.
“We think of the Civil War as an American story, but it’s so much a part of our Canadian history.”
The next Probus meeting will be on March 26 featuring Dr. Kimberly Gammege of Brock University.
She will speak on exercise and balance to conclude PROBUS Month in Canada.

Back-to-back OFSAA wins for Collie

Keagin Collie was determined to climb the podium at the OFSAA championships this year in Windsor.
After capturing wrestling gold in last year’s tournament, she defeated Alexia Sherland of Sandwood Heights to repeat as OFSAA champion in the girls 67 kilogram program.
She ends hers dominating high school wrestling career on top, stating the match was special for family reasons.
Her father, Brock University wrestling coach Dave Collie, won his first OFSAA medal in the same city as his daughter’s.
“I was lucky starting a lot younger than most of the girls having my dad as my coach. It was pretty special winning gold in Windsor to end my high school wrestling career.”
Keagin will attend the University of Dayton in the Fall, but will be headed to the soccer field instead of the wrestling mat after accepting a scholarship to join its program.
Despite the change in sport, Keagin will still compete at Nationals and hopes to find a program near the university to keep wrestling as part of her life.
“I don’t think I could ever give it up completely. My love for wrestling is too strong.”
Keagin leaves E.L. Crossley as one of their most successful students on the mat.  Her back-to-back OFSAA championships become tough to follow, but she hopes others will continue the wrestling tradition at the school.
“It’s a great sport to get into as you don’t have anyone to rely on but yourself,” she said. “You have complete control over what happens in a match and that’s how you really test your athletic ability.”
Ridgeville Cenotaph DSC02039

Fund for all three cenotaphs

How to carry out a project to restore lead lettering to the Ridgeville cenotaph will be included in a request for proposals from the town.
Following a meeting by town staff with interested residents, Royal Canadian Legion members and restoration experts it was agreed to restore the lettering rather than alter it.
Recreation director Vickie van Ravenswaay said last week the requests would be out in a matter of days.
On a suggestion from legion members, the town will examine how to set up a fund to cover maintenance of all three Pelham war cenotaphs in Ridgeville, Fenwick’s Centennial Park and Peace Park in Fonthill.
Treasurer Cari Pupo said the town can set up an account to receive donations specifically for that reason.
Such a fund was used for donations for a skate park in Marlene Stewart Streit Park.
The recreation director said the town is talking with the Canadian War Museum about how best to protect the German trench mortar captured during the First World War.
It is in front of the Ridgeville cenotaph, which honours 18 Pelham residents killed in the First World War.

Cheers for Chambers as top citizens

For Rosemay Chambers, it was “a bit overwhelming.”
She and her husband Gary Chambers share the 2014 Citizen of the Year award, receiving it from the Kinsmen Club of Fonthill and District at an award banquet last week.
For the 17th year, the club gave out the prize to recognize and encourage volunteerism.
Gary, in an acceptance speech, thanked the Kinsmen for the award and said it took many to make projects possible. He and Rosemary did what they did to give back to the wonderful community they lived in.
Acknowledging his persistent style, he said it is odd for the nominators to honour people “who come to offend them.”
Rosemary encouraged everyone to volunteer to make friends, and, for young people to get to know their community and open doors to the future.
She called volunteering the “ultimate exercise in democracy because you vote for your community every day”, to a cheering full house.
The Chambers are known for their heritage work. It includes a role with the Pelham Heritage Committee in restoring the Old Pelham Town Hall, where the dinner was held, said Mayor Dave Augustyn in his congratulations to the Fenwick couple.
They stirred the organization of Fenwick’s 150th and 160th anniversary celebrations, a bid to make the village’s flag pole a heritage site, the preservation of the Maple Arce Library branch and the sale of 195 commemorative bricks as part of the downtown Fenwick reconstruction.
Rosemay, Augustyn said, gave a passionate presentation to town council about retaining the flag pole. Gary, for his part kept a close eye on the Fenwick reconstruction project.
More recently the Chambers are involved in the restoration of Pelham’s First World War cenotaph and preservation of a capture mortar at the Old Town Hall site.
The couple are known for dressing up in period costume for such events as Canada Day, Fenwick anniversaries, cemetery historic walks and this year Gary as Santa Claus.
The mayor said they even lent him a bearskin coat and beaver felt top hat for a Fenwick Lions Groundhog Day.
Sarah Whitaker, assistant to MPP Tim Hudak, said she was pleased to fill in for the MPP on this occasion because it is a “well deserved honour” for the Chambers.
The former Voice of Pelham editor said she got to know the Chambers during the Fenwick 150th anniversary and for many projects after as they came into her office seeking publicity.
Whitaker called Rosemary a “warm, caring and wonderful person” and, with a smile, Gary as “a little scary.”
MP Dean Allison said the Chambers told him they were surprised by the award because they were simply doing what they loved to do.
“Doesn’t that speak volumes about the people up here,” he said beside them at the head table.
Brian Iggulden, who co-ordinates the top citizen program and acted as master of ceremonies, said the Kinsmen club went “outside the box” when it gave the award to a couple for the first time.
“It was well worth it,” he said about the winners, the response to them and a large turnout for the event during an icy evening.
Past citizens of the year are: Carolyn Mullin (1998), Tony Finamore (1999), Jake Dilts (2000), Eric Bergenstein (2001), George Kowalski (2002), Anne Robbins (2003), Catherine Kuckyt (2004), Gerry Berkhout (2005), Paul Ryan (2006), Gayle Baltjes-Chataway (2007), Rick Lowes (2008), Gail Hilyer (2009), Gord Klager (2010), Sandra Warden (2011), Fred Disher (2012) and David Swan (2013).
A plaque listing their names hangs in Town Hall.

Town plans win prize for design from region

Town of Pelham has won a Niagara Region design award for its planning of the East Fonthill commercial and housing development.
It received the 2014 Niagara Community Design Award in Urban Design and Architecture for the East Fonthill Secondary Plan and Urban Design Guidelines.
Pelham received top honours in the Policy & Plans Category.
The town’s planning documents outline its detailed policies and guidelines for growth and development in the East Fonthill area at Regional Road 20 along Rice Road to south of Merritt Road.
“It’s gratifying to receive this recognition on behalf of council, town staff, the region, and the consulting team led by the Planning Partnership,” said Mayor Dave Augustyn in a news release Monday.
“The development of the 450 acres in the East Fonthill area has the potential to improve and change Pelham for the better. This award recognizes our efforts to balance growth as we maintain our small town feel.”
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.
As part of the secondary planning process, the town council approved the East Fonthill Site Master Plan for the northern part of the East Fonthill area.
This plan contains concept drawings for six distinct blocks.
They show various possible permitted land uses, including institutional-medical, retail, retirement, community centre, mixed-use commercial, townhomes, single-detached residential, mixed-use residential and parks and trails.
The Site Master Plan incorporates details about streetscapes that include roundabouts, trails, parks and public squares that complement the town’s urban design guidelines.
The Town of Pelham owns 32 acres of land in the East Fonthill area.
In that area, a medical centre, retirement facility and Wellspring Niagara headquarters will be built.
Town council, with the help of an architectural design advisory committee, is exploring the potential inclusion of a multi-faceted community centre, which would include an arena.
A hotel feasibility study is underway to determine whether a hotel would benefit to the community in the area.
For more information about East Fonthill, visit
The 2014 Niagara Community Design Award is Pelham’s second. The town received honours in 2013 for the Town of Pelham Downtown Arches in the in the Public Realm Improvement Category.

Diesel Classic returns to Pelham

The Diesel Classic returns to Pelham on March 28, with  a little NHL star power added on, event organizer Jerry Winnicki says.
The Tyke tournament for minor hockey players raised more than $10,000 last year in its first effort. This year, organizers and volunteers will look for similar results from big donations.
With such a lively response of the first attempt at a fundraiser, it garnished quite a bit of attention in the sports world.
Winnicki, who spent the last several months planning the upcoming event, received a call he never expected. Sidney Crosby’s trainer, Darryl Belfry, a former Niagara resident, heard of the need for donations and decided to donate a signed Crosby jersey – something that has quickly taken centre stage in the fundraising push.
“Everyone taking part in volunteering and donating prizes are helping young kids get a chance to be like Sidney [Crosby] and play hockey. It’s been great not only receiving that jersey, but the other local businesses who’ve stepped up and helped make this tournament possible.”
Winnicki, who started the tournament in honour of his late son Andrew who died in a hunting mishap, hopes people will take advantage of the opportunity to come down for a day filled with hockey and fundraiser, which benefits many in the community.
“Getting comments from coaches who came last year saying what a great time it was and how they want to come back and play makes it all worth it,” Winnicki said.
Many will return, as extra ice time spots allowed Winnicki to re-invite those who competed in last year’s Diesel Classic. Also included are the kids playing Tyke hockey this year.
With no score kept throughout the tournament, it’s  about having fun and raising money for great organizations, he said.
Those organizations include Pelham Cares, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, PenFinancial Skate for Kids, Pelham Minor Hockey and the Ottawa Minor Hockey Association where Andrew lived.
“We hope to give back to those organizations this year and any others in need of a little support to get a child back onto the ice. We’re grateful so many others feel the same way.”
Other prizes include Niagara IceDogs autographs, Wendal Clark signed jersey and a Team Canada signed sweater.
Tickets can be purchased at the Pelham Arena, 2×4 Diner and Siders Garage in Wainfleet, and the Fenwick Hardware Store.