Mayor Marvin Junkin will be providing weekly messages to residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. His letters will also be included weekly in the Voice of Pelham.


April 20, 2021

On Friday the Provincial government introduced new measures to try to halt the runaway third wave of COVID variants that are the toughest in North America. Among other directives, police and bylaw officers were given the authority to stop residents who were either driving or walking, and ask them their reason for be- ing outside their residences. After almost all police forces in the province stated they would not be stopping cars to do these checks, the Provincial government backtracked.

During his Friday announcement, Premier Ford said, “We, as a group, are not saying don’t take a walk around and get some exercise,” but added there needed to be measures in place that target large groups of people who meet in public parks without social distancing. Following this announcement, Pelham’s playgrounds like all other playgrounds located in Ontario were off limits. Many experts did not agree with the closing of the playgrounds because infections from surface con- tact are thought to be minimal—and indeed within a day the Province back- tracked on this as well. As of Monday, there are now checkpoints at all inter-provincial border crossings with Manitoba and Quebec, to prohibit non-essential entry.

It should be pointed out that Pearson International Air- port remains open, with approximately 2000 travellers entering Ontario daily. These orders were put in place as the Province registered a record 4812 new infections on Friday. The Region had 154 new cases on Friday with 222 the day before, and 171 on Sun-day. Active cases in Pelham continue to grow with 95 active cases as of Sunday. With 53 active cases per 10,000 population, Pelham was second only to Welland’s 67 per capita infection rate within Niagara. Positivity rates across the region have reached 7.3 percent, a number that was below three percent only a month ago.

On the vaccine front there was the good news that our community centre was given two more clinic days, those being this Monday and Tuesday. It is hoped that these two days will run as smoothly and efficiently as the previous clinic on April 8. Nationally, Canada will receive 8 million additional doses of Pfizer’s vaccine with increased shipments starting in May. This announcement was offset somewhat when one of the other vaccine manufacturers Moderna, announced its next shipment would be cut roughly in half, with only 50, 000 doses arriving next week instead of the expect d 1 million.

The Massachusetts-based company also announced that it would miss its second quarter target of 12.3 million by as many as 2 million doses. The company’s citing manufacturing difficulties for thee missed targets. As are most residents I am extremely saddened to see the lockdown with these new measures extended to May 20. With ICU numbers climbing along with ever-in-creasing number of patients on ventilators, these steps apparently had to be taken. I urge all residents of Pelham to get vaccinated as soon as possible, continue to get in your walks, and practice social distancing when you are outdoor. These new variants have indeed pushed back the finish line but t at finish line remains in sight.

April 13, 2021

Some 100,000 Niagara residents are now vaccinated against COVID-19. This represents 19 percent of Niagara residents having received a first dose, while 1.9 percent have received a complete series, so are fully vaccinated. The vaccination clinic held this past Thursday at the community centre operated without a hitch, with some 900 doses having been administered. Residents that I talked to were very impressed with the quickness that they were in and out of the building. Health officials were so impressed with the site that at least two future dates have been booked, and will be announced shortly. All vaccination clinics within the Region are now completely booked for the next two weeks.

It is great to see Niagara residents accept- ing the vaccines so willingly, with other areas of the province having a hard time filling all of their appointments. On Monday, Niagara Public Health reminded residents in the "strongest possible terms" to continue observing the current stay-at-home order, noting that there were 1062 confirmed COVID cases in the Region, ICUs were 88 percent filled, and that the health system did not have "unlimited capacity" to pro- vide critical care. It’s been very disheartening to see the region’s new daily case count consistently over the 100 mark for the last several days. I find it hard to believe that Niagara residents are travelling around that much more now than we were, say, three weeks ago, so I think it is safe to say that these large daily increases are due to the more infectious variants, demonstrating how they are so much more easily spread. As of Monday there were 43 active cases in Pelham, which left us with the third-highest rate of infection among all municipalities in the Region.

One big change from the province’s science advisors has been the recommendation since February that vaccinations should be targeted into the most affected areas of the province. Last week the government announce that in Ontario’s hardest hit neighbourhoods anyone 18 and up may get vaccinated. These are the neighbourhoods where the hospital ICUs are getting alarmingly close to capacity, and doctors are predicting that they may soon have to make the impossible decision as to who gets a ventilator and who doesn’t, due to the continued influx of patients. I personally agree with this decision, at the same time hoping that we here in Niagara continue to make progress with vaccinations as well.

This week has been designated as pitch-in week within the Town. Residents wanting to host a clean-up event on Town property can choose a site such as a park, trail, street or parking lot, to clean up. The Town will provide such things as gloves, recycling bags, and specially marked garbage bags. For more information and to register please visit: cleanup or call the community centre. If you don’t want to be quite so formal you could just simply take a garbage bag with you when doing your daily steps and pick up what you find. Until next time.

April 6, 2021

It is important to note that Niagara Region Public Health vaccination clinics will continue to be open during the Province-wide shutdown. As more and more clinics open and run simultaneously in the Region, there is the problem of unused doses at the end of the day. These doses cannot be refrozen and must be used within a certain time frame. The Health Unit must try to make use of these unused vaccines. To this end, they are compiling standby lists. To qualify for the current standby list, Niagara residents must be 65 and over and must be able to arrive at a pre-chosen clinic within 30 minutes of receiving the notification call. Residents are asked to sign-up even if they already have an appointment, and are still encouraged to book an appointment through the Provincial booking system, as those on the standby list are not guaranteed to get a vaccine.

As of last Thursday, the total number of vaccine doses administered in Niagara was 77,984. When word of the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine was first announced months ago, I was on the fence as to whether or not I would get vaccinated. Having been raised on a farm surrounded by a lot of different animals and a lot of time getting up close and personal with various forms of their manure, I felt that my immune system, like all other farm-raised kids, was stronger than average. However, with these new variants being more contagious and having the potential to more adversely affect those they infect, I have changed my tune and will get vaccinated whenever the off er is given. As always, visit for up-to-date information.

On the Town front, staff were very disheartened to have to completely shut down the community centre for this latest lockdown, especially when residents were returning in droves to use the facility. Health officials are quick to point out that residents must continue to get outside for exercise, do their walks, or runs, while maintaining social distance. Hang in there, everyone — that light is getting brighter every day! Until next time.

March 30, 2021

While address- ing a public forum this past Friday afternoon, the Region’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Mustafa Hirji, stated that 48 percent of the 80-year-old-plus segment of Niagara’s population have now been vaccinated. Of course the majority of these are located in the Region’s senior and long-term-care homes. It can be assumed that the remaining 52 per- cent of this group live in their own homes. It is the group that has for the past week been able to book appointments on the province’s health line. A fair number of Pelham seniors have used the assistance offered by the Pelham Library to make these bookings.

If you require some help, the Library phone number is (905) 892-6443. Once you have booked an appointment, the website provides information on such things as when to arrive, what to bring, and what to expect at the clinic. Starting this Monday, those who will turn 75 or older in 2021 may also now book appointments. The first vaccination clinic will be held at the MacBain Community Centre in Niagara Falls, and its first three days are fully booked.

In Pelham, the Meridian Community Centre will be the Town’s vaccination clinic location, and it will be open April 8. Niagara Regional Transit is providing free transportation to the clinic and their customer service telephone number is (289) 302-2172. When using this service, you must show the driver proof of your appointment. With the United States shipping 1.5 million doses of vaccine north to Cana- da, this should ultimately speed up the process here in Niagara. As of Sunday, there were 14 people with COVID in Region hospitals. On Friday the Ford Government increased the customer limit from 10 to 50 percent of capacity in restaurants and bars at any one time (not to exceed 50 patrons), as long as physical distancing between tables can be maintained.

At last, spring is here and this week’s forecast is for very spring-like temperatures. Please get outside for some fresh air and sunshine, maybe a walk, and if it ends at an outdoor patio, so be it! 

March 23, 2021

While addressing a public forum this past Friday afternoon, the Region’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Mustafa Hirji, stated that 48 percent of the 80-year-old-plus segment of Niagara’s population have now been vaccinated. Of course the majority of these are located in the Region’s senior and long-term-care homes. 

It can be assumed that the remaining 52 per cent of this group live in their own homes. It is the group that has for the past week been able to book appointments on the province’s health line. A fair number of Pelham seniors have used the assistance offered by the Pelham Library to make these bookings. If you require some help, the Library phone number is (905) 892-6443. Once you have booked an appointment, the website provides information on such things as when to arrive, what to bring, and what to expect at the clinic. 

Starting this Monday, those who will turn 75 or older in 2021 may also now book appointments. The first vaccination clinic will be held at the MacBain Community Centre in Niagara Falls, and its first three days are fully booked. In Pelham, the Meridian Community Centre will be the Town’s vaccination clinic location, and it will be open April 8. Niagara Regional Transit is providing free transportation to the clinic and their customer service telephone number is (289) 302-2172. When using this service, you must show the driver proof of your appointment. With the United States shipping 1.5 million doses of vaccine north to Canada, this should ultimately speed up the process here in Niagara. 

As of Sunday, there were 14 people with COVID in Region hospitals. On Friday the Ford Government increased the customer limit from 10 to 50 percent of capacity in restaurants and bars at any one time (not to exceed 50 patrons), as long as physical distancing between tables can be maintained. At last, spring is here and this week’s forecast is for very spring-like temperatures. Please get outside for some fresh air and sunshine, maybe a walk, and if it ends at an outdoor patio, so be it! Until next time.


March 16, 2021

When trying to discover details as to how the vaccination clinics will operate in the Niagara Region, one soon realizes that the situation is very fluid, with times and dates changing almost daily, for the simple reason that no area—be it the Region or any other part of Canada—has any idea how many doses they’re getting or when they will arrive.

As of Friday afternoon, this is how the situation sat: Niagara Region Public Health recently launched an online pre-registration website for COVID-19 vaccination priority groups. This online booking system is the fastest way to register for a vaccine appointment. If you need help with this process, Pelham Public Library is here to help you for the pre-registration process. Residents can use a computer at their local branch to complete the online registration themselves, or library staff can complete the registration for them.

If a resident cannot come into the branch and they have an email address and cell phone, the library is also offering the same services over the telephone. Please phone (905) 892-6443, and you will need the following info to pre-register online: your contact information including address, a cell phone number, an email address, and your health card number. If you do not have an email address or a cell phone, or a family member to assist, you may call the Region’s COVID-19 info line at (905) 688-8248 and press 7 for assistance. Call volumes may be high, so please be patient and expect delays. The first date that a clinic will be held is April 8, at the community centre—this clinic will be only for those residents 80-years-plus. 

Please get updates either from the Town of Pelham website or the Region's website. As of last Friday, 1 million people have received at least one vaccine dose in Ontario, with some 30,000 high-risk seniors living in care homes being vaccinated. With the vaccine manufactures promising ever-larger shipments of doses to Canada, vaccination timelines are shifting on a weekly, if not daily basis. On the economic front: there were 259,000 jobs created in Canada in February. It is a general feeling among economists that there is a huge pent-up demand for services to be delivered, once a sizable portion of the population has been vaccinated.

 March 9, 2021

The Ontario govern-ment has moved up its timeline for COVID-19 vaccination plan targets because of two new developments in the past week, meaning that up to two million more doses of vaccine than originally anticipated will be received in March. Health Canada has given the green light for the provinces to administer the second shot required for most of the vaccines up to four months after the first shot. The province now expects to give all adults 60 and older a fi rst dose of vaccine by early June.

Although some residents, myself included, are under the impression that the Niagara Region is behind the rest of the province in its vaccination rates, the Region’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hirji, insists this is not true. During a virtual presentation conducted last Friday, the doctor showed that while Hamilton Region was slightly ahead of Niagara on a per capita basis, the Niagara Region is ahead of the provincial average. One interesting point made by the doctor was the larger than average number of long-term care homes located within the region. Peel Region, which has a population twice as large as Niagara, has 28 such facilities within its borders, whereas Niagara has 32. Residents in all 32 of these facilities have been vaccinated with both shots, as have the majority of senior home residents. Most frontline workers will have been off ered their first shot by the end of this week, and all area hospitals are now vaccinating 80-year-olds and older currently being hospitalized.

In a mayors meeting held last Wednesday, Niagara Public Health was roundly criticized for being so secretive with its vaccination plans and was encouraged by the mayors of the Region to be more forthcoming with their plans. The next day Public Health released the list of the primary vaccination sites throughout the region. On the list is our community centre, with its size and parking availability making it a logical choice.

The health department says it will enlist all forms of communication to inform Niagara residents how and when to sign up for their shots, tentatively scheduled at this time, to begin in three weeks, with over-80- year-old residents at the top of the list. With the Region in the red zone the community centre has been re-opened for a week now, and both ice rinks are totally booked for the month of March.Town staff are reporting that people are chomping at the bit to get on the ice and get their exercise. Many area municipalities will be taking their ice out in the next week or two, which means Pelham’s two arenas are slated to be very busy this summer. If you wish to use the walking track please remember you must phone ahead to book an appointment. 

March 2, 2021

Finally! Canada is seeing an up-surge in vaccines distributed across the country, with numbers making up more than double of what was allocated in the last two weeks. In the last week of February, Canada received 643,000 doses, making this the best week for receiving vaccines so far. Including last week’s shipments, some 2 million doses have been distributed across the country, with the vast majority of these vaccines being the Pfizer-BioNTech shot. This company has committed to providing 4 million doses by the end of the first quarter. When other brands are included in the numbers, Canada is on track to receive a total of 6.5 million doses by the end of March. With Health Canada approving yet another vaccine for use this past week, these numbers should continue to climb into the spring.

With the completion of senior homes and long-term care homes, Niagara should see caregivers and first responders receiving injections this week, with seniors living in the community next in line. Finally, your patience has been rewarded! For up-to-date information go to niagararegionhealth, click on “vaccinations.”

This Monday, the Region went into Red-control status, which will allow restaurants to open with the maximum number of patrons being ten. A safety plan must also be completed, and posted in a conspicuous location. Other services that are allowed to re-open are fi tness centres, gyms and hair salons. In Pelham, the community centre is open, with appointments needed for the walking track, and a maximum of ten people per area. With the rain and warm temperatures of the last couple days, the walking trails of Pelham should also be getting back to be-ing in good shape.

February 23, 2021

The good news on the vaccination front this week is that studies in various countries are showing that when increasing the time period between the first and second dose it seems to make the Pfizer vaccine more eff ective. A study concerning Israeli healthcare workers shows that the first dose is 85 percent effective and adding the second dose within one month after the first, as is currently recommended, provides little added protection in the short term. In fact, one Canadian scientist contends that the length of time between the two doses could be safely extended to nine or ten weeks.

By extending the time frame between doses more people could be vaccinated with the first dose before having to circle back to do the second dose. Hundreds of thousands of shots are set to arrive each week for the foreseeable future, and we can only hope that all levels of our healthcare system have the logistics in place to deliver them at an expedited pace. I have heard from many of our seniors who are living on their own as to how anxious they are to receive their first shots. Latest statistics show that Canada now ranks 50th when compared to other countries and their vaccination rate. Israel leads the way with 80 percent of their population vaccinated, and the US ranks 5th on the list with just over 17 percent of Americans vaccinated. The Americans are still on track to have 100 million citizens vaccinated in Biden’s first 100 days in office. Canada currently has 1.3 million residents given the first dose.

In Niagara there were 26 new cases on Friday with the number of deaths in the region at 365. The number of active cases in Pelham had dropped to nine with all residents self-isolating at home. The positivity rate in Pelham was at 2.3 percent, which is classified in the low category.

A week or two ago an article appeared in the Voice about a little boy named Emmett Gervason. He was born without an opening in his left ear for sound to enter.  His story can be found at gofundme-an-ear-for-emmy.  His parents have located a doctor in the US who can perform corrective surgery to give Emmet hearing in this ear—at a cost of $250,000 dollars.  His parents, Amanda and Aaron, could use some help paying this amount of money.  Funds raised to date are just a little over $53,000 dollars. Please, let’s show this family that we all strongly believe in the adage, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  Please go to the website, read about little Emmett and his family, and search your hearts and pockets for a donation for this little guy’s operation.  His family says thank you. Until next time… ◆

February 17, 2021

As of last Friday, 1,221,539 doses of vaccines had been administered across Canada, with 35,000 shots given on Friday itself. Using these numbers this means 2.5% of the total population has received one dose. As I convey to you these numbers I am not exactly bursting with pride. However, with vaccine delivery supposedly starting to ramp up after a pitifully slow start, we can only hope that in the coming weeks these numbers will skyrocket.

Along with many other politicians in Niagara, I was disappointed that the provincial health officials kept Niagara Region in grey lockdown, when many of our health indicators suggested that we should have moved into the red control zone, and almost into orange. It has been suggested that if we advance to a less restrictive zone that residents will flood into the Region from other nearby areas. This argument loses its edge when it is noticed that practically all areas west of and including Hamilton moved to the red-control zone and many areas, including the not-too-distant region of Haldiman-Norfolk, moved into the orange zone. I certainly hope that the powers that be will rectify this obvious mistake in the coming week.

In Niagara, 123—yes, that number is correct—only 123 doses were ad-ministered on Friday, bringing the total number in the Region to 7677.  The good news is 100 percent of long-term care home residents have been given both doses, and 7.1 percent of high-risk retirement home residents have been given both doses. Unfortunately, seniors living in their own homes are in for another week or two of waiting. In the meantime it remains imperative that we all con-tinue to wear masks when out in public, and sanitize your hands at every opportunity. 

At Pelham Town Hall the blockbuster news this past week was Town Clerk Nancy Bozzato announcing her retirement, after a total of 40 years in municipal government, with over half of these spent in Pelham.  From the first day that I became involved in politics in Pelham, I was amazed at the amount of knowledge Nancy possessed about everything alluding to municipal governance and protocol. It will be a sad day when Nancy walks out of Town Hall for the last time as Clerk, but the Town’s loss will be her grandkids’ gain. On behalf of Town Council and all Pelham residents, Nancy, we wish you a long and happy retirement.

At the other end of the employment spectrum our new Town solicitor has just finished her first month of employment in Pelham and when asked for comment these were her refl ections: “My first month as Town Solicitor has gone quickly! Time flies when you are having fun...and when you are working hard! Over the past few weeks I have had the privilege of meeting Mayor Junkin [Mayor’s note: A nice guy] and of connecting with many Town staff , both virtually and in person. I expect to meet other members of council shortly and I am looking forward to that. I have received a warm welcome from everyone here and have already seen how dedicated council and staff are to serving the Pelham community. I am excited to be part of this team! In addition, having recently relocated to the area, I am looking forward to exploring the Niagara region with my family!”

Welcome to our town Jennifer! From our short time conversing with each other I am confident that you will have no problem fitting in with our team. Now for all of you that have just finished reading this column, grab a coat and a hat and go get some exercise! [Editor’s note: Not before reading the rest of the paper.] And when you return home, phone a friend.

February 9, 2021

With yet a further reduction in vaccine doses to be delivered to Canada over the next two months, and with our federal government trying to obtain supplies from an agency set up to help “developing countries,” I think it is safe to say—albeit in so doing one is contributing to the noise, as Mr. Trudeau calls it—that our country’s strategies for obtaining vaccine doses on the world market are, at best, faltering.

To be honest, this was always going to be a tough row to hoe, having to depend on manufacturing companies located in foreign countries to export from those same countries doses that they desperately need for their citizens, to Canada.

Europe, where a large per-centage of the Pfizer vaccine is made, has a death toll approaching 800,000, with some individual countries seeing fatality numbers of over 1000 a day. The E.U. has now set in place a means to oversee exports, and will make sure their needs come first. We can’t really blame them for that kind of thinking. The U.S., where Moderna currently has most of their present-day production, is seeing fatality numbers surpassing 3000 a day, and that country has already stated that American needs come first. Canada now ranks 33rd on the list of vaccinating countries on a per-capita bases. I believe it is going to get worse before it gets better.

In the Niagara Region, total number of doses admin-istered is at 5374, with 568 people receiving shots last Friday. Almost 22 percent of residents living in long-term care homes have received their second shot. We also saw nearly a doubling in our new cases, going from 34 on Thursday to 61 on Friday. Pelham’s active cases continue to fall, now being at 27, with all of these residents self-isolating at home. One side eff ect of these lock-downs is the deteriorating state of our collective mental health. A health unit in Eastern Ontario has registered a 100 percent increase in infant abuse over the last year. This number would include head trauma, brain injury, and broken limbs. We all must do our part in reaching out to friends and family members, off ering support and friend-ship wherever we can.

The number of new COVID-19 cases is trending down, for the most part, both provincially and nationally, so I am hopeful that if we do it slow-ly and carefully, we can ease some of these restrictions. Bundle up, get outside for some exercise and phone a friend.

Mayor Marvin Junkin

February 2, 2021

News on the vaccine front took anoth-er disheartening turn this week when another drug maker announced that it would be reducing vaccine shipments to Canada by 20-25 percent. Moderna, a U.S.-based company, had originally agreed to ship 230,000 shots in the first week of February, with 249,600 shots to follow three weeks later. The company has revised the first-week shipment down to 180,000 shots.

So far the overall target of 2,000,000 doses to be delivered by the end of March is still expected to be met; we will have to keep our fingers crossed on that one. This announcement came on the heels of the other major supplier to Canada, Pfizer, stating that it would be delivering roughly 80 percent fewer shots over the next four weeks than initially promised. This number could conceivably go even lower if the European Union introduces export controls on shots leaving that area.

If the E.U. feels that they are not receiving a sufficient number of shots they can block exports to outside countries. On the Niagara front, total number of doses administered reached 3,993 as of Friday, with 103 people vaccinated on that day. All long-term care homes in Niagara have been vaccinated, and 42.9 percent of high-risk retirement home residents have had their shots. As for COVID-19 numbers, new daily cases in Niagara continue to hover around the 100 mark, give or take, with new cases on Jan 29 being at 91.

Pelham’s active cases were at 35 on Sunday, with all reported cases self-isolating at home. Total number of deaths in the Region is at 311, every single death being one too many. The past week saw a bit of snow fall in town, with temperatures falling to seasonal lows. Perhaps this will be the extent of our winter, as temperatures are forecast to go above freezing, starting on Wednesday. It is great to see so many residents out walking, at any given time throughout the day. With the days getting longer and the sun’s heat getting stronger it is nice to say goodbye to January.

Mayor Marvin Junkin

January 26, 2021

On the COVID-19 vaccine front, there has been some good news and some disheartening news. The good news is that some 264,000 doses have been administered across the province, with 2889 of those doses having been administered in Niagara Region. With these 2889 doses health-care officials have completed 100 percent of long-term care homes, and 7.1 percent of high-risk retirement homes. The disheartening news is that Canada will not be receiving any further vaccine doses next week from Pfizer-BioNTech, and promised deliveries will drop by 50 percent over the next four weeks.

This delay in vaccine de-livery is being attributed to the manufacturer making upgrades to its production facilities. With the upgrades, the company will have the capacity to produce up to 2 billion doses a year. While this increased pro-duction bodes well for Canada getting future promised levels of the vaccine, it means that our vaccine rollout programs through-out the country will come to a stop, with all vaccine doses in the country having been administered. This unscheduled delay reinforces the fact that it was a great idea to have a risk/ priority distribution system in place, as our senior homes and front-line workers are getting all of the vaccine available.

On the Regional front, Region Chair Jim Bradley has created a Community Coordination Task Force for COVID-19 vaccination. Chair of this task force is Dr. David Dec, who as chair, will also serve as this group’s primary community spokesperson. There are 20 community members on this taskforce and quite frankly such a large number makes me somewhat sceptical of its ability to react in a timely fashion to what is obviously a very fluid situation. That being said I wish them all the best going for-ward.

Niagara’s new cases while dropping below 100 on Friday were over that number on Saturday, being 116, with 91 on Sunday. 

As we all know, the food service industry throughout the region is suffering tremendously under the lock-down rules. I was talking to a good friend who co-owns two restaurants in St Catharines. Their pre-COVID employee number was over 100 and now it is eight. Like most restaurants in the region they are hanging on with the business with their take-out service.

All of Pelham Restaurants are in the same boat, so please consider ordering local when ordering take-out.

Going back to last week’s column, I left out one number when discussing the Region’s funding for the proposed new hospital in Grimsby. The matrix that Regional staff designed—which, by the way, had no medical members involved in its formulation—called for the Region to contribute $9.07 million dollars to the hospital. The group spearheading the project was asking for $12.6 million. The three million dol-lar difference between these two numbers represent 0.3% of the Region’s yearly budget of $1 billion dollars. That was a lot of talking and posturing over such a small amount of our yearly budget, especially when it is for such a needed, worthy project. Such is life.

Mayor Marvin Junkin

January 19, 2021

Well, well, the stars and the planets must have been perfect alignment this past week, because Marv the politician had a great week. Before I get into the details, let’s discuss our world of COVID-19. New Niagara cases on Friday, Jan. 15, totalled 152. This number was down con-siderably from the high of 467 from Monday, the 11th, but is distressingly higher than the generally under-30 new daily cases that we were getting in November, and early December. (This 467 number also included a backlog of cases not previ-ously reported.) As of Sun-day, the weekly average was 128 infections per day. While Regional hospital admissions have certain-ly increased during the last three weeks, our hospitals, thankfully, are not being pushed to their limits, as is the case in the “hotspots” of the Province. While our positivity per-centage has climbed to 6.3 percent, that same number in Brampton is over 17%. The news on the vacci-nation front is somewhat disheartening, but hope-fully will get better. As of last Wednesday, the total number of doses adminis-tered within the Region was 142. By Friday, that number had climbed to 608. With 460,000 residents in the Re-gion, this could take awhile! 

I have a lot of faith in our Public Health workers, so I am sure they will iron out the kinks and we will see a great improvement in the rollout.On a side note, Florida has made it a policy, at least ac-cording to its governor, that anyone over 65 will be given the vaccine, whether they be resident or non-resident. Many Canadian snowbirds have received the vaccine, a fact that isn’t setting well with some elderly full-time Floridians. I can see their point, but even more dis-turbing is the number of people fl ying into Florida for a day, getting the vaccine, then leaving right after get-ting poked. A jet service out of Toronto is reported-ly off ering a service similar to this for between $25,000 and $80,000. Thanks, but no thanks. I will somewhat patiently wait my turn. Okay, now the good news!Back last May, during a council meeting, I stated, somewhat optimistically, and some would say definitely pre-maturely, that I would not be happy with any property tax increase over two percent. I still re-member the startled look on Town staff faces. Well, folks, with the help of upper gov-ernment and their COVID-19 support payments, council last week passed both our capital and operating bud-gets, which will be serviced with a 1.98% property tax increase, coming as it does following increases of over 13% the last two years com-bined, which saw unavoid-able expenditures. The other good news came at the Region. The Mayor of Grimsby phoned last Thursday morning, asking if I would second a motion, asking the Re-gional government to sup-ply funding for the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital, to the tune of 21 percent of the publicly sourced funds. This project has been kicked around, and debated, for over 20 years. Unless I am reading public sentiment incorrectly, I believe that any money spent on health-care, especially when that project is a regional hospi-tal, is fully supported by our residents. Long story short, I did indeed second the mo-tion, spoke to its worth, and it passed. The Region will now kick in $12.7 mil-lion dollars to this project. Surely, after 20 years of talking, it is time for action. I say, “Get er done.”

Mayor Marvin Junkin

January 12, 2021

I trust that everyone had a safe and enjoy- able holiday season. Thank goodness for the technology that allows us to see our loved ones in real time on our tech devices. Our oldest son is Down East, so we have ex- perienced this fi rst hand. Nothing replaces the hug of a loved one, but to see their smiles and facial expres- sions is the next best thing. Good news for this new year is that several coun- tries have begun the gigan- tic task of vaccinating their people. Britain, which was one of the fi rst countries to start the program, has now vaccinated over 1.1 million residents.

They are hoping to reach 2 million people vaccinated a week, as they try to combat a new variant of the virus. Their number of new cases on a daily ba- sis has reached 60,000, and if that number becomes the norm, their hospitals will be overwhelmed. As of last Wednes- day, Canada ranked tenth in the world in doses giv- en per capi- ta, with most h ealthcare offi cials say- ing that we must increase our num- bers. As of last Wednes- day, Canada has given a least one shot to more than 193,000 people. As of Fri- day morning, Ontario had administered 87,653 total doses, with 4,053 people having been given both shots.

Although no vaccine has arrived in Niagara yet, as of this writing Niaga- ra Health is expecting the fi rst shipment to arrive lo- cally sometime this week. As in all other areas of the province, workers in long term care facilities, re- tirement homes, as well as essential caregivers will be given priority treatment, along with the residents in these facilities. Niaga- ra Health will be running vaccination clinics from a temporary structure next to the Walker Family Can- cer Centre at their St. Cath- arines site. Please visit the Niagara Health website for more up to date details: Of course, with the con- tinuance of the provin- cial lockdown the Town’s recreation centre re- mains closed to public use.

Thankfully the weather so far this winter has been very conducive to walk- ing, with virtually no snow having fallen so far. The one major snowfall that has occurred hap- pened on Christmas Eve through to noon on Christ- mas day. Our roads de- partment started clearing our streets at three o’clock Christmas morning, went home for a few hours of gift-opening around 8 AM, then were out again to fi n- ish the job. On behalf of all Pelham residents, here is a big thank you, guys.

Mayor Marvin Junkin

December 22, 2020

Congratulations! If you are reading this, then you have survived one crazy year! 

I can remember, like most Canadians, reading in January about some obscure virus happening in China that some alarmists were forecasting could conceivably go worldwide. Yeah, right! 

Three months later all of our lives were greatly altered. In the following, I will attempt to focus on Town business as it unfolded throughout the year, in spite of the virus causing everyone to keep adapting their plans. 

In January, council heard from the Bandshell Committee, telling us that the upgrades to Peace Park were completed, except for the new light standards, which had to be installed along the newly poured concrete path. The park had been re-graded, re-sodded, some trees removed, and electrical infrastructure installed. The new light standards were installed in the spring. Wow, are they nice! If you haven’t seen it already, please take a walk in the early evening, and enjoy the effect. H opefully, sometime in 2021, the park can be rocking! 

Also in January, I had a somewhat memorable meeting with the Library Board, with a sold-out, standing-room-only audience in attendance. I really enjoyed this meeting and I believe it was invaluable in opening up long-needed communication between the Library Board and council. We actually had plans to meet in a roundtable discussion to find more common ground and continue to communicate, but COVID-19 dashed these plans. However, the Town CAO and I have had two very productive meetings with the Library Acting CEO, Amy Guilmette, and the Board Chair, Nicole Nolan. These talks are ongoing and I believe that sometime in the new year the Library Board will have an announcement to make. 

In April, all of Pelham residents were saddened to learn of the passing of first-term Councillor Mike Ciolfi. He was a great councillor and an even better person. His presence is sadly missed at council. 

Like all businesses and local governments, Pelham was headed into a two-week lockdown, forcing management to have a hard look at laying off s taff. Altogether, senior management laid off 32 workers for varying amounts of time. Thankfully, by summer they were all back on the job. 

Even with the lockdown, Planning staff continued to process building applications so that area builders were ready to go when restrictions were lifted. The housing market has remained strong in Pelham throughout the summer, and by the end of December the Town will be on track to have issued a comparable number of building permits this year as last. This strong growth in house construction is projected to continue through 2021. 

In the spring, Town staff and the new union representing the Town’s outside workers signed a first-time collective bargaining agreement. It was a tribute to both sides that an agreement was made satisfactory to both parties while remaining on amicable terms. 

Land sales in East Fonthill continued throughout the year, totalling some $5.3 million dollars. This money all went to pay back the bridge loan that the Town had taken out to cover the construction cost of the community centre. Also sold in the fall was the old arena site for $2.5 million dollars. 

Having both ice rinks open for the summer was both financially rewarding and again a sign of the diligence of Town staff to get the Town assets open for our citizens both quickly and safely. Many municipalities that usually had summer ice in years gone by did not open their facilities this summer. Pelham also ran day camps for children, offering the kids a token bit of normalcy and no doubt giving stressed-out parents a badly needed break. 

In early fall, Pelham, like all other municipalities, received a COVID-19 compensation payment, part of a $4 billion dollar fund provided by the federal government. This payment was to compensate the municipalities for the extra cost of COVID-19, such as cleaning and sanitizing expenses, along with any revenue that had been lost to date. A second payment, to be made before Christmas is pending. 

In the fall, council awarded the tender to fix Sulphur Spring Drive to a local contractor. At the urging of council, this contract was a design build, meaning that the contractor will be responsible for not only the construction of this project, but also for the design. Bill Duffin, the contractor who was awarded the contract, is also the contractor that designed and built the wall that has successfully held back the hill on the old number 8 highway, between Jordan and Vineland. According to Bill, “That hill hasn’t moved an inch since I put the retaining wall up in 1991.” I believe the project of Sulphur Spring Drive is in good hands. This project is slated to be completed by the autumn of 2021. 

When fall arrived this year, that was when the Town’s finance department started to put the finishing touches on the budget for next year. I had stated back in late spring that I would not be happy with a budget that had a property tax increase greater than 2%. The proposed Town budget, if passed in January by council, allows for an increase of 4.7%. However, the virus and its effects are responsible for 2.8% of the increase. 

Next year, if we can eliminate many of the costs associated with COVID-19— plus hopefully gypsy moths will be on a downward cycle—I am confident that we can bring in a 2% or less increase. One other step council has taken is the hiring of a Town Solicitor. Jennifer Stirton will be shared among the municipalities of Fort Erie and Wainfleet. We as a Town simply cannot afford to continue to pay $750/hour for legal advice on the cannabis issue, or any other issue for that matter. 

The Region is aiming to bring in a 2% tax increase, and by deferring some capital projects this goal appears to be achievable. 

Restaurants in the Town, like restaurants across the Region, are feeling the financial crunch of COVID-19. Please give them as much business as you can, be it take-out, or dining in with family members. 

I can assure all residents that you have a group of highly motivated professionals working for you inside Town Hall. In two years as your Mayor, I continue to find this job very interesting and very rewarding. It’s an honour to be your representative at Regional Council and at all official functions that I attend. That being said, they are days that I long for yesteryear when a stubborn Holstein was my biggest problem. 

Merry Christmas to all, and may the New Year bring you and yours much happiness. 

Mayor Marvin Junkin

December 15, 2020

It has now been announced that Ontario will administer its first COVID-19 vaccines December 15 at two hospitals in Toronto and Ottawa. The first people to receive the vaccines will be healthcare workers at long-term homes, and other high-risk places. 

While the vaccine will alleviate much of the need for physical distancing and masking long term, it won’t immediately end these public health measures. Herd immunity, which refers to a large proportion of the community being immune to contracting the virus, has to hit 70% in order for COVID-19 to be manageable. This level will take months to reach, depending on just when the shipments of vaccines arrive. Also, it is still unknown whether the vaccines prevent somebody from becoming infected and spreading it forward. The worry being that if people are vaccinated, and they can still spread it, then the risk remains to the people who aren’t vaccinated. Of course the big question remains — how long the vaccine will offer immunity from the virus. Here at home, the Niagara Public Health unit has made it be known that they would consider our community centre to be an ideal vaccination point, because of its size and its central location. As of this writing they had not yet appeared on site for an in-depth inspection. 

Just when we thought they might have been starting to drop, there have been new cases. There were 20 last Wednesday, and last Thursday that number shot up to 36. With this big increase, our reproductive number is now over 1, at 1.2, as of Dec. 10. Our hospitals are still good, with 85.6% of their beds currently occupied, below the target numbers of 90%. Our positivity test number is 1.7%, meaning that of the 8000-9,000 tests done every week by Regional Health, only 1.7% are positive, The provincial average is over 5%, while parts of Alberta, their worst parts, were testing over 41%. 

On Saturday, a rather strange event took place in Fenwick. Well, when I say strange, everything this year is relative, so maybe this event wasn’t that strange. I am talking about the reverse Santa Clause Parade, which as its name implies, saw floats remaining stationary and the people/kids driving by in cars. Although somewhat damp, and while it sounds somewhat bizarre, rest assured, everyone had a fun time. A huge thank you to the Fabulous Fenwick Lions and the Town’s Recreationl Department. 

Jennifer Dube dropped me a line with the final stats of the Pelham Cares food drive. The bad news was food donations were down 35%. The great news was that monetary donations were up a whopping 60%. T o m ake t his d rive a success, 60 volunteers were scheduled each week in 3.5 hour shifts, for a total of approximately 300 volunteers. Only in Pelham, I say! Thanks to all the donors and volunteers! With the success of this event we gave the virus a darned good kicking.

Mayor Marvin Junkin

December 8, 2020

What great news! Several companies have completed testing of their vaccines and have either gotten approval of their product for large- scale human use or this approval is imminent. 

Britain will reportedly receive 800,000 doses of vaccine shortly from Biotech/Pfizer and will start to administer the vaccine immediately to its citizens. 

Canadian health authorities could approve Biotech/Pfizer for Canadian use within the next week, thereby allowing distribution to start in early 2021. If this timetable stays in effect, then Canada should receive some 6 million doses in the first quarter of 2021, enough for 3 million of Canada’s 38 million population. 

Officials have said healthcare workers and the elderly will receive vaccines first, with complete guidelines on who else will be first in line. This information will be forthcoming in the near future. 

In a country such as ours that has such a large geographical area, the rollout of the vaccines will be one of the most complex logistical undertakings in Canada’s history. The distribution of Pfizer’s vaccine is made much more complex because they need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, that being at -80°C. Canada has had to go to the marketplace for 26 ultra-cold freezers, with the capacity for each freezer holding 280,000 doses. It is not public knowledge if these freezers are all situated throughout the country or not. 

On the local scene, Niagara Region continues to keep its designation of Orange-Restrict, even though our number of new cases has been consistently above 20 for the last week. Our reproductive number being at 1, is also inching upwards. The relatively better news is that the number of COVID-19 cases that test positive is at 1.7 percent, while the province’s average is over 5 percent. 

Pelham has six current cases with all of these individuals practicing home isolation. Some 93 percent of the Region’s cases are also practicing home isolation with the remaining 6.5 percent being hospitalized with a very small number being admitted to ICUs. It is with only a very small number being hospitalized that has kept us in our present designation. The Region continues to test between 8,000 to 9,000 residents weekly. 

Please help out our volunteer firefighters at Station 1 who are having a toy drive taking place between December 5 through to December 13. Also requested besides toys for children, are cans of pet food for our furry companions. Items can be dropped off during the week and also on the weekend until 7 PM. Station 1 is located at 177 Highway 20 West in Fonthill, across from the Lookout Ridge apartments. 

Mayor Marvin Junkin

December 1, 2020

Last Friday the province processed 58,000 COVID-19 tests. Coinciding with this record number, the province reported a record high 1,855 new cases of COVID-19, also on Friday. The seven-day average for the province also reached a record high of 1,489, which is the highest seven-day number since the first confirmed infection was reported in Ontario in late January. 

Niagara continues to maintain its orange-restrict range although the core numbers used in determining the rating remain precariously close to the next rating: red-protect. Our number of new cases per day remains in the high teens or higher, and it is this number, I suspect, that prohibits Dr. Hirji from rescinding his family-members-only section 22 for patrons dining in a restaurant. The good news for the Region is that the vast majority of COVID cases—nearly 97 percent—self-isolate at home, with less that 1% admitted to intensive care. All Pelham cases are self-isolating at home with two active cases currently within the Town. 

One matter that has recently been brought to the Town’s attention is the rental of ice time at the MCC by out-of-region teams. On Monday morning senior staff and the CAO discussed the situation and did indeed find that bookings were made by groups from red zones outside our Niagara health zone. From now on, any booking identified as being from such zones will be cancelled. 

The North Pelham Youth Association is currently conducting a fundraising campaign. Donations can be made on the Canada Helps website, and made in memory of or in recognition of others. The Association was recently featured in a Voice article and is striving to bring its hall up to current accessibility standards along with a general face-lift. 

Until next time…

Mayor Marvin Junkin

November 24, 2020

As Niagara Region inches closer to a Red-control designation, Toronto and Peel regions have been put into lockdown. These lockdowns, among other restrictions, will shutter salons and gyms, and force restaurants to provide take-out only, as indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants is banned. Retail businesses and department stores not selling essential items will only be allowed to open for curbside pickup and delivery, with customers not allowed inside. Schools and daycares will remain open. The lockdown began this Monday, and is scheduled to last 28 days. To help businesses affected by the lockdown, the Ford government has set aside $600 million to help with fixed costs, such as property taxes and hydro bills. 

Back in Niagara, we have seen 117 new infections since last Thursday, with 36 on Saturday alone. Last week the Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hirji, issued orders that restaurants will be required to confirm patrons dining at tables were of the same household. All councillors of Regional government were inundated with emails from restaurant owners doing business within the region, claiming that they were being singled out by these orders, and these restrictions would force them ever closer to bankruptcy. Regional Council held an emergency meeting last Wednesday to debate the issue and to hear firsthand from restaurant owners and their representatives. The result of that meeting was a motion put on the agenda for our regular council meeting the next day, Thursday, November 19. This motion recommended, among other directives, that Dr. Hirji rescind the order restricting only household members dine together in restaurants. The motion was passed unanimously by council, but at the time of this writing, Dr. Hirji has taken no action. The health boards of Ontario are separate entities unto themselves, not under the jurisdiction of Regional Council. Therefore, we as a council can recommend, but not instruct, the actions of Dr. Hirji. 

On the national level it has been decided that the Canada-U.S. border will remain closed, except for essential travellers, until at least December 21. Worst-case scenarios issued by the public health agency of Canada show that Canada could see 60,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day if contact rates continue to increase. British Columbia announced new rules, including mandatory masks for indoor, public, and retail spaces, along with restrictions on social gatherings. 

In our town, Pelham Cares has now completed three weeks of their five-week food drive, and they are happy to report that the generosity of Pelham residents remains as high as ever, even in these trying times. No surprise there! At Town Hall itself, council was happy to learn that the CAO, along with the CAOs of Fort Erie and Wainfleet, have been successful in hiring a Town solicitor. Her name is Jennifer Stirton, and although she will be a direct employee of the Town of Pelham, all three municipalities will contribute towards her employment costs. This is yet another example of your council reaching out to our neighbours and exploring avenues where mutual savings can be achieved.

Mayor Marvin Junkin

November 17, 2020

On Friday, Nov. 13, the Ford government moved various municipalities/regions up the colour chart, meaning they would be subject to stricter rules involving businesses staying open and some businesses closing down altogether. Residents will be facing stricter rules regarding movement, and who they are allowed to socialize with. The changes came into effect this Monday, with the exception of Toronto, which moved into the red zone on Saturday. Niagara Region has now been downgraded from yellow (protect) to orange (restrict), Regions in the orange category must abide by stricter rules for contact tracing at bars and restaurants, with no more than four people seated at a table. Sports and recreation facilities cannot have any spectators, other than a parent or guardian supervising children, and all users of the facilities must answer a questionnaire. For full details please see the Public Health website, 

No sooner had the provincial government made these announcements than the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) issued a press release calling for this blanket order to be rescinded, taking note of the particular restriction that only family members living in the same household can sit at the same table when dining out. The GNCC feels that this order is unfairly attacking businesses that have been following all the rules passed down from Public Health, and it is their view that private parties held by residents are the main cause of these super-spreader events that for the most part are causing the surging number of COVID-19 cases, not only provincially but also nationally. 

I personally received a call from a resident, who works for a winery in Lincoln, who also thought the government was barking up the wrong tree. She relayed to me that last Saturday, while in St. Catharines, she noticed a large house party next door, with very few people wearing masks. When she attempted the report the event to authorities, she was told at each number that she had reached the wrong authority, please try a different number. The third official attempted sent her back to the first, so she just gave up. Upon phoning Niagara Public Health and retelling this story to a nurse, she informed me that the following is the correct number to call when reporting an offence under this order: (905) 688-8248, extension 7590, is available 24/7. Ask for the Environmental Health duty officer. I hesitate to include this number, as I don’t want Pelham to be a place where people are phoning the authorities about their neighbours. Instead, I hope that everyone acts responsibly from the start because it is the right thing to do. 

It should also be noted that when a region moves into the orange category, enforcement is stepped up and fines, not warnings, will be the norm. 

Although the cooler weather is upon us, health officials are stressing that it is still very important to get outside for exercise and fresh air, and to eat a healthy diet. Keeping fit and eating healthy is always a good thing, but even more important in these times. 

A special thank you to everyone at the Fonthill Legion Branch 613 for holding a Remembrance Day ceremony even in these difficult days, allowing the residents of Pelham the opportunity to pay their respects to those who have served and those who continue to serve our great nation. It was my privilege to be a small part of the ceremony. Thanks to everyone involved. 

Until next time…

Mayor Marvin Junkin

November 10, 2020

Lots going on across the country concerning COVID-19, but first we will look at the numbers on the home front. As of Saturday, Pelham had ten active cases. There were 231 active cases across the Region, and 18 active outbreaks. Last week saw the continuing second-wave climb, with double-digit increases daily, with 34 cases on Saturday alone. Seven percent are hospitalized, and just under two percent are in intensive care. 

The Niagara Region moved to “yellow-protect” level as of 12:01 AM on Saturday. This is part of the provincial government’s colour-coded levels of enforcement. First-and most lenient is green: Prevent. Next yellow: Protect. Orange: restrict. Red: control. And finally the strictest is: Lockdown. 

Although our hospitalizations are low, our rising daily numbers have caused us to be downgraded from the green to yellow. Going into yellow, among other restrictions, means that in restaurants only six people can be seated at any one time at a table, with contact information collected from everyone seated. Re c r e at ional programs are limited to ten people indoors, and 25 outdoors. For complete list of rules, please go to  

On the national scene, Canada somewhat belatedly followed the WHO and the US in acknowledging aerosol transmission of coronavirus. Before this, the Public Health Agency of Canada stated that COVID-19 was “most commonly” spread through touching a contaminated surface, or having close contact with an infected person who passed the virus along through droplets when they spoke or coughed. These large droplets are thought to fall rather quickly to the ground. It now recognises that there are smaller droplets involved—aerosols that can linger in the air, in some instances for as long as 20 minutes. A good friend of mine, Lou Damm, sent me a You Tube video back in early summer, featuring a research team in Japan creating various sized droplets and recording the time they hung in the air. It was an eye-opening video, stressing that one could be walking down an empty hallway, and still be breathing in these small droplets. In recognizing these aerosols, the agency is now recommending a three-layer mask. 

Concerning Town affairs, budget discussions continue to dominate council business, with council members reviewing the budget proposals brought forward by staff. In talking with various councillors, I believe there will be a few cuts recommended to staff. 

When traveling from farm to Town Hall, I usually traverse Haist Street north. It was great to see the hilly part of this road repaved this week! I’m sure the numerous walkers that I see on this section of road will appreciate the smoother surface as much as all other users. 

Until next time…

Mayor Marvin Junkin

November 3, 2020

The hardest part that political authorities have in trying to control this pandemic is that on any one aspect of this event, there are usually three or four prominent scientists taking opposite positions on courses of action. It is hard to believe now, but at the beginning of this pandemic most western public health officials were not advocating masks, even when at that time, eastern countries such as Korea were insisting that their usage was a big part of their plan to control the virus. By the time we were two months into the pandemic, most, if not all jurisdictions in North America were recommending their use, if social distancing were not possible. 

Now of course, in Ontario, like many other areas in Canada, you must use a face covering in public indoor spaces. 

In B.C., that province has so far resisted calls to make masks ma nd a t or y, although a family doctor in Burnaby B.C. is asking for a court injunction to require the practice. A sister of mine, who is 78 years of age, and who lives close to Nelson, B.C., was recently telling me that on a shopping trip to that town, she was the only one in the stores wearing a mask. Of course, it could be argued that by its geographical distance from any large city, Nelson is in its own “bubble.” It will be interesting to see if indeed the province does go to mandatory mask wearing. 

On the Town front, at Monday night’s council meeting I will have presented a motion that, if passed by the majority of council, will instruct Town staff to do a technical review of all aspects of the Rice Road, Highway 20 storm water management pond. 

I requested this because of severe erosion occurring just north of Highway 20 due to the extreme force of the water exiting the pond. This erosion is carrying silt from this location and depositing it all along the downstream waterway, damaging the habitat of wildlife and fish living in the Niagara Region’s only remaining year-round flowing cold water stream. 

If this council has any concerns for the environment, and I believe it does, then we cannot treat this jewel located within our boundaries simply as a drainage ditch. Furthermore, this is the third storm water management pond that the Town has had to deal with erosion problems. 

As these are engineered ponds it is disheartening that the Town is having to spend money to fix these erosion problems, which should not be occurring in the first place. 

Until next time…

Mayor Marvin Junkin

October 27, 2020

Realizing that this is getting to sound repetitive, which is a good thing, the Region’s COVID-19 numbers continue to shine. For the week of October 11- 17, Pelham had an increase of two cases, bringing us up to three. All of these cases are practicing home isolation. At the Regional level, for the week there were 56 new cases (plus 36 more cases over the weekend), with 89 percent recovering at home, eight percent were hospitalized, and 2.3% were in intensive care. Also last week, Public Health estimated 5000 to 6000 tests were completed, with positive results found in fewer than five percent of the total number tested. 

As a point of interest, just to the west of us, the City of Hamilton has 668 hospital beds reserved for COVID-19 patients, and at the time of this writing, only eight were occupied. That there is that much of a cushion is great news, and it shows us that individual behaviour is working to achieve these results. 

On the very good news front, there were two studies published last week, both peer-reviewed, so therefore deemed creditable, stating that ICU mortality levels for COVID-19 patients has fallen dramatically. They found that, back in March, the mortality rate for any COVID-19 patient was 25 percent—i.e., the patient had a one in four chance of dying. 

As of August 7, the mortality rate for this same type of patient was then 7.1 percent, a decrease of 18 percent. This huge decrease in such a relatively short amount of time is a credit to doctors having a better idea of what method of treatment works the best, along with the best pharmaceuticals to use in any given instance. 

This is one of many factors that, even though the number of cases is rising, lead to the mortality numbers remaining relatively low. 

I have always been a firm believer in modern science, and once again this discipline is at the forefront of our battle with this virus. Although a vaccine may not be imminent, with all the people and companies, and with the resources they represent, in search of a viable vaccine, many experts assert that this goal will be achieved early in the new year. Following its discovery, when it does happen, the next problem is the logistics of deployment. 

Oh well, one step at a time… 

On the Town front, with the rainy days of last week, the indoor walking track at the community centre was in high demand. Staff a re allowing 24 residents at a time on the track, with would-be users having to phone ahead to reserve their spot. Of course, face masks must be worn while using the track. 

Until next time…

Mayor Marvin Junkin

October 20, 2020

While areas on the north shore of Lake Ontario continue to see rising COVID-19 numbers, Niagara numbers remain impressive. For the period of Oct 4 to 11, Pelham’s numbers were static, with two active cases, and one new case. None of these cases required hospitalization, with these residents self-isolating at home. For the same period, the Niagara Region as a whole had 86 new cases, joining the 82 active cases. As stated earlier, these numbers are remarkable, when one hears that on this past Friday alone, Toronto registered 213 new cases for the day, with Peel Region showing 135, and Ottawa showing 108. Niagara Health had between 7000 and 8000 tests performed for this week, the percent of positive cases being well below the target of 5%. 

As the numbers continue their rapid increase in the Toronto area, the Province has decided to move York Region to a modified Stage 2 for at least 28 days, which started Monday. York now joins Toronto, Peel, and Ottawa in the closing of indoor dining, gyms, cinemas, and casinos, as well as placing limits to ten people indoors and 25 outdoors. 

In the above areas, high critical-care admissions to their hospitals are a major concern to the authorities. Niagara Region will continue in Stage 3, because of our low new case numbers, and very low COVID-19 hospitalisation. Authorities believe that one reason why Niagara’s numbers remain low is that residents are restricting the number of trips they are taking outside the Region, and of course, the cooler weather has effectively eliminated outsiders from travelling to Niagara’s beaches. 

Residents must continue to do their part to keep new infections to the minimum—frequent hand washing, use hand sanitizers when they are made available while out and about, and when social distancing is not possible wear a mask. Of course masks must be worn indoors when visiting businesses or in any public buildings.

Mayor Marvin Junkin

October 13, 2020

Good day to all! While areas north of the Region continue to face large daily increases in COVID-19 numbers, the numbers in the Niagara Region are rising, but at a far slower rate. 

New cases on Oct. 9 totalled nine, with nine cases recorded on Oct. 8. The reproductive rate is at 1.1, just a hair above the desired 1. With only approximately one case of COVID-19 in the Region requiring hospitalization, Niagara hospitals continue to operate below the targeted use rate of 90%. Six to seven thousand residents are tested each week. The Regional target for positive tests is 5% or lower. In the week of September 27- October 3, 1.1% of those tested by the health unit tested positive. In that same week, Pelham had three residents test positive, with none requiring hospitalization. All are self-isolating at home. 

On the Town front, we unfortunately have had some users of the community centre give Town staff pushback when asked some basic questions concerning their health before being allowed to enter the building, Really, people? 

Staff are only following protocol deemed necessary to keep all users safe. If you feel violated by answering the questions then stay in your car while your child is practicing. There are some arenas in the Region that do not allow any spectators at all. We in Pelham do not want to go down this road, but we will not tolerate Town staff being subjected to rude and abusive behaviour. Please, let’s get back to behaving the way we Pelhamites are known for, friendly and respectful. 

On a happier note, last Sunday our first public skate was held, and was deemed a success by staff. Skaters had to phone in and make a reservation, with 50 being the number allowed at any one time on the ice. All skaters followed the rules, and enjoyed the opportunity to put the blades on and have some fun while exercising. 

Concerning council business, the new guy, Wayne Olson, continues to impress his fellow councillors and Town staff with his breadth of knowledge on so many topics, and his easy going, yet no-nonsense approach to Town business. 

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We in Pelham have a lot to be thankful for!

Mayor Marvin Junkin

October 6, 2020

I had the pleasure Friday afternoon, along with several other officials, of re-opening the Steve Bauer Trail, where it picks up on the south side of Port Robinson Road. This section has been closed while a contractor has been busy paving it. Wow! What a job! Of course being on an old railway bed, it is as straight as an arrow, and now after paving it is as smooth as the proverbial baby’s behind! Although this trail has always been heavily used, being paved makes it a very attractive exercise alternative for those with accessibility issues. If COVID-19 numbers continue to climb, there is a distinct possibility that the Town will have to close the community centre’s walking track again. If this happens, this trail will offer all walkers looking for a smooth surface an excellent walking experience. This paving project came to completion mainly due to two groups of people. Firstly, a big thank you to those Town staff members who are continually searching government websites for grant money. A $75,000 grant from the Ontario Municipal Community Cycling Agency was procured by Town staff, and the trail project approved by council in July. And secondly, a sincere thank you to the Pelham Active Transportation Committee, for proposing this project to council. This committee is forever searching for ways in which council can make ours an even more walkable community, and they hit a home run with this suggestion! The other grant the Town received for the project was from the Canada Summer Games, to be used for a legacy project. The amount of this grant was $21,250. 

The Fonthill Legion will be cooking up Thanksgiving dinners for seniors this Saturday, Oct. 10. President Toni McKelvie has informed me that she will be cooking over 200 lbs of turkey for this event. Seniors are encouraged to phone (905) 892-6293 to sign up for this meal, which will be delivered. 

On Oct. 15, the Legion will restart their seniors dinner programme, which ran in the late spring and early summer of this year. When this programme was ended, the Legion had cooked and delivered some 7,200 meals. A heartfelt thank you to all the caring members at the ol’ 613. 

I will end on a sad note this week, having learned of the passing and tragic death of a good friend, Earl Clapp. Earl owned Niagara Farm Metals, and over the years I had the pleasure of doing business with Earl and purchasing his products for various building projects. It was during these transactions that Earl conveyed to me his love of the open road that could only truly be enjoyed while riding his motorcycle. He once took me into his garage and showed me a map of North America, covered in pins. Each pin marked a location that he and his cycling buddies had visited. This old farm boy, tied down to the farm by a demanding herd of Holsteins, could only look at this map with awe. So many adventures! So many stories! Earl was a top-shelf individual, and an honourable man. R.I.P. Earl. My sincere condolences to his wife Tillie and to all other members of his family…He will be missed.

Mayor Marvin Junkin

September 29, 2020

With the arrival of autumn the Niagara Region has seen an increase in COVID-19 infections. As of Monday, our days-to-double rate has jumped to 77. There were 50 new cases in the previous three days, bumping the reproductive number to 2.3, well above the desired 1. Although the last six weeks had seen zero cases of COVID in area hospitals, I see that the average number of cases hospitalized by week has moved from 0.0 to 0.1, so I assume that during that last week, someone was admitted to a hospital. I could not reach anyone at Public Health to confirm this. 

The predominant age group continues to be 20 to 29 that makes up the majority of the infections, which is good in one way, as this is also the age group that is most likely not to need hospitalization, but can self-isolate at home if they do test positive. 

On the Town front, the Recreational staff continue to bring more activities into play at the community centre. The walking track is now open, with users having to call ahead to schedule their desired times. No running is allowed, and of course, face masks must be worn. Ice rentals continue to be near the maximum, change rooms are being used, but no showers allowed. With the Region’s COVID-19 numbers remaining on the low side, and Town staff carrying on with very stringent cleaning protocols, Town residents can feel safe when using any Town facility. 

Along with the coming of fall, this time of year also marks the beginning of municipal government’s budget process, with Pelham being no different. After passing the budget meeting schedule, the Town always holds a public meeting, where residents can offer suggestions on worthwhile community projects. This meeting was held this past Wednesday, with four citizens/groups coming forward. The active transportation committee, through their spokesperson Bea Clark, brought several projects to council’s attention, ranging from Town trail improvement to making bicycling safer on Canboro Road. A shop owner, representing a group of merchants, appeared before council, again, to request a part of the water station parking area, which is currently in grass, to be converted to eight parking spots. While driving through that part of Town last Tuesday I noticed that all on-street parking spaces were fi lled. H opefully t his c oming y ear council can find the funds to get this project done, so more people can enjoy shopping at these businesses. 

Rounding out the groups appearing before council was a member of the Pelham Tennis Association. The members would like to see re-surfacing work done to the courts, which are open to the public, along with a reconfiguration of part of the courts, to include pickle ball facilities. 

On behalf of council, I thank all of these groups for taking the time to bring these projects to our attention. 

Mayor Marvin Junkin

September 22, 2020

At last Thursday night’s Regional Council meeting, councillors voted to extend the Region-wide bylaw making the wearing of facial masks mandatory when residents are inside a public building, or when social distancing is not possible. The bylaw was extended to April 1, 2021. The rational for an extension this long was that this would take the bylaw through the flu season, and it is believed that with the increased confinement everyone experiences during the winter months, COVID-19 infections could rise. 

There were a number of councillors, I was one of them, that did not want to extend the bylaw that far into the future. Staff pointed out that many area Regions had adopted the April 1 date, and if the Public Health Unit deemed that the masks were no longer needed, say in February or March, we could at that time rescind the bylaw. When called, the vote was roughly 85% in favour with yours truly being one to vote in favour of extending. 

On Friday, also at Region, Regional Chair Jim Bradley and the mayors of all 12 lower-tier municipalities signed a declaration making Niagara a member of the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities that want to improve their policies against racism, discrimination, exclusion, and intolerance. Niagara now joins 82 other municipalities across Canada that are working to advance initiatives which improve their practices to promote social inclusion, establish policies to eradicate all forms of racism and discrimination, and promote human rights and diversity. In this day and age with the Ontario Human Rights Code in place, I dare say most of these items are already covered, but it never hurts to have a re-affirmation of their policies stated. They should indeed be included in all government policies.

Mayor Marvin Junkin

September 16, 2020

A significant number was reached in Canada on September 11, no deaths due to C19 were reported on that day—the first time this has happened since April. 

On the other hand, in Niagara, we have had two consecutive days of three new cases, dropping our days-to-double rate from over 600, to its current number of 329. The current effective reproductive number is at 1.7, which is well above the desired 1. The average number of cases hospitalized in the past seven days is zero. 

To date, in Niagara, there have been 953 confirmed cases in a population of 448,000, which represents 0.21 per cent of the population. 

Back in April—was that only five months ago? — Public Works brought a report to council outlining that the Department would need an additional $21,000 to plant and maintain the Town’s flower beds. With the possibility of a large deficit, brought on by the pandemic, council voted not to spend this money, but instead voted to have staff organize a competition that would involve community groups and residents stepping forward to plant and maintain the beds with the participants vying for prize money. The competition would be judged by the Town’s Beautification Committee over the Labour Day weekend. 

Well folks, the judging has been completed. The winner, by the slimmest of margins, was 3rd Fonthill Scouting, shown above, with that group planting and maintaining the North Pelham Gateway sign. One of the leaders of the group, Kent Ratcliffe, informed me that over the course of the summer over 20 scouts had contributed time and love to the garden. 

The order of finish of the other groups is: 2nd place went to the Pelham Garden Club for the Centennial Park flagpole; 3rd place finishers were the Meridian Fonthill group, who looked after the Peace Park garden; and rounding out the competition were Shawn Petlichkov and Daniel Kilmowicz, who were sponsored by Lookout Point, with the gardens at the front of Town Hall. 

I took the time to visit all four locations on the weekend and I was amazed at the arrangement and beauty of the plants at all four locations. Great job everyone! Council and the residents thank you for making our town that much more attractive.

Mayor Marvin Junkin

September 8, 2020

As of Friday noon Pelham had zero active cases of COVID-19, and since the beginning of the pandemic there have been 41 in total active cases. The Niagara Region as a whole has 10 active cases, with seven municipalities reporting zero active cases. The numbers in the Region continue to be great, especially when one considers the number of people visiting the area, either in the typical tourist areas, such as
N-O-T-L and Niagara Falls, but also the higher than usual numbers of tourists visiting the beaches in Niagara. 

Town Clerk Nancy Bozzato and her staff have been tasked with running an election in Ward 1 during this pandemic. Last Thursday was the first of two advance polls, located at Fire Stations 2 and Station 3. The next advance poll is this coming Saturday, September 12, with Election Day occurring net Tuesday, September 15, at these same two locations. 

My wife, Candi, and I voted last Thursday at Station 3, located just north of Sixteen Road, on Cream Street. As I expected, everything went like clockwork, from the staff screening at the entrance, to the individuals taking names, checking I.D.s, and the last person showing voters how to place their ballot in the voting machine. Sanitizing of the booths is done after each use, and an added bonus because of the pandemic, is that each voter gets to keep the pen they used to mark the ballot. 

Two hundred and one people voted at this first advance poll, with the votes not being tabulated until after 8 PM on Election Day. 

Municipal government is the grassroots of the three governmental levels. This is the level you phone when your road isn’t plowed in the winter or has too many potholes in the summer; and yes, every once in a while, a resident will phone either myself or Town staff to say “Job well done.” 

I encourage all Ward 1 residents to do their democratic duty and mark their choice! 

Mayor Marvin Junkin

September 1, 2020

With school openings in Niagara just days away, it is great to see COVID-19 numbers continuing to be low even as Stage 3 enters its third week. As of this writing we saw no new cases in Niagara, with an effective reproductive number at 0.4, well below the acceptable level of 1. Days to double is at its all time highest rate, 752. 

Niagara District School Board is saying that 80% of its students have opted to return to the classroom, as opposed to continue learning by virtual means from home. This is hardly surprising as a big part of school is socializing with friends and interacting with each other. 

A huge development on the COVID-19 front is the imminent approval by Health Canada of a saliva test for the virus which would augment the rather uncomfortable nasal test. The saliva test has already been approved for use in many southern US states, and with a 94 % conformity rate to the nasal test Health Canada is expected to follow suit very soon. The three main benefits of this test are that it is cheaper than the nasal test, it does not have to be administered by a healthcare worker, and one just has to spit into a container and send it to a lab. Contrary to current government policy, some experts think that any child with symptoms should be given a mandatory test to help prevent clusters. If saliva testing does indeed get approved in Canada, this level of testing does become feasible. 

On the Town front, facilities continue to reopen with ever-evolving protocols in place. Effective last Friday, Town staff are no longer administering temperature tests to any person entering Town facilities. As of this writing staff will continue to ask the standard questions and gather contact information. 

The fall reopening for the MCC is based on provincial guidelines for recreational facilities. Some highlights are: 50 people will be allowed on the ice at one time, and 50 spectators are allowed as long as they follow social distancing rules. Both arenas will have change rooms open with no showers. The walking track will be open with users having to make reservations, no running will be allowed. The track will be cleaned/ disinfected once a day. Also, as per provincial guidelines air dryers in the washrooms will be disabled with paper towels being used instead. 

Proposed programming at this point in time is as follows: stick and puck programs, shinny, public skating, ladies learn to play hockey, senior learn to skate, return of Brock fitness, senior fitness, chair yoga, pickle ball, and some after-school programs for youth. The old Pelham Town Hall is scheduled for reopening, with safety rules developed by Town staff to be enforced. 

With our continued low numbers in the Region it is great to see not only our facilities opening, but facilities throughout Niagara opening up, encouraging people to get back to their exercise regimes. Has COVID-19 left us? No, of course not, but by continuing to follow the recommended safety protocols there is no reason not to get on with this thing called life! 

On the family front, our middle son Zach will be joining present-day explorer Adam Shoalts on a canoe trip in Labrador. Plans came together very suddenly and Zach is ecstatic to get this once-in-a-lifetime chance to join our locally raised adventurer on one of his trips. Good luck, boys!

Mayor Marvin Junkin

August 25, 2020

We have all come to recognize the main signs of C-19— temperature, cough, fatigue. Experts are also telling us that there are numerous other side-effects caused by the pandemic, not caused by C-19, but by the isolation that the population was asked to voluntarily submit to, especially during April and May. 

Good friends of mine own a sizable orchard just outside of town limits, and one of their many crops is sweet cherries. This crop is harvested mostly by pick- your- own enthusiasts from Toronto. These people usually come to this farm in buses. But because of the pandemic, this year they drove to Pelham in their own cars. When I was discussing this year’s harvest with the field manager, she made the comment that the pickers seemed to not want to follow the rules of the orchard and, in fact, were what she called “a more ornery bunch.” The manager hypothesized that perhaps after being isolated in their apartments or houses due to government directives, that now that they were finally allowed some of their personal freedoms back, they were in no mood to follow yet more rules. The overall number of pickers this year actually increased over last year, which the farm owners were very appreciative of, but the stress level of handling the more aggressive nature of the customers was also a lot higher. 

This conversation got me to thinking of how our bylaw officers handled the situation here in Town. Not one ticket has been handed out to anyone found “breaking” pandemic rules over the last several months, relying instead on educating the offending citizens as to proper procedure. 

When I hear of other jurisdictions that have ticketed their residents much more aggressively, I can’t help but wonder if they weren’t doing more harm than good by not cutting the offenders some slack. Adding to somebody’s stress level by quickly handing out a ticket, without first exploring the communication route, seems mean-spirited to me. 

Now that we are in Stage 3 and jobs are starting to return, I think that everyone’s stress level is slowly coming back to normal. Grab a friend and go for a walk…and if it ends at a patio where cold beer is on tap, so much the better.

Mayor Marvin Junkin

August 18, 2020

Stage 3 COVID-19 numbers for the Region continue to be very good. As of this writing there are no cases of C-19 in any Regional hospital. The reproductive number at the beginning of the week was exceptionally impressive, being at .5. H owever, again as of Saturday it was .9, somewhat higher, but still below 1, which they tell me the experts like to see it under. 

While doing business around town, I noticed there is still the occasional person who will forget to don a mask before entering a business. Depending on the business, the interaction that I have witnessed is either the owner will transact the business “this” time, but next time you will be required to be wearing a mask, or, once inside, and seeing everyone wearing a mask, the offender will do a 180-degree turn and go back to their car to get theirs. 

Friday afternoon, Candice and I visited a local patio for a pop or two, and I am happy to report there was no wait time. This is actually the first time since the patios have been open that we were able to be seated. Sipping a cold one under the shady umbrella brought back memories of past summers, and friendly get-togethers. I certainly hope that we get a warm, dry fall, so that these patios will be with us for a few more months. 

With summer a bit past its halfway point, roadside produce stands are at their peak as far as selection goes. When one hears of the food shortages in other countries, caused either by civil unrest, or extreme weather conditions, it truly is amazing the abundance and variety of food found in these roadside stalls, and the Canadian food system as a whole. Like too many other good things, and it is a long list, food is just one of many basics that, as Canadians, we take for granted. 

There was good news on the Town’s financial front this week. Some two weeks ago, the federal government announced that it would be allocating $7 billion dollars to the Province of Ontario, of which $4 billion was to be distributed to the province’s 444 municipalities. The Town has been informed that we will be receiving $446,000, being released in the first round. The first round amounts to less than half of the $4 billion total. Municipal treasurers will have to make business plans, showing if their municipalities deserve more. Rest assured that Pelham’s Treasurer Teresa Quinlin and her crew will be going through all Town receipts, tracking down any additional C-19 expenditures. The Town shouts out a big “Thank You!” to the two higher levels of government. 

On the national jobs front, the Canadian workforce grew by 952,900 jobs in June, and a further 420,000 jobs in July. These two numbers combined represent over 55% of the total jobs lost back in March and April. This great country is picking itself up by the bootstraps, and starting to roll again! 

Mayor Marvin Junkin

August 4, 2020

With the new masking bylaw now in effect, everyone will be watching closely the Niagara Region’s Health page, which lists the latest C-19 numbers. Too early of course to be attributed to the bylaw, it is good to see zero new cases for Saturday, Aug 1, and only five the day before. 

With the majority of cases now occurring in the 29-39-year-old age bracket, hospitalized cases of C-19 in Niagara remain at zero. These are great numbers, although we have only been one week at Stage 3, with its increased business openings, and increased outings by the general population. 

It is great to see the town’s restaurants doing a healthy outdoor patio business. While out and about last Thursday evening I came across one patio which had a 30-minute wait time for a table. 

The Town’s recreation facilities continue to run smoothly, with both rinks at the MCC now open. Basketball has started up with an evening programme, so that daycamp users have left the building before the basketball players arrive. This is essential so that the Town can still keep the overall number of people in the community centre below the provincially regulated number of 50. 

With the increased revenue from the ice rinks, along with reduced incurred expenses, Town staff are projecting a C-19- related deficit of less than $700,000, down from the approximately $850,000 that was previous estimated.

The federal government has released $4 billion dollars to the province of Ontario, which is to be distributed to the 444 municipalities in Ontario. Town staff and councillors are anxiously waiting to hear what Pelham’s share will be. 

Nominations for candidates wishing to be elected councillor in Ward 1 closed on Friday at 2 PM. Seven residents have thrown their proverbial hats into the ring. With this many candidates, it should be an interesting summer for Ward 1 residents. I wish all candidates the best! 

On the farm front, our wheat harvest is complete, with a great yield received. With below-average rainfall during June and July in our neck of the woods, wheat has proven once again that it likes hot, dry summer days…don’t we all!

Mayor Marvin Junkin

July 28, 2020

Last Thursday night, Regional Council passed, almost unanimously, a mask bylaw for the Region. Anyone entering a public building after July 31 within the Region must be wearing a mask. 

The fine, if issued, would be $1,000. 

The NRPS have already stated that they do not have the resources to enforce this bylaw, leaving the task of enforcement to either Regional bylaw enforcement, of which there are seven, or to area municipal bylaw staff. 

I have always been reluctant to pass this bylaw for this very reason. Without the manpower to enforce this bylaw, it becomes a suggestion. I am afraid that there will be confrontations between pro-mask people and people not wearing a mask. It must be remembered by everyone that the bylaw allows exemptions to anyone with a medical condition that prohibits the wearing of a mask and also to anyone with a disability that keeps them from correctly putting a mask on their face. At no time do either of these groups have to provide proof of same. Also the bylaw does not apply to children under five years old. The bylaw, unless reviewed by council, will end October 1. 

The days leading up to the vote saw councillors inundated with emails from both sides stating studies that provided evidence that their side was right, and the other side was out to lunch. Many emails were from practicing medical doctors, mostly from the Toronto area. The doctors were adamant in their beliefs that the masks were very effective when people were in close contact with one another, with no room for social distancing. It was their testimonials that swayed my vote to the yes side, along with a small peak in numbers of cases that occurred last weekend. If the overall average numbers remain low during the next 60 days of Stage 3, I will be very reluctant to vote for renewing the bylaw past October 1. 

Mayor Marvin Junkin

July 21, 2020

One week ago, certain areas of the province moved to Stage 3 of the reopening process. The province wanted all areas to experience four weeks of Stage 2 opening procedures, with the maintenance of low numbers during this time, before advancing to Stage 3. Because the Niagara Region was one week later than these other regions in advancing to Stage 2, our advancement to Stage 3 was delayed one week. 

In Stage 3, more restrictions will be loosened, and nearly all businesses and public spaces will open, as long as they follow public health advice. 

Businesses that won’t be allowed to open in Stage 3 are amusement parks, and water parks, buffet-style food services, private karaoke rooms, saunas and steam rooms, and table games at casinos and gaming establishments. Also not allowed in Stage 3 are overnight stays at camps for children. 

In order for a Region to move into Stage 3, not only must it have been in Stage 2 for 4 weeks, it must meet certain requirements on four public health indicators. They are: (1) the health system must be operating at a certain percentage below capacity. As of late last week, there were no coronaviris patients in any Niagara hospital. (2) the virus spread and containment must meet provincial standards. (3) the Region must show a certain level of incidence tracking capacity. (4) the public health system in general must not be stressed or overburdened. 

Of course, no matter what level of openness we are at, we all must continue to do the big three— frequent hand-washing/ sanitizing, maintaining physical distancing, and wearing a mask where physical distancing is a challenge. 

It was disappointing to see the jump of 10 new cases reported last Saturday, after several days of zero or single-digit numbers. Let’s hope that as we enter Stage 3, we remain vigilant and take care to protect ourselves and others. 

Mayor Marvin Junkin

July 14, 2020

After being open again for at least a couple of days, Town facilities have experienced few problems. Pelham is leading most Regional municipalities when it comes to the number of facilities that we have opened. While some Town Halls will not be opening until after Labour Day, our Town Hall opened last Monday. 

Town Hall, with an active screening process, has had a flawless re-opening. The staff working inside the building are very happy with the testing protocol in place, as it raises their level of safety. At the community centre, everyone from players to parents dropping these players off have been strictly adhering to the rules in place, and the d i rec t ional markings on the floor. 

Everyone realizes that if rules are broken, and social distancing is not practiced, staff will be forced to shut down the facility. With only Pelham and Niagara Falls having ice this summer, parents are quite happy not having to drive to the next closest facility, in Burlington.

With an acute shortage of ice in the Region this summer, staff will be putting ice in the second rink, late July early August. Having the second rink in operation, with a minimal increase in staff, makes even better economic sense. 

Pelham is one of only three municipalities that is holding day camps this summer. These camps will have groups of eight children, four to seven year olds, and eight to 12 year olds. Each group will have two leaders. Some of the activities will be laser tag, mini golf, Improv Niagara, mad science, and the carousel players. Registration is happening now, and some camps have already filled. Check the Town website for remaining availability and any further details you may need. 

The swimming pool is now open, with swimming lessons offered in two-week sessions. The first session is full, with three more sessions having spots available. A family can make a reservation to rent the pool for x-number of hours during the day. 

It is apparent that citizens want to continue moving forward, as witnessed by the overwhelming registration numbers for our facilities. 

It is unfortunate that basketball will have to wait until September 3 to re-open, as per the rules from the province. Basketball teams can, however, use the outdoor courts in the Town. 

Mayor Marvin Junkin

July 7, 2020

The debate among citizens and politicians as to whether or not governments should mandate the wearing of face masks appears to be heating up. The two sides to the argument are thus: 

The pro-mandate group argues that in order to maintain our good numbers moving forward, especially with more and more businesses opening up, masks should be mandated as it will be harder to maintain a social distance. They argue that mandating the wearing of masks will also help prevent the second wave, that some people are forecasting in the fall. They point to countries in Southeast Asia that from the very beginning of the pandemic have enforced the wearing of masks, and have for the most part achieved very low death rates. 

The anti-mandate group points to our good numbers and asks why should we start wearing masks now, when our numbers are what they are? They point out that if a person does not follow the correct protocol when putting a mask on, or taking it off, a person could do more harm than good, possibly touching the mask, and then touching their face. 

The mayors of the municipalities recently had a teleconference call to debate this issue, and it was pretty evenly divided between the pro-and anti-mandating groups. 

I pointed out on the phone call that ever since this pandemic started back in early March, Canadian politicians have stepped back and let the health and sciences people run the show, following their rules and recommendations. 

The acting head of Niagara Health, Dr. Hirji, and the heads of health for the other six regions in Ontario, do not recommend making the wearing of face masks mandatory. It is Dr. Hirji’s contention that enforcement will be a big issue, and that there are scientific arguments to be made for both sides. 

The Regional Chair, Jim Bradley has called a special meeting of Regional Council for this Wednesday, July 8, at 3 PM, so that all Regional councillors can debate this issue. I think that if it is mandated, that it should be done on a Regional basis, not at the municipal level. 

If Regional Council does not pass a bylaw making it mandatory, individual businesses can still make wearing a mask mandatory for anyone shopping in their store. This is what is occurring in Niagara Falls, where tourist traffic is a big concern. 

The bottom line is, no matter which group you are in, if you have any symptoms at all, stay home, continue frequent handwashing/sanitizing, and respect the space of the people around you. 

Until next week...

Mayor Marvin Junkin

July 1, 2020

On Friday, Ontario reported 111 new instances of COVID-19, which is the lowest number in any 24-hour period since March 25. This is a remarkable number when one considers that provincial testing is at an all-time high, with 30,780 tests being administered on Thursday alone. In Niagara, on Friday, one new case was registered, only three the day before. At present, there is one active case in Pelham. With these great numbers, and the Niagara Region in Phase 2, businesses continue to open. 

Much to everyone’s relief, I was able to get my first haircut in three months. At Regional Council’s Zoom meeting on Thursday evening, several councillors commented on how different I looked. When I noted that they were saying “different,” not “good,” there was a noticeable silence. (Sigh.) 

At Pelham Town Hall, steps continue to be taken for our July 6 reopening to the public. Regular services will resume, albeit by appointment only for the foreseeable future. Town staff have produced a reopening document entitled “Moving Forward.” Contained within are operating guidelines/ best practises for employees returning to Town Hall, after working almost exclusively at home for the last three months. Personal Protective Equipment will be provided to employees when a minimum of two metres of separation between workers is not possible. Other areas covered are cleaning and disinfecting schedules and procedures, protocols for safety and health checks, and a plan for physical distancing. This document will not only apply to Town Hall, but also the MCC, Fire Station #1, Tice Road operations, and the libraries. 

Other town openings are as follows: 

The community centre will be open for ice rentals as of next Wednesday, July 8. 

Children’s summer camps start up July 6 with a 4-to-1 child-to-staff ratio. And of course, adhering to health unit regulations. 

The Town swimming pool opens July 6t. See the Town website for details, and you must book your swimming time online in advance. 

The town’s restaurants and pubs have, by and large, taken advantage of the Town’s/ province’s relaxed rules for outdoor patios and it is great to see that the patios are doing a brisk business. 

On a more somber note, the Economic Rapid Response Team recently completed its second survey of Niagara businesses. The results are very sobering. Seven hundred and forty-five respondents reported a combined loss of some $425 million dollars. Extrapolated across the entire Niagara region economy, the revenue loss is estimated to be $7.8 billion. Fully one third of Niagara businesses are either at risk of imminent permanent closure, or vulnerable to closure. Our two levels of government, municipal and Regional, must be aware of these numbers and cut spending to the bone. Tax increases at all levels must be kept to a minimum. 

I encourage all citizens to contact your local government representative and make them aware of your thoughts on this matter. 

Mayor Marvin Junkin

June 23, 2020

Although many new residents may not be aware of its importance, agriculture has always played a significant role in Pelham. Because of our unique location and very fertile soils, our agricultural base was very diverse. Anything from nursery stock—huge at one time— to fruits and vegetables, and of course the old standbys, livestock and field crops. 

One of the oldest farms in Pelham belongs to Roger and Nancy Miller, located on Kilman Road. Roger is the fifth generation of the Millers to farm the land and is somewhat disappointed that neither of his two sons is interested in carrying the farm on for another generation. Long hours and low pay pushed them both into other life interests. 

A member of the Miller family has worked the home farm since 1829. After r e t u r n i n g home from Guelph University, Roger was intent on raising sheep, but wise words from his father, Donald, convinced him otherwise. “If you’re going to get married, then you should sell the sheep. With them around, it will be too easy for the wife to pull the wool over your eyes.” Forever the obedient son, the next day, the sheep were gone. On a side note, Nancy is still there, looking after the farm’s accounts, among a host of other jobs. 

The Millers became lifetime dairy farmers, selling the herd in 2001. Now 76 years old, Roger has drifted into semi-retirement—he bales 20,000 small square bales every year along with using a couple of hundred acres to grow wheat and soybeans. 

Farming on a more intensive scale are Lee and Brenda Johnson. Lee and Brenda have been farming on Memorial Drive for 46 years. With apples being their main crop, they also grow a wide range of vegetables, such as sweet corn, peppers, and potatoes to name just a few. To help with the labour-intensive planting and harvest, Lee employs offshore workers. Usually hiring a contingent of around 16 of these workers, this year Lee is only hiring ten. Social distancing and the continuing spread of the COVID-19 virus in Mexico are two of the reasons for these reduced numbers. 

Farming with Lee and Brenda are two of their sons, Nate and Spencer. Everyone has a specific category of the business for which they are responsible, with of course everyone pitching in where and when needed in the field operations. 

A percentage of their product is sold in their stores, located on Foss Road and the old fruit barn across from Minor Bros. on Highway 20. Although some of their neighbours had hail damage just a few weeks ago, the only curve that mother nature has thrown at them so far was a frost which destroyed their early planting of sweet corn. As are most area farmers, Lee is casting anxious eyes skyward, looking for water. 

In closing, I would like to thank the town residents who have shown their continued support for me, either through emails, phone calls, or social media. Your kind words of encouragement are greatly appreciated. Until next week.

Mayor Marvin Junkin

June 15, 2020

With as difficult as the last three months have been, it’s important that we keep our spirits up as life returns slowly to something resembling “normal.” Last week’s re-opening of the Pelham Farmer’s Market is one such thing. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it there myself on Thursday, but I was very happy to hear that the day went off smoothly.

Farmers’ markets are a great event to have in every community. While in the winter they’re obviously limited around here, in-season you can pretty much buy anything you need right from the people who grow it. 

In recent years, many people have become more interested in knowing where their food comes from. Since the produce in grocery stores often comes from hundreds, even thousands, of kilometres away, we’ve realized that the energy needed to get it on our tables might not be worth the cost to the environment. For most of human history, people have mostly eaten things grown close by to where they live, so maybe we’re now realizing that this is a more sustainable way to do things. 

And by buying straight from the farmers, a lot of people like to talk to the farmers and learn about how the things they eat are grown. In the “olden” days of last summer, you might even have been able to shake their hand!

One the biggest changes in the past century or two has been the move of people from rural areas to more urban, and from living and working on farms to not doing so. Back in 1931, about 30 percent of Canadians lived on farms. But by 2006, only two percent did. All four of my children grew up on our farm and decided to do something else with their lives. I don’t blame them, and it’s hard to see those numbers reversing, but I do think it’s good that farmers’ markets let people meet the farmers in our area.

I feel very lucky to have gotten to know most of them during my years working our dairy farm. There’s a real community among local farmers, so everyone to help everyone else out when it’s needed. 

The pandemic has been hard on a lot of people of course, but I’ve been thinking a lot about those local farmers over the past months. With restaurants (mostly) closed and markets not running, many have had a hard time selling their products. And indeed you usually don’t make a lot of money farming at the best of times. The recent hail storm also took a big toll on some Fenwick and North Pelham operations.

Still though, all of the those I’ve talked to are staying positive and keeping at their work. How people react under stress is a true measure of their guts, and I’m proud to call most of Pelham’s farmers my friends, and glad that the market is open for them once again!

Mayor Marvin Junkin

June 8, 2020

Last Friday evening, the Fabulous Fenwick Lions resumed their popular Friday fish suppers. It was welcomed back by the Fenwick residents with open arms. The club sold over 400 lbs. of fish and the line, at times, extended from the kitchen area, almost out to Church Street. It was reported that no one begrudged the wait in line, as it afforded neighbours to catch up on the news with each other. 

This opening is a welcome sign of things to come.

At both the Regional mayors’ meeting and the Town’s E.O.C. meeting, one of the major topics is the anticipated opening of restaurants throughout the Region, and their probable desire to increase the size of their outdoor patios to compensate for the new rules which will come from Public Health in regards to social distancing within the restaurants themselves. By expanding their outdoor patios, they will be able to regain some of the tables lost to the new rules.

The Restaurant Association and all municipalities are petitioning the provincial government to suspend the $850 fee that is usually charged for an enlargement application. Here in Pelham, all applications will have to be reviewed by Planning and the Fire Department for the review of safety concerns, but overall the Town is more than willing to work with our businesses to help them achieve success going forward.

Another opening which I am sure the residents are impatiently waiting for is the beginning of the Town-run day camps, which are held over the summer months.

These camps will, of course, be opened in accordance with any rules passed down by the health department. Because of the need to enforce social distancing at these camps, it is anticipated by Town officials that we will have to increase the number of supervisors for each group of kids. The community centre, of course, will be the home base for these camps, and no doubt its spacious area will be well used. One small problem that presented itself was that if we had day camps at the MCC then it would not be prudent to name the MCC as an area cooling centre, when the summer heat waves arrive (fingers crossed).

Town staff, to circumvent this problem, have named Fire Station # 1 as our designated cooling spot. This will prevent seniors who wish to be in a cool area from mixing with the children at the day camps.

Regional Health officials have contacted Town staff over our plans to have the pool open this summer. The health unit was very supportive of this and will discuss operational rules closer to opening day. There will very likely be no change rooms available, but luckily the Town has outside showers to be used.

Openings are happening because of the region’s continuing low number of new infections of C-19.

Until a local greenhouse operation became a hot spot, the Region was experiencing one new infection a day, with some days seeing no cases at all.

It is so good to see area golfers out on the links, enjoying the outdoors and getting much-needed exercise. Personally, I have never been a fan of the game, as my summer schedule with the farm left no time to chase a little white ball around what could be a darn good hay field.

Ah well, each to their own! Enjoy!

Mayor Marvin Junkin


June 1, 2020

Pelham Garden Club…. Part of town history

Pelham is rich in the number of volunteers that promote a variety of organizations contributing to the fabric of community spirit. One such organization is the Pelham Garden Club — more formally referred to as the Pelham Horticultural Society. The club was founded in 1928, beginning with a club in Fenwick and another in Fonthill. In 1940, with greater access to transportation, the two branches amalgamated. The club started with 68 charter members, and reached a record high of 190 members in 1970. There currently are 85 registered members, with a few members proudly contributing to club activities for over 30 years! The Pelham Garden Club was recognized by the Town in 2018 as it celebrated its 90 anniversary with refreshments in Peace Park.

Like so many other organizations, this year’s club activities have been curtailed by COVID-19. One of the club’s missions, to promote interest and advances in gardening, horticulture and related environmental issues, is achieved through hosting regular meetings with informative speakers discussing the theory and practice of horticulture. The monthly meetings have been cancelled for several months. As with all community groups, the Pelham Garden Club benefits greatly with support from other organizations, local businesses, merchants and municipal government. This past November, the club worked closely with the Town’s staff and members of the Beautification Committee to hang boughs of greenery throughout Pelham. Club members maintain the gardens at the Fonthill Library and over time have expanded those beds. This year, through grant money from the Ontario Horticultural Association, a pollinator garden is being created to attract butterflies and bees. Stop by and have a look!

The club also encourages the planting of trees, shrubs and flowers on both public and private grounds and generally promotes community gardening and outdoor beautification. It is with this support and enthusiasm both from the Pelham Garden Club and the Beautification Committee that the Town has launched the Garden Bed Competition. Council, acknowledging the free time many residents now have due to stay-at-home orders by the province during the pandemic, and the decreased staff and service levels available by the Town, voted in favour on May 19 to call on residents to support local growers and spruce -up flower beds that would have otherwise gone unplanted this year. 

Ten garden beds are available for sponsorship. Each bed is to be designed, planted, mulched, watered, weeded, and maintained throughout the summer by its respective team. The Town will water the beds once a week, on Wednesdays. There is no minimum or maximum dollar amount for sponsors to create their gardens.

Mayor Marvin Junkin

May 25, 2020

The Audit Committee… Paying Dividends

One of the major planks in my platform when I was running for mayor was the creation of an Audit Committee, which I envisioned complementing the Town’s finance department. After the election, I was gratified to learn that Town Treasurer Teresa Quinlin was all for this idea. Her former employer had one, and she saw firsthand the benefit of working hand-in-hand with that group.

Other staff on the Audit Committee are Charlotte Tunikaitis and CAO David Cribbs. Cribbs has stated that having a finance and audit committee has allowed the Town to have a dedicated focus group with business and accounting expertise take an independent, systemic look at the Town’s financial position and financial operations.

Cribbs states that the committee is now looking at a risk framework for the Town and specific issues such as interest costs, debt management, and asset management. The bottom line is that the Town continues to have problems around high levels of debt and low reserves, but the finance department is operating in an efficient, forthright and diligent fashion.

Councillor John Wink is chair, an obvious choice with his banking background. Also on the committee are Councillors Stewart and Kore. Councillor Wink sees the committee providing an additional layer of oversight to the Town’s finances. Over the last year and a half the committee has also made numerous suggestions to improve the financial reports made to council, and has recently revised the terms of reference for the committee, which have been approved by council.

Also on the committee are two residents of the town, both being chartered accountants. Bill Crumm and Michael Cottenden were both looking to give back to their community, and jumped at the chance to serve on the committee. After a year and a half, they both say that the work has been interesting, and both are in agreement that the Town’s finances are heading in the right direction. 

Chairperson Wink is quick to concur with this assessment. Finance department staff and senior management have been working diligently at replenishing reserves and reducing the overall debt of the Town. The quality of their work was evident when the Town’s external auditors gave the report a clean bill of health, with no notes or comments attached. As the Treasurer has stated, the Town had an operating profit of $962,338 in 2019, which will be applied to the Town’s reserves. 

Until next week.

Mayor Marvin Junkin

May 19, 2020

Just as last week’s column visited the not too distant past, this column, while also dealing in the past, deals with events which have occurred in the last eight weeks. The residents of this town can be justifiably proud of the performance of its municipal staff and council. In these difficult times, Pelham achieved numerous firsts on several fronts.

We were the first municipality to pass its delegation-during-an -emergency bylaw; the first municipality to consider playground closure; the first to adopt standard operating procedures for landscapers, which allowed them to do basic yard work; and the first municipality to publish a set of criteria for those wishing to hold a yard sale.

As stated in an earlier column, the Town’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) met five times a week at the outset of this pandemic, but has recently scaled back to three times a week. The members of the EOC are the members of the Town’s Senior Leadership Team plus other staff members, as follows: Operations Commander, Fire Chief Bob Lymburner, CAO David Cribbs, Planning Director Barb Wiens, Clerk Nancy Bozzato, Treasurer Teresa Quinlin, Recreation Director Vickie vanRavenswaay, Public Works Director Jason Marr, Manager of Public Works Ryan Cook, Communications Specialist Marc MacDonald, and acting Library CEO Amy Guilmette. I have made it a priority to sit in on these meetings, missing perhaps three because of other commitments. Let me assure you that this group has kept this community as safe as any other community in Canada, with all decisions being based on one criterion—the safety of the town’s residents. Another fact that I am proud of is that our bylaw enforcement team has not handed out one ticket related to the pandemic, instead relying on educating and communicating with any offenders, and receiving compliance through these avenues.

Now, with the provincial government allowing more businesses to open up on a weekly basis, the main focus of this team will be the orderly and efficient opening of the Town’s buildings, parks, playgrounds, tennis courts, all in compliance with government and health department regulations. To find out what is opening when, please visit the Town’s website at

Please remember, as we return to the great outdoors, maintaining a social distance of six feet from our fellow residents has still got to be a priority, as also frequent hand- washing, and wearing a mask, at the very least when shopping indoors, is a habit worth beginning if you haven’t started already.

Until next week. 

Mayor Marvin Junkin

May 11, 2020

One of the many things I miss since leaving the dairy industry is not having a supply of unpasteurized milk to drink. The only legal way to obtain unpasteurized milk in Ontario is to have your own cow to milk—you cannot buy “raw” milk in stores, and dairy farmers are not allowed to sell their milk to anyone but the Ontario Milk Marketing Board. The health professionals, especially the younger ones, think that anyone who drinks unpasteurized milk is taking their lives in their own hands. I suppose there is a higher than normal risk, as it is the pasteurization that kills unwanted bacteria in the milk. Proponents of raw milk (milk straight from the cow) think that the pasteurization process also kills the good bacteria. These same people swear that by drinking raw milk, it improves one’s immune system. We drank it because we had an abundant supply 200 ft. away.

It must be noted that raw milk is readily available in stores in most of Europe, and in most states south of the border. However, that being said, in some states the raw milk must be sold in containers that proclaim that the ingredients within are for pet consumption only. A good friend of mine that is currently living in the American midwest, buys his raw milk at a farmer’s market, in such a container. He swears that it is the best tasting milk he has tasted. 

Ah, for the good ol’ days!

Retail hardware stores have now resumed inside shopping, as long as stores are set up with social distancing protocol. This is a step that will be greatly welcomed by all of us that have had to follow the steps that have been in place the last several weeks, shop online, wait in line and curb pickup.

Part of the new normal, I imagine, will be the end of the “guy thing” of browsing the aisles, just walking around dreaming and looking at the power tools, or whatever. It will now be, have a list, make a purchase, get out, and then explain to your better half why you’re home so early.

In closing, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the many residents who through phone messages, emails, or Facebook comments have expressed their continued support for having myself as their spokesperson. 

To all residents, rest assured that I will continue to work on your behalf, to the best of my abilities.

Until next week. 

Mayor Marvin Junkin

May 4, 2020

Back to normalcy-slowly

On Friday, May 1, the Premier of Ontario announced that on Monday, May 4, the first steps back to our “new normal” will take place. On this day, certain businesses and workplaces will be allowed to open, as long as they comply with the strict public health measures set out during the course of the pandemic.

Although large greenhouse owners in the area were hoping that garden centres would be allowed to be completely open, they can open but only for curbside pickup and delivery. Perhaps, when step two arrives, these businesses will be given the green light to be completely open.

Some other notable businesses on the list are childcare centres, automatic and self-serve car washes, and certain municipal projects that can start up. Golf courses can do course maintenance, obviously with an eye to allowing them to open soon to their patrons.

These businesses, along with all other businesses on the list will have to sort out which of the site-specific regulations apply to them. There are more than 60 guidelines released by the government designed to ensure the safety of workers, customers, and the general public.

As of Friday, Ontario had 16,608 cases of Covid-19 infections and 1,121 deaths since the start of this pandemic.

It must be remembered that the lockdown we have endured for the last month or so was never meant to eradicate the virus, it was only to slow the infection rate, so that our hospitals would not become overwhelmed with cases. To that end, this lockdown was very successful.

The government has made it clear that going forward it will continue to heed the advice of our medical advisors, but even so, deaths will continue on a limited scale. Again the height of the second wave will depend on the actions of all of us. To keep it low we must continue practicing social distancing and frequent hand washing along with the use of hand and surface sanitizers. 

Until next time...

Mayor Marvin Junkin

April 27, 2020

Last week I mentioned that the 12 mayors of Niagara met on a weekly basis. There are other groups that meet on a regular schedule that directly influence the goings-on in the Town. The 12 CAOs of the Region meet every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday. Items on their agendas include staff layoffs, tax/interest deferrals, and discussing the possibility of moving property tax payment deadlines that occur later in the year.

Generally speaking, compared to our neighbours, Pelham receives a relatively small amount of our tax money from the business community, owing to the fact that compared to the number of residences in the Town, our business numbers are small.

When discussing staffing layoffs, it is nearly impossible to draw a side-by-side comparison. Our neighbour to the south, Welland, has 83 people employed in their Public Works Department, while Pelham has 13. One of the reasons for this huge discrepancy in numbers is that Welland does most of their infrastructure work “in house,” while here in Pelham we hire area companies to work on ours.

The number of Pelham staff currently on layoff is 32, which includes those who have chosen voluntary layoff.

Pelham’s administrative staff are constantly monitoring the employment situation, with the length of the imposed shut-down as the deciding factor—will we need more layoffs or can we start to call our staff back to work?

Although it’s a private business, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on the Sobeys situation. Myself and Regional Councillor Diana Huson have approached Niagara Public Health, asking that they suspend their usual rules for testing for COVID-19 and to test all Sobeys’ employees that feel the need to be tested.

Their response is that they have complete faith in their testing procedures that are in place, and so will continue with this protocol for this event. Therefore any Sobeys employee who feels they may have been exposed to the virus should phone the health unit and talk to a registered nurse. After this discussion the nurse will determine if indeed the employee should be tested or should self-isolate at home.

Mayor Marvin Junkin


April 20, 2020

Since about mid-March, which is about when this pandemic event really started to get serious for most Canadians, the 12 mayors of the Region’s 12 municipalities have been having weekly teleconference calls. Agenda items for these meetings have ranged from when to declare a state of emergency—which 11 of the 12 municipalities did simultaneously—transit, property tax deferral, interest deferral, and how each town/city was handling the finer points of the social lock-down, for example, who among us had closed parks and trails, or just parks, and who was doing what with their playground equipment. It is a great forum to bounce ideas off of each other, to hear what is working or not working in an area.

During last week’s call, it came to light that each town/city had unanimously, chosen to keep our planning and engineering departments staffed to the extent that these two departments would continue to process building applications so that when present-day restrictions are loosened, area construction projects will be ready to go. This would give our local economies an instant boost. It was great to hear that though this particular action was done individually, it showed that collectively all 12 towns’ politicians were on the same wavelength. 

One area in which Pelham was ahead of the pack was in establishing rules that allowed our landscaping companies to proceed with their spring work. In Pelham, this is essential, as we have a large segment of homeowners that are in their senior years and therefore they depend on outside help to do the heavy lifting part of their yard work. The Town’s bylaw department met with these companies and established a set of standard operating procedures. Two of these are: they must practice social distancing at all times, which, when you are cutting grass, is a relatively easy thing to do; and no new landscaping construction projects may begin at this time. This is a great example of cooperation between one governmental department and the business community to get ’er done. Other municipalities are following our blueprint in this regard. 

This week’s shout-out goes to the Pelham Support Group. Managed by resident Steve Schilstra, this group of 20-25 volunteer drivers services mostly seniors living in the town. With a pool of ten local businesses to choose from, consisting mostly of pharmacy and grocery stores, this support group of volunteers is making over 70 deliveries a week, ensuring that our senior citizens can stay home and stay safe. If you require this service, you can reach out to the Town at 905-892-2607 ext. 372. 

I would like to end this week’s column by paying tribute to our recently deceased councillor, Mike Ciolfi. Like the majority of the town’s residents, I did not know Mike before he became a councillor, so I have known him for just a year and a half. What an absolute pleasure it was to get to know this man and to work with him on council. Every meeting, Mike would make sure to greet everyone around the horseshoe with a, “Hi, how are ya?” He came to each meeting prepared, and took a copious amount of notes during each meeting, to be referenced if needed at a some later date. His common sense, and sense of humour, will both be greatly missed at future meetings. 

His willingness to go that extra mile to solve a resident’s problem, endured him to all who met him. 

I would like to thank Mike’s wife, Michele, and daughters Alexis and Jessica, for sharing Mike with us. Your generosity made us a better community. Thank you.

Mayor Marvin Junkin

April 13, 2020

This sucks! Staying at home, and when you do go out, it is all about social distancing. I am usually a hands on kind of guy, always ready to give a complete stranger a hearty handshake and a friendly slap on the back. Those days have been gone for some weeks now and no one is willing to venture a guess as to when they will return. Shoot, maybe I’ll be telling my eight month old grandson, in a few years time, “Yes, you’re right Wes, it does seem like a strange habit now, but years ago, the clasping of another human’s hand was just a sociable thing to do. Also, when two individuals “shook” on a deal, that deal was, from then on, written in stone. To go back on a handshake, to any people of high moral character, was inconceivable.”

Will we as a society find some other form of touching to replace the handshake? When hand shaking was banned, some people replaced it with touching elbows. With social distancing, that is no longer acceptable. Now it is a shout and a smile.

Of course the one thing that does make this new life style worthwhile is it is unquestionably saving lives, I won’t get into each country’s numbers because that becomes downright horrifying, but we as a country, do have remarkably low fatality numbers. The experts tell us, that they will remain low only if we as a nation, as a community ,continue to remain diligent in our separation from one another, and in our hand washing. And if your over seventy, please stay in your house, and have your groceries delivered in by family members, or volunteers. 

As is usually the case in our community, hard times are bringing out the good in our residents, either through deeds or donations.

Fonthill Legion, always ready and willing to fill any community need, has been cooking and delivering meals for the Town’s seniors since the beginning of this crisis. As of Easter Sunday evening, they had cooked over 1,200 meals with 350 being cooked on Easter Sunday alone. These meals have been delivered by an outstanding group of volunteers to the far reaches of the Town. A spokesperson for the Legion stated that they will continue on with this service “as long as we can.” If anyone reading this can spare a few bucks, I know they sure would appreciate the donation at the Legion. 

Area businesses have also stepped up to the plate. Pelham Cannabis producer Canntrust, has made significant financial contributions to the Fonthill Legion, Pelham Cares and to Community Living in Grimsby along with donating thousands of gloves and masks divided up, not only to these organizations but also to Shorthill’s Villa Retirement Community, Look out Ridge, and Niagara Falls Hospital. The Town offers our sincere thanks to Canntrust for lending a helping hand to our community! 

If you need information on Covid-19,please go to the Town's website!!

More next week-keep safe, and keep smiling!

Mayor Marvin Junkin

 April 8, 2020

Friday morning, at 11am., as head of council, I declared a State of Emergency in the Town of Pelham. I took this action after consulting with the Town’s Fire Chief, Bob Lymburner, the Town’s CAO David Cribbs, and listening to Public health officials, both at the Regional and Provincial levels.

The main focus of this action is symbolic. We as a Town, do not get any further financial help from any of the higher forms of government it is all about sending a stronger message to the residents about self-isolating.

Just as Pelham declared an emergency, so did all remaining municipalities- N.O.T.L. declared a week earlier- as did the Regional Government. By stating all at once, it was hoped, that all residents of Niagara would hear the health messages that we are so desperately trying to convey.

Although it seems longer, we are just two weeks into these health edicts from the Provincial government of self-isolation and social distancing, to name a few. It was a concern at all levels of government, that with the arrival of spring-like weather and significant religious holidays, that resident’s resolve would begin to falter.

We cannot let this happen!

If one compares Canada’s COVID-19 numbers to other infected countries our numbers can be said to be quite low. Yes, it is true they will trend higher for two or three more weeks before starting to fall, but it is very obvious that our actions are indeed making a difference.

Mayor Marvin Junkin

April 3, 2020 - Declaration of State of Emergency

Residents of Pelham,

Today, in coordination with the Region of Niagara and all Niagara municipalities – save for Niagara-on-the-Lake who has previously declared – I have declared a State of Emergency in Pelham. 

Taking the step to declare an emergency is not made without thoughtful consideration and productive conversation with trusted advisors and health experts. This step symbolizes the very real situation we are in and the absolute necessity of adhering to guidance and orders issued by all levels of government and health units. 

Each municipality in Niagara is unique, with its own challenges, demographics, and services. A declaration of a state of emergency, though equally important regardless of community, is done with its residents in mind. 

The Town of Pelham has a high population of seniors, a demographic that has been strongly urged by the provincial government to stay at home and self-isolate regardless of health. I, too, encourage those who are 70 years old and older to stay home. We want to keep this group, and everyone, safe. 

The Town also has many residents who work in the health care industry and travel outside of Pelham to perform critical and essential service. Keeping these front-line workers healthy and offering support is paramount. If these people become ill, who will we depend on to keep us healthy? 

Many of you understand the gravity of this pandemic and are complying with requests to self-isolate, stay home, and physically distance. Thank you. There are some, however, who have still not fully appreciated these messages, and I call on you now to re-evaluate your decisions to gather in groups or to go out for non-essential reasons. It is not too late to change your behaviour. Your friends, family, and community depend on you. 

It is more critical now than ever to obey mandatory directives:

  • Stop all gatherings of more than five people (this includes private gatherings of extended family) 
  • Avoid all outdoor recreational amenities, including parks, playgrounds and sports fields
  • Close all non-essential businesses
  • Stay home as much as possible and only leave the house once a week if required
  • Self-isolate for 14 days if you have symptoms or have returned to Canada from being outside the country 
  • Practice physical distancing and wash hands frequently

We can and will get through this, but we can’t do it alone, we have to do it together. 

If you need or want to learn more, visit the Town of Pelham website at for updates, information, and more about this pandemic. 


Mayor Marvin Junkin

 March 27, 2020

 It’s Friday night, and like everyone else I feel like I’m stuck in a bad dream. Past experience tells me this can’t be happening, but the 10 o’clock news confirms it is.

In hindsight, we should’ve watched China’s unusually strong reaction to this virus and taken action immediately. However, the past is behind us, and right now we need to be moving forward.

As a Canadian, I’m proud of how we’ve allowed our scientists and doctors take the lead on this issue, unlike our counterpart to the South. It’s disheartening to see so many local businesses, public spaces and private gatherings closed. And at first, isolation and social distancing seem overwhelming, but it’s the only way we’re going to beat this thing. And right now, our numbers remain relatively low. Italy has lost over 8000 people, Spain, over 4000, the U.S., 1400 and counting. Canada has 60 deaths. While this is still too high, it shows that everyday Canadians like you or I can make a difference. By meeting this challenge head on, we’ll beat this thing and come out the other side stronger than ever.

Mayor Marvin Junkin


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