Monthly Archives: May 2017

Paola: ‘Wettest Spring On Record In Welland’


Rob Paola keeps a close eye on his hometown’s weather from Winnipeg, where he is stationed with Environment Canada. (Supplied photo)

By Rob Paola

As of Tuesday, May 30, Welland has received 137 mm of rain this month. This makes it the 6th wettest May in Welland since records began in 1873. The top wettest Mays in Welland are as follows..

  1.       1894 ……. 195.9 mm
  2.       1942 ……. 190.1 mm
  3.       2014 ……. 169.5 mm
  4.       1953 ……. 155.8 mm
  5.       2004 ……. 147.4 mm
  6.       2017 ……. 137 mm* (as of May 30)   

Normal May precipitation in Welland is 85 mm, so this month has been over 60% wetter than average. Compare this to last May when only 36 mm of precipitation fell during the month, 100 mm less than this year!

More significantly, this has been the wettest spring on record in Welland since records began in 1873. As of Tuesday, Welland has recorded 379 mm of precipitation since March 1st. (In meteorology, “spring” is defined as the 3 month period from March 1st to May 31st).  This beats Welland’s previous wettest spring of 1942 when 366 mm of precipitation fell between March 1st and May 31st.

Normal spring precipitation in Welland is around 230 mm, so this spring has been about 65% wetter than normal not only in Welland, but for much of Niagara. Evidence of this is widespread, from waterlogged farmers fields to high river and lake levels this year. Quite a difference from last year when Welland had only 151 mm of precipitation from March 1st to May 31st, less than half the amount recorded this year!

(Editor’s note: “Welland boy” Rob Paola is a meteorologist with Environment Canada who lives and works in Winnipeg. He is a graduate of Centennial Secondary School here and McGill University, Montreal. He enjoys keeping a watchful eye on Welland’s weather, even though it is from afar, in Winnipeg, His always interesting posts appear as weather features on the blog from time to time. Thanks Rob!)

HERITAGE LIVES: Island’s Emerald Trails Help Erase Noise, Urban Distractions

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Merritt Island’s trails are eye candy for walkers of all ages. (File photos/Joe Barkovich)


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In spite of the political and critical concerns that  plagued the canal lands development over the past 35 years, the nature  trails on Merritt Island have stood the test of time.

When the Liberal  government initiated funding for a major water- themed tourist attraction in the early 1980’s, the potential for developing Merritt Island was two fold. The south end would be for historical displays and a permanently docked laker while the balance of this area was to be maintained as a natural ecosystem for the animal and natural  plant life of the area.
DSC_2840 (3)A team of college, university and our local school board personnel looked at developing three trails based on the Niagara South Board of Education’s environmental studies program. The three trails known as the Willow Walk, Wild Flower Trail and Forest Track would emphasize paths that would go from a well-used trail in the south to a totally natural area with little sign of human intervention at the north end.
 Each area was identified for specific  natural features and listed in a booklet as a source of reference. To highlight where these features could be found, posts were located along the trail  featuring numbers colour coded for each trail. The trails were an instant
success. What a wonderful way to immerse yourself into an area that is so quiet and green erasing the urban distractions and noise found elsewhere!
By the 1990’s, the trails were allowed to fall into disrepair and needed immediate attention. As part of a project that would celebrate the start of a new century, the city and the Welland Business and Community Development Corporation sponsored a program involving students from the secondary schools to come out and “Take Back Merritt Island”.
Over a five weekend timeline the island trails were scoured and bushes trimmed under the supervision of city staff while re-energizing the kids with pizza and pop.
Something like this should be introduced to our local school systems involving students from Gr.6 to 12  today and this effort would help our young people
accept ownership of the island and its natural wonders.
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(Heritage Lives is a recurring feature on the blog. Terry Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading.)

THE WEEK AHEAD: Meetings In Welland

Meeting Calendar

Meetings are open to the public unless otherwise noted. Information is obtained from the applicable agency, board, committee, or commission and downloaded to this calendar as it becomes available. Information is subject to change. Please check back often for the most up-to-date information, including cancellations.


Public Information Meeting  ≫

7:00 PM Monday May. 29  2017 – regarding the following:

  • Re: Proposed Comprehensive Zoning By-Law

in the Community Room, Civic Square, 60 East Main Street

North Welland Business Improvement Area Board of Management Meeting  ≫

4:15 PM Tuesday May. 30  2017 –
Boston Pizza Restaurant, 934 Niagara St.

Public Engagement Session  ≫

6:00 PM Wednesday May. 31  2017 – regarding the following:

  • Front Plaza Redevelopment

in the Community Room, Civic Square, 60 East Main Street

Welland Community Wellness Complex Advisory Committee Meeting  ≫

3:00 PM Thursday Jun. 1  2017 –
Welland Community Wellness Complex, 145 Lincoln Street

City Shorts, Try ’em On For Size

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CITY SHORTS ART: Feel like flying away? Join the crowd. (File photo/Joe Barkovich)

Compilation by Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large
city-shortsCity Shorts is a compilation, from various sources (government websites, news announcements, press releases, church bulletins, advertisements, community service information and events, bulletin boards, requests, telephone requests, web postings, email requests etc.) of short items (in most cases) about matters of local interest in Welland. Want to submit an item for consideration? Please send to:

canalWELLAND – The Welland Canal Fallen Workers Speaker Series continues at 7pm on Tuesday, May 30 with the last topic: Helmet Diving from the Past by Mike Babiski
Join Mike as he discusses the underwater Helmet Divers who assisted in the construction of the Welland Canal. This discussion will focus on the dangers encountered by these brave early divers. Diving equipment used in the early Twentieth Century will be on display.
This series of talks is in conjunction with the development and construction of a Fallen Workers Memorial which will be located adjacent to Lock 3 in St. Catharines.
This talk will take place at 7pm in the Community Room of Civic Square, located at 60 East Main Street in Welland. Please register by calling the Library at 905-734-6210 ext. 2521 or through our online calendar.
WELLAND – Niagara College’s Spring 2017 Convocation Ceremony will take place between June 20 – 23, at the Welland Campus with a reception immediately following the ceremony. For a look at activities scheduled for all four days. please visit the ceremony schedule  or go to the website.
city logoWELLAND –The City of Welland would like to hear from residents and business owners regarding ideas on how to revitalize the outside front plaza of Welland Civic Square. Welland City Council approved a staff recommendation to seek public input on a concept plan that will design a public space to attract more people to downtown Welland, create community activities, and encourage people to gather and interact.
The planning and design of the project is being completed in-house to keep costs to a minimum, and to draw on the skills and expertise of the Project Team, which is comprised of City staff from various departments.
City staff will be organizing several public meetings, and launching an online public survey to gather feedback from residents and business owners on enhancing the outdoor space at Civic Square.
To participate in the Civic Square concept plan, take the online “My Civic Square” survey at or attend one of the public meetings, first one up is Wednesday, May 31, 6pm to 8pm at Civic Square.
WELLAND –  Welland’s popular canoe rental program has started up for the season at the PenFinancial Credit Union Flatewater Centre.
Canoes, solo kayaks, tandem kayaks, stadup paddle boards and pedal boats are available for rent at the site.
The centre is open 10am to 6pm on weekends in May, June and September. During July and August the centre is open weekdays as well, from 11am to 6pm. More info, including fees and age policy, is available on the city’s website.
yogaWELLAND –   Join certified yoga teacher Rose Kobelka for a monthly calming morning yoga class at the Welland Library on the lawn overlooking the canal. Morning Yoga on the Lawn is a beginner yoga class, however, its location will make it appealing to all experience levels. Please come dressed in appropriate outdoor yoga attire. In the event of rain, the class will meet in the Community Room of the Civic Square. This program is FREE but space is very limited so please register online at or by calling the Welland Library at 905-734-6210 ext. 2521 for more details.
timthumb.pngWELLAND –  Summer is approaching. The Welland Public Library is preparing to offer an amazing variety of programs all summer at its 3 branches. You won’t want to miss out on all of the special Canadian-themed activities to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.
Program Guides are available at the Main Branch, Diamond Trail Branch, and online here.
Monday, June 12: Registration opens for July programs.
Monday, June 26: Registration opens for TD Summer Reading Club.
Monday, July 10: Registration opens for August programs.
All programs require registration unless otherwise noted.
WELLAND – Sixteen students from four secondary schools  have applied for the St. Kevin Food Bank Social Justice Scholarship. Interviews will take place in early June. Names of the recipients of the $1,000 award are not released prior to  commencement exercises at the schools.
WELLAND –-June is Seniors Month. This free event, presented by the Welland Senior Citizens Advisory Committee, features a flag raising, entertainment by Brad Boland, door prizes and light refreshments. Details: Thursday, June 1, 10am to noon, Welland Community Wellness Complex, this is a free event.
WELLAND –  Come celebrate Canada’s 150th in the Theatre at the Welland Community Wellness Complex Sunday, June 4 at 2pm. Tickets are $6 for passholders, $8 for non-passholders.  Enjoy soloist, duets and ensembles. Brian Mosiok, accompanist; Joanne Gray, announcer; Linda Bhan, drummer; Wendy Venditti, Director. Door prizes and refreshments are included in the ticket price.
WELLAND – Join Kindred in celebrating Canada’s 150th, playing folk, Celtic and well known songs by some great Canadian songwriters. Featuring the music of: Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Spirit of the West, Murray McLaughlin, Blue Rodeo, Tragically Hip, Neil Young and many more.
When: Friday, May 26 Time: 7pm Location: In the theatre at the Welland Community Wellness Complex  Tickets: This is a free event.
WELLAND – On Sunday, May 28  from  9am – 2pm an antique and artisan market is being held at  Welland Farmer’s Market, 50 Market Square. Events: Food Truck Frenzy, Repair Cafe, Workshops, Junk in the Trunk & more.
WELLAND –  Taize Prayer for Pentecost  will be held at St. Kevin Church, 303 Niagara St., on Tuesday, June 6, at 7:30pm. The prayer service is open to the community.

Kindred’s ‘Canadian Songbook’ A Celebration Of Our Musical Heritage

kindredWELLAND – Based on past experience, this a musical group you do not want to miss.

And you get your chance tomorrow, Friday, May 26, because Kindred is performing live at the Welland Community Wellness Complex theatre.

As Canada celebrates is 150th birthday this year, there are many different ways that Canadians will mark this occasion.  The members of Kindred have played live music since their childhood/teens in various groups.  Music reflects a personal history, a history of the times, a history of our friends, and a national pride.
As Canadians, some say,  we have developed an introspective approach to music. We have a rich musical heritage. Music that tells a story of its people.
When asked to perform a concert as  part of the Friday Night Music Series at the Welland Community Wellness Complex again this year, Kindred decided it should celebrate that musical history, so the band members have selected a few of the numerous Canadian songwriters/performers covered over the years, and some that it continues to perform, and a few new ones.  It selected songs that represent the story of Canada and its people and songs that reflect an era as well as great hits by Canadian songwriters.
 Our Kindred Canadian Songbook selects from the storytelling of Murray McLaughlin, the beautiful, haunting sounds and lyrics  of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot, to the Celtic sounds of Stan Rogers, Great Big Sea and Spirit of the West.
 They also include the music and lyrics of Bruce Cockburn, Blue Rodeo, Tragically Hip, Neil Young, Robbie Robertson and the Band and the Guess Who.  Of course, like all other songs that Kindred selects, “we make them our own”, in the words of Joni Romano.
Kindred hopes that you will come and join them for this FREE concert in celebration of Canada’s 150th on Friday, May 26 at 7pm.

Open Arms Holds Open House To Mark 30 Years

untitledWELLAND – Open Arms Mission will be celebrating a milestone anniversary next month in a big way.

The mission is holding a 30th anniversary open house at the Croatian National Home, 6 Broadway,  on Saturday, June 3. Hours are from 1 to 4 p.m.

“Come and see how you can join us in our fight against poverty” says the invitation circulating via social media.

 Here’s a look at what’s on the agenda:
Celebrate 30 years of serving our community;
Explore over 25 displays showcasing all the ways we are fighting poverty;
Hear the truth about poverty in Welland;
See how food sustainability is possible;
Hear how training opportunities can break the chains of poverty;
Catch a vision for the future;
There will also be performances by local musicians Emily Yochim, Andrew Thompson and Heather Glabb.
Refreshments will be served.
All are welcome to attend.

City Using Cloud-Based GIS Data Collection For Better Service Delivery

WELLAND – The City of Welland’s Engineering and Information Services Divisions are using a mobile asset management tool to record problem areas on city sidewalks. City staff are now using a GIS-centric cloud-based data collection APP to document more than 300 km of sidewalks more accurately and efficiently. Through a tablet or mobile phone, staff are able to survey, collect data, and prioritize what areas of city sidewalks are in need of repair.
city logoPrevious to using the mobile data collection APP, city sidewalk assessment was completed by Engineering and Public Works staff. This process was time consuming with data being captured in two separate databases; however, with the new mobile APP the condition and safety assessment can be completed together by one staff. The APP also allows staff to take photos and directly upload details to Public Works staff when maintenance is a high priority.
Moving towards a quicker innovative approach on maintaining city infrastructure is a smart city initiative, allowing staff to provide better, more sustainable services.
City employees are now able to streamline information to other departments through the cloud application, and create a quicker process to repair and record city infrastructure.
“The new mobile APP is changing our sidewalk replacement program. It’s improving our service delivery with better accuracy,” said Marvin Ingebrigtsen, Infrastructure and Development Services Supervisor.
“This has opened a new window of opportunity, and we’re looking at other projects that could benefit from using this technology.”
(Source: City of Welland media release)