(Barky’s Billboard is a recurring feature on the blog)
By Terry Hughes
There have been four town or city halls that administrated our municipal affairs. The question we hope to solve is which facility was the best. The first building was located in the top floor of the fire station that was found at the end of Cross Street opposite the county building when the river flowed through what we see today as the municipal parking lot. It burned down several times forcing the town to use the county court room as a replacement.
Local politicians saw the need to replace this facility so property was purchased on the corner of Muir (King) and Division streets for the next structure, shown here as it appeared in 1901.
In 1958 the Atlas Steels offered their administrative building at 411 East Main Street for one dollar. The newest building occupies the present site opposite the courthouse and, ironically, very close to the original facility.
Location is one characteristic that needs to be considered. Three of the four facilities were located downtown. The former Atlas building, a bargain for the city, was too far from the centre of the city and opposite to one of the noisiest parts of the steel plant. It was not the best place to invite out of town guests. It left limited space for council meetings and forced the city solicitor and his secretary to share office space under a stairwell.
Although its location was good, we can rule out the first site as too antiquated for the municipality to do business. That leaves us with two sites.
Both hold a strategic location as being close to the centre of town and as a drawing card to get local citizens to come here. The present facility has all the amenities to offer the citizens – a place to do business and govern. Its general appearance has encouraged local property owners to upgrade their buildings and offer our people a beautiful library.
Its one drawback is its appearance. Many people have identified it as sterile. Its modern façade lacks warmth and friendliness which is so much a part of modern architecture today. While keeping the nearby clock, why not replace the reflecting pool with rose bushes and place the reflecting pool in the former Cross Street Swimming Pool at the rear of the building! Imagine what a great skating area this would be in the winter!
That leaves us with the town hall on King Street. Its overall appearance was eye-catching. It emulates the style of architecture found in the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa for both local and water-borne traffic.
The tower rising seventy plus feet carried a bell that served several functions upon which local citizens depended, e.g., the time. It housed the council chambers on the top floor and library on the second floor until it moved up King Street (the present site of the museum). The police were housed in the basement.
Its location made it a spot of importance in that it shared the waterfront with the newly opened customs and post office as Welland was a port of entry then, and the impressive Imperial Bank of Canada building. The bandstand featuring the local brass band stood across from the town hall and, later, Merritt Park. Interior photos of rooms showing committee and city councils are not impressive but these are hard to find.
So which building wins our contest? You decide and share your thoughts by commenting on the blog.
Next Column: Bridge Headaches For Local Traffic and Shipping Too.
Compilation by Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large
City 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
ADVISORY COMMITTEE OPEN HOUSE
WELLAND – The City is hosting an open house for residents who are interested in applying to be a volunteer on a City of Welland advisory committee(s). The open house will provide residents with an understanding of city advisory committees, mandate and vacancies. It’s on Thursday, February 28, 4pm to 6pm in the Civic Square community room.
Individuals interested in attending are encouraged to bring resumes and references. Refreshments will be provided. For additional info, contact the City Clerk’s Division, 905-735-1700 ext. 2154.
COLLEGE TO HOST VOLLEYBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
WELLAND – The 2019 CCAA Women’s Volleyball National Championship is being held at Niagara College. The event is scheduled Tuesday, March 5 through Sunday, March 10, according to a web page about the championship. Matches are scheduled March 7, 8, 9 with the bronze medal match, gold medal match and closing ceremonies taking place the evening of March 9. Also taking place are an awards banquet, coaches meeting and athletic therapists meeting, all on March 6.
Names of participating teams and other information are to be announced soon.
COUNCIL APPROVES CAPITAL, OPERATING BUDGETS
WELLAND – Welland City Council approved the City’s 2019 tax supported Capital and Operating Budgets at the February 19 council meeting. The city’s budget is a strategic document that sets out council’s priorities and provides direction to city staff for the coming year. This year’s budgets, which include $24 million in capital spending, are focused on maintaining essential programs and services, strategic investments in infrastructure, and supporting the city’s economic growth and development agenda. Council also approved construction of a new Fire Hall Headquarters and Training Centre, which will be built on a City of Welland parcel of land, located on East Main Street.
Council approved a tax rate increase of 3.64% for all property tax classes. The average residential property assessed at $216,353 in 2019, results in a $59 tax increase from the previous year. The following items were brought forward and approved in the operating and capital budgets.
COLLEGE HOURS AND OPS DURING MID-TERM BREAK
WELLAND – Please note the following hours for College operations during the mid-term break, February 25 to March 1: Reduced transit schedules will be in effect for mid-term break. Visit ncsac.ca/winter2019transit/ NCSAC Offices will be open regular hours. Rise and Shine breakfast program will not be operating during the mid-term break. The Core and The Shack Welland Campus will be closed during the mid-term. Read more »
TAX CLINICS NOW TAKING BOOKINGS
WELLAND – The public library will be hosting Income Tax Clinics for low and fixed income earners in March. Clinics will be conducted by volunteers from the CRA Volunteer Tax Service and from the Niagara District Chartered Accountants Association. All clinics are by appointment only. To book your appointment, please call 905-734-6210 ext. 2521 or speak to a library staff member.
PRAYER SERVICE AT HOLY TRINITY
WELLAND – A World Day of Prayer service on Friday, March 1 will be hosted by Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Division Street. The service will start at 1:30pm.
MARCH BREAK PROGRAM GUIDE AVAILABLE
WELLAND – Are you ready for March Break? Welland Public Library is! The library has taken a ton of great programs and activities to keep your kids and teens busy all week long. Take a look at all of the exciting things going on!
Program guides are now available at all branches and online.
All programs require registration unless otherwise noted.
WINTER KINDERGARTEN OPEN HOUSE, REGISTRATION DAY
WELLAND – Niagara Catholic District School Board’s Winter Kindergarten Open House and Registration Day will take place in all Catholic elementary schools Wednesday, February 27, from 9am – 6pm. Families of children starting school in September 2019 are invited to learn more about the benefits of a Niagara Catholic education.
Staff hope to answer registration questions. To learn more, please schedule a visit at the Niagara Catholic elementary school in your neighbourhood.
Niagara Catholic has 49 elementary schools for students in Kindergarten through Grade 8. Many Niagara Catholic elementary schools offer before and after-school care to children between the ages of four and 12. A list of these schools, the associated child care and the daily and weekly fees is available here. If you require childcare, you must access the Niagara Region’s Onelist for licensed child care providers in Niagara.
NOMINATIONS FOR HUMANITARIAN AWARD
WELLAND – T. Roy Adams was an eminent Niagaran, well known throughout the region, Canada, and abroad for his service to God, his country and his fellow citizens. In his memory, Niagara Region initiated a memorial award in 2003 to honour a resident of Niagara who best exemplifies Roy’s values and dedication to community service; a person who sees volunteerism as an integral part of their life. (Welland resident Paul Turner was the 2016 recipient of the award.)
Nominations are now open for the 2019 T. Roy Adams Humanitarian of the Year Award. Sunday, March 31, is the last day for nominations. Nomination info is available online at: https://www.niagararegion.ca/government/awards-bursaries/t-roy-adams/nomination-form.aspx
HABITAT ReSTORES ARE IN NEED OF VOLUNTEERS
WELLAND – Are you looking for a great opportunity where you’ll meet new people and help out in our community? The Niagara Habitat for Humanity ReStores are looking for volunteers to assist in in the warehouse with receiving donations (some heavy lifting required). Apply at http://www.habitatniagara.ca
ATLAS: MEMORIES FORGED IN STEEL
WELLAND – Do you have memories of Atlas Steels? Welland Historical Museum wants to hear from you. Share them by calling 905-732-2215 to set up an appointment.
HARVEST KITCHEN SEASON IN WELLAND WINDING DOWN
WELLAND – Welland’s Harvest Kitchen program is in its 23rd season. The weekly schedule is:
Sundays: Central United Church, 12 Young St., 5pm; Mondays: Eglise du Sacre-Coeur, 72 Empire St., 5:30pm; Tuesdays: Hope Centre, 570 King St., 5:30pm; Wednesdays: St. Kevin Roman Catholic Church, 307 Niagara St., 5pm; Thursdays 5pm for all: first Thursday of the month, Hope Centre, second Thursday, Southridge Community Church, 414 River Rd., third Thursday, Holy Trinity Anglican Church (use the market square door at the back), fourth and fifth Thursdays, Sts. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church, 300 Chaffey St. and new this season, third and fourth Fridays, 5pm: Southridge Community Church.
The program ends March 31.
For emergency shelter please call 905-714-5007.
JOIN THE MAYOR’S WALK ON MERRITT ISLAND
WELLAND – Put your best foot forward! Meet Mayor Campion at the Merritt Island parking lot Monday mornings at 7:30 a.m. for a 40-minute walk on Merritt Island.
(City Shorts is a weekly feature on the blog appearing most often on weekends.)
WELLAND – The Notre Dame – A. N. Myer senior boys hoops championship game that was to have been played this afternoon is rescheduled to Thursday.
In social media posts, Notre Dame coach Mark Gallagher said anticipated weather is the reason for the rescheduling of the Zone 3 title game. Freezing rain is in the forecast for the area starting this afternoon.
The Irish now will meet Myer Marauders Thursday at 3pm in Niagara Falls. The winner of the game will advance to the SOSSA championship next week.