Heritage Lives: Columnist Takes Issue With Waterway Governance Model

By Terry Hughes

The dissolution of the WRCC and replacing it with the new governance model (Waterway Advisory Committee) that directly is controlled by the city is troubling. Since the announcement that the bypass in 1966 would leave the waterway in the city’s future, public participation has historically been involved. Recently, the process used to change the governance of the WRCC and later, its dissolution did not follow in these footsteps. Here are some of those actions that involved the public since 1980.
1. During the early 1980’s the Welland Canal Parkway Development Board developed plans using the McLaren Report to bring tourist dollars to the community. Public meetings were held seeking our input before this plan was cancelled by the federal election in 1984.
2.The decision by the Conservative government to sell off the canal lands to private developers was opposed by local citizens. Opposition to this activity was reflected in a petition of some 350 names and recorded in Hansard at the House of Commons by our federal member of Parliament, Gib Parent in 1989.
3. As a result of a fatality on the recreational waterway and the hazardous operation of motorized watercraft, Councillor Joe Spadafora launched a public inquiry into the need for developing some standards to control waterway activity. A list of recommendations were developed for public and federal government officials in 1990.
4. Issues leading up to the municipal election in 2004 involved the lack of tourism developments on the waterway. A major meeting chaired by Arlene Whyte from the Ministry of Tourism was held at the Best Western where a brainstorming session developing a variety of suggestions on what needed to be done occurred.
5. As a result of the creation of the incorporated WRCC in 2002 and efforts by Mayor Damian Goulbourne to set the board free of city control, the citizens selected to serve on the board were responsible for setting up the waterway for an international flatwater course.
6. During the operation of the WRCC, the board members saw a need to revisit its direction. A Master Plan of 2014 involving input of hundreds of local citizens resulted in a document that outlined these changes.
7. A challenge to the Go Quiet Policy last year resulted in four public meetings plus numerous e-mails and letters that supported this policy be maintained.
When members of the WRCC resigned in protest over disagreements with city council on how it was conducting business in 2017, the city looked at three formats to reform the WRCC. Two public meetings were held in June when people’s minds were on summer vacations. Some forty-five people attended the first meeting while the June 30th meeting had significantly fewer.
What proved to be interesting is that most of these people did not understand what changes the city wanted to make. Unable to reach a governance model that satisfied the city, a decision to totally abandon the WRCC and adopt a multilevel model under the control of city council was developed.
The dangers of this new direction needs to be discussed in a public consultation. For example, what impact will this have on the accessibility to the canal fund? Hopefully, this discourse could happen with involvement of both the new council and the public.


Next Column: Some interesting facts about the Forks Road Bridge

(Terry Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. His column, Heritage Lives, appears on the blog once or twice monthly.)



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.

Budget Review Committee Meeting ≫
5:00 PM Monday Jan. 7 2019 –
Council Ante Room

Welland Downtown Business Improvement Area Meeting ≫
5:30 PM Monday Jan. 7 2019 –
LOCATION: Solution, 3 East Main Street

General Committee Meeting, in Open Session ≫
7:00 PM Tuesday Jan. 8 2019 –
Council Chambers

(Source: City of Welland website.)

City Shorts, Try ’em On For Size

CITY SHORTS ART: Centennial’s Kennan Larmand drives the ball as Notre Dame’s David Jones tries to defend, during the championship game at the 2018 Tribune Tournament, won by Centennial. The 64th annual tournament tips off Wednesday, January 9 with games Jean Vanier, Centennial and Notre Dame gyms.(File photo/Joe Barkovich)



Compilation by Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

City Shorts

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: joe0606barko@gmail.com

WELLAND – The city is recruiting for a variety of committees. If you’re ready to make a difference and want to help improve your community, this just might be the opportunity for you. Follow the link & click on NOTICE TO MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC for more info and apply online. https://www.welland.ca/Media/Notices.asp

WELLAND – Christmas tree collection will take place on your regular collection day during the week of Jan. 7 – 11. Artificial trees are not collected. Use the large item collection service to dispose of artificial trees.
Placing your tree at the curb: Place tree at the end of your driveway no later than 7 a.m.; Remove all Christmas decorations (bulbs, tinsel, lights, etc.) prior to collection; Do not place Christmas trees on top of or inside a snow bank, this may cause injury to collection staff when trying to remove it; Do not place tree inside a bag, as it creates a problem when chipping the trees.
Weather conditions may delay collection. Leave your Christmas tree at the end of the driveway and it will be collected. Residents can also take Christmas trees to a drop-off depot or landfill site. Christmas trees can also be dropped off at any landfill site free of charge.

WELLAND – Representatives from the Welland McMaster Family Health Team will lead talks on a variety of healthy living topics. Each session includes a question and answer period. Seasonal Affective Disorder: Wednesday, January 16, 10am – noon at Welland library’s Seaway Mall Branch. To register, please contact McMaster Family Health at 905 734 9699 ext. 3 or at wellandmcmasterfht.com



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 in his name 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 is a recent recipient of the award.
Nominations are open for the 2019 T. Roy Adams Humanitarian of the Year Award. Nomination info is available online at: https://www.niagararegion.ca/government/awards-bursaries/t-roy-adams/nomination-form.aspx

WELLAND – Photographer and storm chaser David T. Chapman has braved the elements to capture the power and majesty of many breathtaking winter phenomena. From blizzards to sundogs, ice caves to arctic sea smoke, learn about some of the most unique and beautiful sights this season has to offer. Saturday, January 26, 2pm – 3pm, Welland library’s Seaway Mall Branch. Register online or call 905-734-6210 ext. 2521.

WELLAND – Popular event is Wednesday, January 30, at the Croatian National Home in Welland. Tickets are $95 each or $760 for a table of 8. Ticket price includes dinner, wine at your table, and your chance to win a share of prize money. All proceeds support the Gifts of Extraordinary Care fund, for the purchase of urgent equipment needs such as defibrillators at Niagara Health’s Welland Site. Tickets are limited so buy now. Or call the Foundation at 905-323-3863.

WELLAND – Welland’s Harvest Kitchen program started its 23rd season on Thursday, November 1 at Hope Centre, 570 King Street.
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.
For emergency shelter please call 905-714-5007.

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. Note: The next scheduled walk is Monday, January 7.

(City Shorts is a weekly feature on the blog appearing most often on weekends.)

Mayor’s Report: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Opening ceremonies in Merritt Park for the 2018 Canoe Polo World Championships, held at the Welland International Flatwater Centre. (File photo/Joe Barkovich)

By Mayor Frank Campion

January is the month that inspires us to look forward to new endeavours, embrace family, and commit to attainable goals. The new City of Welland council is now in the process of planning a municipal budget that will assist Welland residents and business owners in creating their 2019 plan of action. We look forward to creating a smart and resourceful city budget that will support new infrastructure and capitalize on strategic economic development initiatives while continuing to maintain core programs and services.
The city’s economic development team had another stellar year as they encouraged private investment and secured relationships with both public and private stakeholders. Donair Food Processing Plant decided to set up business last year on Enterprise Drive Industrial Park and build a 22,000 square-foot facility. We also welcomed Niagara Holdings to the city last June when the company broke ground to construct a 19,500 square-foot facility. This was made possible due to communication, commitment, an aggressive team, and Community Improvement Grants.
The city was alive and festive with celebrations and events that entertained us throughout the year. The Welland International Flatwater Centre hosted the 2018 Canoe Polo World Championships, bringing athletes and officials to one of the best flat-water courses on the globe. Merritt Park lit up the waterway with a variety of musical genres all summer long when Concerts on the Canal entertained us with topnotch artists.
Last year was a successful year for connecting community, and was also a progressive year for connecting community to their municipality. To better hear public opinion and feedback on municipal topics, the city launched a new and exciting public engagement platform. YourChannel is a user-friendly network of information sharing that also offers a platform for participants to voice their opinions and be heard. YourChannel has opened up transparent conversations and provides Council with valuable information to better form decisions. YourChannel can be reached through the city’s website at welland.ca, or by visiting yourchannel.welland.ca.
On behalf of Welland City Council and staff, have a safe and happy New Year. We look forward to 2019, and invite you to join us this year by taking advantage of the city’s programs, services, and exciting events.

Lasting Image: Gerry Berkhout, He Shone His Light On Others

Gerry Berkhout at the trail that now bears his name. (File photo/Joe Barkovich)

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

Despite his obvious attachment to a tweed newsboy cap, I shall remember Gerry Berkhout as a man of many hats.
Mr. Berkhout, who died in his sleep New Year’s evening, aged 82, was: a humanitarian, community activist, proud family man, Fonthill Lions Club member, Fonthill Legion member, beacon, navy vet, animated storyteller, gadabout, sports fan, foodie, former politician, retired realtor, environmentalist, and more.
He wore each with dignity, grace, honor and distinction.
When he visited in the Tribune’s newsroom – and there were many, many visits over the years – he greeted me with a trademark salutation: “Heyyyy Jozef.”
I liked that.
I still can hear his voice.
He came, most often, to pitch story ideas. He didn’t come to pitch about himself, but to be a beacon, to shine a light on others. That was what he did. That was the essence of what it meant to be Gerry Berkhout.
I got to know, and write about, Henry “Hank” Sams’ amazing military experiences thanks to Mr. Berkhout, and those of Jim Summersides too. I got to know, and write about, Country Corner Market owner Rick Lowes who, at the time, was trying to cope with the loss of his wife to cancer and was raising funds for a cure on her behalf.
I’m thankful for all that.
I shan’t forget the look on his face the sun-splashed autumn day we visited the recreational space that soon would bear his name: the Gerry Berkhout Trail.
It runs along the former TH&B railway line with entry points at Murdoch Street and Centennial Park. Mr. Berkhout walked it for years, recognized its potential and advocated for it. His words found receptive ears and the trail was officially dedicated Nov. 3.
And, oh yes, the expression on his face. It was akin to a little kid’s Christmas morning look of sheer bliss.
Mr. Berkhout enjoyed a bowl (or two) of borscht at King Street’s Blue Star Restaurant for lunch every now and then.
Over those get-togethers, he waxed eloquent about Welland’s cosmopolitan background and ethnic heritage. He offered wise counsel: eat those homemade Croatian cabbage rolls whenever you can, they might not be around too long.
He enlightened me about some of the finer points of Dutch culture: “If you’re not Dutch, you’re not much”; “If you’re not worth a penny, you’ll never be worth a nickel”; and the classic, my fave: “Three characteristics of Dutchmen: wooden shoes, wooden heads, wouldn’ listen.”
I still like that.
The last time we were out was for the Welland Sports and Benevolent Association’s annual elimination draw and dinner in November. We were at his table with son-in-law Dave Augustyn and a group of Mr. Berkhout’s long-time friends.
I didn’t expect it, and maybe I should have: Mr. Berkhout wore his beacon hat that evening.
“Heyyyyy Jozef, you see that fellow over there,” he said, gesturing at one of his buds at the table. “Maybe you should do a story on him. He’s extraordinary. I’ll tell you more about it later.”
Won’t happen now.
My beacon is out.

Mr. Berkhout is at the James L. Pedlar Funeral Home Ltd., Dixon Chapel, 1292 Pelham Street, Fonthill. Death notice and funeral information is on the website: pedlarfuneralhome.ca

(Lasting Image is a recurring feature on the blog. Some others in the series: Ivan Zecchini: His Countenance Glowed From Wide-Eyed Appreciation, July 18, 2018; Steve Krar: Neighbourhood Nostalgia Buff, Visionary Leader, July 11, 2018; Mother Alba Puglia: Tireless Trailblazer, June 18, 2018; Don Murray: A Small Part of Local History, June 6, 2018; Martin Walsh: One Of Our Finest, March 2, 2018; Michael Santone: A Barber of King Street, January 23, 2018; Ed Tymkow: Minister of Hospitality, April 6, 2017; Jimmy Roberto: September 11, 2015; Bob Fralick: May 7, 2014; Frank Addario: February 24, 2014.)

Wind Warning For Our Area

1:05 PM EST Monday 31 December 2018
Wind warning in effect for:
Niagara Falls – Welland – Southern Niagara Region
Strong winds that may cause damage are expected or occurring. Southwest wind gusts of 90 km/h overnight.

A deepening low pressure system will move rapidly eastward just north of the regions overnight. Southwest wind gusts of 90 km/h are expected for a period between about 1:00 AM and 6:00 AM early New Years morning. Winds will shift to northwest and rapidly diminish after daybreak.Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur. Loose objects may be tossed by the wind and cause injury or damage.

Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to ONstorm@canada.ca or tweet reports using #ONStorm.