Tag Archives: Allan Pietz

Pietz Dedicated To Working On Improvements For City: Columnist

Map showing Townline Tunnel under the canal bypass (dark blue) with both rail and vehicular routes which Mr. Pietz championed according to columnist Terry Hughes./Supplied graphic.

By Terry Hughes

As mentioned in recent articles on the late Allan Pietz, he was always looking for ways to improve daily living in the city. A constant headache for Wellanders especially back in the 1950s and 1960s was the interruptions to movement from one side of the city to the other. The adoption by Welland of a one-way system of downtown traffic to alleviate congestion from constant raising of the bridge was only temporary as the number and size of the ships passing through the canal increased. 

Traffic surveys on land transportation taken by Acres Consulting and data from the Seaway Authority showed that the Main Street bridge would be up as much as eight hours a day causing worsening traffic tie ups. When many of the east end industries shut down at four o’clock for shift change, cars were lined up solid from Scholfield Avenue to the bridge. The capacity of each of the three bridges to move traffic across the canal was being overtaxed. Throw in the constant interruption at railway crossings due industrial reliance on rail cars being shunted and there you have a community in disarray, traffic wise.

Unable to change traffic patterns of ships on the canal and/or train movements, Mr. Pietz succeeded in having the Seaway Authority place warning lights on the bridges to let people know ahead of time about the bridges being raised and from what direction vessels were coming. That would enable drivers to race to another bridge before it was raised. Another way of improving traffic movement when the Main Street bridge was up was to install small automated arrows over the third lane assisting traffic to move to King Street from East Main with minimal interruptions.

Mr. Pietz was very flexible in his thinking when it came to downtown development. Initially he supported construction of Hwy. 406 in the canal bed through the centre of the city but was open to other uses of the abandoned canal. However, public sentiment for leaving the waterway untouched would prevail.

When the canal bypass was under construction, he was able to promote the inclusion of a road along with the railway through an expanded Townline Tunnel and build a dock to handle any maritime business with local industries of the day.

These kinds of efforts would leave pleasant memories with those people who lived here at that time. 

(Terry Hughes is a regular contributor to the blog. His column, Heritage Lives, appears once or twice monthly.)

Flags Lowered In Memory Of Former Mayor, MP

WELLAND – Flags will be flown at half-mast at all Welland facilities on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 in memory of former MP and Mayor of Welland Allan Pietz who passed away on April 23, 2021.

Mr. Pietz served as Welland’s mayor from 1965 to 1978 and as a Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament from 1984 to 1988. He finished his political career as a regional councillor representing Welland. Prior to his illustrious career in politics, Mr. Pietz was well-known in the community as the owner/operator of Sunnyside Dairy.

The City of Welland offers its condolences to the Pietz family.

(Source: City of Welland news release)

Remembrance: ‘One Constant During Those Times — Allan Pietz Was There’

Allan Pietz, photographed for an interview in his apartment. /File photo.

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

Allan Pietz was always an eager after-dinner speaker.

He strode to the podium with that trademark million-dollar smile lighting his face.

He spoke from prepared notes. Often, those notes were written on lined recipe cards tucked away inside his suit jacket until the time came.

After one of those speeches and while interviewing him for the Tribune, I asked why he wrote his notes on recipe cards. Chuckling, he said the small cards helped him keep remarks brief because it was so easy for him to go on and on.

Allan Ernest Pietz died while in palliative care early in the morning of Friday, April 24, aged 95. His niece, Carolyn Ort, said in a telephone conversation he died from complications of pneumonia, it was not a COVID-19 death. Mr. Pietz would have been 96 on June 18.

I saw him for the last time in 2020. He was outside Seasons Retirement Community in Welland, where he was a resident. We were in a car and he was riding on his scooter so we hooked up with enthusiastic waves. In December 2018, I was in his apartment for a column interview. Mr. Pietz, always a gentleman, always with a sunny style, was effervescent, eager to share memories especially from his time as Welland mayor. He spoke about decades-old events as if they were only yesterday, so sharp was his recall.

Bob Saracino, mayor of Port Colborne from 1977 to 1995 and an alderman before that, said he and Mr. Pietz were friends and allies for years. When Mr. Pietz made a run for chair of regional council in what turned out to be an unsuccessful bid, Saracino was his nominator.

Saracino, for one, remembers Mr. Pietz as the consummate politician.

“He was dedicated for Welland,” he said. “Allan always worked on behalf of the people of Welland and the city.

“His strength was his ability to communicate with people. He had that smile and he was ready to shake your hand. And it was always with sincerity.”

On a lighthearted note, he and Mr. Pietz shared the same birthdate, June 18, although the latter was 13 years older. Saracino would joke about toasting the elder statesman “with a glass of milk”, a reference to Mr. Pietz’s family business, Sunnyside Dairy.

Retired journalist Bob McClellan followed Mr. Pietz through his own interest in municipal politics and his career in the newsroom. McClellan joined the newspaper in 1958, became city editor in 1967 and moved on in 1973. 

“When Allan Pietz became a member of Crowland council in 1952, I’m sure no one, including Allan himself, could possibly imagine the ‘game-changing’ events he would become part of for the next half century,” McClellan wrote in an email.

 “The amalgamation of Welland and Crowland; the Welland Canal bypass with the massive changes it brought to the city’s infrastructure; the inception of a regional government system which changed Niagara’s political map; the establishment of Welland as a college town are a few of the major changes that occurred in the city in the latter half of the 20th century. And one constant during those times – Allan Pietz was there.”

In McClellan’s opinion, Mr. Pietz will be remembered most for the 14 years he served as mayor, but his career saw him serve in some capacity with several jurisdictions: a councillor and later deputy reeve of Crowland, Welland County council, Niagara Regional council, Member of Parliament for Welland Riding and then another term with the Region. In McClellan’s view, it’s a record of service that may never be matched.

“One reason for his success was the way he kept in touch with the electorate with his friendly persona; in fact it sometimes appeared that he was always on the campaign trail,” McClellan wrote.

It is safe to say Mr. Pietz will certainly be remembered by many for that gift and aura. My earliest memory of him is from the late 1950s, a day he drove a Sunnyside horse-drawn milk wagon down our street in Crowland, perhaps subbing for the regular driver, or maybe for the opportunity of a hands-on-the-reins experience in the family business. 

 A game of ball hockey was in progress and Mr. Pietz was ecstatic to join in the fray, milk wagon stopped and hockey stick in hand. 

He stayed five minutes, maybe 10, checking, passing, shooting. He knew some of us by name, perhaps an early sign of that consummate politician in the making? And hard not to notice, and never to be forgotten, was a million-dollar-smile lighting his face. 

Death Notice: Allan Ernest Pietz

PIETZ, Allan Ernest – Dippl.A.A.(Hon), Mayor of the City of Welland, MP, passed away peacefully on Friday, April 23, 2021, in his 96th year from complications of pneumonia. Predeceased by his loving wife Alice, children, Paul and Cathy, his sister, Edith Rominger, sister-in-law, Marilyn Prophet (Pekrul), and his dear friend, June Zahody. Allan is survived by his grandchildren Amanda Cameron, Allan Cameron and Christopher Pietz. He is also survived by his niece, Carolyn Ort (Les) and his nephews Len Rominger and Brian Pekrul (Barbara) .

For almost 35 years, Allan, together with his sister, Edith, owned and operated Sunnyside Dairy, on Seventh Street, in Welland. Allan’s political career began in 1952 and spanned 45 years starting his tenure as Councillor, then Warden, Deputy Reeve, Mayor, MP under Brian Mulroney, and Regional Councillor. He served on numerous committees, including the Police Board, Niagara College Board of Governors, Conservation Authority, Arena Board, Airport Commission, Industrial Commission, Fair Board, and Social Services to name a few and chairing many of them. As MP he served on 2 royal committees one for fur industry and the other for women’s rights.

He was part of the planning committee regarding the location of the 406, the 140, the Industrial Park on the now highway 140, making an east west corridor on Lincoln Street, improving Wellington Street which opened up the whole east end and the sewer project.

His proudest moment of local political life was being Mayor of Welland when the Welland Canal by-pass project was announced and then completed.

Allan was a resident of Seasons Retirement Home in Welland and the family would like to express their deep appreciation to the staff for their endless dedication.

He was a faithful member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Port Colborne and, most recently, Concordia Lutheran Church in Fonthill.

H.L. Cudney Funeral Home, 241 West Main Street, Welland, has been entrusted with the funeral arrangements.

A Celebration of Life will be held when restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so.

Interment will be in Overholt Cemetery, Bethel.

If desired memorial donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice.

“Well done good and faithful servant.”
Online condolences available at http://www.cudneyfuneralhome.com.

Note: Remembrance to follow