Monday, July 17, 2017

Thanks for Another Amazing Summerfest!

On behalf of Council, thank you to the 2017 Summerfest Committee, Town Staff, service club and other volunteers for your hard-work and dedication and to the many generous sponsors who made this year’s four-day Summerfest an amazing success – with the highest attendance yet!

Pelham Summerfest 2017 (Photo: Cameron Young)
First, I greatly appreciate the work of the Summerfest Committee, including John Wink, Chair; Councillor Gary Accursi; Bill Gibson, Active Transportation Committee rep; Candy Ashby, Pelham Business Association rep; Matthew Leask and Michelle Stewart, Pelham residents; and Sofia Labricciosa and Mackenna Belding, Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council reps! The committee met for since last Fall to plan and finalize every detail and they worked very, very hard all weekend long to ensure a successful festival. Thank you very much!

Second, thanks so much to Town Staff! Thanks to Vickie van Ravenswaay, Sally Jaeger, Jodi Hendriks and other staff who helped organize the overall event and worked with the Committee to ensure success. I also appreciate the many Town staff who volunteered in one capacity or another – from setting up, to serving beverages, to cleaning up – throughout the four days; thanks for giving your time to our community. And, thanks to the (mainly) Public Works staff who worked during the Festival on logistics, garbage and recycling duty, and ensured the safety of participants and all the major clean-up!

Third, thanks to the very many members of the Town’s service clubs – including the Fonthill & District Kinsmen and Kinettes Clubs, the Fonthill Lions and Lioness Clubs, Fenwick Lions, and the Fonthill Rotary Club – for helping serve beverages and greeting patrons. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Fourth, thanks to the other members of the community who also volunteered! Thanks to members of the Pelham Fire Service, the Pelham Active Transportation Committee, St. John’s Ambulance, members of Town Council, and the many, many other community volunteers.

Fifth, thank you to the many Sponsors and Friends of Pelham Summerfest including our Gold Sponsors: Ball Construction, Brock University, Fonthill Bandshell, Fonthill Dental, Halco Mobile, Lafarge Canada, McAvoy Belan & Campbell, Meridian Credit Union, Niagara Peninsula Energy, and RBC Royal Bank. And, thanks to our amazing Media Partners including: Country 89; Giant FM; MyPelham.com; Niagara This Week; Pelham News; the Standard; and the Tribune.

Finally, thanks to the more than 40,000 people – the largest number ever – who enjoyed the Seventh Annual Pelham Summerfest over the festival’s four days. Your attendance and community spirit made it a huge success and shows why it’s one of Festival Events Ontario’s Top 100 Events.

On behalf of Council, I appreciate the vision, dedication, and tremendous work by so many volunteers and staff to celebrate our vibrant, creative, and caring community. Thank you and congratulations on a resounding and overwhelming success!

You may contact Mayor Dave at mayordave@pelham.ca or read past columns at www.pelhammayordave.blogspot.ca.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Mayors Meetings

A member of the community has recently raised questions about a June meeting of some of Niagara's Mayors and Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs).

The CAOs, the Treasurers, the Planners, the Public Works officials and other Staff of the local area municipalities and the Region meet periodically to share ideas, best practices, and discuss opportunities for working together better.

I recall three times in the last 6 years where the Mayors and CAOs met. Once at City Hall in St. Catharines and hosted by former Mayor McMullan (prior to 2014); once in Niagara on the Lake at White Oaks about 7 months ago; and recently at the Town Hall in Fort Erie. (Please note that I did not host or call the meeting, as one suggested.)

As the notes of the last meeting show, the discussions are about ways in which we can work more collaboratively together. (Please click here to review the notes from that June meeting.)

For example, when the City of Welland CAO reiterated the public presentation he recently made about Regional Development Charges, the direction of the discussion with the Mayors and CAOs was about the impact on local area municipalities.

Then, it was the Regional Economic Development Officer who presented information about the Community Improvement Plans and the Region’s hope of working with the municipalities for more collaboration. It is noteworthy that this discussion was initiated by the Region to further something called “Team Niagara” – better collaboration across Niagara.

Next were discussions regarding Intermunicipal Transit and Airports. Again, joint areas of interest.

Then there was an important discussion regarding shared services and administration. The CAOs are working on increasing ways for the Cities and Towns to share specific services to find efficiencies and work together. These could reduce costs – because of economies of scale – or help with economic development across Niagara. Some examples were cited. I suggested that the CAOs make recommendations to local Councils for the various areas in which we might work closer together.

Finally, since my elected colleagues had already heard me at the Region address Pelham Council’s jurisdictional concerns of Regional Council getting involved in the affairs of Niagara’s Cities and Towns, the Town’s CAO addressed this jurisdictional concern from an administration perspective to other CAOs.

The Niagara Mayors have met occasionally, on our own, through the years. I understood from former Mayor Goulbourne (Welland) that the Mayors met often during the 2003-06 term. I understand that during the 1997-2000 and 2000-03 terms there were meetings of the Mayors.

The Southern Mayors (Pelham, Welland, Port Colborne, Wainfleet, Fort Erie, Niagara Falls) have gotten together more frequently recently – 2-3 times per year – to plan our joint presentations to the joint Chambers of Commerce.

The Mayors of Welland, St. Catharines, and Niagara Falls and the Regional Chair and CAOs have met extensively (every 3 or 6 weeks) over the last year-and-a-half to help coordinate efforts on Intermunicipal Transit.

People expect Niagara’s Cities, Towns, and Townships to share best practices, the find efficiencies, and to work together. These types of meetings should continue to help all to meet those goals.

Monday, July 10, 2017

“Ahead of schedule and under budget”

A couple of weeks ago, Bill Gibson, Chair of the Pelham Community Centre Oversight Committee, presented an upbeat update to Council.

Looking East into Accipiter Arena (from second floor)
You will recall that Council addressed suggestions from the public for proper project supervision by establishing Community Centre Oversight Committee. The committee includes two community members, one Council rep, and the Chief Administrative Officer. This committee works to ensure that the Town receives value-for-money in every aspect of the project, the project gets delivered on time and on budget, and to provide the community with consistent and timely updates.

Mr. Gibson provided updates on the two tender packages, project milestones, and finances.

The first tender package included pre-grading site work, building excavating, site servicing, foundation, structural steel, elevator and stairwell shafts, sprinkler system, roof deck, and hollow core slabs. Tender package two covered the concrete floors, reinforced steel (for masonry and slabs), interior/exterior masonry, spray insulation, roofing, insulated metal siding, zinc paneling, metal doors and frames, finish hardware, glazing, drywall/acoustics, dash boards, and seating. These two tender packages account for 77% of the total project.

Atrium Lobby (facing South)
Working as the construction manager, Ball Construction did not just tender the entire project. Rather Ball works with the committee, the architect, and the various contractors to manage the project’s timing and construction.

The presentation indicated that this value engineering process, led by Ball Construction, and the work of the committee, “has resulted in a project that, as of this date, has in excess of 75 percent of all sub contracts awarded (including work completed) which results in the project being ahead of schedule and under budget, including the 9,000 square feet of additional space.”

The presentation made clear that it was Ball Construction that suggested adding 9,000 square feet to the community centre in June 2016 to increase accessibility in hallways, common areas, and areas with heavy foot-traffic. They based this recommendation on their experience building more than 30 recreational / community centres in Ontario. Because it was so early in the process, the architect changed the plans well before issuing final drawings. Further, Ball signed on to the $32.5 million construction price cap in September 2016 – which includes these changes. Finally, since Ball tendered the project with these improvements, there will be no additional costs to improve the Centre.

Activity Centre (double gymnasium) looking South
The work is on target to enclose the building by the end of December, and for the project to be “substantially complete” by June 2018.

This construction update, the recent fundraising announcement – “Thanks a Million, Pelham” – and the recent signing of 5-year, binding agreements with major user groups demonstrates great progress!

Council and I look forward to the Pelham Community Centre becoming the place for residents of all ages to gather and enjoy a wide-variety of recreational, social, health and community activities for many, many years.

______________________________

Accipiter Arena - July 2017


Duliban Insurance Arena & Walker Industries Viewing Galleria - July 2017


Activity Centre (double gymnasiums) - July 2017


Dr. Gary & Mall Accursi Multipurpose Area - July 2017




To see recent videos and pictures the Pelham Community Centre construction process, please visit www.pelhammayordave.blogspot.ca. You may contact Mayor Dave at mayordave@pelham.ca.

_____________________________
14 July 2017 Correction: The initial post cited Mr. Bill Gibson as Bob. I apologize to Bill for the error, but greatly thank him for his service as Chair! D

Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy Canada 150, Pelham!

Happy Canada 150!

Saturday became our opportunity to celebrate being Canadian and to celebrate our great nation’s special birthday! But we also took the opportunity to celebrate and to appreciate all wonderful features about our Town.

Our Town parade showcased many of the elements that make our community special – from the commitment of the Pelham Fire Service, to our numerous sport teams, to our dedicated volunteers, to our many devoted service clubs.

We live in a peaceful, safe community with great schools, and many recreation opportunities. We enjoy clean water, wonderful libraries, and a great mix of fully-accessible neighbourhood and community parks.

We appreciate our dedicated police service, devoted volunteer firefighters, and expert emergency personnel who protect you and I from harm. We have fair access to good and affordable healthcare.

And, as we marked Canada Day, we also embraced our history and our collective individuality.

After surveying where the ancestors of more than 150 Pelham residents were in 1867, the Historical Society unveiled “Pelham Roots Go Deep” display. The display graphically shows – with locations as the roots of the Comfort Maple – the multitude of countries and areas that make up our past.

We also unveiled Pelham’s 150 Mosaic Mural – a combination of more than 400 individual tiles painted by residents of all ages and skill levels and signifying an important element of Pelham or themselves. Artists Lewis & Paul Lavoie and Phil Alain then rearranged the tiles to depict the Comfort Maple. This art work will be displayed in the new Pelham Community Centre next year. (To see the mural, please click here.)

Thanks to the many contributions to make Canada Day in Pelham so special!

Thanks to the Rotary Club of Fonthill & District for the free children’s activities; to the Fonthill Lions & Lioness Clubs for great food – including poutine; to members of Niagara Regional Police Service who directed traffic; to St. John Ambulance who were at the ready to help as needed; to Kirk on the Hill and AK Wigg School and Pelham Evangelical Friends Church for parade logistics. We also deeply appreciate our many generous sponsors, including Heritage Canada; Fonthill Volunteer Firefighters Association (for donation to the amazing fireworks); Niagara Peninsula Energy; Sawmill Golf Course; and Sobey’s Fonthill (for the delicious Canada Day cake).

Finally, thanks to the Canada Day organizing committee, including Fred Arbour, Rhys Evans, Marylou Hilliard, Sue Kicul, Bill King, Steve Pellerin, and Lance Wiebe, and to Town recreation and public works staff for all logistics.

As you and your family and friends continue to commemorate our country’s 150th Birthday, let us celebrate, and let us be thankful for our Town of Pelham and for our great nation. Happy 150 Canada!

Please read past columns at www.pelhammayordave.blogspot.ca and contact Mayor Dave at mayordave@pelham.ca.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Comparing Pelham’s Residential Taxes

If you pay your property taxes by installments, you will know that your third installment of your 2017 property tax bill comes due on Friday. With this deadline, why not “take stock” of Pelham’s property taxes and compare with other Cities and Towns?

You will recall that the amount of property tax you pay to the Town of Pelham, to the Region, and to the Province (for Education) is not solely based on the Market Value Assessment of your property by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC); one must multiply your assessment by each of these three tax rates and add them up for your total bill.

With the Region and the Province making some last policy changes and adjustments for rates and tax ratios, we now know that the combined property tax increase for an average residential property (which is valued at $316,400) in Pelham is 2.0%. Because of those changes, that’s actually a 0.3% decrease from what I reported to you in April.

You can consider this 2.0% a “pocket-book” increase – an increase in the amount it cost an average residential property owner by adjusting for the average MPAC increase.

How do we measure whether that amount is “affordable” or not?

One independent way to judge whether Pelham’s taxes are “affordable” is to compare with inflation. For example, the Bank of Canada calculated that, over the last 11 years (January to January), inflation increased the value of goods and services by 19.7%. Over the same period, Pelham’s combined taxes for the average residential property in Pelham increased by 19.7% – the same level as inflation. Notionally, that means that the average home is paying the same level of taxes in 2017 that they did in 2006.

And, this 19.7% includes the equivalent of approximately 1.1% (in 2016) to fund the Pelham Community Centre. And, it also includes our annual increases for improved infrastructure – approximately 1.7% over the last three years, for example – supporting new roads, pipes, and other capital improvements.

What about a more concrete way to judge? How about if we compare Pelham with other Niagara Cities, Towns, and Townships?

Last November, the Region published a table of non-blended property tax increases from 2010 to 2016 for local municipalities. If you start at zero and add up the cumulative increases from 2010, Niagara Municipalities increased their property taxes an average of 35% over the last seven years.

Pelham stands-out as the second lowest by increasing at 25% – including funding for the Community Centre in 2016. That’s 27% below the average increase. Only Grimsby was lower than Pelham (at 23%). Even the Region was higher than the Town, at 29% (if you don’t include the benefit of Provincial uploading).

Pelham Council and I continue to ensure that we only minimally impact you and other property tax-payers while we work to increase the level and quality of services in the Town.


Check out historic charts or read past columns at www.pelhammayordave.blogspot.ca. Please contact Mayor Dave at mayordave@pelham.ca.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Fonthill East Development Progressing

Over the last two Wednesdays I presented updates about the developments in Fonthill East to residents of the senior’s apartments on Pelham Town Square. I thought I would share some of those updates here with you now.

Summersides Boulevard: 
In this year’s budget, Council re-approved the construction of a new street linking Downtown Fonthill (by extending Pelham Town Square) with Wellspring Way and Rice Road. The street will include a centre boulevard, trees, and wide multipurpose sidewalks/trails on both sides. Council named the road after Jim Summersides, a World War II veteran of the elite, joint Canadian-American "First Special Service Force," and dedicated member of the Fonthill Royal Canadian Legion.

While much of the eastern portion was constructed last year, Council recently approved the completion of the western link to Station Street this year. Initially the intersection will have a four-way stop but we plan to construct a small-roundabout there in the future.

Council is committed to constructing this road to help better link newer developments with Downtown Fonthill, the Library, Post Office, Peace Park and Town Hall.

Walking & Cycling Paths:
You may have noticed some landscaping along Regional Road 20 from the new Tim Hortons to Wellspring Way. Did you also notice a new walking and cycling path at the corner of Rice and Port Robinson Roads, leading around the new development and the Community Centre?

Both of these features exemplify Council’s commitment to making the Town more walkable and cyclable. Soon, for instance, Ontario Hydro will start burying the hydro lines along Hwy 20 – in the area from the new landscaping along the buildings to the roadway. Then, a new treed, walking and cycling path– similar to the new one on Rice Road – will be constructed along Hwy 20.

Ponds & Park:
Water from roofs, roads, parking lots and paths gets collected and fed into the several storm ponds. These ponds store, clean and cool the water and release it at a rate no greater than “predevelopment flows.” We insisted on designing the ponds without fences so that people might enjoy them better.

The East Fonthill plan also includes some parks in key areas that link watercourses and ponds. One such park, near the intersection of Summersides Blvd and Wellspring Way, was granted to the Town in a standard process called a “excess parkland dedication.” The value of the parkland was based on a property appraisal and a peer review of that appraisal. (For a copy of these documents, please click here.) We look forward to adding trails, trees, and other features to complete this park.

Council and I continue to work diligently to fulfill the award-winning East Fonthill plan which offers mixed-use development, a range of housing-types, a walking/cycling network, and protection for existing environmental features.

You may contact Mayor Dave at mayordave@pelham.ca or read past columns at www.pelhammayordave.blogspot.ca.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Pelham’s Population Growth from the 1970s

When I grew up and attended St. Alexander School, the Fonthill Plaza didn’t exist: no Shopper’s Drug Mart or Beer Store or Giant Tiger. In fact, I have distinct memories of walking through long grass and along a warn footpath to the Pelham Library – which was situated in the basement of Pelham Town Hall! And, the school was just an “L-shaped” building in those days – before the addition in the 1990s. The octagon-shaped Church along Hwy 20 (where the current playground is) was replaced in the 2000s.

The railway tracks – still in use along Station Street – had yet to be named the Steve Bauer Trail. With the Fonthill Firehall on South Pelham, it wasn’t odd to hear the siren calling the volunteers. And, school mates crossed Highway 20 to get to a treat at the convenience store where the Royal Bank now stands.

The Post Office likely moved from its location on Pelham Street (now ForestGreen creations) in the 1980s. And, the now iconic Fonthill Branch of the Pelham Public Library wasn’t constructed until the mid-1980s.

I also distinctly remember playing in dirt piles during the building of the roads and homes on Woodstream Boulevard and Spruceside Crescent. And the Town built the then new Pelham Arena – which replaced the outdoor rink in “the Pit” – in the middle of a farmer’s field in the mid-1970s.

Looking back at the population growth, one can see the reasons for these changes.

In 1971, Statistics Canada had the Town’s population at 9,997. While Pelham’s population only grew by 99 people by 1976 (up 1%), the Town’s population took off shortly thereafter. From 1976 to 1981 Pelham grew by 1,008 people – a whopping 10% increase! From 1981 to 1986, the population grew even more – by 1,061 people (or 9.6%). From 1986 to 1991, Pelham grew by another 9.6% to 13,328 – but this time increasing by 1,163 people! That was the Town’s largest growth spurt over a five-year period.

Then, Pelham’s growth started to slow down a bit. From 1991 to 1996, the population grew by 1,015 people (or a 7.6% increase to 14,343). From 1996 to 2001, the Town grew by 929 people or 6.5%. The 2006 Census had the Town’s population at 16,155 or growing by 883 people (5.8%). While I have been serving as your Mayor, the Town grew 443 people from 2006 to 2011 (up 2.7%) to 16,598 and now to 17,110 in 2016 (up 512 people or 3.1%).

Just like we hear a few people complaining today, I remember a few folks in the 1970s and the 1980s and the 1990s expressing concern about the Town growing too quickly.

And, while we are projected to grow by about 850 people (or 5%) to 17,960 by 2021, Council and I will continue to work together with you to ensure we maintain our community’s small-town feel – just as the Town did during our growth in the 1970s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s.


You may contact Mayor Dave at mayordave@pelham.ca or read past columns at www.pelhammayordave.blogspot.ca.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Community Centre Recap about Indoor Pool, Twin-Pad & Fitness Equipment

Since some people asked me recently about certain elements of the Pelham Community Centre, I thought I would also answer their questions here.

Solid Business Case:
As you know, recreational and cultural services in Pelham was at a “log-jam” for decades. Numerous consultant reports outlined great desires and drew nice designs of community centres. However, none evaluated the operating costs nor tested the “business case.” It was like those former reports offered a “shiny new sports car” but failed to account for operating costs and whether the community could afford to “drive” it.


To help break the impasse, the Town hired Leisureplan International to develop a market analysis and business case study. LeisurePlan surveyed 1,091 residents about their recreation and culture habits and spending preferences. They used this statistically significant market analysis and requirements from user-groups to form the business case and their recommendations.

Indoor Pool:
Despite the expressed desire – which still continues today – LeisurePlan recommended against including an indoor pool. They stated that demand for an indoor pool was only at 50% of that required to financially support it. “To be financially viable, a significant annual operating subsidy would be required from the Municipality in the order of $1,000,000 per year.” This is in line with other municipal pools; the Kiwanis Aquatic Centre in in St. Catharines, for example, costs $1.6 million net per year (expenses $2.36 million; revenues $734K). An extra $1 million for an indoor pool would mean about a 9% increase in property taxes for the average residential property, plus another 3% for financing the construction costs. (Please see pages 48-49 of the St. Catharines 2017 budget by clicking here.)

Double Arena:
While LeisurePlan initially estimated that a second arena wouldn’t be financially sustainable until 2023, arena users questioned the completeness of their data and the Architectural Design Advisory Committee questioned the feasibility of a phased design. LeisurePlan considered the missing information and concluded in June 2015 that “a second ice pad would be utilized 69%-77% during prime time” and recommended providing a second ice pad by 2018. In July 2015, Council agreed with that recommendation and directed that the design include two arenas.

It’s a good thing we did because we are already tracking to exceed that demand projection for the second ice pad. In March, the Town signed binding five-year usage agreements with local minor hockey and figure skating associations to use 100% of the Accipiter Arena and more than 90% of the Duliban Insurance Arena during prime time.

Fitness Machines:
LeisurePlan initially suggested including a fitness centre in a new centre if all fitness programs were run by the YMCA. They made this recommendation because of the extensive Pelham membership at the YMCA. Listening to the concerns of the Design Committee and local businesses over this plan, the Town issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to operate the community centre to the private sector in June 2015. Since no firms replied to the RFP and because of the increased difficulty of completing with discount ($10 per month) fitness centres, the Town removed the fitness centre component from the Community Centre design, ended discussions with the YMCA in November 2015, and will operate the facility for less than $200,000 per year.

I am pleased that we are constructing the Pelham Community Centre based on a solid business case analysis and that will serve as our community’s gathering place and recreational space for people of all ages and abilities for decades to come.


You may contact Mayor Dave at mayordave@pelham.ca or read past columns at www.pelhammayordave.blogspot.ca.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Donations “Overboard” at Ninth Annual Mayor’s Gala

Because of the generosity of sponsors, donors, and participants, the sold-out Ninth Annual Pelham Mayor’s Gala netted $23,600 for four worthy charities and groups!

(L-R) Pete Behring, Treasurer, Pelham Minor Baseball;
Joe Maggiolo, Board Chair, OneFoundation for NHS;
Anne Kirkpatrick, Program Manager, Niagara Nutrition Partners;
Mayor Dave Augustyn; Brenda Langendoen, Program Director,
Horse Cents for Kids. (Credit: T. Lyons.) 
This past Saturday, community volunteers hosted the “Sail the Seven Seas” themed gala at Lookout Point Golf & Country Club.

The Gala showcased great music (thanks to Notre Dame Jazz Combo), exquisite food (thanks to Chef Abby), an amazing live auction (thanks to generous donors), and time to mingle and catch-up with other “passengers.” And, with Ross Macfarlane as emcee and Kevin Jacobi as the nautical quizmaster, the event was a “swashbuckling” great time!

Yet, these festivities supported the work of four local groups.

Horse Cents for Kids provides access to horses and the therapeutic and life enhancing attributes for children 5-18 years old, regardless of their financial circumstances. With the support of the community, the Gala will donate $5,000 to give children from less fortunate families – but who love horses – the opportunity to attend the summer riding program or the Wild West Summer camp. In addition, Bayshore Group generously offered to donate an additional $2,400 to Horse Cents during the Gala!

Niagara Nutrition Partners oversees more than 200 breakfast, snack, and lunch programs in 150 schools throughout Niagara! Amazingly, they help more than 17,000 students each day to fulfill the simple notion that if students eat right they learn right. Thanks to the Gala, NNP will receive $5,000 to support the recently initiated nutrition program at EL Crossley High School.

OneFoundation for the Niagara Health System raises funds to acquire the equipment and technology needed in all six of the Peninsula’s hospital sites to support a wide range of in-patient and out-patient services. Since doctors and medical technicians use their eight-year-old ultrasound equipment 7-days a week for emergency and in-patient exams, the Foundation identified they urgently need to purchase replacement equipment for the Site in Welland. The Gala will donate $3,500 toward this ultrasound equipment.

Pelham Minor Baseball Association provides organized youth baseball for Pelham residents aged 4-18. Their dedicated volunteers offer the opportunity to learn the love of the game and the importance of teamwork while players take part in healthy competition. Since 2017 registrations unexpectantly increased by 36%, the Gala will donate $7,500 to help replace equipment that has reached end of its useful life and also extra equipment needed to meet increased number of players.

Since 2009 and thanks to the generosity of sponsors, donors, and attendees, the Pelham Mayor’s Gala has raised more than a $250,000! These proceeds have supported more than 30 charities, not-for-profit community organizations and service clubs that play a vital role in shaping and improving the Town of Pelham.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Pelham Changing Through the Years

Since Statistics Canada recently released additional information from the 2016 Census, I thought I would write here about the demographics of Pelham. And, since they also provide information for communities from the 2011, 2006, 2001 and 1996 Census, one can compare the make-up and changes of our population over a twenty-year period.

As you may know, Pelham is among the fastest growing communities in the Niagara Peninsula. Since our formation in 1970, we have grown from 9,855 to 17,110 in 2016. That’s a 74% increase!

Other large population increases include Grimsby at 80%, West Lincoln at 76%, and Lincoln also at 74%; compare this with the entire Region’s population which grew by only 33% during that period.

During the last 20 years, Pelham’s population grew from 14,345 in 1996, to 15,275 in 2001, to 16,155 in 2006, to 16,598 in 2011, to 17,110 in 2016. That’s more than 19% population growth over 20 years.

But, the story becomes more interesting when one looks at age groups.

For example, our Town’s population of children and youth (aged 24 and younger) declined slightly (6%) in raw numbers over the last couple of decades. This cohort numbered 4,820 in 1996 and 4,515 in 2016. The number of children and youth represented more than 26% of our population last year and essentially matched the proportion across the Niagara Peninsula (which stood at 27% of Niagara’s total population in 2016).

What about our seniors – those aged 65 and older? In 1996 there were 1,925 seniors in Pelham; in 2016 Statistics Canada counted 4,175. That’s a 117% increase! Seniors now make up 24% of our population. That’s up from 13% in 1996. Across the Region, the proportion of seniors was 21% in 2016.

Statistics Canada provides some very broad categories for comparison over the last 20 years. For example, Pelham’s population aged 25 to 54 (the “working-age” population) declined just over 8% from 6,095 people in 1996 to 5,595 in 2016. This working age group counted for 33% of Pelham’s population in the last census.

So, broadly speaking, where was the majority of our growth concentrated through the last 20 years? Those 55-and-older grew a phenomenal 104% from 3,400 in 1996 to 7,010 in 2016!

(It is important to note that these demographic changes result from both new residents moving here, others moving away, and from the aging of current residents.)

While one must be cautious about broad comparisons from relatively small sub-sets of our population, these numbers obviously show trends. Please rest assured that Council and I continue to consider these demographic realities as we provide public services and develop community economic development initiatives.