Pelham…Discover our Villages

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Pelham…Discover our Villages
Pelham…Discover our Villages
Photo courtesy of Gwenn Alves
Pelham Summerfest.
Pelham…
Discover our Villages
Looking for the perfect place to invest your dollars? This thriving community covers all the bases.
BY SCOTT LESLIE
F
or some people, the word
“Pelham” brings to mind rolling farmland, perhaps a herd
of cattle grazing contentedly
by a slow-moving stream. But there’s
much more to Pelham these days than
a pastoral view and a simpler way of life.
Beneath Pelham’s quiet exterior beats
the heart of a burgeoning economy, one
that has been building for years and become the envy of many a neighbouring
community.
Spreading across nearly 125 square
kilometres, Pelham is a town made up
of five small communities—Ridgeville,
Fonthill, Fenwick, Effingham and North
Pelham—which were amalgamated
back in 1970. (It’s a reality that’s captured in the Town of Pelham’s slogan:
“Five Villages—One Community.”)
Investors looking for just the right
place to locate will find much to love
about Pelham. For a start, Pelham is in
a perfect location with its convenient
links to the global marketplace, wheth-
er it’s by rail, highway or water via the
Welland Canal and Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System. Air passenger and
cargo service is also available within an
hour’s drive through international airports in Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo.
Pelham has a number of other attractive incentives and amenities for
today’s business entrepreneurs such
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Pelham…Discover our Villages
Trademarks of Meridian Credit Union Limited.
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PELHAM…DISCOVER OUR VILLAGES
as affordable property and corporate
taxes. With its easy access to worldclass post-secondary institutions like
Brock University and Niagara College,
Pelham offers a convenient location
for employers to tap into the latest talent. Pelham also has one of the least
restrictive requirements for businesses around.
Although Niagara workers tend to
earn lower wages than those in other
Ontario communities, Pelham’s employees earn substantially more when
compared to their Niagara counterparts. As a result, Pelham-based employers have a higher level of employee retention, and the community has
a proportionally greater amount of
disposable income. (According to the
2011 Household and Per Capita Income
Study, Pelham residents had an average household income of $106,213.)
The Pelham
Business
Association
E
stablished in 2006, the Pelham Business
Association (PBA) is a group of Pelham
area businesses committed to marketing
Pelham as the perfect place to visit for business
and pleasure.
Working closely with the Town of Pelham to better the community, the PBA is comprised of nearly
100 businesses and agencies, and continues to
grow in size and influence. In addition to its regular
meetings, the PBA is actively involved in several
ongoing events including the annual Christmas In
Pelham campaign, the Summer Bandshell Concert
Series and Pelham Summerfest.
In the past two years alone, the PBA has used
several local media such as magazines and billboards to reach out to the wider business community, attract more investment in Pelham and
grow its membership. The PBA has also launched
a number of successful marketing initiatives on its
website such as its “Portraits of Pelham” campaign.
Tom McIntyre, president of the PBA, says he’s
encouraged by the association’s progress to date.
“We’re working hard to bring more business
to the area,” he says. “Our members have also
been active on several initiatives like the Town’s
sign bylaw committee to help make it easier
for companies to do business in Pelham. We’d
still like to see more social networking between
our members and want to continue driving traffic to our website. But we’re continuing to get
the word out there and get things done for our
members and the community. We have a lot of
potential here.”
EARLY BEGINNINGS, COMPETITIVE
ADVANTAGES
The Township of Pelham itself has
been in existence since the late 1700s.
Back in those days, the area was settled by a small population of Quakers
and Mennonites who helped establish
several saw and grist mills—some of
the first industries in the area. As
the years passed, growth would be a
gradual process. By 1885 for instance,
the township was still largely based
on agriculture and residents were often outnumbered by livestock. (At the
time, Pelham boasted 1,200 horses,
1,750 sheep, and 2,200 horned cattle
with about 300 residents each in the
communities of Fonthill, Ridgeville
and Fenwick.)
Farming and agriculture continues
to be an integral part of Pelham’s economy. The area is home to thousands of
acres of vineyards, not to mention apple, peach and cherry orchards. Pelham
is well-known for its busy agri-tourism
trade with its many fruit stands and
“pick-your-own” operations catering to
residents looking for locally-produced
food options. There are also plenty of
greenhouse operations like United Floral Distributors in Fenwick that continue to do a steady business.
These days, however, Pelham’s
business community has developed
into something much more diverse.
Presently, Pelham boasts over 600…
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Rocking the crowd at the
Bandshell Concert Series. Photo
credit Louis Albanese (top), Mall
Accursi (left).
Continued from page 3
…businesses, running the gamut from
professional, scientific and technical
services firms (169) to construction
firms (153) to real estate and rental
leasing companies (121).
According to Pelham’s Competitive
Advantage—Sector Classification Study
(2001-2006), the community has experienced substantial growth in a number
of key areas. These sectors include administrative, waste management and
remediation services (118%); public administration (84%); health care and social assistance (63%), and professional,
scientific and technical services (59%).
The driving engine behind the Pelham economy continues to be its many
smaller private firms. These include
Peninsula Fence & Landscaping Inc.
(75 employees), Star Tile Carpet One
(37 employees) and Royal LePage (30
employees). Fonthill Lumber & Tresses
is one of the area’s largest employers
with over 100 employees. Located on
Highway 20, Fonthill Lumber & Trusses is a leading supplier of wood frame
construction products and has been
serving professional builders and the
do-it-yourself market since 1951. There
are many other smaller firms that have
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Pelham…Discover our Villages
also stood the test of time like Klager’s
Meats in Fonthill which has been in the
meat and bakery business since 1934,
making it one of the oldest businesses
in the area.
ATTRACTIONS AND PARKLANDS
Pelham has several sites for locals
and out-of-town tourists to enjoy. The
community’s biggest tourist attraction is “The Comfort Maple”—an over
500-year-old tree that is believed to be
one of the oldest sugar maple trees in
the country. (The tree is 80 feet tall, 125
feet wide at the crown and 20 feet wide
at the base.) Located on the Comfort
Maple Conservation Area, this picturesque maple takes its name from the
John B. Comfort family who originally
acquired the land in 1816 and later donated it to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in 1961.
The Town of Pelham also boasts several annual festivals. For instance, the
Pelham Art Festival is one of the premier
spring art exhibitions in southern Ontario, running each May. This festival spotlights the work of over 70 artists, artisans
and photographers throughout the U.S.
and Canada. Other events like Pelham
Summerfest (July 17th to 20th), the Fenwick Lions Carnival (running every May),
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named after Isaac Riehl who was killed
in an auto accident while out longboarding in 2012. Funded through the
Town and the Aviva Insurance Community Fund, the $440,000 park has been
well-received by the community and
even won the 2014 Parks and Recreation
Ontario (PRO) Award of Excellence in
Design. (This award recognizes projects
that have demonstrated a high standard
of design, community involvement, aesthetics, usability and accessibility.)
Continued on page 8
Isaac Riehl Memorial Skatepark.
and the Pelham Farmers’ Market (running
Thursday evenings from May to October
at 20 Pelham Town Square in Fonthill) offer fun, excitement and shopping opportunities for people of many ages.
Pelham has all kinds of parks and
trails for nature lovers as well. The Short
Hills Provincial Park is just one of the
many parks and wildlife preserves to be
found in the Pelham area. There’s even
the Steve Bauer Trail—a six kilometre
multi-use trail established in honour of
professional biker and Canadian silver
medalist Steve Bauer that winds its way
through much of the Pelham interior.
(Steve Bauer originally grew up in Fenwick.) There are even several prestigious
golf courses for the golfing enthusiast
like Pelham Hills Golf & Country Club,
Peninsula Lakes Golf Club and the Lookout Point Golf & Country Club—established in 1922, making it one of the first
golf courses in the region.
One of the most popular recreational
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areas is the Harold S. Bradshaw Memorial Park—a 50-acre nature preserve donated by Harold Bradshaw to the Town
of Pelham in 2002. Officially opened the
following year, this park property has
been allowed to regenerate for nearly
25 years. As a result, it has now become
home to a variety of indigenous wildlife,
not to mention mature bush, orchards,
young trees, prairie grass, and a wide
range of wild vegetation. There are even
walking trails, a boardwalk, and an observation deck overlooking the park’s
vast natural wetlands.
NEW AND IMPROVED
In recent months, the Town of Pelham
has been busy launching several projects designed to enhance the quality of
life in the community.
In May for example, the Town officially opened a brand new park—the Isaac
Riehl Memorial Skatepark at Marlene
Stewart Streit Park on 55 Park Lane—
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PELHAM…DISCOVER OUR VILLAGES
Downtown Pelham. Photo credit Todd Barber.
Continued from page 5
Recently, the Town helped establish
a new $100,000 Pelham Leash Free Dog
Park on Centre Street. Located on a
former landfill site, the rehabilitated
park was funded through the Town,
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Pelham…Discover our Villages
Pelham Farmer’s Market.
the Niagara Region and Pelham DOGS
and includes two gated compounds for
smaller and larger dogs as well as armour stone pavilions.
On the health front, the Town of Pelham has also begun working closely
with Wellspring Niagara to establish
a new regional cancer support centre in the community. The Town has
announced plans to lease a two-acre
property to Wellspring Niagara on Rice
Road near Regional Road 20 which will
provide Niagara residents with a place
where those dealing with cancer can
seek solace and support.
Pelham is also looking to establish a
new cutting-edge medical facility and
retirement residence. The new Fonthill
Health Centre will be a state-of-the-art
integrated health care facility, predominantly located on Highway 20 in Fonthill. The centre will offer comprehensive
medical and professional services for
the residents of Pelham and the surrounding area.
“This will be a one-stop shop so to
speak offering all of the areas of primary medical care,” explains Dr. David Boushy, co-developer of the project
along with Dr. Ron Hekkenburg. “The
40,000 square foot facility will include
plenty of space for physiotherapists,
pharmacists, dentists, family practitioners and other related specialists.” The Fonthill Health Centre is just part
of a large comprehensive joint development being undertaken by the Town of
Pelham and Fonthill Gardens Inc. A sign
unveiling ceremony took place on June
19th and the centre is expected to open
late in 2015.
“We are happy to part of this great development,” David says. “We are located
in a beautiful area that is easily accessible
from the surrounding area. The Pelham
Town Council has been very supportive
through this process and we look forward
to the day the new facility opens.”
Pelham is even hoping to develop a
new multi-faceted community centre in
the near future—one that will include
features like a state-of-the-art gym and
walking track, and give many Pelham
residents and stakeholders a place to
come together.
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We’re
continuing to
invest in new
infrastructure
and trying to
enhance our
downtowns.
That’s really
been the focus
of our council.
There’s a small
town feel in
Pelham and
people are
drawn to that.”
Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn
“It’s something the community has
been asking about for years,” Pelham
Mayor Dave Augustyn says of a new
community centre. “We’re already starting to look into grants and working with
the community to figure out what they’d
like to see and what we can afford.”
NO SMALL AMOUNT OF PRIDE
Civic pride has always been a high priority for the Town of Pelham. In recent
years for instance, Pelham has invested a lot of time and effort to revitalize
downtown Fonthill, adding new sidewalks to make things easier for pedestrians. That’s in addition to new benches, bicycle racks and narrower roadways
to help make the downtown more appealing for visitors, residents and business owners alike.
Revitalization efforts such as these
will also be taking place in downtown
Fenwick over the summer months—as
Fenwick undergoes extensive updates
like streetscaping and tree additions.
In order to encourage development
in both Fonthill and Fenwick, the Town
of Pelham introduced a Community
Improvement Plan in 2008 to provide
financial incentives to businesses looking to invest in downtown properties.
Over the past while, seven downtown
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projects in Fonthill have been approved
for grant funding through the Town of
Pelham and the Niagara Region.
Dave Augustyn feels initiatives like
these go a long way towards promoting
and enhancing Pelham’s small town atmosphere.
“We’re continuing to invest in new infrastructure and trying to enhance our
downtowns,” he explains. “That’s really
been the focus of our council. There’s a
small town feel in Pelham and people
are drawn to that.”
The Town has had several other community development projects on its
plate recently including renovations
to Peace Park in Fonthill, and improvements to the Old Pelham Town Hall.
Enhancing the community is one
thing—but local industries are also taking up the initiative and revitalizing the
outside of their own buildings.
David Tucker of Tucker Design Build
on Webber Road in South Pelham says
that keeping things vital is a great way
to encourage outside investment. Over
the past year, David and several of the
local business owners have been working hard to clean up and refurbish their
own properties of late.
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PELHAM…DISCOVER OUR VILLAGES
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It’s an initiative that’s working wonders.
“The industrial area along the Webber Road corridor is looking better
and is definitely more appealing for businesses to move into the area,”
he says. “Yager Bros. Trucking, Niagara Storage On Site, Oak Run Transportation and Tucker Construction / Tucker Design Build are all great
examples of successful businesses operating in this corridor. This area is
ready for more businesses because much of the land is zoned industrial
and the centralized location provides quick access to many parts of the
Niagara Peninsula.”
Pelham Supper Market.
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Pelham…Discover our Villages
LIVING IT UP
Although the northern tier of Niagara has restrictions due to Ontario’s
Greenbelt legislation, Pelham still has plenty of room for future development—particularly in terms of housing. Right now, several residential
subdivisions have sprung up in the areas of east Fonthill and east Fenwick—developments that are expected to house over 3,000 people over
the next decade.
Pelham has also become a popular “bedroom community” with many
residents making the daily commute to workplaces in St. Catharines
and Welland or such outlying areas as the GTA and Western New York.
With Pelham’s population expected to grow substantially in the years to
come, Dave Augustyn says that everyone is working hard to build a community that residents and business owners alike can take great pride in.
“Our community is moving forward all the time,” he says. “Pelham has
become a great place to live, work and raise a family.
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Fast Facts
Pelham
The Town of Pelham
has over 17,000
residents.
Pelham has a labour
pool of approximately
9,423 people, most of
which are employed in
the retail sector.
According to the
Canadian Census of
2006, Pelham has a
population density of
about 128 people per
square kilometre.
Photo credit Jason Lea.
Pelham offers the
highest point of
elevation in the entire
Niagara Region and
gives sightseers the
ability to view Lake
Ontario and Lake Erie
simultaneously.
In April, work went
ahead on the
construction of a new
$1.4-million Short
Hills Fire & Rescue
Station on Cream
Street in North Pelham
which will be opening
this fall.
Sources: Town of Pelham, Wikipedia,
Exploring Niagara.
Steve Bauer Trail. Photo credit John Clark.
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