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Pelham looking ahead to a year of growth

PELHAM — For Mayor Dave Augustyn 2017 will be the year to build on the best-laid plans in Pelham.

“We’re now in the growth phase, we’ve done a lot of the planning,” said Augustyn, explaining that the town should see an explosion in development of sorts in the area of east-Fonthill.

The east-Fonthill development, first approved for urban development under a new official plan in 2014, is comprised of 450 acres to the south of Highway 20 and west of Rice Road. Developing the land began in 2015 but Augustyn said 2017 will be the year that the projects in the area will begin to take shape.

At the top of the list, in that respect, will be the town’s new $36.2 million community centre according to Augustyn. The town broke ground on the project, the largest capital expenditure in town history, in November with an expectation to have the new twin-pad arena and community recreation facility open by mid 2018.

“It’s something that has been talked about for years,” said Augustyn, explaining the town took time to plan for the project, engaging user groups and the larger community to ensure a viable future for the facility.

“It was great to work with the community,” said Augsutyn, noting in the coming months the building will begin to truly take form with structural work.

Beyond the centre Augsutyn explained 2017 will begin to see substantial development of the east-Fonthill area. The first commercial developments wrapped up in late 2016 and more will open their doors in the coming months he explained.

“A lot of the commercial development will be open in the first half of the year,” he said.

The year ahead will also see the first housing developments nearing completion as well according to the mayor. Alongside that the town will be moving on developing the roadways with the development, including paths and walkways, and, most notably, an extension of Pelham Town Square to the east past Station Street.
With the development expected to add 5,000 new residents over the next two decades Augustyn said there will be some attention paid to maintaining Pelham’s small-town feel. He likened in to the explosion of residential development in Fonthill during the late 1980s and ‘90s. Those developments may have dramatically increased the town’s population but the close-knit nature of the community remained.

“Council has done a lot of thinking on that issue,” said Augsutyn, noting a focus on walkability should bring neighbours together. He said the town is looking at community building initiatives such as volunteer engagement and even neighbourhood events to maintain the current small-town atmosphere. Augustyn said the focus will be on complimenting the existing community, not detracting from it.

Fenwick should also see some new development according to the mayor, who explained some news should be delivered soon on the former firehall property in the village. He added that excitement is building as well for the re-opening of the Maple Acre Library Branch after months of renovations hopefully in February.

While past work is coming to fruition there is still work to be done however. Augustyn said on the health-care front the town is working to attract a new medical centre with about five family physicians to east-Fonthill.

Transit will also need some attention at the Regional level he said. The town’s transit pilot project will wrap up in May and Augustyn hopes to work to better integrate the town’s bus service with Regional transit initiatives.

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Originally posted in Niagara This Week – Written by Steve Henschel, January 12, 2017