The town of Pelham has been designated a 2014 Bronze WALK Friendly Community for including all stakeholders and community members in working to create a local walking culture. The leadership shown by members of Municipal Council and staff has been outstanding. Partnerships have also been important to their success including a strong relationship with Niagara Region Public Health and the Active Transportation Niagara Network.
Some highlights from Pelham‘s application include:
- The Town established the Pelham Active Transportation Committee (PATC) in 2008. An official committee of council, PATC is a key resource and driver of their walk friendly work with good representation from municipal staff and two youth members.
- Also in 2008, the International Charter for Walking was officially signed by Pelham Mayor, Dave Augustyn, and endorsed by Pelham Town Council. Renewing his commitment to walkability in his 2014 inaugural address, Mayor Augustyn said, “It is clear that you and your friends and neighbours are interested in workable solutions to the issues and challenges that face our community. … Work to ensure that new development fits well with the vision for a walkable community with vibrant downtowns and a small-town feel.”
- The community’s desire for a downtown that focuses on walking was the main conclusion drawn from a public meeting and workshop about the future of downtown Fonthill. These meetings led to the development of two Community Improvement Plans (CIPs) to revitalize downtown Fonthill and downtown Fenwick which will enhance the public realm and support walking through features such as widened sidewalks and pedestrian-scale lighting.
- Pelham’s Strategic Plan includes strong language ‘encouraging walkability’ as an initiative and also implements a policy that ensures proper funding towards creating a walkable community. A staff team has been established to guide the development of an Active Transportation Plan in 2015 and a Demonstration Plan for Active Transportation has been a resource document in the new development of East Fonthill.
- Pelham is an active town that likes to celebrate! There are 30 days per year where roads are closed to vehicular traffic for street festivals, parades, markets and Summerfest. Campaigns like Sneak it in Week, Slow Down Through Town and Get Active For Life as well as the annual Mayor’s Walk (in its 11th year) help to encourage people to maintain an active lifestyle.
- In the fall of 2013, Council approved the By-law and budget for snow clearing on all municipal sidewalks during the winter months making streets safer and more accessible for walkers – well done!