Solar farm to pop up in Downtown Welland

Welland city council has approved installation of a solar farm on the former Atlas Steels property downtown. More to come…

 UPDATE: From Welland Tribune July 26 2015:

The downtown industrial brownfields of the former Atlas Steels plant could be growing a crop of solar panels.

Welland city council gave its support for Mississauga-based RESCo Energy Inc. to construct and operate a ground-mounted solar project on the lands at 400 East Main St.

RESCo is planning a 600-kilowattdirect current, 500-kW alternating current photovoltaic operation.

In correspondence to the city, the company said Welland Hydro has indicated there is capacity in its hydro lines for the solar project, for ahich an application will be made to Ontario’s Feed-In Traffic — or renewable energy procurement — program.

Council’s support came on the same night that it supported a blanket resolution that expires September 2016 endorsing all Welland ground-mounted and rooftop solar projects that would qualify for Ontario Power Authority’s Feed-In Tariff Program.

A similar solar-energy project is planned for the rooftops at Fitch Street Plaza.

An aerial mockup contained in councillors’ agenda package Tuesday indicated the soalr panels would be installed at the north end of the Atlas Steels land, extending south about halfway down Patterson Ave.

There was no discussion about the project in council chambers.



Donations pour in after community library set ablaze


The Little Free Library that was ruined in an act of arson Tuesday morning has been re-established, thanks to a flood of donations that have come in since from the community.

So many donations have come in, in fact, that it’s estimated the free community library – located at Welland’s Guerrilla Park – has grown to about three times its original size, said James Takeo, one of the community members who has worked to maintain and beautify the area along the canal.

“To me, it’s a testament to one of the biggest assets of this community,” said Takeo, “The resilience of its citizens to overcome in the face of adversity.”

Among those offering donations was Laurie Richards, owner of Hannelore Headley Old and Fine Books located in St. Catharines.

As a book lover herself, and a fan of Little Free Libraries, Richards said she found it “pretty crappy” that someone would vandalize one.

“Why would anyone do that totally senseless vandalism?” Richards asked. “It’s destroying someone’s potential to travel afar in their mind.”

Richards said that she was inspired to donate to the library after reading Wednesday’s Tribune article on the fire.

“It’s community helping community,” she said, “We get a chance to pay this forward, and that’s amazing.”

The organization behind the Little Free Library movement also contacted The Tribune to see if there was anything it could do to help. Kris Huson, director of marketing and communications at the Hudson, Wis., based organization said she was glad to hear that the Little Free Library had received so many donations already.

She said the organization often sees cases like this, where an act of vandalism leads to the community coming together in support of the boxes.

“Out of the ashes comes a bigger, and better, Little Free Library,” Huson said.

Takeo said that the donations have all been appreciated, but at the time Welland’s free library is mostly in need of more waterproof bins for the books.

Takeo said donations can be dropped off either at his studio on West Main St. or at the BLX studio at the Seaway Mall in care of Wendy McIntyre.

He said more than anything, if people want to help they should just go visit the park and spend some time there.

Welland firefighters responded to the call at Guerrilla Park at 2:22 a.m Tuesday. Deputy chief Brian Kennedy said the fire was small, contained to the mini fridge and extinguished almost instantly.

Just under an hour later, at 3:04 a.m., a second call came in for a dumpster fire at 12 King St., behind the post office on Division St.

Although the fire was contained, Kennedy said, the dumpster was full of waste, giving the fire plenty of fuel. Firefighters were on scene for about 50 minutes.

Both incidents are cases of vandalism, Kennedy said.

Story and photo by Welland Tribune.

Community rallies around Welland woman hurt in crash


When crash victim Sandra Douglas leaves medical care and returns to her Welland home, she’ll find immaculate gardens having been lovingly tended to by friends and family.

The 40-year-old continues to recover at Shaver Hotel Dieu Rehab Centre in St. Catharines following a harrowing May 28 hit-and-run at Southworth St. and Ontario Rd. that left her with injuries that included a broken collarbone, two broken ribs and a punctured lung, and three fractured vertebrae. She is still being monitored for brain injury.

A 57-year-old Welland man is charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm and fail to stop at the scene of an accident.

Douglas lost her dogs in the four-vehicle crash, when the rear of her 2003 Toyota Echo was crumpled like an accordion. Both dogs were about six years old: Syressa, a border collie terrier mix, and Sasha, a great Pyrenees. Both were rescue dogs.

Just blocks from home, she had been on her way to the canal to walk her faithful canines.

It’s a tragic tale that weighs heavily on the minds of Douglas’s close-knit co-workers at Community Living St. Catharines’ Northwood House group home for adults with disabilities.

Paula Whittaker, who has worked with Douglas for several years, decided to rally family and friends for a garden makeover at the Bradley Ave. home Douglas moved into in March 2014 with partner Jack Musiala.

A memorial spot for Douglas’s dogs was created among the greenery.

“When something like this happens, you’re desperate for ways to help, Whittaker said Friday among a busy crew of volunteers that pulled metre-tall weeds among shrubbery and perennials, and cultivated a small plot of vegetables.

The garden reno, Whittaker said, “seemed like a good idea.”

“Sandra loves her gardens, she loves being outside.”

Also pitching in were Duncan’s children, Sydney, 8, and Evan, 17, and stepson Aiden, 11.

“When she gets back, she can relax,” Aiden said.

Stacy Maguire is hoping her older sister will be able to return home within the next week. Douglas was airlifted to Hamilton hospital after the crash, was returned to Welland hospital, and since June 15 has been recuperating at Shaver.

“This was supposed to be her summer project,” Maguire said of the gardens while choking back an impulse to cry. “Obviously, she can’t do it, so we’re here.”

Plants and mulch were donated to the friendly effort by Vermeer’s Garden Centre and Flower Shop and Botanix Rice Road Greenhouses.

Friends have also been supporting Douglas and her family through an online fundraising campaign at GoFundMe: “Help for Sandra and her Family.” Its goal of raising $5,000 to help offset expenses while she heals, including to afford child care, has already been broken.

But that’s not where the support ends.

Moved by Douglas’s tragedy, Welland and District Humane Society donated to her another rescue dog. The eight-month-old golden retriever shepherd mix is named Sylas, his name a nod to Syressa.

Article from Welland Tribune.