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Lakeside Park Carousel
City reopens recreation facilities and amenities as Ontario enters Step 3 of Province's Roadmap to Reopen
The Kiwanis Aquatics Centre, museum, community centres, older adult centres and other recreational amenities reopened to the public this week as Ontario entered Step 3 of its Roadmap to Reopen.

With a focus on balancing public health, community impact and feasibility more City of St. Catharines facilities are reopening with expanded program offerings. The public is reminded that COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to the health of the community and as such masks should continue to be worn alongside the continuation of hand washing and physical distancing.

Mask and screening requirements remain in effect for those entering City facilities and many traditionally drop-in programs will require advanced registration. Program details are still being developed and will be posted to the City website as they become available.

St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre
The centre opened for lane and leisure swimming Friday, July 16. Advanced reservation required. For more information visit stcatharines.ca/Aquatics.

Lakeside Park Carousel
The carousel is now open daily, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Intermittent stoppages will take place for enhanced cleaning. Masks are required for all users aged over 10. Admission by donation. For more information visit stcatharines.ca/Carousel.

Russell Avenue and Port Weller Community Centres
Community centres opened July 16, with hours dependent on programming. Registration or reservation required for all programs. For more information visit stcatharines.ca/CommunityCentres.

St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre
The museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week. Admission by donation. Reservations recommended. For more information visit stcatharines.ca/Museum.

Morningstar Mill buildings
Historic buildings reopen on Saturday, July 17. The buildings will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Admission by donation. For more information visit stcatharines.ca/MorningstarMill.

Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre
The City is currently working to reinstate ice on rinks two and three and will open once ice is ready. Reservations will be required for public skating. Rental inquiries can be directed to ice@stcatharines.ca. For more information visit stcatharines.ca/Arenas.

Community rentals
City facilities such as parks, pavilions and community rooms will return. Rental application forms and more information can be found at stcatharines.ca/Rentals.
Debris at post-fire scene at 30 Ontario St.
Majority of roads reopened following major fire downtown at 30 Ontario St.
The majority of roads have reopened, and fire crews have cleared the scene, following a major fire at 30 Ontario St. in the City's downtown core.

While the investigation continues into the cause and origin of the fire, fire crews cleared the scene Wednesday and roads in the vicinity were reopening as of Thursday evening. Firefighters had spent days battling the blaze, calling in heavy equipment to ensure they were able to access any of the hotspots and areas that were smouldering underneath any collapsed portions of the structure, which was vacant at the time of the fire. At its peak, there were nearly 50 firefighters and 10 vehicles on scene, with fire crews from Pelham and Thorold supporting the efforts of St. Catharines firefighters as part of mutual-aid agreements.

St. Catharines Fire Services were called to the scene of the fire at 5:23 a.m. on Monday, July 12. The fire was well advanced on arrival and all available resources were deployed to the scene to assist, with the firefighters from Pelham and Thorold providing additional resources. Due to the intensity of the fire, and out of an abundance of caution, firefighters spent hours conducting a defensive attack to completely extinguish the fire. A shelter in place advisory was originally in place, but was declared over at about 8 p.m. on Monday. No injuries were reported throughout the three-day effort on scene.

The Ontario Fire Marshal’s investigative team has wrapped up its efforts on scene, but continues its investigation, with the support of St. Catharines Fire Services investigators and detectives with the Niagara Regional Police. Anyone with information about the fire, or who may have witnessed something, is asked to contact police at 905-688-4111, ext. 1008429.

In addition to the area departments that assisted in the firefighting efforts, the fire chief said the fire service is also appreciative of the support from City of St. Catharines staff, support agencies both locally and provincially, downtown businesses and residents who provided assistance over the last several days. Fire officials also extend their appreciation to residents for their patience and support while the shelter in place was instituted Monday, as well as those affected by disruptions to gas supply to areas of the downtown over the past several days.
Enterprise Centre webinars offer support to local small businesses
Small businesses looking for additional opportunities to learn and grow their business can look to the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre for some insight.

The centre continues to assist local small businesses in establishing themselves and navigating pandemic recovery, offering a wide range of resources and webinars for small businesses as well as one on one consultations.

A variety of webinars are available throughout the remainder of the month, including Steps to Starting a Small Business (July 30 at 10 a.m.), Marketing 101 (July 20 at 10 a.m.), How to Develop Your COVID-19 Safety Plan (July 20 at 1 p.m.) and Business Plan and Cash Flow Forecasting (July 27 at 10 a.m.).

So far, at least one event has also been announced for August - Tax Considerations for Early Stage Companies and their Founders (August 18 at 2 p.m.).

Most of the following seminars are free of charge, but some special events may involve a nominal fee. Pre-registration is required. Seminars are subject to change. Please contact the office to confirm date, time and availability, or visit www.stcatharines.ca/webinars.

The St. Catharines Enterprise Centre is one of 47 small business enterprise centres which serve as a resource to Ontario’s small businesses and startups. The small business enterprise centres have adapted their services to form the Ontario Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Network. The network serves to support small businesses as they launch, grow or adapt.

Trillium Awards: Cast your virtual vote for the 2021 Community's Choice Award
2021 Trillium Awards - five community choice finalists
The nominations have come in, and now it's time to help the City select the 2021 Community's Choice Award - one of the categories in the annual St. Catharines Trillium Awards.

The St. Catharines Trillium Awards honour residents and organizations committed to making our neighbourhoods more environmentally-friendly, sustainable and beautiful with creative landscaping. While nominations for the 2021 awards closed last month, the City is now inviting residents to cast a virtual vote for the top-five candidates for the Community's Choice Award.

There are three ways to vote for the Community’s Choice Award:

Voting for the award will close on Thursday, July 22.

Nominations for the other awards are being evaluated and judged this month, with winners slated to be announced in August.
City's lifeguard recruitment ongoing
We're hiring! Join our awesome aquatics team with these available opportunities:
  • Head lifeguard
  • Lifeguard/Instructor
  • Aquatics Team Member

Looking to become certified? Courses are available through ActiveSTC (our new program registration platform).

Learn more about these and career opportunities at the City by visiting our employment opportunities page.
Basket of cherries
Buy local, buy fresh at farmers market
Summer is the peak harvest season across Niagara, meaning there is plenty of fresh, local bounty available at the St. Catharines Farmers Market.

The market continues to operate Thursdays, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturdays, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Market Square in downtown St. Catharines. Buy fresh, local foods and handmade items and take in the opportunity to talk with those who grow and produce the meats, fruits, veggies and baked goods that end up on the plate. The market provides a chance to eat fresh, shop local and learn from those in the know.

Don't forget to learn and enjoy with the Market Discovery Table and live entertainment at Music in the Square on Saturdays, through to October.
July 16, 2021
A message from Mayor Walter Sendzik
This weekend we are entering Step 3 of Ontario's re-opening plan, which means more businesses, restaurants and services are opening and ready to welcome you back. This is thanks to all of the hard work of our residents, front-line workers and our community's vaccination efforts - so thank you to everyone for continuing to do your part! 

More City facilities and services are re-opening, permits are being booked for events, the museum is open and the historic Lakeside Park Carousel will re-open. While this is a step forward, I want to remind everyone that public health guidelines remain in effect. It is still mandatory to wear face coverings in public, especially when physical distancing is not possible. If you have not received your COVID-19 vaccine yet, the Seymour-Hannah vaccination clinic is open for walk-in appointments and anyone over 12 years of age can come to the clinic anytime for your first dose. Learn more on Niagara Region's website

While this reopening is positive news, this week we also had some sad news with the loss of the Welland House in downtown St. Catharines, due to a major fire. I want to start by thanking Fire Chief Jeff McCormick and St. Catharines Fire Services for their efforts in keeping our residents safe throughout the fire. I also want to thank the Thorold and Pelham Fire Departments for providing mutual aid and the Niagara Regional Police for their assistance. While the fire was truly devastating, it was remarkable to see the emergency services and community come together to keep everyone safe. 

The Welland House has been a backdrop of the downtown streetscape for more than 150 years. While this is a loss for our community, our commitment to preserving St. Catharines heritage and sharing our history remains strong and we will look for ways to preserve our cultural history after the fire investigation is complete.

Take care and stay safe,
City Council News
Weekend street closures extended

City Council approved expanding the temporary weekend street closures in the downtown core. The decision comes following a request from the St. Catharines Downtown Association and comes at an additional cost of $18,000.

Select roads will be closed Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., along with the original scheduled closures of Friday and Saturdays, from 4 to 11 p.m. The weekend closures will continue through to Oct. 10.
More investments sought for City parks

Councillors have requested the inclusion of $1.5 million for a parks renewal plan in the draft capital budget, until the asset management plan for non-core assets is approved by Council.

A renewal plan will be provided every year to the City’s budget committee, identifying, and prioritizing, required investments in City parks. The City is also going to pursue potential partnerships with school boards for parks renewal projects, as well prepare a package of projects that could be ready for any future federal funding programs.
New round of SCCIP funding approved

Council approved the distribution of $25,394 to the local arts community, as part of the third round of St. Catharines Culture Investment Program funding.

For this third intake, SCCIP applications were accepted at the May 20, 2021 deadline for two programs: the Arts Development Program; and the Culture Builds Community Program.
Following an evaluation by the SCCIP Review Committee, funding approved for the Arts Development Program will be awarded to Music Niagara ($6,000), The Studio – Kim Van Stygeren ($2,394) and Roselyn Kelada-Sedra ($4,000). Funding through the Culture Builds Community Program will be allocated to Silver Spire Church ($4,000), Start Me Up Niagara ($6,000) and Dr. Neivin Shalabi ($3,000).

Another round of funding will take place later this year for the Sustaining – Festival, Arts Development and Culture Builds Community programs. Details can be found at on the City's website.
New benches to be installed at Port Dalhousie piers

Council approved the installation of 12 benches on the west side of the Port Dalhousie piers.

Councillors are requesting at least six benches at the end of the west pier, and six halfway on the pier, capping the cost at $42,000. The benches, which would be permanent, will be funded from the Civic Project Fund.

City staff will also develop a plan to address any bench needs on the east pier.
Designation approved for 26-30 Ontario St.

City Councillors passed the bylaw that officially designated 26-30 Ontario St. – the former Welland House – under the Ontario Heritage Act. Approval of the designation bylaw recognizes the cultural heritage importance of the property dating back to the 1850s.
Development charges to be considered in September

City Council held a public meeting for its development charges background study.

Council voted to adopt the capital forecast in the study, subject to further review during the capital budget process, and to refer the introduction of development charge grant programs to the Sept. 13 Council meeting for consideration at the same time as the final development charge bylaw.

Council approved the addition of a full-time equivalent staff position to administer the program, to be funded from the tax rate stabilization reserve.
City Council aims to replenish Civic Project Fund
Councillors supported a Budget Standing Committee motion aimed at replenishing the Civic Project Fund.

The motion calls for annual usage of the Civic Project Fund for operating budget support to be reduced by 20 per cent of the 2021 level each year from 2023 to 2026, targeting a zero operating budget support from the fund starting in 2027. The annual usage limit on special projects will also be set at 10 per cent of the prior year’s ending balance of the fund, starting in 2023. The motion also calls for the target balance of the fund to be revised to 2 per cent of the City’s net assets.

Any excess hydro dividends will be prioritized to replenish the fund for up to $2.67 million – equal to the amount used to offset COVID-19 related costs in the 2021 operating budget. Beyond that, any further excess funds will be allocated to reserves for green initiatives, building improvements and tax-rate stabilization.

During approval of the BSC minutes, Council also agreed to directing funding of $138,000 – in three equal payments – to Meridian Centre to assist with financial challenges due to COVID-19.
Fee-for-service agreement revised for Niagara Grape and Wine Festival
The City will amend its fee-for-service agreement with the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival for the 2021 season.

The revision comes as the festival modifies its plans for 2021, with plans focused on exploring new partnerships with the downtown and businesses to enhance new event experiences including a Centre Stage at the PAC program and the return of the popular Fall Discovery Pass program.

With the revised programming for the fall, Council approved the $60,000 cash disbursement as was previously set out in the agreement.
Extra Council meeting approved - if required
Council approved the addition of a special Council meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 11 – but only if there is any outstanding business following the regular Monday, Aug. 9 Council meeting. The meeting, if required, would start at 5 p.m.

A regular meeting of Council will be scheduled for Monday, Aug. 30, at 5 p.m.
More Council business online