Merritton Development Update #9

Big plans remain for Lybster Mill site in Merritton 12

By Doug Herod, The Standard

Forever etched in my memory is standing in the middle of the old vacant Domtar factory in the spring of 2004 and listening to new owner Donatelli talk of his desire to eventually transform a section of the sprawling plant into an upscale inn. To which I thought: “Huh???”
Should have known better than to doubt the developer who a few years earlier had transformed a dilapidated old industrial structure on Glendale Ave. into what would become The Keg building.
So I’m prepared to give the proprietor of the Stone Mill Inn the benefit of the doubt for a project that some might term grandiose.

Here’s the sketch:
There’s an underground, 35-vehicle parking garage left over from Domtar days that is adjacent to the north side of the Lybster Mill building. It’s an 11,000-square-foot footprint, said Donatelli, that his engineers tell him can support an eight-storey building.
One floor could accommodate 10 units averaging 1,000 square feet, which would translate into a total of 80 units.
The location is a good fit for a major residential complex, he noted, because of the neighbouring commercial establishments that are within easy walking distance.

“We’re not talking Port Dalhousie multi-million-dollar per unit. We’re talking $250,000 to $350,000 per unit. It’s what works in the community, it’s what’s affordable,” he said.

Let’s be clear here. This project isn’t happening next week. There are a number of hurdles.
First of all, CN still owns the land behind the Lybster Mill where once a spur line ran atop a berm on the property.

That land is needed to provide all the parking required for the condo development.
Donatelli said he’s not concerned about reaching an agreement with CN for the 3.5-acre strip of land from the main CN line (near Elm St.) to Glendale Ave. More problematic is dealing with he what says is the million tons of stone in the doomed berm.
He said he needs to find buyers for the stone in order for the property’s purchase price to make sense.

As for any city planning issues, Donatelli doesn’t foresee difficulties.
“The height restriction is four storeys, but they’re happy to see me go eight,” he said of the city.

Judy Pihach, St. Catharines’ manager of planning services, said nothing has been formally submitted, making it difficult to comment on how the proposal might be ultimately received by city planners.
However, given its location near major roads and commercial activity, Pihach said she’s “cautiously optimistic” the development would be in line with the city’s residential growth plans.

If it does eventually fly, the development may not be Donatelli’s.
“I need a break. I don’t know whether I’m going to just plan it and let somebody else do it. Nine-and-a-half years of making this work is exhausting.”

Tragedy of the Commons

It is not often that something stirs emotion in me similar to those emotions felt when a close family member or friend passes away. I definitely know this is going to sound foolish but I admit that I felt those emotions today and they were not related to the death of someone close to me. In fact, they were related to the sight I witnessed as I was driving home from Christmas shopping for my wife and two young daughters, Morgan and Gracie.  As I approached a place in the heart of Merritton and a place that for the majority of the past three decades (since 1983) I had called home, my eyes betrayed me with the above image and my heart dropped in my chest. At the corner of Merritt Street and Maple Crest, across from where I live, workers were just finishing cutting down a blackberry tree that had been there for longer than me or anyone else I know in the area.

Memories than flooded my mind. I was transported back to my childhood in the late 1980s and early1990s. First, I saw pictures of myself  7 or 8 years old, riding my first bike back from the abandoned car wash that now houses JLS Auto, while eating berries from the tree, and then using my bike's tires to smash the blackberries from that tree all over the sidewalk -leaving a streak of 10 to 15 feet. Then images flashed before my eyes of me, years later as a 12 or 13 year old. Only now, I could see myself walking past the tree getting frustrated as the berries stuck to the bottom of my shoes. The last memories of the tree, and perhaps the saddest one and the reason why I am writing this post, is the memories I had at the tree last year. My neighbour and I, took my daughter Morgan and his son Cole, to the tree to pick some of the berries to eat. The tree has always been extremely healthy and the abundances of berries were sufficient for anyone who wanted them in the neighbourhood. Our kids loved the berries and the fact that they could pick them. This is why I am not happy that the trees was cut down.

Besides occasionally writing posts concerning Merritton, I also serve as Co-Chair of the St.Catharines Green Committee -appointed to a 4 year term by St.Catharines City Council. The mandate of the committee is to beautify, restore, and green the city. We have undertaken and partnered on these types of projects, included the planting of thousands of trees, with organization like the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and Climate Action Niagara. I do feel that every tree is important. I also understand that the owner of the property has a right to cut the tree down considering its location was on his private property. To reiterate, it is just a tragedy of the commons. I just always thought of them as my commons and never thought they would be my daughter's. Now they are and that's the tragedy.

David Haywood

Since the majority of trees are located on private property, should St.Catharines City Council have more control on when, why, and how trees are cut down in the city? Email your thoughts to



Built in 1965, HMCS Ojibwa is Canada's last Oberon class Cold War submarine. It patrolled Canada's north Atlantic until it was decommissioned in 1998.


The 295-foot-long submarine was being towed from the Heddle Marine Shipyard in Hamilton through the canal to Port Burwell.

Onlookers pressed up against fences at Lock 1, stood shoulder to shoulder on the Homer Bridge, crammed a viewing platform at Lock 3 and dotted trails at all points in between.

Niagara Regional Police set up cruisers in high-traffic areas due to heavy numbers of pedestrians crossing roads like Lakeshore.

Side streets were crammed with cars and the shoulder of the Welland Canal Parkway was a parking lot as sub hunters staked out their spots for a closeup view.

In May, it was towed from Halifax through the St. Lawrence Seaway to Hamilton, where it was repainted.

On Sunday, it began its journey on a barge towed by two tug boats to Lake Erie, where it will find a home at the Elgin Military Museum of Naval History.



Eggs thrown as cadets guard cenotaph

By Jeff Bolichowski, The Standard
An egg chucked as cadets guarded the Merritton cenotaph on the eve of Remembrance Day has a local cadet corps fuming.
At least one egg was hurled the night before the ceremony, when four cadets from the 68th Niagara and Welland Regiment were guarding the cenotaph overnight, say two women who witnessed the incident. Nobody was hit, but the moment has parents and officers shaking their heads.
“I was actually amazed at how ignorant people can be,” said Mary Novarro, the sergeant-at-arms for Royal Canadian Legion Branch 138 Merritton, who was there when the egg was thrown.
She said she saw a car go by and chuck a single egg in the cenotaph’s direction. She said it hit a sidewalk and shot towards a nearby building.
“I don’t think they realized we’re not supporting the wars that happened,” she said. “We’re trying to remember people who died during the wars.”
Nancy Monych, who heads up the cadet group’s parent committee, said she saw more than one egg thrown. She said she was picking up pieces of shell the next morning.
The cadets, she said, didn’t move. “Those kids stood there, at guard, heads down and didn’t move a muscle,” she said.
But she said some were rattled.
“They were really upset, actually. I cannot believe that anyone would come to a cenotaph and egg when they’re honouring fallen soldiers and those who are serving.”
Monych said it’s the first time she has heard of it happening, “and I’m there all the time.”
Monych and Novarro said they didn’t report the egging to police, but Niagara Regional Police spokesman Derek Watson said it would likely qualify as a mischief.
The cadets kept on standing guard through the incident, said Capt. Karen Baschuk, the cadet corps’s commanding officer. She said she was told of the egging after it happened.
“My kids rise up to the occasion. It doesn’t falter them at all,” she said.
She figured the egging was an isolated incident and said it may have been thrown at the adults in the area. But she nevertheless chafed at the fact the egg was thrown at all.
“I think it’s atrocious,” she said. “People need to know that could have been their kid out there on Remembrance Day.”




 Carnival Rides All Weekend
Massive Fireworks Display
Sunday Night September 2, 2012
Merritton Labour Day Parade

Monday September 3, 2012
Parade Assembles at the Pen Centre Glendale Ave.
Parade moves out at 11:00 AM sharp!

The Route follows Glendale Ave east to Hartzel Rd. then north on Hartzel Rd. to Seymour St. east to Carnival Grounds at Merritton Community Centre
To enter a float or other unit in the Parade

Please Contact: Lion Jeff White
7 Acadia Cres. St. Catharines ON L2P 1H7 905-682-0142

Major Draw - $5,000; IPad; Ice Dog Tickets; Bar Fridge
Carnival Hours: Fri. 5 - 10 PM / Sat 12 - 10 PM / Sun 12 - 10 PM / Mon 12 - 7 PM
Lioness Nickel Sale - Draw for 40" LCD TV

Friday 8 to 1 am - Beef on a Bun / Dance
Sunday Fireworks after Dark - Approximately 9:45 PM
Monday - Parade 11 AM / Beer Garden / Bingo 1 to 6 PM
Major Prize Draws 7:00 PM

Order Your Ride Bracelets Online Save $4.00


Merritton City Councillors Missing In Action

The thank you cake provided by the Merritton Community Group
On July 1st, 2012, the Merritton Community Group held a sign dedication ceremony to thank everyone who had helped raise funds for the new Merritton Community sign.  The sign is located west of the entrance to the Keg restaurant on Glendale Avenue in the heart of Merritton.

Those being honoured included Tony and Sheila Morra, The Merritton Community Group, the Merritton Lions and Lioness', and Dr. Thomas Pekar. Another contributor that was to be honoured (but was absent) was City Councillor and Merritton Ward representative Jenny Stevens. Additionally, Merritton's other Ward Representative on City Council, Jeff Birch was also missing in action (M.I.A).

Maybe one or both Merritton Ward Representatives were busy with other events considering it was not only Canada's Day but also the Sunday of the long weekend (calls to their favorite watering holes the Dog Pound - Jenny Stevens; and Player's -Jeff Burch were not successful in locating them). Fortunately, City of St.Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan, who consistently attends almost all events in ALL six wards within the city, was in attendance for this excellent occasion.

Unfortunate and for reasons unknown, both Councillors Stevens and Burch normally do not attend events held by the Merritton Community Group. This is based on my own personal experience during the past two years which I have covered the Merritton Community Group's monthly meetings and open houses. At these events, I have never seen either Councillor Jenny Stevens or Councillor Jeff Burch in attendance. Maybe they were busy planning their annual Fireworks for the Merritton Labour Day Weekend Carnival. Hopefully, both Merritton Ward leaders realize that their attention and attendance at the numerous events held within our wonderful ward is needed more than once a year. Merritton, including all it's residents, businesses, and community groups, do not just wake-up for the labour day weekend to attend the carnival and accompanying fireworks and then hibernate for the rest of the year until the events come rolling around again the following year.
- David Haywood

Those being honoured pose for a picture in front of the Merritton Sign they helped raise funds for.



Here are some fanastic pics of the drained Welland Canal being worked on. Every year this sight can be seen in Merritton.

All pics courtesy of Peter Power/Globe and Mail