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Pelham dismisses planning director Barb Wiens

Barbara Wiens served in her role for with Pelham for nearly nine years
Now-former director of community planning and development, Barbara Wiens, in September 2023.

Pelham Town Council has dismissed the Town’s Director of Community Planning and Development, Barbara Wiens, with immediate effect.

The decision was taken at a special meeting called by Mayor Marvin Junkin on Monday afternoon, May 27.

In a brief statement sent to PelhamToday, the Town announced Wiens’ departure, saying that she was “no longer employed with the Town effective Monday, May 27, 2024.” Asked for additional comment, Town Communications Specialist Leah Letford said that “nothing further” would be forthcoming.

“On behalf of the corporation, we wish to thank Director Wiens for her service to the residents of Pelham and wish her well in future endeavours,” said Town of Pelham CAO David Cribbs in the statement.

Wiens was in the job for eight years and nine months, and oversaw a transformative change in Pelham’s formerly rural character as successive Town Councils authorized ever-larger development projects, principally in the area that became known as East Fonthill, as well as the introduction of industrialized cannabis production in Fenwick. The Town’s East Fonthill development policies drew heavy criticism in 2017-2018, leading to a complete change of government in the 2018 election.

Wiens was the principal planner for Niagara-on-the-Lake from 2002 to 2012, leaving to join a private consulting group before taking the position in Pelham. 

Speaking to the Voice of Pelham in 2017, East Fonthill developer Rainer Hummel, whose company is based in St. Davids, praised Wiens' professionalism.

["Pelham] is very, very fortunate to have Barb Wiens as the Director of Planning," Hummel said. "You're very lucky to have her. She was a huge loss to us in Niagara-on-the-Lake. She's a very, very solid, very honest, honest planner. I don't think she'll last there."

Town Hall's statement said that the Town will continue to provide services to the community through the “dedicated staff of the Community Planning and Development department while a candidate search is underway.”

PelhamToday understands that interim Town Clerk William Tigert will assume Wiens’ duties until a new Planning Director is hired.

Mayor Marvin Junkin did not respond to a request for comment by time of publication. All councillors were contacted, with only Councillor Kevin Ker responding that he would have no further comment “on this particular event.”



Dave Burket

About the Author: Dave Burket

Dave Burket is Editor of PelhamToday. Dave is a veteran writer and editor who has worked in radio, print, and online in the US and Canada for some 40 years.
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