News

“Powerlifting Pastor” now at Lighthouse Church

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

There is a new pastor at Lighthouse Church and his name is Dr. Adrian Ninaber.

He also has the nickname of the “Powerlifting Pastor.”

Ninaber became the new pastor at the church June 4. His most previous stop was Harvest Bible Chapel in Windsor, a church with 600 members. He said his first service had about 35 people, but noted he plans on building up the church’s membership.

“I’ve grown to like Amherstburg,” said Ninaber.

Ninaber, who lives in LaSalle, said he came to Amherstburg for a fireworks show and liked the community-oriented environment.

“The community is excellent,” he said, noting he has already met many people in town including other faith leaders. “It’s a great community. I’ve just really enjoyed meeting people. I’ve never been in a community where people walk up to you and engage you in such a friendly way. It’s awesome.”

Ninaber has spent the last 35 years as a pastor and has done so from the Maritimes to British Columbia.

“I’ve pastored across Canada,” he said, adding the last 23 years has been spent in his home province of Ontario. He was born in Barrie and grew up in the Bramalea/Brampton area.

In addition to being a pastor, Ninaber also lifts weights competitively. He will be heading to the national championships in Columbus, Missouri June 25.

Dr. Adrian Ninaber is the new pastor at Lighthouse Church. He began his new position June 4.

Dr. Adrian Ninaber is the new pastor at Lighthouse Church. He began his new position June 4.

“They call me the ‘Powerlifting Pastor’,” he said. “When I go down to the water, I pick up the anchor for kicks.”

Ninaber said he started weightlifting in high school and it stopped other kids from picking on him. It also boosted his self-esteem.

“Weightlifting gave me a sense of confidence and authority,” he said.

After letting weightlifting go for several years, he hit the gym again in the early 1990’s and also trains other people to lift. His best squat is 500 pounds, his best deadlift is 600 pounds and his top bench press is 365 pounds.

Through weightlifting, he has also helped other men through life difficulties as they would go for coffee after training in the gym and discuss their life issues and difficulties.

“I believe following God is a discipline and lifting weights is a discipline,” said Ninaber.

In addition to Sunday services, Ninaber said he and wife Rose will offer grief and divorce recovery programs. He said he has run similar programs in the area already and has met people from Amherstburg.

The church was for sale, he added, but stated it is now off the market. The church has raised $11,000 towards a new roof and Ninaber said he has spoken with a Christian businessman who is also willing to donate.
Noting he has helped smaller churches with renovation projects in the past, Ninaber said he plans on continuing that at Lighthouse Church and his three sons – Josh, Jonathan and Joel – will help him put the new roof on the church.

Lighthouse Church is located at 266 King St., at Gore St.

Public feedback gathered on proposal for Duffy’s land

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

With Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn in the process of being torn down, the town held a public consultation session to gauge what the public thinks of redevelopment plans.

The public consultation session was held last Thursday evening at the Libro Centre where people got a chance to view the renderings of the plans the town has developed for the waterfront property.

“Nothing has been set in stone,” CAO John Miceli pointed out, stating the purpose of the meeting was simply “the start of a conversation.”

The concept plans developed by the town and its consultant – Dan Krutsch of Landmark Engineering – were on display around the community room with a 500-seat amphitheatre, marina, boat ramp, fishing wharf, service buildings and plazas among the proposals put forth. Miceli said the town wanted to bring those plans to the public to see if that is what citizens want and if there are any changes desired to what has been proposed.

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Members of the public view concept drawings for what the Duffy’s property could look like during a June 15 meeting at the Libro Centre.

While additional public meetings are planned, Miceli said he would like to see the town move forward on the project later this year.

“My goal is to have it presented as part of the 2018 capital works budget,” he said.

Costs range from $5 million to $6.5 million and by moving along with the process, it allows the town to pursue grant funding. Final costs will be determined once all the components of the project are decided upon.

Timing for how fast the project will be completed centres around cash.

“It really is going to depend on funding,” he said.

Local resident Pat Catton questioned where boat trailers would park. While there is space for boat trailers on the drawings, Miceli acknowledged previous concerns about boat trailer parking and congestion when the Duffy’s boat ramp was open. There may be opportunities for boat trailer parking, though Miceli noted some opportunities were a bit farther away than the town desires.

“We’re hoping to hear from the boaters to hear what they have to say,” said Miceli.

A relocated Boblo ferry dock being included in the drawings was also a source of questions. Krutsch explained that moving it would allow for owner Dominic Amicone to be able to better develop his lands. The wharf would also help shield the dock from ice.

Pat Catton and Gord Freeman review drawings of the proposed Duffy’s  redevelopment last Thursday evening at the Libro Centre.

Pat Catton and Gord Freeman review drawings of the proposed Duffy’s
redevelopment last Thursday evening at the Libro Centre.

Catton wondered why the town would have to partner with a private property owner but Krutsch replied that there is no need to partner with anyone and that it was added in case some kind of partnership was of interest. Miceli noted preliminary talks have taken place with Amicone.

No programming decisions have been finalized, Miceli noted, adding his belief the development could boost the downtown core. It could act as a “festival plaza” and boost the area.

“This was the vision that allowed us to go ahead with acquiring the property,” said Miceli.

The town’s Official Plan calls for the acquisition of waterfront lands when they become available. He believes there will be at least an eight to 12 month approval process before anything could be developed.

Susan Whelan asked about the number of studies that have been done on the site, noting there haven’t been any major developments there for many years. Fuel was also used on site in the past, she added. She said she supported making the site beautiful and intertwining it with the neighbourhood but wanted assurances the land was checked out.

The land and existing buildings were assessed by Golder Associates, Miceli replied, and that the purchase price of the property was reduced to deal with some of the issues found.

“Most of the issues are in the older portion,” Miceli noted, in reference to the restaurant portion, which has not yet been demolished.

Food truck owner Carolyn Parent asked about such vehicles in the development, with Miceli saying his vision is for special events. Krutsch pointed out that could simply be one use of the site, with craft shows, tents and other events also possible.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said the concept plans are the current ideas the town has come up with.

“This is the culmination of what we’ve been doing up to now,” he said.

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DiCarlo said there are limitations on what Navy Yard Park can be used for due to its passive nature and while there are events at Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada, there are restrictions there too. Downtown businesses also have voiced concerns that they have difficulty pulling people from Fort Malden so having festival space downtown could translate into more businesses gaining customers.

The town wants “one fluid plan” on how to develop the area, he added. The biggest thing the mayor said he has heard is about how fast the land could be developed.

Local real estate agent Ron Deneau congratulated the town on “one of the best purchases you ever made.” He believed the land being acquired for the money the town paid for it (final price being $1.115 million) “will be looked at as one of the nicest purchases you ever made.”

Local resident Paul Pietrangelo was in favour of the development.

“I love the idea,” he said. “I think it’s beautiful.”

Pietrangelo joked that “I hope I can see it before I die.”

Noting his love of Navy Yard Park, he added the Duffy’s land would be a good complement to that.

“It’ll bring a lot of people to Amherstburg even more,” he believed.

Belle Vue plans discussed at public consultation meeting

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A public consultation meeting held to discuss plans for the 200-year-old Belle Vue property saw the bulk of the discussion be on what surrounds the mansion rather than the mansion itself.

The meeting was held last Thursday night at the Libro Centre, following a separate public meeting on the Duffy’s property. The number of general public in attendance rivaled that of actual Belle Vue Conservancy members in the audience but that didn’t stop visions and ideas from floating around during the meeting.

CAO John Miceli said the town has made up concept drawings for the home and its seven-acre Dalhousie St. site but told the audience the town still wanted feedback. The concept plans call for a restored home that could be used for such things as a conference centre, outdoor gardens and lighted walking trails, a greenhouse, parking areas and a band shell.

David May takes a look at one of the renderings of what a restored Belle Vue property could look like.

David May takes a look at one of the renderings of what a restored Belle Vue property could look like.

“It’s a vision of what we thought we were going to do and what we could do but it is not etched in stone,” said Miceli.

There is a heritage designation on the facade of the building but not on the interior, but Miceli indicated that doesn’t preclude the town from trying to save portions of the interior. Architect Carmen Brunone from Architecttura Inc. pointed out that due to the numerous renovations Belle Vue has gone through in its 200-year history, a period of time had to be chosen for when the Belle Vue will be restored to. The building will look like it did in the 1920’s, he added.

“Our goal is to reproduce what is there,” added Miceli.

The town has applied for a Parks Canada grant that applies to heritage sites and due to the site having been in the top ten for endangered historical sites in Canada, Miceli believes that will lend support to the town’s grant application. The town hopes for $1 million with the Belle Vue Conservancy planning to raise another $1 million so that work on the building can be done in a substantial fashion. The overall plan, including grounds, could top $9 million.

An architecutrual rendering of the rear of the Belle Vue property, complete with revamped gardens, is shown here. The gardens were one of the items of discussion at a public meeting last Thursday night.

An architecutrual rendering of the rear of the Belle Vue property, complete with revamped gardens, is shown here. The gardens were one of the items of discussion at a public meeting last Thursday night.

“I’m encouraged to know we are probably going to know by September (about the grant),” the CAO stated. “I’m very hopeful. It is a logical choice but I don’t know what the federal government is going to do.”

Miceli added he “feels very strongly it’s going to happen.”

A suggestion to use St. Clair College students to help maintain the site was made, with Miceli adding the town has a good relationship with the college. A deal to have St. Clair College purchase the site fell through over a year ago and Miceli said the college has now gone in a different direction.

“We’re definitely going to be knocking on every door and looking at every opportunity we can get,” said Miceli.

As for the gardens, Miceli said his vision is for period gardens with Brunone adding his view that themed gardens could be placed there.

Miceli added he would like to see an entry point to Belle Vue created off of Sandwich St. S. as opposed to Dalhousie St., due to Sandwich St. being the main thoroughfare.

“We do not want to run traffic down the residential area of Dalhousie St.,” he said.

Conservancy vice president Carolyn Davies suggested a tie in with the Fort Covington property just south of the police station.

An architectural rendering of what the front of a restored Belle Vue could look like. (Special to the RTT)

An architectural rendering of what the front of a restored Belle Vue could look like. (Special to the RTT)

“I think this rivals Willistead (Manor in Windsor),” said local resident Gord Freeman.

Freeman envisioned the first floor as a conference centre with a restaurant on the second floor to support that.

“I think it’s an ideal set up for that,” said Freeman.

Family gatherings and weddings could also be held at a restored Belle Vue, Freeman continued.

“I think it’s wonderful,” he said. “It’s a jewel. This would be at one end of town and Fort Malden at the other.”

More public meetings are planned for later this year, Miceli stated, as he said “we want to make sure we get it right.”

The town is in the midst of trying to win $60,000 through the National Trust for Canada’s contest found at www.thisplacematters.ca with the Belle Vue Conservancy also raising funds through events and the site www.amherstburg.ca/donate.

Grondin family honours their past through new craft brewery venture

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Grondin family has spent 150 years on their land at the corner of County Road 20 and Howard Ave. and plan to celebrate with a few beers.

That plan further calls for that beer to be made by themselves.

Greg, Cathy, Dwayne and Jen Grondin are in the process of opening G.L. Heritage Brewery with the actual craft brewery and tasting room being at 8728 Howard Ave., just north of the Malden Community & Cultural Centre.

Grondin family honours their past through new craft brewery venture

Dwayne, Jen, Cathy, and Greg Grondin are founding GL Heritage Brewing Company at their Century Farm on Howard Ave., near County Road 20. They hope to be open in mid-July.

Greg said the idea was hatched when he and Dwayne were enjoying a craft beer in his garage with Jen pointing out that was in November 2015. Soon after, they purchased a small commercial unit and transferred the garage into a “research and development” facility. The first brew came New Year’s Day 2016 and throughout the year, about 50 batches were produced where the recipes were tested and refined.

“All of our recipes are our own, tried and true,” she said.

The family had to wait as the town updated its Official Plan and zoning bylaw to officially allow the craft brewery but that is now complete with construction in the home stretch at the craft brewery and tasting room. Greg noted in addition to the tasting room itself, the building has two accessible washrooms, a covered patio area, green space outside of it, a view of the brewery, office space and a lab not to mention the actual brewery itself.

In all, the building is roughly 2,800 square feet.

“We’ve been trying to perfect four recipes,” Greg said, with those recipes being Blonde, Rye, California Common and Stout. A fifth recipe is planned for the fall.

“We plan on producing seasonal beers throughout the year,” Jen added.

The Grondin family has spent 150 years on the land, encompassing seven generations, and wanted to do something to further establish themselves on the property.

“It’s special to us to say on Canada’s birthday that we have a Centennial farm property with the same amount of years,” said Jen.

The location is also a good one, they believe, for a craft brewery as it is close to the local wine trail and Amherstburg Farmers Market.

Grondin family honours their past through new craft brewery venture.

Dwayne, Jen, Cathy, and Greg Grondin are founding GL Heritage Brewing Company at their Century Farm on Howard Ave., near County Road 20. They hope to be open in mid-July.

“We thought it would be great to support tourism and further support the town,” said Jen. “We all grew up here and we are proud of the town.”

Dwayne pointed out while their grain is brought in from an Ontario-based producer, the barley is grown on site.

“It makes it a true, on site, agricultural based brewery,” said Jen.

The initial plan is to have people try their product on site and sell it from there, with local businesses also asking about whether they could sell the beer as well.

The town has been very supportive of their plans, the Grondins say, as are local tourism officials. They hope to be open in mid-July with hours being Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

“We are a small, local family business and we are OK with keeping it that way for a while,” said Jen. “We have jobs outside of this and we have to make sure we establish that balance.”

Greg pointed out the name also has a historical tie to it as Heritage Tire was originally known as GL Heritage Motors. Founders included Greg and Dwayne’s father Don Grondin and Paul Lepine. Their logo also depicts Don Grondin and Paul Lepine.

Their website is www.glheritagebrewing.ca and they can also be found on Facebook by searching “GL Heritage Brewing Company.” Their phone number is 519-736-7361.

Horticultural Society, visitors enjoy “excellent” Garden Tour

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The 32nd annual Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society (AFMHS) Garden Tour was held on the weekend and the final verdict is a positive one.

“I thought it was an excellent Garden Tour,” said AFMHS president Dr. Allan Halowski. “I thought all of the gardens this year were absolutely unique and breathtaking. All of the gardens were very, very spectacular.”

A wide variety of gardens were on display during the 32nd annual Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society Garden Tour. It was held last Friday night and Saturday.

A wide variety of gardens were on display during the 32nd annual Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society Garden Tour. It was held last Friday night and Saturday.

Ten private gardens were featured on this year’s tour with all but one of them being in either the former Anderdon or Malden townships. Lot sizes differed and ranged from subdivision style lots to more rural themes. The tour ran Friday evening and all-day Saturday.

“You got to see all of the different types of lifestyles of the gardeners,” said Halowski. “It was great.”

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Halowski said he received positive feedback from people on the tour. He credits the gardeners and volunteers for their efforts, and presented gifts to members of the horticultural society’s executive during a VIP reception Saturday night.

“It’s not a magical thing that just happened,” he said of the Garden Tour, noting a lot of work goes into finding the private gardens and maintaining the public gardens. He thanked the private gardeners for their hard work in maintaining their own lands.

Halowski added that “the process begins today for next year.”

Attendance was down this year with roughly 243 people attending the Garden Tour but Halowski believes there are a lot of events in the same boat. He said there are so many different events that it takes away from other events.

“The weather was conducive to being good this year,” he said.

Greg and Lisa Cavers visited Amherstburg for the tour and the Kingsville residents liked what they saw.

“It’s been awesome so far,” said Lisa. “I just love how individual the gardens are. There’s a lot of thought behind it.”

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Greg added there are small and large lots and that gave the show variety. He added the Garden Tour was well run.

Lisa added that “it’s been a while” since they had been to the Garden Tour but “we’re glad we came.”

Heather and Paul Jones, also of Kingsville, said it was their first time on the tour and they were looking for ideas for their own garden.

“We’re just happy to be here,” said Paul. “It’s helpful to see what others have done and what is possible.”

There was a contrast between gardens, Heather added.

“You are getting a good variety,” she added. “There are options to see at each one.”