Aldo DiCarlo

Concession 2 North bridge to be torn down, replaced

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The bowstring arch bridge located on Concession 2 North over the Long Marsh Drain is going to be torn down and replaced.

The bridge, located near River Canard, will be replaced at a cost of approximately $1.2 million with replacement being the recommended option from town administration. According to a report from manager of engineering and operations Todd Hewitt, the new bridge will have a standard design and a 75-year design life.

Town council had two other options – replacement of the bridge with one of a similar design or repairing the current bridge – but opted for replacing it with a standard design. To repair the current bridge would have cost $927,000 but Hewitt said drawbacks of that option would be a 25-30 year probable service life and the fact bridge weight restrictions and width would remain restricted.

To build a new bridge that would look similar to the current bridge, it had a cost estimate of $1.8 million as it is “an extremely complex design to build” and would carry increased lifecycle and maintenance costs.

The issue over the fate of the Concession 2 North bridge arose earlier this year, when costs to maintain the current bridge came in higher than anticipated.

Town council has elected to tear down and replace the Concession 2 North bridge with a new bridge of modern design.

“The 2017 Capital Budget included $364,000 for the rehabilitation and repair of the existing bridge based on the estimate provided in the 2016 Bridge Inspection Report received from Keystone (Bridge Management). Based on a recommendation included in the 2016 Bridge Inspection Report, administration contracted Stantec Consulting to complete a detailed condition report of the existing structure with rehabilitation recommendations. The detailed condition report also included an estimated cost to complete the required rehabilitation work. The estimate in the report from Stantec Consulting was $842,000 plus engineering fees,” said Hewitt, in his report to council.

An RFP was issued and the matter was to be discussed at the May 23 council meeting, however Hewitt noted the town was offered pre-cast bridge beams at a “significantly discounted cost” so the matter was delayed while that option was investigated.

“Through this analysis it was determined that the beams could be used for the bridge structure but that additional work and costs would be incurred by the municipality to use the beams which would result in an overall increase to the RFP contract,” stated Hewitt.

Some of the reasons he listed for the additional costs were the because size of the footing and abutments would need to be increased significantly; the overall excavation would be larger, requiring more sheet piling; the deck surface would be increased resulting in increased materials to

treatments for the deck; the entire bridge would be 300mm higher resulting in additional roadway works and guardrails and that the banks and shoreline of the drain would need to be reshaped.

“This would result in additional costs and possible delays to receive approvals from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF),” Hewitt said. “Based on the information regarding the donated beams administration determined that accepting the donated beams was not a prudent decision that would benefit the town.”

Sisters Carmel and Patricia Ravanello, whose family owns property nearby, had pressed for the preservation of the existing bridge.

A portion of the Concession 2 North bridge is shown decaying.

“I can’t believe that it would have cost $1.2 million to repair/refurbish the existing bridge,” Carmel said in an e-mail to the River Town Times. “I am disappointed with this news not only as someone trying to preserve the history and heritage of River Canard but also as a taxpayer.”

The Ravanello sisters believe it is a historic bridge, with Patricia telling the RTT earlier this year that her research shows it was built in 1938 by the R.J. Blyth Co. She said they had placed an advertisement in The Amherstburg Echo around that time period.

They pointed out the significance of the bridge ranks seven out of ten on a national and local level according to the website www.historicalbridges.org and were hopeful of new ideas. They offered suggestions such as performing “basic maintenance” on the bridge, using it as a pedestrian and cycling bridge and build another bridge next to it for vehicles, close Concession 2 North to through traffic and have no bridge at all.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo believed the option of replacing the bridge with a current design was the most financially prudent way to go. DiCarlo did sympathize with heritage concerns noting he tries to support heritage in Amherstburg, citing the town’s purchase of Belle Vue as an example.

“The bridge was never designated heritage,” he said, adding the town is not in a position financially to spend the extra money to design a new bridge with the look of the current one.

DiCarlo added that refurbishing the old bridge was slightly cheaper but the bridge still would have had the width and weight restrictions plus a reduced lifespan.

“It seemed like a lot to saddle future generations for them to do it again in that short period of time,” he said.

The new bridge will be wider and have more room for pedestrians and cyclists and “I think that’s important to people,” said DiCarlo.

Based on the cost of bridges and culverts not just in Amherstburg but around Essex County, DiCarlo said $1 million “seems to be the going rate.” He added that environmental protections around River Canard may have contributed to the costs of the new bridge as well.

The “Amherst” in “Amherstburg” is causing some debate

 

By Ron Giofu

With reports that British General Jeffrey Amherst endorsed giving disease-infected blankets to Indigenous people, there have also been reports about the future of Amherstburg’s name.

However, the mayor said he has heard few public complaints and believes the town is better known for its accomplishments and inclusiveness over the last 200 years.

“I continue to try and get a meeting with members of the aboriginal community,” Aldo DiCarlo said after Monday night’s council meeting. “I would like their perspective on it.”

DiCarlo added that, as of Monday, “I have heard from very few people interested in changing the name.” He said that while other municipalities in Canada are changing street names and parks, it is more difficult to change the name of an entire town.

“Things like that are simple and straight-forward,” he said, of changing street names and parks.

Acknowledging the historical accounts, DiCarlo said “no one condones what Amherst did in that respect. Absolutely not.” However, he believes Amherstburg’s accomplishments, including being a stop on the Underground Railroad, show the inclusiveness and diversity that the town has been all about in the last two centuries.

“To me, that shows what Amherstburg has done to promote inclusiveness and human rights,” he said.

DiCarlo said the positive things that have occurred in Amherstburg over the years have been pointed out by other residents, most of whom want no part of a name change.

“At the end of the day, something that big would have to come from the residents,” he said.

In the meantime, the mayor added he will “continue to work in the background and see where we stand with the aboriginal community.”

Town council approves basement flooding protection subsidy program

 

 

By RTT Staff

 

Town council has approved a new basement flooding protection subsidy program, but not all residents are impressed by it.

Under the new program, the town will provide a downspout disconnection service to residents on the Amherstburg wastewater collection system free of charge. The town will also provide a financial subsidy to residents on the Amherstburg wastewater collection system to disconnect foundation drains from the sanitary sewer for up to 50 per cent of the cost, to a maximum of $1,000.

The town of Amherstburg has also committed to providing a financial subsidy to residents on the town’s wastewater system for installing backwater valve devices on the internal sanitary plumbing system in existing homes for up to 100 per cent of cost to a maximum of $1,000.

The town will also provide a financial subsidy to residents on the wastewater collection system to install a sump pump overflow to discharge outside to the surface for existing sump pumps. That also can cover up to 100 per cent of the cost to a maximum of $300.

Administration was also directed to develop a program for the mandatory disconnection of downspouts and improper cross connections and report back to council.

. The program is retroactive to Aug. 28, the day McGregor was pounded as part of a heavy rain storm that hit Windsor-Essex County.

McGregor resident Tom Welsh, who has been the victim of multiple floods, didn’t believe $1,000 was enough, saying “this is a band-aid, in my opinion. You are stating you are going to help us, but we are still going to have to fork out $2-3,000.”

Welsh believed the residents should be able to apply for total funding of costs incurred.

Director of engineering and public works Antonietta Giofu said the town’s program is similar to a program offered in Windsor, and that comparisons were made to other local municipalities as well. The public works department also called plumbers in the area and the estimates were similar as well.

CAO John Miceli said that it’s a voluntary program and that the plan is to ask for funding requests during budget time, if needed, to ensure the flooding issues are addressed.

“Members of the community have to apply for the subsidy,” Miceli pointed out.

Councillor Rick Fryer said he wanted more information about water coming from other municipalities and what the entire region is doing to address the flooding problems. He believed a report was necessary on what all municipalities are working towards.

Fryer also suggested better infrastructure to deal with the issue once and for all, and not yearly subsidy programs.

“We’ve got to start taking care of the hamlet of McGregor,” he said.

Giofu countered that studies into the area have shown that major issues in the McGregor area are on private property but the town is willing to work with residents.

Councillor Leo Meloche, a McGregor resident himself, said there are subdivisions in McGregor with small lots and that water is often just drained to neighbouring yards during storms.

“Planning has to address the issue of elevations before we get to the issue of disconnections,” said Meloche, who also expressed concerns about the mandatory disconnections of downspouts.

Welsh reiterated what he and fellow neighbours believe, and that is not enough money is spent in areas like McGregor as opposed to the “core” of Amherstburg.

“I see it as a band-aid. It’s frustrating,” he said of the program. “Something has to be done. I’m not going to finish my downstairs ever again.”

Councillor Jason Lavigne said money was spent by the current council to fix flooding in the urban part of Amherstburg due to a design flaw with a previous project. He said there are no design flaws in McGregor and that Mother Nature “wreaked havoc” with heavy rain.

“To suggest we are doing more for the core than the county, I blatantly disagree with that,” said Lavigne. “I don’t believe it’s neglect. All we can do is offer a subsidy program. We hear you. It might not be enough. We are doing everything we can and we’ll do more if we can.”

“My whole community thinks this way,” Welsh responded. “We get nothing. We pay more taxes than some people on Boblo.”

Miceli indicated more could be done on the infrastructure front.

“What my team is doing is trying to increase design standards for the town. We are not going to wait,” he said. “We want to make sure we have the highest standards in the region.”

The CAO added that while he won’t guarantee that will eliminate flooding, “we are going to take the highest standards to prevent it.”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said after the meeting that numbers contained in the program “seem to compare with actual costs” and called it “a good starting point for the town.” He said the town wants to work with individual residents to resolve flooding issues and those requests could come immediately.

“I fully expect residents will contact public works and they will get on it as soon as they can,” said DiCarlo.

The mayor added the new program “may not fix the problems but we have to look at mitigating them as best we can.”

Legion Week gets started with parade and awards

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Legion Week began in Amherstburg last Saturday morning with the annual parade with some awards and medals following.

The parade took place Saturday and left from in behind General Amherst High School and went down to the Cenotaph where a “drum head” service took place. It was explained by Zone Sgt. At Arms Richard Girard that in times of conflict, pipe bands that were utilized often piled their drums so that ministers could use them for altars when needed.

That was re-enacted Saturday morning with the aid of the Sun Parlour Pipes and Drums with Rev. Maynard Hurst blessing the drum head. Hurst also recognized the veterans and those who served, as well as Rev. John Burkhart.

Burkhart, Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157’s regular chaplain, couldn’t attend Saturday’s service due to his health.

As part of the Legion Week parade, a drum head ceremony was held Saturday at the Cenotaph.

Legion Br. 157 recognized the people who saw it move to its current location, as president Laurie Cavanaugh pointed out Legion members talked about making things easier for the Ladies Auxiliary. The Ladies Auxiliary previously had to go up flights of stairs with food after preparing meals at home but the Legion was able to address that need in 1981 and the current design of the Legion was created.

Cavanaugh added the Legion has always been thankful of its volunteers, and that continued today.

“It’s about the volunteers,” she said. “We are thankful to our volunteers. Thank you to everyone who comes and helps out at the Legion and to everyone who showed up (for Saturday’s Legion Week ceremonies).”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said there are those in the public who only realize what the Legion does on Remembrance Day but pointed out the Legion does good things for people in the community every other day of the year as well. He encouraged other people in the community to join the Legion.

“If you are not a member, please become one,” he said.

Charles Goodchild was recognized for his 60 years as part of the Legion. Patti Hayes, executive assistant to Essex MPP Taras Natyshak, presents him with a certificate.

DiCarlo thanked the Legion and those who fought for Canada for what they have done for the town and country.

“We will be forever in your debt,” he said.

Among the associate members recognized for ten years of service were Judith Bondy, Jacqueline Carroll, Sheila Meunier, Brian Sukarukoff and Amber Turner.

Warde Yorke and Richard Girard salute during the Sept. 16 Legion Week ceremony at the Cenotaph.

Those reaching the 15-year mark as an associate member are Tracy Beaudoin, Ronald Haystead, Alvin Jackson, Marguerite Jones, Virginia Moore, James Repaye and John Purdie. Recognized for 20 years are Tim DeHetre, Ed Delisle, Gerald Langlois, Linda McCourt, M.J. McLean, J.R. Murray and Pete Reid.

Those reaching the 25-year milestone as an associate member are Brian Barrett, Ronald Belward, Jennifer Brunett, Margaret Cote, John Richard Crozier, John Gorgerat and David Iler. Hitting the 30-year milestone are Bea Gibb, Janet Martlin, Peter McEwen and JoAnn Mooney.

Recognized for 35 years as an associate member are Marion DeCarlo and Randy Fox while 40 year pins went to Val DiPierdomenico, Kathryn Lancop, Charles Sanford and Robert Vance.

Linda McCort (left) and Pat Amlin (right) present Richard Girard and Charles Goodchild with watches in recognition of their Korean War service.

Awards to affiliate voting members went to Peter Thyrring (10 years) and Albert Beneteau, Carol Cormier, Michael Duby, Carl Gibb, William McLean, D. Ross and Michael Sullivan (20 years).

Pins for ordinary members went to Bryan Giles and Frederick Wilkinson for their 10 years of service, Fifteen-year pins went to Cornelis Heeren, Leo Lapage, Terrance Sawchuk and Jeff Turner, while Bart DiPasquale, Nick Hertlein, Reg Major, Marcel Pare and John Walsh will receive 20-year pins. Chris Bebbington will be recognized for 25 years as an ordinary member while Gary Rung will be honoured for 30 years. Recognized for 35 years will be Lori Parent and Richard St. Aubin while W.C. Briand and M.R. Hagarty will be recognized for 45 years.

Linda McCort (left) presents Pat Waugh with a pin for her 55 years of service to the Ladies Auxiliary.

Charles Goodchild was on hand to receive his 60 year pin, with Nadine Abiraad and Patti Hayes making presentations to him on behalf of Essex MP Tracey Ramsey and Essex MPP Taras Natyshak respectively.

Goodchild and Girard were also presented with watches as part of the Royal Canadian Legion’s recognition of Korean War veterans.

The Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 colour guard also received Legion Volunteer Service Medals.

The Ladies Auxiliary honoured Pat Waugh for her 55 years of service while Vera Botting was recognized for her 25 years of service. Kris Martin, Mary Ann Hasson, Bea Gibb and Ruth Ann Rocheleau were honoured for their 20 years of service to the L.A., while Dianne Breault, Debbie Sullivan and Jeannine Theriault were honoured for 15 years of service.

Melissa Pelletier, Linda McCort and Pat Sheardown were recognized for ten years of service while Mary Ann Brooker was honoured for five years of service.