Bob Rozankovic

Council approves 14-day extension for Rotary Ribfest signs

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Rotary Club’s Ribfest will get 28 days to display signs after all.

After originally being turned down a month ago, town council did an about face and voted 5-1 to allow a 14-day extension for Ribfest signs. Instead of the ten signs the Rotary Club has for Ribfest going up for 14 days, they will now go up for 28 days.

A delegation request from economic development advisory committee chair Bob Rozankovic was refused, with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo citing information learned at an in-camera training session about already having dealt with the matter as the reason. However, council waived rules of order and Councillor Leo Meloche made the motion to allow the extension.

Meloche said the Rotary Club has been “very good to the community” and that they bring value to the community. He said council regularly grants variances and similar requests and believed there was a “humanitarian aspect” that had to be considered in the Ribfest’s case.

Councillor Rick Fryer wanted administration to study what other municipalities do and how long they allow similar signage. He said there was “no slight to Rotary” but if every group were to have the bylaw waived, there was no point to having a bylaw.

Members of the Rotary Ribfest Committee, an event that operates under the umbrella of the Amherstburg Rotary Club, are disappointed with the guidelines they have to operate under to comply with the sign bylaw. Town council upheld the current sign bylaw at the March 20 meeting.

Members of the Rotary Ribfest Committee, an event that operates under the umbrella of the Amherstburg Rotary Club, are disappointed with the guidelines they have to operate under to comply with the sign bylaw. Town council upheld the current sign bylaw at the March 20 meeting.

“We do have obligations we do need to adhere to,” said Fryer.

Fryer said he ultimately voted in favour of the request due to timing issues, as there wouldn’t be enough time this year for administration to bring back the information he requested and allow the Ribfest committee to proceed with their plans.

Fryer added he was in favour of seeing what other municipalities do and being consistent. He did like the fact there were ten locations with the signs professionally done, adding it will be aesthetically pleasing for people like Communities in Bloom judges.

DiCarlo believes the signage issue will keep coming up, noting there will be a balancing act between promoting events and keeping the community “clean and uncluttered.” He said the Ribfest request was for a specific type of signage and that the town knows where and how many signs will be erected.

“We’re obviously pleased with the outcome,” added Amherstburg Rotary Club president Laura George. We appreciate council taking the time to hear our concerns again.”

Having the support of the economic development advisory committee helped keep the issue in the forefront, she added, and said “it’s with their support we feel we’re successful.”

George also said the backing of Meloche “has been extremely powerful and greatly appreciated.

“We hope our efforts have opened council’s eyes and they will look into this bylaw further,” George added. “As for us, we’ll be focusing our efforts and attention on this year’s Ribfest July 7, 8 and 9.”

Amherstburg police switching dispatch services to Windsor

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Police Service will be dispatched out of Windsor by year’s end with a cost savings also coming as part of a new five-year agreement with the city.

The Amherstburg Police Services Board agreed at its meeting last week that the Windsor Police Service be awarded a five-year contract for dispatching services. Currently, Amherstburg police is dispatched out of LaSalle but that will come to an end at the end of the year when the new contract with Windsor kicks in.

Windsor’s bid came in at $653,000 over the five-year period with LaSalle police’s bid being over $1.48 million over that time frame. Owen Sound police and Strathroy-Caradoc police also submitted bids with those bids being just under $1.48 million and $1.54 million respectively.

“The LaSalle Police Service will continue to provide dispatching services until the Windsor Police Service takes over. We estimate that transition should be completed by mid-December,” said Chief Tim Berthiaume.

The start-up costs with Windsor are estimated at $295,000 for hardware and software needs. Another $50,000 will be allocated for “incidental and/or unexpected expenses” related to the transfer.

“Any incidental or unexpected expenses will be funded from the existing police reserves,” said Berthiaume.

There would have been no start-up costs had Amherstburg police remained with LaSalle police for dispatching services but there would have been costs relating to upgrading equipment, including computers.

Berthiaume said dispatching costs this year are estimated at $323,000 with that being increased to about $340,000 in 2018 had the contract with LaSalle been extended, as that contract included an automatic five per cent increase. Excluding set-up costs, the chief said dispatching services from Windsor are expected to cost $71,000 next year.

Aburg Police Logo Rev-web

“This is the third time in approximately 15 years the Amherstburg police has switched dispatching providers. None of the previous providers were located in Amherstburg. As with other transitions the Windsor Police dispatchers and police personnel will be offered opportunities to ride along with our front line staff,” said Berthiaume.

The chief pointed out that the last time dispatching services were switched was when they went from Leamington to LaSalle in 2010.

The Amherstburg Police Services Board in collaboration with the Chief of Police is committed to the perpetual pursuit of finding efficiencies and costs savings, he said. Berthiaume added that the issue of dispatching was first raised at the board level in early 2016.

“During my examination of each budget line, I brought dispatching to the attention of the Amherstburg Police Services Board,” said Berthiaume. “A committee was struck to put out an RFP for dispatching services.”

The committee that examined the Request for Proposals (RFP’s) included police services board chair Patricia Simone, vice chair Bob Rozankovic and Berthiaume.

“We are very pleased with the cost saving,” said Berthiaume. “We’re always looking for efficiencies. It never stops.”

The motion passed last week accepts Windsor police’s proposal for dispatching services, Berthiaume added, and authorized Simone and Rozankovic to enter into contract talks with them. As for what would happen should council elect to switch to OPP or a regional policing model, that remains unclear.

“The exact details of the contracts are being worked on. As soon as the contract is signed it will be available to the public,” said Berthiaume.

It is anticipated that the public will not notice the change in dispatching service, the chief stated.

The switch from LaSalle police to Windsor police for dispatching services is strictly a matter of dollars and cents, Berthiaume emphasized.

“I think it’s important to acknowledge the LaSalle Police Service. The switch from LaSalle to Windsor is about cost savings, not service,” said Berthiaume. “LaSalle is a first-class police service. They are more than just a neighbouring organization. They are a valued partner.

Berthiaume said LaSalle police features Amherstburg’s friends and colleagues and “I am committed to maintaining the valued relationship we have built with them.”

Economic Development Advisory Committee wants council to revisit Ribfest sign issue

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The town’s economic development advisory committee plans to appear before council to ask that the issue of the Rotary Ribfest sign issue be revisited.

The Ribfest committee, which operates under the umbrella of the Rotary Club of Amherstburg, asked for an extension from 14 days to 28 days prior to their July 7-9 event to better promote the festival but were refused at the March 22 meeting. A motion from Councillor Leo Meloche that night failed to get a seconder.

Carl Gibb, Ribfest committee chair, appeared before the economic development committee and noted the signs “are very important to us” and used the example of the Rotary Club’s recent pasta dinner to show how important signs are to them.

Without a roadside sign, Gibb told the committee that attendance dropped.

Gibb said they would put up ten larger signs around the town in the past and took them down immediately after the event. The club currently cannot have the smaller push-in lawn signs erected on homeowners’ properties as well.

“These are not ugly signs. They are not bristol board with magic marker,” said Gibb. “We spent a lot of money on these signs.”

It was “amazing” to Gibb that the push-in lawn signs are not allowed on residential property. He added they could put up signs in other communities, but not Amherstburg until 14 days before the event.

“It’s frustrating. I don’t know what we are going to do,” said Gibb. “If attendance is down, we may go to another municipality.”

Members of the Rotary Ribfest Committee, an event that operates under the umbrella of the Amherstburg Rotary Club, are disappointed with the guidelines they have to operate under to comply with the sign bylaw. Town council upheld the current sign bylaw at the March 20 meeting.

Members of the Rotary Ribfest Committee, an event that operates under the umbrella of the Amherstburg Rotary Club, are disappointed with the guidelines they have to operate under to comply with the sign bylaw. Town council upheld the current sign bylaw at the March 20 meeting.

Gibb said that two weeks is “not enough” for people to be aware of an upcoming event. He said they are not trying to threaten council, but noted the committee puts a lot of time and effort planning the festival.

“If the numbers aren’t there, you can’t sustain it. That’s a fair statement and not a threat,” replied Meloche.

Manager of licensing and enforcement Nicole Rubli said that section of the bylaw has been in place since 2006. She noted the bylaw department is “complaint driven” and there were concerns about an abundance of signage last year with Communities in Bloom judges coming.

The town is participating in Communities in Bloom again this year. Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale pointed out that Communities in Bloom and Ribfest did not occur at the same time last year.

Rubli said there were also concerns about signs for multiple events being up simultaneously.

“Because the town is blessed with so many events, there could be a lot of signs up at one time essentially promoting six different events as timelines overlap,” she said.

Meloche believed such restrictions like the town has in place limits freedom of expression and believed it should be pointed out that the town risks losing Ribfest.

Carolyn Davies, president of the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce and that organization’s appointee to the committee, wondered if distance between signs could resolve the issue.

“Maybe it’s a matter of limiting the number of signs,” she said.

Economic Development Advisory Committee chair Bob Rozankovic said the issue at hand was the 14-day extension.

“I support the bylaw the way it is. I support its intent,” said Rozankovic, but said the spirit of the bylaw must also be considered.

“This bylaw does create opportunities for exemptions,” said Rozankovic.

Rozankovic believed any court in the land would uphold an exemption, particularly for a worthy cause.

Davies said there was little to do in Amherstburg when she arrived 20 years ago and “by 2006, we still didn’t have very much.” Things have changed since 2006 and she believed the bylaw needs more updating, particularly since the tourism component to Amherstburg has evolved.

“I think this bylaw is archaic,” said Davies. “It needs to be redeveloped. We’re dealing with a different era than when it was written in 2006.”

The committee, led by Rozankovic, plan to appear before town council April 24 regarding extending the period for Ribfest signs to 28 days.

The Ribfest is scheduled for July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

Economic Development Committee wants to know vision of youth

 

By RTT Staff

The town’s economic development committee wants to know what the town’s youth sees as the vision for the community.

Bob Rozankovic, the committee chairperson, appeared before town council Oct. 11 to officially launch the essay/multimedia contest the committee is holding. That contest opened Oct. 17 to coincide with Local Government Week, Rozankovic told town council.

The contest is open to all students at General Amherst High School, St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School and Western Secondary School. The economic development committee is asking students to tell them their vision for the future of Amherstburg.

A Grade 10 civics class from General Amherst High School was one of three classes hosted by Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, CAO John Miceli and senior staff last Monday. These students, along with every other student from General Amherst, Villanova and Western, are eligible to participate in a multi-media contest presented by the town's economic development committee.

A Grade 10 civics class from General Amherst High School was one of three classes hosted by Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, CAO John Miceli and senior staff last Monday. These students, along with every other student from General Amherst, Villanova and Western, are eligible to participate in a multi-media contest presented by the town’s economic development committee.

Submissions can be in the form of a written essay, poem, video, song or animated comic strip. Councillor Joan Courtney said she was pleased the contest allowed for submissions in a variety of mediums, “which I think is fabulous.”

Entries and signed waivers must be submitted to the town by Nov. 21.

A panel of judges will determine the winners. Rozankovic said those winners will be recognized at the Dec. 12 town council meeting.

“It’s a great idea for the economic development committee,” said Councillor Rick Fryer, adding the students are the future of the town. Councillor Leo Meloche, also a member of the economic development committee, reported that local principals have been “very receptive” to the idea.

Local realtors have offered up the first and second prize sponsorships as Brad Bondy of Re/Max will donate the $500 first prize while the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team is sponsoring the $250 second prize. Rozankovic and Diana Marretta are sponsoring the $100 third prize.

Submissions can be dropped off in-person at town hall, located at 271 Sandwich St. S., or be sent in via e-mail to ecdev@amherstburg.ca. For more information, visit www.amherstburg.ca.