Bob Rozankovic

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.