closure

Town closing Pickering Dr. for watermain replacement and road improvements

Another local road will soon be closed temporarily due to construction.

The town has advised that Pickering Dr. will be closed to through traffic between Dalhousie St. and King St., commencing Aug. 10, to facilitate watermain replacement and road improvements. This closure will be ongoing through October.

Pickering Dr. will get some work this year, including the intersection of Pickering and Sandwich (pictured).

Pickering Dr. will get some work this year, including the intersection of Pickering and Sandwich (pictured).

The town states that local traffic will be maintained and residents will be allowed access to their homes. A detour route will be posted, but delays should be expected.

This capital project will also include a one-day closure of the intersection at Sandwich St. S. and Pickering Dr. next Wednesday (Aug. 16). Detour routes will again be posted.

The town reminds residents that during construction, traffic disruptions may occur and some delays may be experienced. Drivers are asked to please slow down and obey all traffic signage, and watch for flag persons in the construction zone.

The $1.1 million tender was awarded to SLR Contracting Group Inc. in July with manager of engineering Todd Hewitt stating at that meeting that watermain work should take six to eight weeks when it gets started with pavement work coming after that.

Mudpuppy Gallery announces closure at seventh anniversary celebration

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Sunday was a day of mixed emotions at the Mudpuppy Gallery.

While it was the gallery’s seventh anniversary, it was also the day where the news that the doors of their Dalhousie St. location will be closing at the end of the month became official. Owner Melissa Piva stated they were there “for a number of reasons,” including to celebrate the growth and the “coming together as a community” that occurred over the past seven years.

However, Piva said that due to circumstances beyond their control, they could no longer afford to keep their current location. With fingers crossed, she hopes it will just be a pause in the gallery’s existence.

“We do still own the Mudpuppy name,” she said, adding they are keeping their eyes open for an affordable option in Amherstburg of similar size.

“Currently, there is nothing of this size available,” said Piva.

Piva thanked everyone who had a hand in the gallery during the last seven years, including every artist, volunteer and even those who simply shared a post about the gallery on social media.

Artists past and present that helped operate the Mudpuppy Gallery turned out for a seventh anniversary celebration Sunday afternoon. Current owner Melissa Piva (right) announced that, due to circumstances beyond their control, the gallery will be closing its doors at the end of June.

Artists past and present that helped operate the Mudpuppy Gallery turned out for a seventh anniversary celebration Sunday afternoon. Current owner Melissa Piva (right) announced that, due to circumstances beyond their control, the gallery will be closing its doors at the end of June.

“You made the Mudpuppy what it was,” she told the gathering of artists and gallery supporters at a Sunday afternoon reception.

The Mudpuppy Gallery supported established and upcoming artists, Piva added, and “it’s something we should be extremely proud of.”

“I’m glad the Mudpuppy Gallery was a part of my life,” added artist Betty Hebert. “It showcased so many different things.”

Cheryl MacLellan said she was sad to see the Mudpuppy Gallery have to close its location, noting she and husband met a lot of “great people and great artists.

“It made my husband’s dream come true,” she added. “That means a lot to me.”

Rob MacLellan, who helped found the Mudpuppy, rounded up five other artists at the start including Rocco DiPasquale, Dennis White, Stephen Gibb, Robert Honor and Shannon MacPherson. He said he was grateful the Mudpuppy succeeded like it did.

“We just do this because we love to make art,” said MacLellan. “The Mudpuppy is not dead yet. I”m sure something will show its head in the future.”

Honor thanked Piva for keeping the gallery going. She was a partner for one year before taking over as owner two years ago. Honor said the original six got tired and wanted to move on and “she kept it going.”

Cheryl MacLellan and his wife Debra also made major contributions in the beginning, Honor stated, noting they helped get artists to exhibit and volunteered in other ways. He said it is a full-time job to keep the gallery going and “there has to be someone like Cheryl or Mel to keep it going.”

Piva pointed out she is looking at trying to obtain grant funding to keep the name alive in case a new location can’t be found. She floated the idea of networking with businesses and possibly doing public art under the Mudpuppy banner.

The last exhibit – Art Squared – will be displayed until the end of the month. For more information, call 519-560-0470 or visit www.mudpuppygallery.webs.com.

Section of Alma St. to be closed for most of October

 

For those who use Alma St. regularly, be aware that a stretch near McGregor will be shut down for roadwork for most of October.

The Town of Amherstburg awarded a contract for the rehabilitation of Alma St. between Howard Ave. and Walker Road to Coco Paving Inc. in July with the cost being $921,755.31. This work will result in a road closure. The construction is also expected to include a wider shoulder to the road.

Town Logo Small-web

The town states this work is anticipated to commence starting next Monday (Oct. 3) and the area between Howard Ave. and Walker Road will be considered construction zone. Work is anticipated to be complete by Oct. 29, the town states.

During construction, residents are advised to reduce speed, obey all traffic signs, and watch for flag persons in construction zones. The town thanks everyone in advance for their patience and cooperation while it complete this project. The Town adds that it “endeavors to complete the work as quickly as possible to minimize disturbance and inconvenience.”

 

St. Bernard School to close, students to be consolidated at Stella Maris

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Trustees with the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board voted to consolidate St. Bernard and Stella Maris elementary schools, meaning the former will be closed effective this June.

St. Bernard School was one of three schools designated for closure, with schools in west Windsor and Leamington also to be shuttered in the near future. In the case of St. Bernard School, students will be bused to Stella Maris with that school to be the subject of a funding request from the Ministry of Education for a renovation and expansion.

Director of education Paul Picard called accommodation reviews “excruciating” and indicated that administration knows how school closures impact families.

“These are extremely difficult decisions,” said Picard.

Picard said while there may be some people in the public who think this is simply normal operating procedure, “I can assure you nothing is further from the truth.”

St. Bernard School will close in June, with trustees from the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board voting in favour of consolidating the school with Stella Maris at the Stella Maris site during an April 5 meeting.

St. Bernard School will close in June, with trustees from the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board voting in favour of consolidating the school with Stella Maris at the Stella Maris site during an April 5 meeting.

Declining enrolment is an issue for most school boards in Ontario, he believed, but the Catholic school board is committed to keeping faith-based education in all communities in which it operates.

Keeping empty student spaces is unsustainable for the board, Picard added. He said provincial funding needs to be better directed into programming and resources.

“We have to downsize,” he said. “There is no question.”

Of the nine delegations that addressed the Catholic board Tuesday night, none were from Amherstburg but Picard said the board knows the St. Bernard community loves its school.

“Even though we did not have specific representation with respect to the recommendation, we take it equally seriously,” said Picard. “The reality is we have to merge the two schools. We don’t take it lightly at all but we stand by the recommendation.”

Amherstburg/LaSalle trustee Frank DiTomasso questioned whether students who participate in extra-curricular activities would have transportation home and asked for the transportation policy to be included on a future agenda. Picard responded by stating no student would be prevented from taking part in any activity.

When asked for comment after the meeting, DiTomasso declined and referred questions to communications officer Stephen Fields. He also declined comment when board chair Barbara Holland asked whether he wanted to make any final remarks before the vote was called.

Trustee Lisa Soulliere, who represents Lakeshore, said when the trustees toured the schools, the gymnasium at Stella Maris was found to be small.

“It’s probably the smallest gym I’ve ever been around in our system,” she said.

Soulliere wondered how all students would fit in the gym once Stella Maris and St. Bernard are consolidated.

Picard didn’t see the gym at Stella Maris as too small, believing there would be enough room for students to assemble for Mass or for dramatic productions. He added the situation will be monitored going forward.

Soulliere also questioned what would become of the early years centre at St. Bernard with executive superintendent of corporate services Mario Iatonna stating there were no capital requests in relation to bringing that to Stella Maris. He indicated that when renovations at Stella Maris occur, it could free up space for an early years centre.

An administrative report given to the board states that “only one additional bus would be required pursuant to a consolidation of St. Bernard students at Stella Maris. WECDSB would propose to join the two existing bus bays on William St. with an extension between them to accommodate the additional bus.”

The board also proposes the establishment of a “Kiss and Ride” area at the school and an expanded parking area off of Girard St.

There were two written submissions on the public agenda with regards to the Amherstburg issue. Pointe West resident Darren Clarke asked the board to take a closer look at the boundaries between Stella Maris and St. Joseph, as including his area in the St. Joseph boundary where his children attend. Clarke believed adjusting the boundaries and offering busing to St. Joseph would make things easier for his family as well as easing congestion at Stella Maris.

Barb Souliere wrote to the board and expressed her concerns over the issue, stating her belief that Stella Maris “is not central to this town.” She predicted a number of students would be lost to Amherstburg Public School. Souliere also had questions surrounding transportation and said when she was the parent of a young child, she said “she would probably pick a walking site.”

According to the board’s final report on the matter, WECDSB officials estimate there would be over $1.3 million in annual savings by consolidating at Stella Maris, though transportation costs would increase an estimated $42,000.

The closure of St. Bernard School will be the second closure by the Catholic board in Amherstburg in four years. St. Theresa School was closed in 2012.