grant

Amherstburg native one of 50 people nationwide to win Outstanding Canadian Grant

 

By Ron Giofu

 

As part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations, a national telecommunications company has awarded 50 “Outstanding Canadian Grants” to those who have made a difference to children and youth across the country.

One of the recipients is an Amherstburg native.

Meaghan Marton was awarded an Outstanding Canadian Grant from Shaw Communications. She was nominated by a friend last fall with that friend also being a colleague with the group Leadership Advancement for Women in Sports (LAWS). That group, said Marton, assists girls and women get involved in physical activities and leadership positions.

“I didn’t even think about it,” she said of the nominations.

Marton received an e-mail from Shaw in June and later received a letter and pin from the company with a $1,500 grant going to a charity of Marton’s choice.

“I read the e-mail and I was speechless,” she said. “I had tears in my eyes. The fact that I’m from Amherstburg makes me even more proud.”

The 24-year-old chose Motivate Canada, another organization she is involved with that inspires youth to make changes through sports and physical activities. The money could be used to assist Indigenous youth.

Meaghan Marton is one of 50 people Canada-wide to receive an Outstanding Canadian Grant for her work helping children and youth. The $1,500 grant will go to Motivate Canada.

Meaghan Marton is one of 50 people Canada-wide to receive an Outstanding Canadian Grant for her work helping children and youth. The $1,500 grant will go to Motivate Canada. She displays the pin she also received for earning the grant.

Among the many other causes Marton has been involved with include coaching at Border City Boxing, running kids sports programs at Border City Boxing, running girls sports programs and also works at the YMCA and tries to settle immigrants and work with young people. Helping others and working with youth has become second nature for Marton.

“Honestly, it’s a way of life for me,” she said. “Knowing that youth are going to change the future and the world, I want to be able to inspire them to make the world a better place and to make a difference. It’s not a question for me. It’s what I can do to make a difference in someone else’s life.”

Marton dove deeper into volunteering and working with others after graduating from university. Her involvement with others has increased over the last two years and she doesn’t see it stopping.

“I’m definitely not slowing down,” she said. “I want to have my own agency or non-profit group.”

Marton wants to not only keep doing it within Windsor-Essex County, but has opened the door to travelling across the world.

Community involvement pays off for area student

 

By Jonathan Martin

After donating more than 1,800 hours of free time to her community, a local 17-year-old is getting something back.

Megan Bonneau received a $2,000 scholarship cheque from Foresters Financial last Tuesday afternoon. According to Jeremie Bornais, Bonneau’s financial advisor and owner of Bornais Insurance and Financial, Bonneau will receive another $2,000 for each year in which she is enrolled in an undergraduate program.

The scholarship is part of the Foresters Competitive Scholarship Program, which gives money to 250 students within Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom who meet its academic standards, give back to their communities and whose families do business with the life insurance agency.

“I didn’t do this for recognition,” Bonneau said. “Everyone in my community (of Janettes Creek) knows each other, so it always feels good to give back.”

(From left) Jeremie Bornais, Megan Bonneau, David Hutchison and Todd Girard pose for a photo at Bornais Insurance & Financial in Amherstburg last Tuesday afternoon.  Bonneau received a $2,000 cheque, the first installment of her Foresters Competitive Scholarship.  Bonneau will receive another cheque at the start of each school year for the duration of her undergraduate degree. (Photo by Jonathan Martin)

(From left) Jeremie Bornais, Megan Bonneau, David Hutchison and Todd Girard pose for a photo at Bornais Insurance & Financial in Amherstburg last Tuesday afternoon. Bonneau received a $2,000 cheque, the first installment of her Foresters Competitive Scholarship. Bonneau will receive another cheque at the start of each school year for the duration of her undergraduate degree. (Photo by Jonathan Martin)

She added that even after she starts her post-secondary studies, her volunteering won’t stop.

Bonneau plans to attend the University of Windsor for a double major, honours, in psychology and history.

“We’re so proud of her,” said Megan’s mother, Debbie Bonneau, as tears welled up in her eyes. “We’re so thankful to Jeremie (Bornais) for making us aware of this opportunity.”

The Bonneaus have been working with Bornais Insurance and Financial for years.

This is the first time Bornais has seen one of his clients receive the scholarship. In fact, this is a first for all of Southwestern Ontario according to David Hutchison of Foresters.

“It was a real blessing to hear that she was not only informed of the opportunity, but is also giving back to her community,” Hutchison said. “It’s a real credit to both her and her parents.”

As the cheque presentation ceremony came to a close, Megan Bonneau spoke up above the applause, laughter and tears.

“As someone leaving high school and heading off to university,” she said, “I can definitely say that getting involved … and giving back … has helped me grow as a person and helped me feel ready for what’s to come.”

Town hires engineer for Meloche Road project

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

One of the first steps of the Meloche Road rehabilitation project is complete now that the town has hired the engineer for the project.

Hrycay Consulting Engineers has been hired at a cost of approximately $147,000 to conduct the engineering work for the project. They were selected out of four firms that bid for the work.

CAO John Miceli said the scope of the work is still up to town council and pointed out administration will arrange for an open house so that the public can view and discuss the plans. He indicated there will be an expanded trail system as well as part of the project.

While acknowledging concerns from council members that the stretch from Alma St. to Simcoe St. is fine and doesn’t need rehabilitation, Miceli said the engineering will determine whether the road base underneath the asphalt is in good shape.

“The devil is in the details,” said Miceli. “It may be an opportunity for us as a town to mitigate future costs but we don’t know that until the engineering work is complete.”

The town plans on moving forward with the reconstruction of Meloche Road. While the stretch between Simcoe St. and Lowes Side Road (pictured) hasn’t been debated, the stretch between Alma St. and Simcoe St. has been.

The town plans on moving forward with the reconstruction of Meloche Road. While the stretch between Simcoe St. and Lowes Side Road (pictured) hasn’t been debated, the stretch between Alma St. and Simcoe St. has been.

Councillor Joan Courtney maintained the Alma-Simcoe stretch doesn’t need to be worked on and that there are plenty of other roads in Amherstburg that infrastructure dollars should be devoted to.

“I’d like to fix tons of other roads before we go under this one,” she said.

Miceli said the engineering work will determine the condition of the road and indicated the town may have to send a portion of the $2 million OCIF grant back if the town elects not to rehabilitate the entire road.

“We can’t use that money for any other project,” he said.

Courtney replied that spending money simply to use it “seems rather silly to me.”

Councillor Rick Fryer believed that getting core samples from the road will make the determination on what needs to be done. The installation of bicycle lanes will make things easier for cyclists to get to the Libro Centre and Larry Bauer Park.

The total project cost, should the town proceed with the entire roadway, is over $4.3 million with the town’s share being over $2.1 million. The proposed funding model for the latter is for the town to use its $500,000 2017 gas tax allocation, $1.3 million from development charges and attribute $324,800 for a tax rate supported debenture.

The project must be complete by Dec. 31, 2017 or the town risks losing the OCIF grant.

Councillor concerned about use of grant money for Meloche Road project

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A member of town council is still voicing her concern about the Meloche Road project and what sections will be done.

Councillor Joan Courtney said she recently drove down Meloche Road from Alma St. to Lowes Side Road and maintained that the stretch between Alma St. and Simcoe St. does not need to be redone. She worried that doing that stretch would be “a blatant misuse” of grant money.

The town originally applied for grant funding last September under the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) and were notified last month it would receive $2 million.

The town plans on moving forward with the reconstruction of Meloche Road. While the stretch between Simcoe St. and Lowes Side Road (pictured) hasn’t been debated, the stretch between Alma St. and Simcoe St. has been.

The town plans on moving forward with the reconstruction of Meloche Road. While the stretch between Simcoe St. and Lowes Side Road (pictured) hasn’t been debated, the stretch between Alma St. and Simcoe St. has been.

CAO John Miceli said the project will also include drainage improvements and trails, adding there would be core samples taken along the roadway helping to determine what the exact nature of the project will be. He indicated that the engineering work that will be done will help guide council as to what the project should be and what needs to be done.

“Council will approve the scope of the work,” Miceli stated.

Town council officially moving forward with Meloche Road project

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Town council has officially accepted up to $2 million in funding from the province for the Meloche Road project though some are questioning again whether all of the roadway needs to be rebuilt.

In addition to officially accepting the money, town council has also directed administration to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for engineering services and to prepare a tender document with a road cross section, technical detail, project timeline and projected costs associated with the reconstruction of Meloche Road.

It could cost over $4.3 million, but some on council asked why the stretch between Alma St. and Simcoe St. was included.

Councillor Diane Pouget said she was “very grateful” to receive the grant and understood the need to reconstruct the stretch between Simcoe St. and Lowes Side Road. However, the stretch between Alma and Simcoe was something she and others didn’t understand.

“I continue to get calls about this,” she said. “Everyone in town knows the road is in bad shape between Simcoe and Lowes Side Road. It appears in good condition from Alma to Simcoe.”

Councillor Leo Meloche said he had the same concerns as Pouget.

CAO John Miceli said the engineering work will include geotechnical studies to see if the base under the entire road is suitable over the long term and those studies will help define the scope of the overall project. Manager of public works Todd Hewitt said they believe the base between Alma and Simcoe is in good shape but the geotechnical studies will confirm that or not.

The road will include bicycle lanes and a trail with Councillor Rick Fryer noting many cyclists come in from Windsor to ride in that area, known as the “swamp route.”

“That is a heavily used cyclist route,” said Fryer.

Fryer added he has seen seams in the pavement and wondered if frost will cause the road to further heave including in the Alma to Simcoe stretch.

Hewitt said part of the plan is to link the roadway and its bike lanes and trails together into the County-Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS).

The project has already been discussed and the money obtained, said Councillor Jason Lavigne. He said he wanted to accept the money and not form a negative opinion with higher levels of government. “I am in support of this,” he said.

According to a report from director of finance/treasurer Justin Rousseau, the proposed funding model would see $500,000 come from the 2017 gas tax allocation, a development charges supported debenture of $1.3 million, a tax rate supported debenture of $324,800 over 20 years and a town portion of $2,124,800.

“The majority of the long term debt will have its repayment supported by future development charges collected. This project is eligible for the use of development charges up to $1.3 million based on current estimates and the current development charge study,” Rousseau’s report states. “The use of development charges to fund the debentures allows for the bulk of the loan repayment to be made through growth related funding and will not fall on the current rate payers of the town. However should development charges not materialize the general ratepayer will be responsible. It should also be noted, however, that $324,800 proposed for long term debt is to be funded by the general tax rate.”