grant

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.”

Town receives $2 million grant for Meloche Road project

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

It appears the rebuilding of Meloche Road is one step closer to reality.

CAO John Miceli said the town of Amherstburg has been successful in its grant application to rebuild Meloche Road. The town originally applied for grant funding last September under the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF).

Town Logo Small-web

“We are going to be the proud recipients of a $2 million grant for Meloche Road,” Miceli announced during last Monday night’s town council meeting.

Miceli said the word came to the town that the grant application was successful last Friday.

“We’ll be bringing a full report to council for the Feb. 22 meeting,” he said.

The town is proposing to reconstruct the road from Alma St. to Lowes Side Road. Some council members questioned re-doing the stretch between Alma St. and Simcoe St. during a meeting last September, believing other roads were a higher priority. The other stretch – from Simcoe St. to Lowes Side Road – runs past the Libro Centre and is in disrepair. Drivers in the southbound lane often move into the other lane to avoid the decaying pavement near the shoulder.

According to information from last September’s meeting, estimates were based off of the Texas Road project and were pegged at just over $4.3 million. If the town were successful and Essex County funded 40 per cent of the pathway due to it being on a County-Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) route, the town portion would be over $2.1 million.

Miceli said last September the funding model calls for the 2017 gas tax allocation of $500,000 to be pre-committed with $1.3 million coming from development charges.

“What is supported with tax dollars is $324,800,” said Miceli. “It’s an opportunity for us to improve our infrastructure if we can maximize funding through the OCIF.”

Miceli said last fall the Meloche Road project was chosen for the grant application as offers the town the “best value for our dollars” and improves both the transportation network and the trail system.