Joan Courtney

Duffy’s demolition to start shortly



By Ron Giofu


Demolition of the former Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn should start within the next week or two.

Town council approved the tender during its meeting Monday night with the winning bid going to the Jones Group Ltd. The total amount quoted by the Jones Group was just over $280,000 to complete the work, with that dollar figure being over $172,000 less than the next lowest bidder.

Demolition of Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn is scheduled to begin either next week or the week after, based on information learned during Monday night’s council meeting.

Demolition of Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn is scheduled to begin either next week or the week after, based on information learned during Monday night’s council meeting.

In his report to town council, CAO John Miceli stated that the firm that performed the environmental assessment on the Dalhousie St. property provided a designated substance survey (DSS) of the property.

“The DSS confirmed asbestos, lead, mercury and silica present in different areas of the former tavern building. The abatement requirements were included in the tender specifications for all proponents,” said Miceli in his report.

The town used the firm Golder Associates for the assessment, Miceli stated, adding the town was able to renegotiate the purchase price down to $1.115 million.

If all goes smoothly and according to plan, Miceli said the demolition could start either next week or the week after.

Councillor Jason Lavigne wondered if the Amherstburg Fire Department was finished with the building, as it was being used for training purposes.

“We have pretty much used it for as much as we could,” replied deputy fire chief Lee Tome.

Councillor Diane Pouget said she appreciated the thoroughness of Miceli’s report, noting she was a critic when the report came several months ago regarding the demolition of the former AMA Arena.

Pouget noted the price difference between Jones Group Ltd. and the rest of the bidders.

“It’s such a big, big difference,” she said. “With all of the savings, we’ll be able to fix up the property much quicker than we originally anticipated.”

Demolition of Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn is scheduled to begin either next week or the week after, based on information learned during Monday night’s council meeting.

Demolition of Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn is scheduled to begin either next week or the week after, based on information learned during Monday night’s council meeting.

Councillor Joan Courtney asked if the town had applied for any grant money for the project, including the redevelopment of the lands. Miceli said there has been one application submitted thus far, and that pertained to the removal of gas tanks from the property.

Courtney also questioned whether there had been any meetings with stakeholders. The CAO said the next steps are to meet with the community and stakeholder groups to discuss the proposals for the property. The town has floated such ideas as an amphitheatre, marina, and food truck parking among other amenities.

Demolition of Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn is scheduled to begin either next week or the week after, based on information learned during Monday night’s council meeting.

Demolition of Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn is scheduled to begin either next week or the week after, based on information learned during Monday night’s council meeting.

Miceli added he knows of one party that is interested in sponsoring riverfront development in that area.

Council had been made aware of Miceli’s concerns that the site could further decay and become a target for vandalism. He also stated in his report that demolition could have become more complex if delayed due to the ongoing construction of the neighbouring Queen Charlotte Residences.

Town wants enhancements to Essex-Windsor EMS



By Ron Giofu


Town council is asking Essex County council to help enhance EMS service in the town.
Councillor Joan Courtney’s motion calls for the county to review Essex-Windsor EMS and to provide funding necessary to improve the areas that are “in need.” That same letter will be sent to all municipalities and members of Parliament.

Essex-Windsor EMS chief Bruce Krauter attended town council’s April 10 meeting outlining what the service does. The 24-hour-per-day, 365-day-per-year service responded to over 103,000 requests for service in 2016 with roughly 58,000 patient contacts and approximately 39,000 patient transports. It has 12 stations, including the Simcoe St. base in Amherstburg, 38 ambulances, 12 emergency response vehicles and other support vehicles and trailers.

Amherstburg amounted for roughly five per cent of the call distribution in 2016 with Krauter adding that the town has seen an 8.6 per cent rise in call volumes. That is consistent with the region, with Krauter citing an aging population, increased residential development and retiree recruitment as factors in the rise.

Recruiting retirees to the area is great, he stated, but pointed out it is a “double-edged sword” due to the need for EMS services.

Off-load delays at area hospitals continue to put pressure on Essex-Windsor EMS, Krauter noted. As paramedics have to stay with the patients at the hospitals until they can be admitted, it ties up ambulances and resources that could otherwise be deployed elsewhere.

The recently introduced vulnerable patient navigator (VPN) program is producing “exceptional results,” said Krauter. The concept behind the VPN program is that it will alleviate calls for service and allow patients to receive the care they need without having to go to the hospital.

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Courtney said she appreciated Krauter coming to town council but questioned him over how ambulances are deployed. He noted that ambulances often go to the nearest call regardless of municipal boundaries and that municipal fire services often assist EMS at calls.

Councillor Rick Fryer wondered why all municipalities don’t use firefighters at calls, citing Leamington as an example. Fryer said if there is a city-county fee for service, all municipalities should be equal.

Councillor Diane Pouget said she was “very, very concerned” about the issue and said she “didn’t think it is fair” that Leamington isn’t paying for the same service Amherstburg is paying for.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said Leamington is paying for EMS with fire chief Al Reaume stating that Amherstburg has a tiered response agreement with the Essex-Windsor EMS which allows firefighters to attend calls while an ambulance is unavailable or a fair distance away.

Reaume said all municipalities except Leamington have a tiered response and that agreements are arrived at between Essex-Windsor EMS and each respective council. Amherstburg paid $61,000 through that program last year and Reaume suggested that if council is looking to recover costs, they should seek money from the Ontario government.

Councillor Leo Meloche said his belief is that it is up to each municipality on how much service they wish to provide, adding that the area is on the “front wave of the baby boom.”

Pouget believed the town should show it is not satisfied with the level of service and needs to show upper levels of government that fact.

“We want them to know we expect better for the citizens of Amherstburg,” she said.

Verdi Club looking to work with the town to assist with club events



By Ron Giofu


The Verdi Club may have sold its building, but the club is still in operation.

And those operations may be based out of the Libro Centre.

Verdi Club board member Tino Riccio and treasurer Joe Capaldi appeared before town council Monday night seeking a partnership with the town that would see bocce courts installed on town property and the use of a room at the Libro Centre for the Verdi Club’s card games and social activities.

Riccio said the building on Texas Road, now known as the Fort Fun Centre, was sold after “60 glorious years” and now the Verdi Club is looking to go elsewhere for its activities. He suggested placing the bocce courts on land next to the Amherstburg Community Services building or at the Libro Centre, adding the club’s membership has the expertise to take care of the courts.

“We’d like to introduce the game to the population at large,” said Riccio.

Verdi Club signWEB

The club formerly had card games and activities six nights per week, he said, but would be willing to reduce that to three nights per week.

Councillor Joan Courtney said the Verdi Club “has been good for the town” over the past six decades and directed administration to come back with a report on the club’s requests.

“I hope we can do something to help,” said Courtney.

CAO John Miceli said he has had preliminary discussions with Riccio and waited to see what direction he received from town council before progressing any further.

“I think we will be able to bring a report back to council in short order,” Miceli said, believing it will either be before council April 24 or the first meeting in May.

Councillor Diane Pouget agreed that the Verdi Club has been an asset to the community and thanked them for the club’s involvement. She added the Fort Malden Golden Age Club has also been an asset to the town, and wanted to ensure there were not any conflicts between the two organizations at the Libro Centre.

Councillor Rick Fryer said he was glad to see the passion from the club and was pleased with the members sharing the sport of bocce with the community.

Riccio added they are currently renting a room in the Amherstburg Community Services office on Victoria St. S. for a month as they wait to see what they do in the future.

Town releases treasurer’s report detailing council and committee remuneration



By Ron Giofu


The town has released its treasurer’s report detailing council’s remuneration for 2016.

The report shows that Mayor Aldo DiCarlo earned total remuneration from the town of $29,564.14. That figure is a combination of his $26,872.68 salary as mayor, his communication allowance of $1,374.54, his per diem of $103.98, $500 for public receptions and $712.94 for travel and mileage.

DiCarlo also $7,665 for being a member of the Essex Power board of directors including a $4,000, $3,500 for meeting fees and $165 for travel and mileage. He also received a $1,200 honorarium for being on the Amherstburg Police Services Board.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale earned $19,971.62 from the town including his salary of $18,413.40. DiPasquale’s communication allowance as $1,339 while his public receptions remuneration was $45. A total of $174.22 was listed as DiPasquale’s travel and mileage expenses.

Councillor Leo Meloche had a total remuneration figure of $20,194.29. In addition to the $15,936.12 salary he earned as a councillor, other expenses and remuneration included $1,223.33 for his communication allowance, $830.81 for his per diem, $342.86 for public receptions, $1000.18 for training and conferences and $860.99 for travel and mileage.

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Councillor Joan Courtney’s total remuneration for 2016 was $19,015.16. Courtney’s communication allowance was $1,350.16 for 2016 while her per diem was $727.22. Training and conferences amounted to $890.40 for Courtney while her travel and mileage was $111.26. That remuneration was on top of her $15,936.12 salary.

Councillor Rick Fryer’s overall remuneration total was just slightly less than Courtney’s, coming in at $19,012.66. In addition to Fryer’s $15,936.12 salary, his communication allowance was $1,232.47 and his per diem was $830.81. Fryer’s training and conferences expenses were $843.64 while his travel and mileage remuneration amounted to $169.62. Fryer also received $650 on top of his remuneration from the town for being on the ERCA board of directors.

The total remuneration from the town for 2016 for Councillor Jason Lavigne was $18,957.07. The breakdown of that number included the $15,936.12 salary, his $1,393.83 communication allowance, $727.22 for his per diem and a travel and mileage expense of $111.26.

Lavigne also earned a $1,200 honorarium for being on the Amherstburg Police Services Board.

Councillor Diane Pouget’s remuneration for last year was $17,404. Her $15,936.12 salary was combined with a communication allowance of $1,268.06, a per diem of $103.59 and a training and conference total of $96.67.

Other Amherstburg Police Service Board members receiving a $1,200 honorarium were Pauline Gemmell, Bob Rozankovic and Patricia Simone.

A total of $4,350 in honorariums was paid to committee of adjustment members. Donald Shaw received an honorarium of $975 while Sherry Ducedre received $900. David Cozens, Michael Prue and Duncan Smith each received an honorarium of $825.

Accessibility committee honorariums included $100 for Kenneth Houston and $300 for William Whittal.

Ron Sutherland received $1,078 for being on the ERCA board and was also one of five drainage board members paid either for an honorarium or for a drainage course. The drainage board’s total amount for remuneration was $4,557.66 with other members including Gary Ayers, Robert Bezaire, Allan Major and Bob Pillon.

A total of $2,148 was paid to heritage committee members for their attendance at the Ontario Heritage Conference. Robert Honor received $1,073.52 while Paul Hertel received $1,074.64. Remuneration for economic advisory committee member John McDonald was $1,094.99 as he had attended the Think Smarter economic development forum.

Traffic committee dissolved due to town’s employee policy



By Ron Giofu


Town council has voted to dissolve one of its committees and bring back a bylaw with appointments to another.

The traffic committee is no more with administration bringing back a bylaw with appointments to the emergency management program committee. The town will also reconsider the appointment it made to the drainage committee made at the Dec. 12 meeting.

In a report to town council, clerk Paula Parker pointed out that administration learned that the person appointed to the drainage committee Dec. 12 – Josh Mailloux – is also a volunteer firefighter with the Amherstburg Fire Department.

“As such, Mr. Mailloux falls into the definition of a part time employee because he is paid and on call for his volunteer status with the Town and must follow Policy C00-00 Code of Conduct for Staff/Employees.”

Section 7.0 of that policy states that “no full-time or part-time permanent municipal employee shall be appointed to serve on a Municipal Board, Commission or Committee unless appointed as an Administrative Representative.”

Mailloux was on the committee of adjustment for seven years and has been a volunteer firefighter for eight years, Parker’s report states.

Councillor Diane Pouget said the appointment of Mailloux was done “in good faith” without knowing he was employed by the town as a volunteer firefighter.

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After learning of the clause in the policy relating to code of conduct for staff and employees, Parker stated “administration realized that there are two other committees with cause for concern.”

The traffic committee was identified as an issue as it has one council member, this term being Councillor Jason Lavigne, and five staff voting members. In its place, traffic and complaints will be filtered through one administrative member who will, in turn, consult with necessary departments and bring recommendations to council.

The emergency management program committee is mandated by the province under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The committee is to consist of employees appointed by council with each entitled to a vote. A bylaw will appoint the members of that committee with a similar procedure likely for the joint policing review committee.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said the changes were due to the fact the town realized there was a problem and they wanted to take the necessary steps to correct the problem.

There were also additional members appointed to the economic development advisory committee. Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce (ACOC) president Carolyn Davies was appointed as the ACOC representative while council chose to expand the committee and appoint two more lay committee members. Councillor Rick Fryer put the names of Marta Leardi-Anderson and John Edwards forward, believing the experience of both on the committee will be “priceless.”

“I really look forward to them being on the committee,” said Fryer.

Pouget agreed with Fryer, believing an extra person on the economic development advisory committee would be a help rather than a hindrance.

Councillor Joan Courtney didn’t disagree with the choices made for the committee, but voiced concern on how the choices were arrived at. She said she would have liked more dialogue on the applicants before making a final selection.

“I disagree with the process of how we do this,” said Courtney.