Rick Daly

Essex Power makes annual $10,000 donation to the town

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Essex Powerlines has continued its “Youth in Community Fund” donations with Amherstburg getting its $10,000 share Monday night.

Essex Power Corporation is making a $40,000 donation through its Youth in Community Fund with it being shared among Amherstburg, Leamington, LaSalle and Tecumseh to “advance local, youth related investment.” To date, Essex Power says it has funded a total of $160,000 youth driven initiatives in the communities it serves.

Some of the proceeds will be going to the Essex Empowerment Group, a group of about 15 girls from across the area that meet Wednesday nights at the Libro Centre. The girls are mainly from Amherstburg at this point and range in age from 10-14.

The Essex Empowerment group is newly formed, said manager of recreation services Rick Daly and “focuses on mentorship and positive role modelling. This program is unique because it was created, developed and ran by youth, for youth.”

Daly added that “Essex Power has given us the opportunity to run a program that empowers young girls to be the strongest and most true version of themselves that they can be.’

“As a father of four girls, I am glad to see that a girls empowerment group thanks to my place of employment,” said Joe Barile, general manager of Essex Powerlines.

Essex Powerlines general manager Joe Barile presents a $10,000 cheque to Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and the Essex Empowerment Group Monday night. The money is through the “Youth in Community” fund.

Essex Powerlines general manager Joe Barile presents a $10,000 cheque to Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and the Essex Empowerment Group Monday night. The money is through the “Youth in Community” fund.

Essex Empowerment Group facilitators Elizabeth Di Paolo and Mackenzie Robson said the money their group will receive will help the group grow its programming and expand its membership. Such topics they discuss include self-esteem, bullying, relationships and being a positive role model.

“They all come from diverse backgrounds,” Di Paolo said of the membership.

Robson said the group “has really opened my eyes” and that was something Di Paolo agreed with.

Barile would also tell council about other works of Essex Power. He noted in 2005, the provincial control over hydro bills was at about 75 per cent while the provincial portion of a typical hydro bill is now 81 per cent.

Essex Power tries to keep the share of the rates near the rate of inflation and works with customers on how to save energy, said Barile. He said Essex Power is on pace to meet its conservation targets for the period of 2015-20.

As for outages, Barile said many are due to tree contacting power lines. Due to maintenance, that number has dropped from about 30 in 2005 to less than five in 2016, according to Barile. They have also developed in-house technology to better manage the grid, he added.
The town’s cumulative dividend over the last five years is over $1.1 million, he added, and that the company also continues to invest in infrastructure. They are the 16th most efficient distribution company in Ontario as opposed to Hydro One, which is 66th.

Essex Power has expressed interest in acquiring more Hydro One shares in Amherstburg, with Barile acknowledging that some streets see customers served by Essex Power on one side and Hydro One on the other.

Councillor Diane Pouget said the previous council made its share of mistakes but one mistake they didn’t make was selling their Essex Power shares.

Councillor Rick Fryer said many still have difficulty paying their bills, primarily due to the 81 per cent share of the bills controlled by the province.

“That 81 per cent is hurting a lot of residents,” said Fryer.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo pointed out the money that comes back to the town from Essex Power every year.

“I can honestly say Essex Power is a partner,” said DiCarlo.

Amherstburg, St. Clair College happy with OCAA women’s soccer championship

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The big winners of the OCAA women’s soccer championship were the Algonquin Thunder but the Libro Centre came away looking good as well.

The 2016 champion Thunder were crowned Saturday afternoon at the conclusion of a three-day tournament on the Libro Centre’s turf field as they beat the Humber Hawks 3-1. Humber had defeated the host team – St. Clair College – Thursday night.

St. Clair College’s Melanie Daniel (left) has the ball taken away from her by Fanshawe goalkeeper Ali Vlasman during the OCAA women’s consolation final last Saturday at the Libro Centre. Fanshawe won 1-0.

St. Clair College’s Melanie Daniel (left) has the ball taken away from her by Fanshawe goalkeeper Ali Vlasman during the OCAA women’s consolation final last Saturday at the Libro Centre. Fanshawe won 1-0.

St. Clair managed to get to the consolation final Saturday morning but lost a close 1-0 decision to Fanshawe. Saints coach Steve Vagnini said his team didn’t put away their chances while Fanshawe was able to convert on one of their opportunities.

“I thought we played well,” said Vagnini.

Mistakes and the ability to convert on those of other teams was the story of St. Clair’s season, he added.

“We’ve paid dearly for our miscues and we haven’t been able to make the other team pay for their miscues,” said Vagnini.

Noting the season isn’t a success unless you win it all, Vagnini acknowledged the Saints have a lot of rookies on the team and there is a lot to build on.

“They are our future,” he said.

Recruiting is important for St. Clair, he added, and that he uses the college itself as a recruiting tool.

“St. Clair has been a dream to work for,” said Vagnini, adding the school gives back to its athletes and students.

As for the host facility, Vagnini was impressed with the Libro Centre, calling it an “A-1 facility” with “A-1 service.” He said that was a feeling shared by other teams and other coaches as well.

Jay Shewfelt, athletic co-ordinator at St. Clair College, said they were pleased with the facility as well.

“It’s been perfect. The facility has been amazing,” said Shewfelt.

The college is happy with how things went, he added, and that staff were receptive to the needs of those involved with the tournament.

St. Clair College’s Melanie Jubenville (right) battles Humber College’s Emily Tirabassi during Thursday night action at the Libro Centre. St. Clair College hosted the OCAA Women’s Soccer Championship at the Libro Centre last Thursday through Saturday with Algonquin winning the gold medal.

St. Clair College’s Melanie Jubenville (right) battles Humber College’s Emily Tirabassi during Thursday night action at the Libro Centre. St. Clair College hosted the OCAA Women’s Soccer Championship at the Libro Centre last Thursday through Saturday with Algonquin winning the gold medal.

“Obviously we would have liked our team to do better but we’re proud of our team and the way they played,” said Shewfelt.

While St. Clair College is considering building its own facility, there is still a chance the Libro Centre could host a future tournament. The men’s tournament is something the college may look at hosting in three years and there wouldn’t be any hesitation in bringing it to Amherstburg should a new facility at the college not be available.

Teams from the province, including the Toronto and Ottawa areas, thought the Libro Centre was a wonderful facility, Shewfelt added. The addition of volunteer ball girls from the Amherstburg Soccer Club was a welcome addition as well with referees pleased with their performance.

“It’s been a nice touch to add to the tournament,” said Shewfelt.

The Diplomats Drum and Bugle Corps help officially open the OCAA Women's Soccer Championship Oct. 27.

The Diplomats Drum and Bugle Corps help officially open the OCAA Women’s Soccer Championship Oct. 27.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said the town was pleased to have the OCAA women’s championship here and the mayor credited manager of recreation services Rick Daly for working to make it happen.

“It’s a really big honour to participate with St. Clair College in hosting the OCAA women’s soccer tournament in town. I heard nothing but great comments about the facility,” said DiCarlo. “People said we have the best around.”

DiCarlo added: “If all goes well, we can continue to pull in more events. I believe (Daly) is working at bringing in a lot more. It’s important to the town. It was also a lot of fun watching my alma mater play.”

Town officials, students take part in the “12 O’Clock Walk”

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Local students and town officials were part of a group that got in shape as part of the “12 O’Clock Walk.”

The annual event was presented by Windsor-Essex Communities in Motion and featured all municipalities around the region.

“There are 22 walks that happen throughout the area,” said manager of recreation services Rick Daly.

The local walk included classes from Amherstburg Public School attend and participate. Several town staff members also walked over from town hall and took part in the event during their lunch break as well.

Town officials and Amherstburg Public School students participate in the “12 O’Clock Walk” last Wednesday afternoon at Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada. Among the town officials pictured are police chief Tim Berthiaume, director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin and director of finances/treasurer Justin Rousseau.

Town officials and Amherstburg Public School students participate in the “12 O’Clock Walk” last Wednesday afternoon at Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada. Among the town officials pictured are police chief Tim Berthiaume, director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin and director of finances/treasurer Justin Rousseau.

The local walk saw participants gather at the pavilion of Toddy Jones Park before heading through Fort Malden National Historic Site. After leaving the Fort grounds, they walked south down Laird Ave. and went back to Toddy Jones Park. Prizes and T-shirts were awarded to the students upon completion of the walk.

“It’s to bring awareness to being active,” said Daly.

This year’s “12 O’Clock Walk” was brought outside after last year’s event was held on the indoor walking track at the Libro Centre.

Windsor-Essex Communities in Motion describes itself as “a comprehensive, community-wide health promotion strategy. It was launched to create ‘a culture of physical activity’ in Windsor-Essex County.” For more information, visit www.swarginmotion.com.

Town bidding to host either 2017 or 2018 World Sledge Hockey Challenge

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A major sledge hockey tournament could be coming to Amherstburg either next year or the year after that.

Amherstburg will be bidding for the 2017 and 2018 World Sledge Hockey Challenge with the hopes of gaining approval for one of those years. Should the town be approved for the 2017 event, it would run Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2017 and if the town were to host the 2018 tournament, it would run Nov. 25-Dec. 1, 2018.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said the town already hosts sledge hockey – the Essex County Ice Bullets – and that the Libro Centre is a great location for more such events.

“It just makes sense to have a tournament here too,” said DiCarlo. “We are very well laid out for a tournament.”

Sledge hockey has been offered at the Libro Centre since it opened. Now, the town is hoping to host either the 2017 or 2018 World Sledge Hockey Challenge. (RTT File Photo)

Sledge hockey has been offered at the Libro Centre since it opened. Now, the town is hoping to host either the 2017 or 2018 World Sledge Hockey Challenge. (RTT File Photo)

DiCarlo said the town is willing to work with user groups to ensure the event can run smoothly. He believed hosting a World Sledge Hockey Challenge would attract “thousands of people” and said the town can still present quality sporting events even without a new hotel.

“Even with that not quite addressed yet, we can still put on some excellent tournaments here,” the mayor believes.

According to a report from manager of recreation services Rick Daly, Hockey Canada has stated the World Sledge Hockey Challenge has been profitable every year since its inception in 2007. He said there has been an average return of $10,000 to $20,000 to a host municipality. The estimated cost to host the event is $26,000 – $19,000 in lost rental income and $7,000 in in-house staffing costs – but could be offset through such things as ticket sales, sponsorships, grants, merchandise sales, 50/50 draws, fundraising and concessions.

Daly noted TWEPI, who have been “fully supportive of hosting this international event – has put forth $5,000 in cash to the event “as well as any additional in-kind value that they can provide, in addition to taking care of the marketing expenses associated with the marketing expenditures.”

Hockey Canada will review all bids in September and October of this year and announce its decision in November.

Amherstburg co-hosted the Ontario 55+ Summer Games with Windsor in 2014.

Town council wants to approve all events beforehand

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Public events and festivals, whether they have been previously held or not, will now have to come before town council before they are staged.

Town council held a policy meeting last Monday night in which a public events policy was discussed. Council voted by 6-1 margin to have all public events approved, even events previously staged, with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo being the lone dissenting vote.

Manager of business development and programming Rick Daly told council that they would still be given the opportunity to approve or disapprove public events under the way the policy had been originally written. Per the direction of the previous council, Daly said the process had been “streamlined” to avoid bogging down council’s time with reoccurring events.

Councillor Jason Lavigne disagreed that it would bog down council’s time, adding he didn’t want council “removed” from the process.

CAO John Miceli said a report would come before town council early in the new year detailing all events and dates that have been established. Events and the process in planning those events would still come before council in quarterly reports. He indicated that, under the original way the policy was written, council would have input particularly if existing events were to change dates or locations.

“The way I read the policy is that, regardless of event, organizations have to fill out all the forms, make sure all the boxes are checked off and administration has been tasked with making sure all the checkmarks are in place,” said DiCarlo.

Councillor Diane Pouget said streamlining the process did not include taking away council’s right to approve them. She used the Mardi Gras celebration as an example, stating she has received “numerous complaints” since the event was held.

“We have people complaining that have the right to come before us,” she said.

Lavigne added he didn’t want to become part of the actual planning of events but believed council should know of plans and approve of them in case council members hear from residents. He stated he does not want to take any authority away from administration.

“I don’t want to be part of (the planning) process. That’s not what I’m suggesting,” said Lavigne. “I do think we need to be involved in approving anything going on in Amherstburg. That’s the role of council.”

The thoroughness of the policy did meet with compliments from council members. Councillor Joan Courtney called it “a very comprehensive” policy.

“I’m very impressed,” she said.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale was also impressed.

“It’s an excellent document,” said DiPasquale. “It covers an alcohol policy. A lot of municipalities are still working on it.”