Rick Fryer

Town council to consider 12-year-old’s request for chickens in urban neighbourhoods

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A local 12-year-old is hoping the town can help him in achieving his goal of having chickens in residential areas so that his family can eat a bit healthier.

William Brush, a Grade 7 student at Amherstburg Public School, appeared before town council Monday night asking that the zoning bylaw be revised so that it can allow for chickens in residential areas. He believed it will not only allow people to eat healthier by providing organic eggs for the owners, but it will also help teach people where chickens come from.

While eating breakfast with his family one morning, they started talking about the subject and the residents of the Monopoly subdivision thought it was a good idea.

“The topic of chickens came up and we just decided we wanted them,” said Brush. “I just think organic things are better for you.”

Brush said accommodations can be made to allow chickens and neighbours to co-exist, including not putting the coop near fences and to ensure the area is clean. He said they hope to have three or four chickens and keep them in a coop in their yard.

Town hall signWEB

“If I were to have chickens, they would be in the middle of my yard, away from the fence,” he told town council.

Manager of planning services Rebecca Belanger said the current zoning bylaw permits three pets, but all have to spend time in the house at some point. Councillor Rick Fryer countered by saying that a chicken coop is like a house and they do go inside.

“It might not be a house people are living in but they do go in a coop at night,” said Fryer. “I’d be all for administration coming back with an amendment (to the bylaw).”

Councillor Leo Meloche worried about coyotes coming into town if chickens were allowed in residential areas. Fryer said coyotes already do come in as there are a lot of feral cats in town.

Council agreed to have a report brought back on whether an amendment to the bylaw is feasible and that should be back before council by the end of the summer. Brush said he is ready to go if council gives the go-ahead.

“I was hoping to do it over the summer but any time is good,” he said.

Cypher Systems Greenway officially open

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Although people have been trying it out for a few months now, the Cypher Systems Greenway is now officially open.

The 22-kilometre trail that links Amherstburg with Essex celebrated its grand opening last Thursday morning in McGregor. The trail, an abandoned rail line that was donated to the Essex Region Conservation Foundation (ERCF) in 2003, intersects in McGregor with the existing Chrysler Canada Greenway.

Claire Wales, ERCF vice president, credited the partnerships with donors, volunteers and contributors for making the trail a reality.

The town of Amherstburg officially made its $100,000 contribution to the Cyper Systems Greenway last Thursday morning in McGregor. The donation went to the Essex Region Conservation Foundation (ERCF) and came from the town’s 2016 surplus. From left: ERCF vice president Claire Wales, Councillor Leo Meloche, CAO John Miceli, Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale, Councillor and Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) chair Rick Fryer.

The town of Amherstburg officially made its $100,000 contribution to the Cyper Systems Greenway last Thursday morning in McGregor. The donation went to the Essex Region Conservation Foundation (ERCF) and came from the town’s 2016 surplus. From left: ERCF vice president Claire Wales, Councillor Leo Meloche, CAO John Miceli, Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale, Councillor and Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) chair Rick Fryer.

“We are so grateful to the Government of Canada, Cypher Systems Group, and the hundreds of corporate and individual donors who raised $1 million through our TrailON! campaign to develop this trail,” said Wales.

According to the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA), whom the ERCF raises funds on behalf of, Caesars Windsor made an initial contribution of $25,000 to kick off the campaign.  ERCA stated that contributions of $250,000 from Cypher Systems Group, $100,000 from the Town of Essex and many other corporate and individual donations enabled the Essex Region Conservation Foundation to be approved for up to $500,000 in funding through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program (CIP 150) for the trail renovation.

The Town of Amherstburg added $100,000 more by officially presenting a cheque at the grand opening. That money was part of a surplus from the town’s 2016 operations.

Brian Schwab, president of Cypher Systems Group, said the company made the investment not just as a way to give back.

The new sign for the Cypher Systems Group Greenway was also unveiled April 27.

The new sign for the Cypher Systems Group Greenway was also unveiled April 27.

“It’s an attempt to make our community better,” said Schwab. “We can go for walks, jogs, runs and really start to explore this area and appreciate all it has to offer.  We can accomplish much and build upon the value of this area by helping to provide these types of recreational places.  It really is an investment, for everyone to use and enjoy today and for future generations to come.”

Elected officials from both Amherstburg and Essex attended the grand opening with Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale bringing greetings from Amherstburg. DiPasquale hoped people have positive experiences and stated it’s been a long time in the making.

ERCA chair Rick Fryer, also an Amherstburg councillor, said credit for trails dates back to the late Herb Gray, whose vision saw CN and CP donated old rail lines. He said trails are helping to make the Essex region a place to come to.

“We’ve become the region to come and live in,” said Fryer, adding he also met several people on the trail while on a recent bicycle ride with one of his daughters.

Fryer added that “green spaces, trails and a healthy environment directly contribute to our region being recognized as the place for life, where people choose to live, work, visit, and invest.”

The official ribbon cutting for the Cypher Systems Greenway occurred last Thursday morning in McGregor. From left: ERCA chair and Amherstburg councillor Rick Fryer, ERCF vice president Claire Wales, Cypher Systems Group president Brian Schwab, Essex Mayor Ron McDermott, Stephen Savage of Cypher Systems Group, Amherstburg Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale and ERCA general manager Richard Wyma.

The official ribbon cutting for the Cypher Systems Greenway occurred last Thursday morning in McGregor. From left: ERCA chair and Amherstburg councillor Rick Fryer, ERCF vice president Claire Wales, Cypher Systems Group president Brian Schwab, Essex Mayor Ron McDermott, Stephen Savage of Cypher Systems Group, Amherstburg Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale and ERCA general manager Richard Wyma.

Fryer noted that “we can hop on our bikes and visit our good friends in the town of Essex,” with Essex Mayor Ron McDermott making similar remarks.

“It’s nice to know we are hooked up to Amherstburg and the rest of the region,” said McDermott.

In a press release, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario Navdeep Bains stated: “Recreational activities and facilities form an essential part of every community. The Government of Canada recognizes that investments in projects like the Cypher Systems Group Greenway allow us to celebrate our heritage, improve the health of Canadians, and allow families to enjoy moments of sport, leisure and contemplation for years to come.”

 

Town to donate $100,000 of $738,000 surplus to Cypher Systems Greenway

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The town finished 2016 with a surplus of $738,000 and $100,000 of that will be donated to the Cypher Systems Greenway.

Town council heard from Susan Stockwell Andrews, president of the Essex Region Conservation Foundation (ERCF), who told the elected officials that the ERCF is the one who raises the money for the greenways, such as the Cypher Systems Greenway and the Chrysler Canada Greenway. While the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) operates them, no money comes from the ERCA levy to develop them, said Stockwell Andrews, and that the foundation pays acquisition and development costs.

Stockwell Andrews said they ran into unexpected costs in Amherstburg with that including drainage. Councillor Leo Meloche voiced concerns with people parking on the shoulders of roads near entrances to the Cypher Systems Greenway with ERCA general manager Richard Wyma indicating that the plan is to develop community entrances – which include parking areas – much like there are along the Chrysler Canada Greenway.

Cypher Systems GreenwayWEB

Councillor Rick Fryer, who is also chair of the ERCA board of directors, made the motion to give the donation and said this region is “a place for life” and healthy living. The surplus, he noted, was administration showing its due diligence.

Many are already enjoying the Cypher Systems Greenway, Fryer added, noting the official grand opening doesn’t take place until Thursday morning.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said the $783,000 surplus is “big news” and that “we spread it around.” In addition to the donation to the greenway, $15,000 went into an economic development reserve while $20,000 went into a Gordon House working capital reserve. The Libro Centre reserve will receive $100,000 while $292,291 goes into a police reserve. Debt reduction to the Texas Road project covers the rest, amounting to $255,711.

DiCarlo pointed out the importance of reserves and that the surplus “translates very well for Amherstburg’s financial situation.” The town’s financial standing has improved and he is confident of the town’s direction, but noted there is still outstanding debt that is currently locked in.

Council approves 14-day extension for Rotary Ribfest signs

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Rotary Club’s Ribfest will get 28 days to display signs after all.

After originally being turned down a month ago, town council did an about face and voted 5-1 to allow a 14-day extension for Ribfest signs. Instead of the ten signs the Rotary Club has for Ribfest going up for 14 days, they will now go up for 28 days.

A delegation request from economic development advisory committee chair Bob Rozankovic was refused, with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo citing information learned at an in-camera training session about already having dealt with the matter as the reason. However, council waived rules of order and Councillor Leo Meloche made the motion to allow the extension.

Meloche said the Rotary Club has been “very good to the community” and that they bring value to the community. He said council regularly grants variances and similar requests and believed there was a “humanitarian aspect” that had to be considered in the Ribfest’s case.

Councillor Rick Fryer wanted administration to study what other municipalities do and how long they allow similar signage. He said there was “no slight to Rotary” but if every group were to have the bylaw waived, there was no point to having a bylaw.

Members of the Rotary Ribfest Committee, an event that operates under the umbrella of the Amherstburg Rotary Club, are disappointed with the guidelines they have to operate under to comply with the sign bylaw. Town council upheld the current sign bylaw at the March 20 meeting.

Members of the Rotary Ribfest Committee, an event that operates under the umbrella of the Amherstburg Rotary Club, are disappointed with the guidelines they have to operate under to comply with the sign bylaw. Town council upheld the current sign bylaw at the March 20 meeting.

“We do have obligations we do need to adhere to,” said Fryer.

Fryer said he ultimately voted in favour of the request due to timing issues, as there wouldn’t be enough time this year for administration to bring back the information he requested and allow the Ribfest committee to proceed with their plans.

Fryer added he was in favour of seeing what other municipalities do and being consistent. He did like the fact there were ten locations with the signs professionally done, adding it will be aesthetically pleasing for people like Communities in Bloom judges.

DiCarlo believes the signage issue will keep coming up, noting there will be a balancing act between promoting events and keeping the community “clean and uncluttered.” He said the Ribfest request was for a specific type of signage and that the town knows where and how many signs will be erected.

“We’re obviously pleased with the outcome,” added Amherstburg Rotary Club president Laura George. We appreciate council taking the time to hear our concerns again.”

Having the support of the economic development advisory committee helped keep the issue in the forefront, she added, and said “it’s with their support we feel we’re successful.”

George also said the backing of Meloche “has been extremely powerful and greatly appreciated.

“We hope our efforts have opened council’s eyes and they will look into this bylaw further,” George added. “As for us, we’ll be focusing our efforts and attention on this year’s Ribfest July 7, 8 and 9.”

Sidewalk snow removal gets passing grade from council members

 

 

By RTT Staff

 

The initial year of the town’s sidewalk snow removal program has received positive feedback from council members.

Councillor Rick Fryer, the liaison to the Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee, believe the program went well since it was initiated with the committee also being “very, very supportive” of the initiative.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo agreed, saying he also heard “very little negative feedback” on the sidewalk snow removal program. He noted it is a positive program for seniors and those with disabilities.

“It’s a welcome service,” added Councillor Leo Meloche.

(Photo taken from Town of Amherstburg advertisement)

(Photo taken from Town of Amherstburg advertisement)

However, it was noted that in some areas of Amherstburg, there was damage to some lawns as the snow removal machine chewed up strips of grass and dirt on residents’ properties.

CAO John Miceli pointed out the sidewalk snow removal project was a pilot project and said they will find ways to try and make it better. He urged the public to bear with the town and allow for further enhancements to be made.

The town agreed to institute the pilot project in January. In all, Amherstburg has 58 kilometers of public sidewalks with the goal being to allow the town to be in a better position to defend itself in case of liability.

The town had previously been clearing sidewalks along Front Road North while others areas were done on a complaint basis.