Town’s policing decision officially advances to provincial level


By Ron Giofu


Town council has made its decision as it pertains to the policing issue and now it’s in the province’s hands.

Silvia Cheng, communications co-ordinator with Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunal (SLASTO), confirmed that the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) received an application from the Town of Amherstburg March 12.

“The OCPC is currently reviewing the application and will decide on next steps shortly,” said Cheng.

Town council voted 3-2 at a special meeting Feb. 26 to award a 20-year contract to the Windsor Police Service and switch from the existing Amherstburg Police Service. Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and councillors Leo Meloche and Rick Fryer voted in favour with councillors Jason Lavigne and Joan Courtney being opposed. Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale and Councillor Diane Pouget did not participate in the vote as they declared conflicts of interest as both have family members on the Windsor Police Service.

“Consent from the OCPC is required where a municipal police services board seeks to terminate the employment of police officers for the purposes of abolishing or reducing the size of an existing municipal police force,” explained Cheng. “The OCPC must also approve any application where a municipality chooses to contract with a non-contiguous municipality, under section 5(1)6 of the Police Services Act (PSA).”

In an e-mail to the River Town Times, Cheng added that the application process is initiated once an application or submission is received from a municipality.

“The OCPC reviews the information in the application in a timely manner to ensure that it meets the criteria in section 40 of the PSA,” said Cheng. “If there are any concerns with the application, the OCPC will make further enquiries of the municipality. The OCPC has the responsibility to ensure that the abolition of an existing police force does not otherwise contravene the PSA.

Cheng indicated there could be further opportunities for the general public to provide input into the process.

“Depending on the nature of the application the OCPC may decide to hold a public hearing. Until that decision is made, all public submissions should be forwarded to the municipality to be made available by it to the OCPC. However, if the OCPC receives submissions directly it will consider those as part of its review,” said Cheng.

Should the OCPC grant its approval, a switch to the Windsor Police Service is expected to occur in 2019.

The OCPC is an independent, quasi-judicial agency and under the Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario cluster.

General Amherst donation to Heart & Stroke Foundation doubles last year’s


By Ron Giofu

General Amherst High School stepped up to help the Heart and Stroke Foundation with the donation being double of what it was last year.

Student parliament donated $500 last Wednesday morning, with the cheque being presented to Heart and Stroke Foundation area manager Holly Kirk McLean. McLean said that the Heart and Stroke Foundation is about research, education and advocacy.

The money raised will have a direct benefit locally, she noted.

“It funds the research which helps save the lives that we want to save,” said McLean.

Student parliament members from General Amherst High School presented a $500 cheque to the Heart and Stroke Foundation last week. From left: deputy PM Tate Levesque, student parliament Prime Minister Linden Crain, Cassidy Zelle, Heart and Stroke Foundation area manager Holly Kirk McLean and Ethan Richard.

Heart disease has a devastating impact on women, as it kills five times more females than breast cancer. Youth are also seeing negative impacts to their health as obesity rates are up 30 per cent, said McLean, with Type 2 diabetes also being on the rise.

There are reports of youth with cholesterol levels as high as their parents and grandparents, she added.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation also wants to increase access to healthcare to Indigenous people, said McLean. She said there is a big divide in what Indigenous people receive as compared to the rest of the population and the Heart and Stroke Foundation wants to help close that gap.

Educating people on the risks and what they can do to mitigate those risks is important, McLean stated.

Tate Levesque, deputy prime minister at General Amherst, said student parliament held a number of events around the high school including a pong tournament, hat days and candy gram and “crush cans” on Valentine’s Day.

Prime Minister Linden Crain said the donation and the events leading up to it were more than just raising money.

“The first goal is to raise awareness,” said Crain.

Kids Curing Cancer donates $13,750 to Fight Like Mason Foundation


By Jonathan Martin


It’s not very often a 13-year-old deals with $13,750.  It’s even rarer that they decide to hand it off to someone else.

Nonetheless, 13-year-old Lauren Baillargeon, along with her younger siblings Kierstyn and Ty, did just that last Sunday when they revealed the amount they’d raised for local non-profit Fight Like Mason.

“There are so many other things a 13-year-old would rather be doing,” said Fight Like Mason co-founder Iain Macri.  “I know that at 13, this isn’t what I was doing.”

Together, the three siblings make up Kids Curing Cancer (KCC).  Over the past five years, they, along with their mother Jodi, have donated more than $39,000 locally to combat the disease.

“We’re not going to stop now,” said Lauren.  “Until cancer is cured, we won’t.”

This is KCC’s most successful year to date.  Over the past five years, its response has grown steadily.  The Baillargeons attribute that to a successful awareness campaign.

“Before we even had a venue (for KCC’s fund raiser night), we had people calling and asking us to save them tickets,” Jodi said.  “We’ve also partnered with Fight Like Mason, which is huge in our area.  Everybody’s heard their name.”

Lauren Baillargeon, Kiersten Baillargeon and Ty Baillargeon of Kids Curing Cancer stand beside Fight Like Mason co-founders Chantelle Bacon and Iain Macri at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery last Sunday. Kids Curing Cancer presented $13,750 to the charity.​

The Fight Like Mason Foundation was created by Iain Macri and Chantelle Bacon after losing their four-year-old son, Mason Bacon-Macri, to rhabdomysarcoma, a form of childhood cancer.  Fight Like Mason funds cancer research and provides custom palliative care supplies to youths suffering from the disease.

KCC was created in the memory of Dan Gerard, the Baillargeon siblings’ grandfather.  KCC raises and donates money to cancer-fighting initiatives.  In the past, recipients have been the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation and Ronald McDonald House.

Both organizations said they do what they do for the same reason.

“We’ve taken the loss of the kids’ grandpa, who they were incredibly close with, and turned it into something positive,” Jodi said.  “Obviously, we still miss him and wish he was here with us, but for the kids to be able to hold up his picture and be proud and know that he would be proud of them is incredible.”

“We thought we would do Mason no greater honour than to carry on his name, way of life and legacy in the form of a foundation,” said Macri and Bacon.  “To turn this life-shattering tragedy of losing a child into something positive.”

The charities exchanged gifts after the reveal of funds.  KCC brought a book for Fight Like Mason about “loving and caring about someone you have lost.”

Fight Like Mason handed each of the children a pendant in the shape of an M to commemorate the work they’d done together.

Both charities expressed an appreciation for the other and said they hope to work together again in the future.


Twenty-two new recruits welcomed into Essex-Windsor EMS family



By Ron Giofu


Essex-Windsor EMS welcomed 22 new paramedics to their team and are set to welcome even more later in 2018.

A commencement ceremony took place last Friday afternoon at the Essex Civic Centre in which the new paramedics were officially welcomed into the fold. They were the first group of local paramedics to join Essex-Windsor EMS with 27 more expected to be hired in May.

“It’s one of the biggest recruitments Essex-Windsor EMS has ever done,” said Slawomir Pulcer, captain with Essex-Windsor EMS.

The new members of Essex-Windsor EMS gather for a group photo with senior members of the staff last Friday afternoon. A commencement ceremony was held celebrating the arrival of the 22 new recruits.

Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter said the new paramedics were chosen out of 342 applicants. He said the enhancements to the service are largely due to Essex County council, who provided the increase in the budget to allow for the new recruits to be hired. Krauter added he was pleased with how the process went with the new hires bringing the total number of Essex-Windsor EMS staff to over 320 people.

The new hires are expected to allow Essex-Windsor EMS to get more ambulances on the road and to allow existing staff to take time off when they need it. The 22 new paramedics will all be part-time to start, but they could work as much as 36 hours per week.

Once the next group is hired in May, Krauter said it will result in a larger group of new paramedics than usual.

“It’s over twice as much as we usually get,” he said.

Krauter added that “we are preparing for the future” as a number of paramedics are getting close to retirement. He told the new hires that the service is a “family” and that they are there to help each other.

Deputy Chief Ryan Lemay (left) and paramedic Dave Bart (right) place the epaulletes on the shoulders of new Essex-Windsor EMS paramedic Michael Awad during a ceremony held last Friday afternoon at the Essex Civic Centre. Twenty-one other new
paramedics were also welcomed.

“We work together and support each other through thick and thin,” said Krauter.

Rob Maisonville, CAO with the County of Essex, told the new hires they should be proud of themselves, adding they are now part of the County of Essex family.

New recruits include Mitchell Adam, Khaalid Ali, Michael Awad, Adam Bardgett, Patrick Biczysko, Bart Czerniawski, Jenna Diamante, Stephanie Dummer, Christopher Dziedzic, Justin Elwgren, Suhaib Hammoud, Veronica Jarvis, Dalton Kingston, Tiffany Koniecki, Mitchell LaDouceur, Kody Lauzon, Amanda McCarton, Jessica Robson, Caullin Rundle, Ray Serifi, Dino Souilliere and Meaghan Vieira.

Candidates were required to pass a written test, complete a comprehensive paramedic practical evaluation and be successful in a qualifying interview and physical fitness evaluation.

Town council, business owners participate in workshops on Community Improvement Plan



By Ron Giofu


The Town of Amherstburg and its partners from Monteith Brown Planning Consultants held workshops last week where people got a chance to give input towards the Community Improvement Plan (CIP) and urban design guidelines.

The workshops were held at the Libro Centre March 5 with business owners invited during the afternoon session while town council received an opportunity to participate during a late-afternoon meeting.

A series of questions were put to the participants with those involved asked to brainstorm answers. Questions included what is most important to you in the downtown core and what is missing, what is the biggest opportunity to attract visitors, what are the biggest challenges for attracting businesses to Amherstburg, how can the town improve its street facades and how to incorporate heritage into designs.

Members of town council and administration discuss the Community Improvement Plan (CIP) and urban design guidelines during a workshop held at the Libro Centre last Monday night.

Answers ranged from the obvious – the need for a hotel – with others including a desire for increased accessibility, downtown Wi-Fi, more parking, better traffic flow, transportation and a more accessible waterfront.

Manager of planning services Rebecca Belanger said 60 businesses were invited to the afternoon session with 15 people showing up. At the session with council a few hours later, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and councillors Leo Meloche, Diane Pouget and Rick Fryer joined members of administration in participating in the sessions.

There were some council members concerned the study didn’t go far enough.

Fryer said “you need to look at other areas rather than the downtown,” believing more attention should be paid to smaller hamlets. Meloche said having a busy downtown core is important but so too are the other areas of town.

“Building a vibrant downtown core will lead to trickling into other areas,” said Meloche.

Consultant Michael Clarke from Monteith Brown Planning Consultants listens to some of the conversations.

Meloche added that other areas are sometimes “forgotten” and that more attention should be paid to them, but Pouget said the downtown was the mandate of this particular study. She said the next council may proceed with a larger project.

Belanger said policies in the town’s Official Plan direct how to go forward with the CIP and that if the town were to look at secondary settlement areas, it “may be a larger process” as amendments to the Official Plan might have to occur.

CAO John Miceli said businesses and developers will need to get on board when the plan is implemented. As for the Duffy’s property, he said it is at the environmental assessment (EA) stage now and that further development is included in the 2019 capital budget.