News

Family Dentistry holds grand opening celebrations

 

 

By Christian Bouchard

 

Family Dentistry held an open house at its new location this past Saturday.

Dr. Chad Denomme and Dr. Stefano Storey opened their new office at the old Pizza V at 79 Richmond Street. The new location is twice as big as their previous office, which will help keep up with patient demand.

“We were outgrowing the space where we were,” said Dr. Storey. “We kind of had it in the back of our mind that we needed to make a move. Before you know it, we were tearing down drywall and hanging studs.”

Dr. Chad Denomme (front row, left) and Dr. Stefano Storey (front row, second from right) pose with their staff at the Family Dentistry open house last Saturday.

According to Dr. Denomme, Family Dentistry is proud to serve the community of Amherstburg with the availability of IV sedation and their high level of expertise in implants.

The community responded well to the open house with over 300 people visiting the new office.

According to Debbie Scott, the regional manager and hygiene coordinator, it’s important for patients and families to feel comfortable when visiting the dentist.

“People love it here,” added Scott. “They walk through the door and they feel like they’re at home. We’re all family and friends here. Everyone gets along well, and everyone is very comfortable. There’s no other words that people are using besides how fantastic it is here and how kind and gentle these dentists are.”

In the five years since Dr. Denomme and Dr. Storey have been in business together, they have always felt the support of the community behind them, which has led to their growth.

“We want to say thanks to the community and the people around us for putting their trust in us and getting behind a new business,” said Dr. Denomme.

 

 

 

Policing contract signed, to take effect Jan. 1

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The town’s much publicized and often controversial switch to the Windsor Police Service appeared to reach a conclusion Friday morning.

The official contract signing took place inside of a fourth floor boardroom at Windsor police headquarters with the contract being for 20-years with reviews eligible every five years. Either Windsor or Amherstburg could pull out of the deal with 18 months notice, but representatives from both sides looked pleased with what was happening Friday morning.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said it was a day where they could “serve residents and save money” and one where they could talk about regional co-operation. He said they have been working with Amherstburg for about one year and that the town put out an RFP that “really met the needs of the town.”

Dilkens said savings for Amherstburg amount to about $570,000 per year and “it’s the same service, folks,” stating same officers that will be working in town.

“There was a lot of misinformation put out in the public on what this would look like and how it would work,” said Dilkins.

The Windsor mayor added that he is hopeful other Essex County municipalities will take a look at what was done and possibly consider such a move.

“This is the potential to be the first step towards a regional policing model in Essex County, something that would ultimately benefits all of the residents in Essex County,” Dilkens stated.

Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said he recalled going door-to-door in 2014 and that policing costs were one of the hot topics at that time.

“We wanted to look at all options,” he said.

Windsor police was the only service that answered the RFP. DiCarlo said he felt some relief that the contract was being signed.

“We believe (Windsor) responded with something that would maintain the services that we enjoy in the Town of Amherstburg, and we also believe it will improve it with what they have to offer,” said DiCarlo. “We will have at least as good a service, and I believe better than we had before, with the City of Windsor, and we will also save money in the process.”

DiCarlo said the town shares many services already and “policing was one of the few that we didn’t.”

Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens signed the policing contract Friday morning in Windsor. Both mayors promoted benefits to their respective municipalities.

“Both municipalities will do better because of the partnership we developed,” DiCarlo predicted.

Windsor police chief Al Frederick said “it’s all about public safety” for police and that he was “fully behind it from Day 1,” in reference to contracting with Amherstburg. He said Windsor’s specialty units and resources are now available to Amherstburg, though noted the same officers will remain in Amherstburg unless they wish to move to Windsor.

DiCarlo noted that the officers will still be dispatched out of the existing Amherstburg police station.

Asked whether the contract could be reviewed depending on the makeup of the next Amherstburg council, it didn’t appear that door was open. Some candidates have asked for a review of the situation, but Dilkins noted that by the signing of the contract, “it’s official.

“Once the election is done, it will stop being an election issue,” said Dilkens.

Dilkens said some in Amherstburg may worry about a loss of part of the town’s fabric but insisted the deal will be better for both Amherstburg and Windsor. Frederick said they will win over Amherstburg residents “one call at a time” and that the same 30 officers and the chief will be offered positions. The deputy chief will not be offered a position.

Frederick didn’t comment on civilian members of the Amherstburg Police Service, simply stating “I’ve said from the beginning that all employees will receive a job offer.”

“Every interaction with the Amherstburg community, once Windsor takes over policing, we are going to deliver,” said Frederick.

DiCarlo acknowledged there may be severance or equalization payments that may still have be paid out, but stood by his belief the town will save money in the long run.

“Even if we did have to pay some money in equalization or severance, it’s not exactly going to negate the millions in savings,” he stated. “It’s just going to possibly defer or reduce it a bit. There’s no question there is going to be millions in savings for the Town of Amherstburg during the life of this deal.”

Other Amherstburg politicians at the contract signing were councillors Leo Meloche and Rick Fryer, both of whom also voted in favour of the deal. CAO John Miceli, director of corporate services Cheryl Horrobin and director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin. However, councillors Diane Pouget and Jason Lavigne contacted the River Town Times to state that they and the remaining council members were not notified of the press conference.

Pouget said she learned about the signing when watching media coverage that evening, something Lavigne said as well. Lavigne said the issue of severance has been around since the Feb. 26 vote and wishes proponents of the deal properly notified residents of the possible ramifications at that point.

A report on the Feb. 26 agenda stated the possibility of paying out anywhere from zero to $2.4 million in payouts and that there was also a legal opinion contained with that report.

“Will the town have to borrow that money?” questioned Lavigne, who voted against the switch. “I don’t have that information.”

Lavigne wondered if the vote could have went a different way Feb. 26 if the severance information was better known.

“To me, it’s unfortunate this council isn’t on the same page anymore,” he said.

The OCPC approved the switch from Amherstburg to Windsor in a ruling issued in July.

ACRG hosts the candidates, public asks their questions

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The group known as the Amherstburg Citizens for Responsible Government (ACRG) hosted an all-candidates event last Thursday night at the AMA Sportsmen Club and the public got to ask their questions.

The 20 candidates vying for spots in the 2018 municipal election met with voters and voters seemed to like the opportunity.

“I think it’s OK,” said Jean Allen. “It’s hard to get to talk to some of them. I learned a few things about a few people that I didn’t know so it’s good.”

“I thought it was good,” added Wayne Marenger. “I got to meet a lot of people didn’t know and got to ask questions.”
Marenger said he found it more personable than the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce “Meet the Candidates” nights as there was more of an opportunity to discuss issues with the candidates.

“You get to meet the people,” he said.

Mayoral candidates Aldo DiCarlo (above) and Glenn Swinton (below) chat with voters at an all-candidates event put on by the Amherstburg Citizens for Responsible Government (ACRG). That event was held Oct. 11 at the AMA Sportsmen’s Association.

For Tiffany Cote and Sandra Fox, it was a chance to see where candidates stood on whether or not to build a new pool locally.

“It’s been very good. I got to ask all of my questions,” said Fox. “They answered them pretty well. We’re trying to keep a pool if it’s not at the same location.”

Cote agreed that they were looking for a replacement for the Lions Pool, which is expected to have a new public high school built on that part of Centennial Park. Cote said they were able to get some answers and talk to the candidates face-to-face.

“It’s going well,” said ACRG member John McDonald. “It’s interesting to see the candidates speak to the crowd. I thing people are getting their questions answered.”

McDonald said that the event gave people a chance to speak with candidates that they’ve been following and get answers. He hoped the event would return in four years and thanked fellow ACRG members Beth Hobbs, Jennie Lajoie, Marcie Graham, Jim Broderick and Tim Brown.

“Hopefully, we’ll find a way to keep this going,” McDonald stated.

Town encouraging residents to participate in flooding subsidy programs

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Oct. 6 rain event caused flooding in town, much of which was in the Kingsbridge subdivision, and the town is hoping more people take part in the flooding subsidy program.

According to a report from the town’s public works department that appeared as a supplementary agenda item at last Tuesday night’s council meeting, 41 homes had reported flooding with 30 of them coming from the Kingsbridge area. Six incidents of flooding were reported from the Pointe West subdivision while five reports came from other areas.

As of mid-day Thursday, that number had grown to 54 homes across Amherstburg.

The town has stated that the storm water and wastewater systems were both fully functional “at all times, before, during and after the storm.”

“It is difficult to determine the exact cause of every home’s flooding as not all homes within the flooding areas were subject to basement flooding or the same underlying cause,” the report stated. “Protecting each home from basement flooding is the best defence.”

The report, signed by director of engineering and public works Antonietta Giofu, outlines work done to the Amherstburg sewer system since the 1970’s. Part of it notes the 2017 voluntary basement flooding protection subsidy program that council established, which sees the town subsidize such items as downspout disconnection, foundation drain disconnection, backwater valve installation and sump pump overflow programs. A portion of the 2018 Edgewater forcemain project also sees one of the Edgewater lagoon cells being converted into a temporary wet weather storage cell.

Approximately 40 residents have taken advantage of the voluntary basement flooding protection subsidy program, the town states. That was initiated after the 2017 rain event that hit McGregor.

Councillor Rick Fryer said he had an inch of water in his Texas Road basement and wanted to know how much water hit the area. In a 30-minute period between 7:20 p.m. and 7:50 p.m., the area experienced 36.4mm of rainfall at an average intensity of 116.9 mm/hr. A rainfall intensity of over 98.9mm/hr in a 30-minute period qualifies as a 1:100 year storm.

Fryer believed additional measures need to be looked at, noting 1:100 year storms are happening more frequently.

“It’s more like one in 10 year storms,” he said.

Fryer, who also chairs the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) board of directors, said “it is climate change. There’s no doubt about it.”

Citing the report, Councillor Diane Pouget pointed out that the town has been taking action to prevent flooding since the 1970’s. She asked if another garbage collection day could be added but was told by administration that Windsor Disposal Services (WDS) was contacted and they are going to try to stick to the same schedule, but add another date if one proves necessary.

CAO John Miceli said town council has taken a “leadership role” in trying to address the flooding matters and urged residents to take part in the basement flooding protection subsidy program. He said the town is trying to mitigate the issues but indicated more residents need to take part in the program.

“If you haven’t already notified the town, please do so,” said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo. “The key to fixing the problems is knowing where they are. We have been and continue to investigate. There are quite a few homes and we want to do it properly.”

DiCarlo said the system worked the way it is supposed to and that every municipality builds sewer systems to a 1:100 year storm standard. Storm totals “far exceeded” the 1:100 year standard, he said, and that there is no municipal system that could have handled that amount of rain that quickly.

DiCarlo also encouraged people to take part in the subsidy program, noting that some of the issues could have been avoided. New builds do not connect downspouts to the storm sewers and also have backflow valves, with DiCarlo adding that other residents are able to access the program.

For those residents who haven’t already reported flooding problems from the Oct. 6 storm to the town, they are asked to call the public works department at 519-736-3664.

Fire Prevention Week marked in Amherstburg

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Fire Department opened its doors to the public last week and also taught some lessons on fire safety.

Each of the three fire stations held open houses as part of Fire Prevention Week with Station #3 being last Tuesday, Station #2 being last Wednesday while Station #1 had its open house last Thursday evening. Assistant deputy fire chief Ron Meloche said they were busy last week in local schools as well with that expected to continue this week.

“We’re doing schools this week and next week,” he said at last Wednesday’s open house at Station #2. “We’re hoping to visit with 1,500 to 2,000 students.”

Quinly Haggerty, Aiden O’Neil, Gavin Haggerty and Jaxon Haggerty stand at the front of a fire truck at Station 2 (Anderdon) as part of Fire Prevention Week. The Amherstburg Fire Department held open houses at all three stations.

Meloche added the open houses were also part of Fire Prevention Week with the public able to come in, see what they do and get tips on fire safety. The theme of this year’s Fire Prevention Week was “Look, Listen, Learn” and Meloche said it helps that the messages are changed every year so children learn more each year.

“We’re giving messages every year and trying to promote fire safety,” he said.

Adults can also learn about fire safety, including about smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, when to replace them and a reminder to change the batteries regularly.

“We’re really trying to educate the kids and the parents,” said Meloche.

Levi Koolen enjoys his time behind the wheel of a fire truck Oct. 10. The Amherstburg Fire Department held open houses at all three stations as part of Fire Prevention Week.

Meloche added that there are those who move to Amherstburg and think the town has a full-time service only to learn it is a part-time, volunteer service. Others think they only go to calls and Meloche said Fire Prevention Week was also a chance to get a better understanding on what goes into being a firefighter and what the Amherstburg Fire Department does.

“It’s really about reaching out to the public, showing them what we do and teach them about fire safety,” he stated.