Open government, active transportation and tourism among McArthur’s vision

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Donald McArthur has covered his share of council meetings and now is trying to be a councillor.

McArthur, a former Windsor Star reporter and former executive producer at CBC Windsor, is running in the Oct. 22 election.

McArthur said the people he’s been speaking with “want to see us grow. They want to see us develop. They want to make sure there are jobs in town for their kids.”

McArthur said he wants to build on the momentum that he said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and the current council have given the town.

Tourism needs to be promoted further, he believed, including landing a hotel. With a hotel, he said people will stay and spend money in town, which will create jobs and expand the tax base.

“We have to promote commercial and industrial development,” he continued.

McArthur cited a downtown incentive plan launched in Windsor, one that brought nine projects worth about $60 million. He also noted that construction activity in Leamington tripled due to cuts in development charges.

Similar ideas could work in Amherstburg, he believes.

“We need commercial and industrial growth,” he stated. “We can’t have residents paying for everything.”

Amherstburg “is the sum of its unique communities,” he said. The Cypher Systems Greenway is a “gift,” he continued, and “we have to leverage it.” He advocates a paved shoulder on Alma St. from Fryer St. to Meloche Road and said that could connect residents from McGregor to the downtown core through use of trails and bike lanes.

Regarding policing, McArthur said he is hearing concerns including whether the service people are used to will continue.

“What people are saying is ‘let’s move on and let’s make sure it works for Amherstburg’,” he said. “They don’t want to rip up the contract and cause a big fuss. Let’s see if it works as promised for Amherstburg.”

Donald McArthur is running for the position of councillor in the Oct. 22 municipal election.

McArthur believes in open government and pledges to keep constituents informed through social media, a website and a newsletter. Having open meetings is key, he added, and that he will lobby for as many meetings as possible to be held publicly.

Live streaming council meetings is something McArthur wants to explore, so more residents can watch meetings online.

“The more people are informed and invested in the democratic process, the better it will be for all of Amherstburg,” he said.

As for the Duffy’s site, McArthur believes the best use is an amphitheatre and festival plaza as it will help tourism.

“I don’t want to pave paradise and put up a parking lot,” he said, adding he is open to a creative solution.

McArthur said he supports using Belle Vue for such things as weddings, showers, and conferences but noted “it doesn’t come cheap.” There has to be a solid business case for Belle Vue and that fundraising avenues such as grants as well as supporting the Belle Vue Conservancy should be done.

“I think if you ask yourself if Amherstburg is better off today than it was four years ago, there’s no question it is,” said McArthur.

McArthur said DiCarlo and council “inherited a mess” and turned things around.

“They had to fill key positions and shore things up to make sure the right things were getting done,” he said.

McArthur believes the town should have hired a communications co-ordinator to focus on economic development and celebrate local success stories that highlight the benefits of living and investing in Amherstburg. LaSalle, Lakeshore, Leamington, and Essex all have one and Windsor has several, he said.

McArthur also would like to see a seniors advisory committee established to ensure seniors are engaged in the town. He also supports exploring the feasibility of an outdoor rink that could be used for other purposes in the warmer weather. He also would like to explore an off-leash dog park, noting that Amherstburg is home to the Woofa-Roo Pet Festival.

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