Aldo DiCarlo

Council looking at setting up committees, bringing back some former ones

 

By Ron Giofu

 

As council is new, so too are the committees being formed.

The 2018-22 town council held its first business meeting Monday night and started the recruitment process for some of the committees that will be formed. Administration was authorized to seek members for the accessibility advisory committee, the committee of adjustment, the Co-An Park committee, the drainage board, the fence viewers committee, the heritage committee, livestock evaluators, parks and recreation advisory committee, the property standards committee, the seniors advisory committee and the mayor’s youth advisory committee.

The last two are new committees but the mayor’s youth advisory committee was one that drew some particular attention. Councillor Peter Courtney said with The House Youth Centre in place, he didn’t want the town to interfere with that but manager of recreation services Rick Daly said the committee would engage with youth at The House and others in town and gather their opinions.

Councillor Donald McArthur envisioned the committee and the youth working “in tandem” and that the town needs “to go where they are” to gather their opinions.

The economic development and finance committees appear to be making a comeback after being dissolved by the last council. Councillor Michael Prue believed it would “not be a bad idea for the town” and that a committee of citizens would “be an enormous benefit as we try to bring business to town.”

Prue, who noted his campaign involved economic development, believed citizens should have a say in how the town is developed and that includes looking at potential industrial sites as the former General Chemical property and lands on Alma St.

Administration will bring back a report on reforming the economic development committee as well as terms of reference. Courtney asked for similar consideration on re-implementing the town’s finance committee.

The names of Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche and Ron Sutherland were put forth to the Essex County striking committee for consideration as the town’s representatives to the Essex County Library Board. Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, who missed his third straight council meeting Monday night, was re-appointed to the Essex Powerlines board of directors. Courtney was appointed to the Essex Region Conservation Authority with the town to advertise for a layperson as the second representative.

Meloche was also named to join DiCarlo on the Amherstburg Police Services Board for the balance of the year but council shot down any notion of advertising for a layperson since the board is being abolished Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m. due to the switchover to the Windsor Police Service.

“It’s not practical to advertise for the (layperson) position for 20 days,” said Prue.

Courtney wanted to keep current APSB chair Bob Rozankovic in place for the balance of the term and also didn’t want to advertise for a layperson as it should “stay as it is.”

“It seems absurd to me,” he said of seeking another layperson to the board.

Councillor Patricia Simone questioned what will happen with issues the board is facing including a human rights tribunal.

“I’m not sure what would happen with issues still up in the air,” said Simone.

CAO John Miceli said the severance issues “we believe have been resolved” and that other matters such as human rights issues, given as there will be no board, will “by default fall to the town.”

New town council sworn in at inaugural meeting

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The new town council is officially on the job.

The Town of Amherstburg held its inaugural meeting for the new council with all seven members taking their oaths. Mayor Aldo DiCarlo was sworn in for his second term with Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche also being sworn in again, only this time in a new role as he was a councillor from 2014-18.

The five new councillors also were sworn into office with Peter Courtney, Donald McArthur, Michael Prue, Marc Renaud and Patricia Simone now officially elected officials in Amherstburg.

DiCarlo said “it’s a bit of a relief,” as “there’s a weird limbo from the day you find out you won to the day you are sworn in. Tonight is the night that makes it real for everyone.”

Calling it a “far cry from where we were four years ago,” DiCarlo said he likes who he will be working with.

“I’m very happy with the new council,” he said. “I’m very excited to be working with them. I think we’ve got a great new council. With the new council comes new ideas and perspectives. I think it’s going to work out really well for the town.”

The inaugural meeting for the 2018-22 town council was held Monday night at the Libro Centre. Front row (from left): Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo. Back row (from left): Councillor Donald McArthur, Councillor Michael Prue, Councillor Patricia Simone, Councillor Peter Courtney and Councillor Marc Renaud.

There will still be tough decisions to make, DiCarlo pointed out, but “we’ll work through it.” Immediate goals will be to get some of the recently announced projects moving such as the hotels and the condominiums, something the mayor said is “very big news for Amherstburg.” He added that a business owner told him of the hotels that “you can’t build that thing fast enough.”

“I think we need to get some of the good news projects under our belt,” said DiCarlo.

There are also bylaws and procedures that still have to be updated with 2019 budget deliberations also looming in the new year.

Long term goals include upgrading roads and infrastructure, he said.

“Roads and infrastructure are going to continue to be a challenge for us,” DiCarlo stated. “I always hate passing the buck and I’m not going to in any respect, but I want residents to know that we are not alone with regards to infrastructure.”

DiCarlo said that many municipalities across the province are facing similar challenges and that with the current Progressive Conservative government, money may not be flowing as much as it once did to municipalities.

“We’re not sure how much government money is coming our way,” he stated.

Meloche said “it feels great” to be sworn in as the town’s new deputy mayor, noting that he likely wouldn’t have thought he would be in that spot four years ago.

“Hard work has got me here,” said Meloche. “I’m looking forward to working with the new council.”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo (left) is presented his gavel by clerk Paula Parker as CAO John Miceli observes. The 2018-22 town council was sworn in Monday night.

The 2014-18 council “paved the way” for the 2018-22 council, he believed, and made a lot of progress in Amherstburg.

“I think the new council will continue the momentum, continue the progress and continue to show that Amherstburg is a good place to live, work, raise a family and visit,” he said.

Meloche is a new member to Essex County council and he said he has been through an orientation meeting there and has also had one-on-one meetings with the two candidates vying to be the next warden – Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos and Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara. He also met with county administration.

“There’s an education process with regards to roads and the direction the county is going the next four years,” said Meloche. “It’s an exciting time for me.”

Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche is sworn in Monday night by clerk Paula Parker. Meloche will also join Mayor Aldo DiCarlo on Essex County council.

Meloche also thanked his supporters.

“Thank you to all of the people who put their trust in me Oct. 22,” he said.

CAO John Miceli addressed the crowd at Monday night’s inaugural meeting at the Libro Centre, noting that the new council has taken on “a very, very large responsibility, a responsibility that can’t be taken lightly.”

Amherstburg is rich in history, culture and tradition, said Miceli, and it is not an easy task to be an elected official. He said administration will support the new council and called for the community to support them as well. Miceli noted that the council members are also members of families and that they all want to make the town a better place.

“You cannot make progress without making decisions,” he said.

Councillor Peter Courtney puts his arm around his mother Joan following Monday night’s inaugural meeting of town council. Peter was sworn in as a councillor just days after his mother’s term as a councillor ended. Joan was a member of town council from 2014-18.

Clerk Paula Parker, who officially swore in the new council members, said there will be difficult times and there will be criticism levied by members of the public, but she pointed out public service is also gratifying. She said some decision of council will not be popular, but there will be successes that will be rewarding.

“Leadership is not about the next election,” said Parker. “It is about the next generation.”

LPAT grants approval for development on the south end of Boblo Island

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The decision is in on whether the south end of Boblo Island can be developed and it indicates that it may proceed.

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) handed down its decision last week and granted approval of the subdivision on the south end of the island. The decision noted that “the proposed development is for a residential subdivision containing 172 lots and four blocks on approximately 32 hectares of land. There are a total of 220 units proposed through a mix of single and semi-detached lots, with an estimated 124 single detached lots (with a minimum of 24m frontage), and approximately 48 semi-detached lots (with a minimum of 13.7m frontage).”

The decision also notes that “the plan includes a central open space system that is intended to be dedicated to the town.” That system “offers protection to identified cultural heritage buildings and structures – a former dance hall and roller rink – that were associated with the island’s former amusement park use. Three is also a blockhouse located on the subject property; the draft plan of subdivision notes the blockhouse as an archeological where development must be avoided.”

Two more archeological areas are also “to be avoided until further study is completed.”

The development was subject of a three-day LPAT hearing at the Amherstburg Municipal Building in August.

As part of her decision, LPAT member Sarah Jacobs wrote: “The Tribunal finds, based on the uncontradicted planning, ecological, and traffic engineering evidence before it at the hearing that the proposed subdivision has appropriate regard for matters of provincial interest in accordance with s.2 of the (Planning) Act and the criteria set out in s.51(24) of the Act and is consistent with the PPS (Provincial Policy Statement). The Tribunal is also satisfied that the proposed conditions of draft plan approval are reasonable in accordance with s.51(25) of the Act.”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said his first reaction to the decision was relief. He said many in the community don’t realize that Boblo has a “break-even point.”

“If it doesn’t reach its break-even point, it’s not self-sustainable,” he said. “It has a very unique set of needs. If we didn’t reach the break-even point, what happens?”

If the island couldn’t be sustained and costs like the ferry were to be inherited by the town, DiCarlo said it would have a devastating impact to the tax rate. He said the developers, Amico, have worked hard to try and accommodate development on the south end of Boblo and care about the environment just as everyone else does.

“Being involved on the inside, the developer has changed the development I don’t know how many times at an astronomical cost,” the mayor said.

The developers did “an incredible amount of work” to plan a development while at the same time maintain the beauty of the island, he added.

DiCarlo said most Boblo residents he has spoken to favour the development but noted “I think it’s fair to also recognize there are residents not in favour of it,” he said. “It’s always a question of where the majority lies.”

There are still steps to go through but the mayor added that Amico and the town’s planning department have regularly worked well together.

Hall of Fame coach honoured by town council

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A local high school coach as picked up another honour.

Dom Silvaggio, a recent inductee into the Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame, was honoured for that accomplishment by the Town of Amherstburg. Silvaggio was joined by several members of his family as town council paid tribute to him at the Nov. 26 council meeting.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo was not at the meeting due to illness, but clerk Paula Parker read a statement from him that praised Silvaggio for his many accomplishments over the years.

Dom Silvaggio (third from left) was honoured by Amherstburg town council Nov. 26 on the occasion of his getting inducted into the Windsor-Essex Sports Hall of Fame. He was surrounded by members of the 2018 General Amherst Lady Gens senior girls basketball team. Making the presentation was then-Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale (right).

Among the accomplishments on Silvaggio’s resume include 26 WECSSAA/ECSSAA championships between boys and girls basketball teams. He has coached 13 SWOSSAA championship teams and the senior girls program he has overseen won ten consecutive medals at OFSAA at either the “AA” or “AAA” level, including five gold medals, three silver medals and two bronze medals at the provincial championship tournament.

“Thank you for being a great ambassador,” Paula read on DiCarlo’s behalf.

Members of the 2018 General Amherst Lady Gens came into the council chambers as a show of support for their coach. Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale presented the General Amherst High School coach with a framed certificate on behalf of the town.

Silvaggio said it felt really special to be recognized by the town.

“This is my hometown,” he said.

Silvaggio said he was humbled by the honour and that the ceremony where he was inducted was “a great night.”

Outgoing town council members say their goodbyes

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A combined 38 years of experience left town council at the Nov. 26 meeting.

The five outgoing town council members bid farewell at the final meeting of the term. Councillor Diane Pouget said her goodbyes after a combined 14 years of service, as she served from 1991-97 and again from 2010-18. Pouget thanked her fellow councillors, including four that “have been my saviours in the past year. You have done a very good job. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to you.”

Pouget also offered her thanks to administration. She said she fielded the most complaints out of all of council and that she would bring those complaints to administration.

“You were always there for me,” said Pouget. “I thank you for that.”

Thanks were also shared with the Amherstburg Police Service, Chief Tim Berthiaume and the Amherstburg Police Services Board. Pouget thanked Berthiaume for his years of service and hoped the transition to the Windsor Police Service would be a smooth one.

Pouget also thanked the public for allowing her to be one of their council members for the last 14 years.

Councillor Leo Meloche, who has now ascended to the deputy mayor’s job, praised Pouget.

“I know she is very passionate about what she does,” said Meloche. “I really respect her for that. She’s a fighter for the people. I wish her the best in whatever she chooses to do.”

Courtney leaves after four years of service as a town councillor. The former Catholic school board trustee thanked Pouget for “everything she has done the last four years. I admire her more than she’ll ever know.”

Courtney also thanked the rest of her colleagues, stating “it’s been a real ride.” She paid tribute to councillors Rick Fryer, Jason Lavigne and Meloche. Of retiring Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale, she stated “I just love you Bart. I wish you well in your retirement.” She also thanked the citizens, including the crowd that regularly attends council meetings.

“You keep tabs on us,” she said.

Thanks were also given to Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, treasurer Justin Rousseau and the rest of administration. She referred to clerk Paula Parker and deputy clerk Tammy Fowkes as “my saviours” for all the help they have given her over the last four years.

“It’s been a ride,” said Lavigne.

Lavigne said “I can’t give enough praise to Councillor Pouget,” recalling her days of helping to save General Amherst High School to the present.

“To those lobbing insults, none of you have given what she’s given to the town,” said Lavigne.

Lavigne said he was mentored by Pouget. He added that Fryer helped get him into politics and also thanked Courtney for her support. He also wanted the community to support Meloche as he moved into the deputy mayor role. He also thanked DiPasquale and pointed out his longevity in public service.

Recommending that people “don’t listen to the noise on social media,” Lavigne said he wants the town to move forward.

“I go out of here with my head held high,” he stated.

Fryer also praised his fellow council members. He said Courtney brought her knowledge of the school board to town council and that knowledge “got us through a difficult time.” He added that Lavigne is passionate about what he does and told him he “did an admirable job the last four years.”

Five members of town council said farewell at the Nov. 26 meeting. From left: Councillor Rick Fryer, Councillor Diane Pouget, Councillor Joan Courtney, Councillor Jason Lavigne, Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale.

Like Courtney before him, Fryer referred to Meloche as “a numbers guy” and wished him continued good luck over the next four years. However, Fryer also said he would like to see more county dollars flow through Amherstburg and said, “County Road 20 looks like (crap) right now.”

Fryer said Pouget was “like a mom to me” and also pointed out her passion on town issues. He noted Pouget’s passion didn’t waver despite tough family circumstances this past term. He also praised his father Mike, who was also his campaign manager in every election he ran in.

Even though he was defeated in his bid for deputy mayor Oct. 22, Fryer said he was happy because he got an opportunity to represent the residents. He said he was always thinking of the people when he voted. He said that difficult emotional times after his ankle injury, coupled with criticism from members of the public, caused him to contemplate whether he should “get rid of myself” but “the people of Amherstburg kept me up.” He ran for council again, he said, to show “you can rise above that and be a leader in the community.”

Fryer also said that administration did a great job and “we’ve got to keep moving forward.” He believed social media should be used for such things as congratulatory messages but encouraged the community to not to use it as much.

“Get behind the next council and stay the hell off of social media,” said Fryer.

DiCarlo missed the Nov. 26 meeting due to illness. He did send written remarks, that were read by Parker.

“Over the past four years, this council has authorized and implemented many guiding documents that future councils will rely upon – all with a view to improving the quality of life for residents of Amherstburg,” DiCarlo wrote. “The Community Based Strategic Plan, with its extensive public consultation, will help to shape the future of Amherstburg. But the outgoing council did much more than simply authorize the preparation of these documents – they also acted upon them.”

DiCarlo stated that “strategic initiatives” such as the purchases of the former Duffy’s property and the Belle Vue site and the Bell Fibre to the Home initiative were all supported by the town’s Community Based Strategic Plan.

“A progressive council looks beyond four years,” DiCarlo wrote. “That’s what this council has done.”

Of DiPasquale, DiCarlo pointed out DiPasquale’s years of service with the Amherstburg Police Service as well as his eight years as a member of council – the first four as a councillor and the latter four as deputy mayor.

“It was a pleasure to serve with him as a representative on county council,” stated DiCarlo. “We thank him for his service.”

Regarding Pouget, DiCarlo noted her 14 years of public service to the residents of Amherstburg.

“She is a passionate councillor and her work with the parks committee is something that I think the residents will remember for years to come,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo stated that Fryer “has been a continuous advocate for infrastructure as well as environmental issues. The past two years, he has also served as chair of the Essex Region Conservation Authority.”

Of Lavigne, DiCarlo noted that they both served together on the Amherstburg Police Services Board as well as council.

“He has served with passion and commitment,” said DiCarlo of Lavigne.

DiCarlo also thanked Courtney for her service on the 2014-18 council.

“Councillor Courtney brought her experience as a school board representative to the council chamber and served with honour and passion,” he stated in his written remarks.