Amherstburg Community Foundation

Mayor gives update into Belle Vue fundraising issue

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo is trying to provide more information as to issues regarding Belle Vue fundraising, starting with where money for a study came from.

Town council discussed Belle Vue as part of a two-hour in-camera meeting after the regular meeting of council had ended Monday night, with Belle Vue fundraising being one of the in-camera agenda items. DiCarlo said “there will likely be more coming forward” as it relates to Belle Vue, but did emphasize the $12,000 earmarked for the Crown Park Corporation is not coming from the taxpayers.

“I think the taxpayers have to know this is not taxpayer money,” said DiCarlo.

The $12,000 comes through the Amherstburg Community Foundation, which DiCarlo said is donor money. The Amherstburg Community Foundation (ACF) has been around since 2009, he added, noting that another recent project it was involved with was the resurfacing of the Miracle League field.

“The ACF has been an open body,” he said.

Work is continuing on the new roof at Belle Vue. (Photo by Paul Hertel)

DiCarlo said he was unaware that there were those that were unfamiliar with the organization and said that there was no intent to keep things quiet.

“The ACF is not a secret society at this point,” he stated.

According to DiCarlo, the Crown Park Corporation was brought in to perform one duty, with that duty being identified two weeks ago as being a study.

“The Crown Park Corporation was contracted out for a very specific task,” the mayor stated. “That task has been completed. Where we go from here is up to the Amherstburg Community Foundation.”

The Belle Vue Conservancy has been raising funds to refurbish the 200-year-old Dalhousie St. mansion and whether they remain the primary fundraisers is up to the conservancy, the mayor stated. He added the town remains open to grants and other sources of funding as they try to get the property and building restored.

“I guess we’ll see how it unfolds,” he said.

More information on the Belle Vue Conservancy can be found at www.bellevueconservancy.com while donations to the Amherstburg Community Foundation, the town’s fundraising arm, can be made at www.amherstburg.ca/donate. The conservancy’s funds that have been raised during the last two years have been subsequently turned over to the town and its foundation.

Questions and tempers raised as fundraising expenditure discussed

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A question over an accounts payable to the Crown Park Corporation that was labelled for Belle Vue fundraising sparked a contentious debate Monday night.

Town council allowed Michael Prue, treasurer of the Belle Vue Conservancy, to speak and Prue questioned a few Belle Vue related expenses, with most of them being connected to the ongoing roof construction. When he got to the line about the Crown Park Corporation, he expressed curiosity and told council “we don’t pay for any fundraising.”

CAO John Miceli, after conferring with treasurer Justin Rousseau, said it was not actually for the Belle Vue fundraising but rather a planning study for the Amherstburg Community Foundation for fundraising efforts for all town initiatives.

Miceli said the study looks at raising money for town endeavors without having to rely on going to the taxpayers. A $6,000 payment was listed under the accounts payable section but the CAO indicated it was a $12,000 report.

“There are two payments of $6,000 to tell us how to fundraise?” asked Councillor Jason Lavigne, who also wanted to know who is on the foundation, when they meet and whether council can see minutes of their meetings.

Rousseau indicated the Amherstburg Community Foundation is a “holding account” and that money is reimbursed by the foundation for any cheques the town cuts. He said taxpayer money wasn’t used on the study.

“Who supported the $12,000 is the question,” Lavigne pressed. “Who paid the $12,000 for the study? I think we all want to know.”

Miceli said there are efforts being made to “accelerate” fundraising and that now “we have a study that will help us.” He said that funds raised by the foundation may be used for Belle Vue but research has shown that not all donors want to donate to Belle Vue and those donors may want to give funds to other projects.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said both himself and Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale sit on the foundation.

Councillor Diane Pouget wondered if Crown Park Corporation had been hired by the foundation and Miceli said the foundation hadn’t hired anyone. The study was done in order to raise more money for the foundation, with the CAO adding the Belle Vue Conservancy has done a “great job raising money” but other avenues wanted to be explored by the foundation.

Prue emphasized he spoke up because he didn’t understand the fundraising expenditure.

“We’re fundraising for nothing,” he said.

Councillor Rick Fryer said he recalled getting updates when the Libro Centre was being built on the fundraising process.

Pouget said she called earlier Monday and was told by Rousseau it was for Belle Vue, and was upset with the responses she was getting at the meeting.

“I expect the treasurer to tell us the truth,” she said. “I am asking on behalf of the constituents.”
Rousseau said he had yet to review the document, and gave Pouget the most accurate information he had when she called.

“I gave you the best information I had this morning,” he said during Monday’s meeting. “If that has fallen short, I apologize.”

Administration is expected to give council more details on the matter at an upcoming meeting.

Belle Vue golf tournament raises over $10,000

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Bright, sunny skies greeted the golfers who hit the links in support of restoring the 200-year-old Belle Vue property.

The Belle Vue Conservancy held its first golf tournament, entitled “Bogies and Birdies for Belle Vue,” May 13 at Sutton Creek Golf Club in McGregor. Approximately 90 golfers hit the links for the tournament, including dignitaries. Those dignitaries included Essex MPP Taras Natyshak, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, fire chief Bruce Montone, retired fire chief Al Reaume and Councillor Leo Meloche among others. The Amherstburg Police Service also entered a team.

“It’s pretty good for a first tournament,” said golf tournament organizer and Belle Vue Conservancy member Meg Reiner. “It’s perfect weather. You never know when it’s early May.”

The Belle Vue Conservancy presented a cheque of over $10,000 to the Amherstburg Community Foundation last Thursday afternoon.

The Belle Vue Conservancy presented a cheque of over $10,000 to the Amherstburg Community Foundation last Thursday afternoon.

Now, two weeks later, the money has been counted and total proceeds from the tournament have amounted to $10,080.59.

Michael Prue, the conservancy’s treasurer, credited Reiner for her work in organizing the tournament.

“Meg, her family and her friends put a lot of effort into this cause,” said Prue. “She pulled it off. Meg and her friends are responsible for (the total).”

Reiner said some of the teams dressed in 1920’s style attire, with prizes for the best dressed. She said a large number of businesses helped out by donating door prizes for the tournament.

“The businesses were very supportive,” said Reiner. “We’re doing a silent auction.”

Golfers not only came from the Amherstburg area, Reiner added, as she noted some came in from Windsor as well.

Jacob Kelterborn, Jeff Kelterborn, Brad Nelson and Tom Wigle were the winners of the tournament.

Prue added that the conservancy was thankful for all of the tournament’s sponsors, a major one being Families First Funeral Home. He also thanked Sutton Creek for their efforts in hosting the tournament.

The Belle Vue Conservancy also publicly updated how much it has risen now that the golf tournament proceeds are known. Counting in-kind contributions, the conservancy has raised over $100,000 towards its $1 million goal.

“There’s more to come,” said Prue.

The conservancy also has plans for the fall, but has not released details as of yet.

“We’re planning for a huge event in September,” said Prue. “We’ll leave you in suspense for now.”

Jacob Kelterborn, Jeff Kelterborn, Brad Nelson and Tom Wigle were the winners of the Belle Vue golf tournament.

Jacob Kelterborn, Jeff Kelterborn, Brad Nelson and Tom Wigle were the winners of the Belle Vue golf tournament.

DiCarlo joked at last Thursday afternoon’s cheque presentation that he was likely the most surprised that his team used his shot once during the best ball tournament. He also pointed out that he sank a putt.

On a serious note, the mayor told conservancy members “as a municipality, we are so lucky to have you all. We are so lucky to have people like you.”

Without people like the volunteers in the conservancy, the mayor continued, there would be no hope to restore the Belle Vue house.

“I keep telling people this is going to become a reality and that we’re going to do it,” said DiCarlo.

The cheque was presented by the conservancy to the Amherstburg Community Foundation. The foundation is the charitable arm of the town, with town treasurer Justin Rousseau stating that it is “nice to see people coming together to make the Belle Vue house a reality for everyone.”

Online donations for the restoration of Belle Vue can be made at www.amherstburg.ca/donate.

 

Belle Vue Conservancy presents WSO concert proceeds to Amherstburg Community Foundation

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Belle Vue Conservancy raised $5,359 from last month’s concert featuring the Windsor Symphony Orchestra’s string musicians and that money has been transferred to the Amherstburg Community Foundation.

The foundation, the charitable arm of the town, received the cheque last Thursday morning with director of corporate services/treasurer Justin Rousseau and Libro Centre manager of recreation services Rick Daly accepting on behalf of the town.

Carolyn Davies, vice president of the Belle Vue Conservancy and a main organizer of the concert, thanked the WSO for coming to Amherstburg and also thanked those in the community who supported it.

“It was a sold out crowd and I was delighted the community supported it,” said Davies. “We had amazing support from our sponsors and patrons.”

Davies said the Dalhousie St. historic site has been “awaiting restoration since 2003” and believe it will be an economic driver for Amherstburg, much in the same way it was when it was originally constructed in 1816-19.

“It’s come full circle,” she said.

Members of the Belle Vue Conservancy present the proceeds from the recent Windsor Symphony Orchestra concert to the Amherstburg Community Foundation last Thursday morning.

Members of the Belle Vue Conservancy present the proceeds from the recent Windsor Symphony Orchestra concert to the Amherstburg Community Foundation last Thursday morning.

Linda Jackson, who leads the conservancy’s corporate outreach, believed a restored Belle Vue “is going to become an integral to the Amherstburg community.” She believed it would drive tourism as well as attract historians and genealogists to the area.

“Let’s call it what it is,” she added. “It’s a 200-year-old national historic site.”

Jackson also pointed out the work being done by conservancy member Paul Hertel, as Hertel is researching the World War I veterans that stayed there when it was a veterans home.

“We are certainly looking forward to all of the discoveries (Hertel) is making,” said Jackson.

Rousseau thanked the conservancy for its work and for their efforts in realizing their dream of restoring the home.

“It’s very much appreciated,” he said.

The town of Amherstburg agreed to purchase the home last September.

Belle Vue Conservancy goes live with online fundraising

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Belle Vue Conservancy’s fundraising efforts have now gone live online.

There has been a “button” added to the group’s website – located at www.bellevueconservancy.com – where people can now make online donations to the project. The link went live Tuesday night, after the Dec. 7 print issue of the River Town Times had already gone to press.

The direct link is https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/amherstburg-community-foundation/

Belle Vue Conservancy president Shirley Curson-Prue said the group is a partner with the town of Amherstburg and things can move forward now that the town officially owns the historic home.

The town took ownership of Belle Vue Nov. 14.

“You couldn’t do anything until the property was owned by the town,” said Curson-Prue.

Curson-Prue pointed out that donations made towards restoring the Belle Vue Conservancy go through the town’s community foundation.

“We’re not handing out tax receipts,” she explained. “The town is.”

The Belle Vue Conservancy, represented by Curson-Prue, made a delegation before town council in late-October and plans to return with another delegation later this month.

Belle Vue FrontWEB

Through her earlier delegation, it was established that the role of the town will be to exercise due diligence in seeking out opportunities and making application for funding at all levels of government and in the private sector for which the Belle Vue property is deemed eligible.

The role of the Belle Vue Conservancy being to promote opportunities to share the history of Belle Vue and to undertake a planned strategy for fundraising to effect the successful preservation and rehabilitation of the Belle Vue property.

Curson-Prue said the partnership with the town has been great so far.

“It’s been very strong reciprocally to deal with them,” she said.

There are also regular efforts by the town to see when Parks Canada grant funding may become available, said Curson-Prue, with such funding possibly being as much as $1 million in matching funds.

The Belle Vue Conservancy has a new logo, designed and donated by local artist Elio Del Col.

The Belle Vue Conservancy has a new logo, designed and donated by local artist Elio Del Col.

“That means we have to collect $1 million to get $1 million,” explained Michael Prue, the conservancy’s treasurer.

As reported in the Nov. 9 edition of the River Town Times, the group will also be working with artist Peter Rindlisbacher on a fundraiser. Rindlisbacher will be starting a new painting of Belle Vue early in 2017 with the plan being to hang the finished artwork in the refurbished Belle Vue with reproductions available to purchase as a way for the public to help financially support the renovation efforts.

The time period Rindlisbacher will be depicting in the painting will be the 1920’s, with the centre portion and the two wings having been attached. A renovation was done at that point, with one of the wings having been built to house a museum.

“It was done to replicate the way it was in the 1800’s when it was first built,” said Curson-Prue.

There will also be an attempt to start a crowd funding website in February, added Prue.

For those preferring to make donations via cheque, they can be mailed to the Belle Vue Conservancy at 307 Crystal Bay Dr., Amherstburg, ON, N9V 4A6. For further information, call 519-736-6947.