Amherstburg Police Service

Mayor looks back on 2017, looks ahead to 2018

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The new year is upon us and there were positives and negatives from the year that has just ended, says the town’s mayor.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said that 2017 was a good one but it had its ups and downs as well.

“I think, overall, it was a good balance of successes and challenges,” said DiCarlo. “I think we’ve done well with the waterfront development acquisitions, we had the fibre (internet) announcement and I think the budget confirmed our financial restraint and investment.”

DiCarlo believes the town did a good job of walking the “fine line of paying down debt and increasing amenities that should keep people in town.”

Regarding the Belle Vue and Duffy’s property projects, DiCarlo said he has heard positive and negative responses from residents but acknowledged, “it’s impossible to keep everyone happy” and that council is trying to work for residents and address the needs of the community. He said many people want the Duffy’s property available for public use as soon as possible and “hopefully we can make progress on that” in 2018.

The town did make progress in 2017, the mayor stated.

“We’ve definitely moved forward again,” he said. “That’s my belief. At the end of the day, it always comes down to what the residents think. As long as we can maintain the balance of moving forward, which I think we did (in 2017), we’re in good shape.”

DiCarlo said 2018 could be “another year of challenges,” and the first one on the radar is the policing issue. The town will be hosting four public meetings later this month to discuss the proposal from Windsor police, one that forecasts a $567,000 annual savings to the town.

“That is obviously going to be a big decision we have to deal with,” said DiCarlo. “I’ve definitely heard from a broad demographic of residents on this particular issue. There are people on both sides and plenty of people in the middle waiting to hear what is said at the public meetings.”

The location of the new public high school by the Greater Essex County District School Board is expected at some point, and DiCarlo said that is good news. While noting that not everyone will be happy with the new location, he believes that the new public high school will be positive for the town.

“Everyone is asking where it is going and when it will be built,” said DiCarlo, adding that timelines suggest that the announcement could come soon.

Other development is tied to the school announcement, he suggested, and that more news could be revealed shortly after the location is revealed. While much of that development hasn’t been publicly revealed as of yet, the seniors hub development proposed for the former St. Bernard School appears to be one of them. The town and Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board are headed for arbitration over the building’s value as the town wants to acquire it.

DiCarlo said the town is committed to serving the senior population and that he is hopeful the dispute over the building can be resolved.

“We’re going to go through legal channels there to mediate some sort of solution,” he said.

Much of the plans for future development is hinged on one another, he said, and that “there are a lot of synergies to projects now.” He said fewer projects are done in isolation.

“I think that’s going to translate into success in the long run,” said DiCarlo.

The town remains focused on a hotel, he added, and that the rollout of the fibre internet should occur in 2018. The town will also continue to pay down debt and continue to invest in the community, with DiCarlo stating the goal of the latter being to do so with cash the town already has.

The mayor said there is some “misconception” as it pertains to the town’s debt, which has been brought down from $44 million to approximately $38 million over the last few years. While it has come down “millions,” DiCarlo said much of the debt is locked in and can’t be paid down faster than what it already is.

This year is an election year and DiCarlo said the town could be impacted if and when the current council achieves “lame duck” status.

“While we tackle everything we have to deal with, things have to be in the perspective of what happens with the election,” he said. “If we become a lame duck council, we’ll have to put the issues on hold and we would not be able to deal with them.”

The municipal election is Oct. 22 and the nomination period opens May 1 and ends July 27 at 2 p.m.

General Amherst, Amherstburg police square off in charity hockey game

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team and the Amherstburg police hockey team squared off in a game during the holidays, but the big winners were Ontario Special Olympics.

The charity game saw the Bulldogs win on the scoreboard but no one seemed to care about the final result afterword as proceeds went to the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which in turn helps support Special Olympics.

Sgt. Mike Cox said it was the reintroduction of the charity game with General Amherst, noting that players who now play for the police team once played against them when they were in high school. He hoped it would be the first of two charity hockey games before the season is over.

The General Amherst Bulldogs and Amherstburg police hockey teams gather for a group photo following their charity hockey game for the Torch Run Dec. 22. The Torch Run helps support Ontario Special Olympics.

“I’m hoping to play the Admirals at the end of their season,” said Cox. “Hopefully it will be in June after they win a championship.”

The game against the Bulldogs featured several father/son combinations on the Amherstburg police team, including Don and Gage Brown, Chris and Luke Renaud as well as Joe and Kyle Shaw. Joe Shaw is usually an assistant coach with the Bulldogs while Kyle is a former OHL player. Another former OHL player, Zack Percy, also suited up for the police team.

General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett said his team had the opportunity to participate in the charity game and they seized it.

“Obviously, it’s a fantastic cause,” Garrett said of Ontario Special Olympics. “It’s a cause we all believe in.”

Garrett credited General Amherst principal Melissa DeBruyne for getting the game back on the Bulldogs’ schedule. DeBruyne, who played up for the police team, said she was glad to do it.

“It’s just about giving back to Special Olympics,” she said. “It was an opportunity to bring back a past tradition.”

The final day before the Christmas break for the school also saw a staff-student volleyball game and the staff prepare breakfast for the students.

“It’s about bringing the community in,” she said. “It’s the spirit of giving. It was a lot of fun.”

Sgt. Mike Cox drops the puck between General Amherst boys hockey team captain Josh DiCarlo (left) and principal Melissa DeBruyne, who suited up for the police team at the recent charity hockey game.

DeBruyne said the school received donations from Maria’s Restaurant, Meloche’s No Frills, Sobeys, parent council and teachers.

As for her playing for the police team, DeBruyne said she enjoys playing hockey whenever she gets a chance.

“I’ve got such a passion for hockey,” she said. “Every time I get on the ice, I love it.”

MADD Canada launches “Project Red Ribbon,” continues to urge drivers not to drive impaired

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

MADD Canada has hit a milestone that they wish didn’t have to occur in the first place.

MADD Canada recently launched its 30th annual campaign known as “Project Red Ribbon” in which ribbons are sold and many tied to vehicles as a way to pay tribute to those killed or injured in impaired driving crashes. The organization is also hopeful people remember not to drive impaired during and after the holiday season.

Chaouki Hamka, community leader with MADD Windsor-Essex County, said at a the launch of the campaign locally that it is vital to continue efforts to help keep impaired drivers off the road.

“Impaired driving is the number one criminal cause of death in Canada and it has been for a long time,” said Hamka. “It is 100 per cent preventable. Unfortunately, people are still making the wrong decision and getting behind the wheel when under the influence of drugs or alcohol or getting into a car with someone who is impaired.”

Hamka indicated that students in Grades 6-8 are starting to experiment with drugs and alcohol.

Police officers from multiple jurisdictions helped launch “Project Red Ribbon.” MADD Canada is encouraging people not to drive impaired this holiday season and beyond.

Hamka shared four tips to stay safe, including never driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. He said marijuana can impair a person’s ability to drive the same way alcohol can.

Hamka also encouraged people never get into a vehicle with some who has been drinking or doing drugs. If a person plans on drinking or doing drugs, have a plan to get home safely. Hamka said he didn’t condone excessive drinking or drug use, but urged people to have a plan if they are still willing to do so.

“Step up and make a difference,” Hamka added, with that including not being silent and/or taking someone’s keys to keep them off the road.

The local Project Red Ribbon campaign kickoff included officers from Windsor, OPP, LaSalle and Amherstburg. Hamka thanked all for being there, noting that police “pick up the pieces of what’s left” after and impaired driving crash.

Four people are killed every day in Canada due to impaired driving crashes, Hamka said.

Party hosts New Year’s Eve are encouraged to:

  • Have lots of food and non-alcohol/low alcohol beverages available. Party hosts looking to add non-alcoholic beverage options to their menu can check out MADD Canada sponsor Hill Street Beverage Company and their alcohol-free beer, wine, champagne and mocktails.
  • Serve drinks yourself so you can monitor how much your guests are drinking.
  • Don’t serve alcohol to anyone who is intoxicated.
  • Know how your guests are getting home and who is driving.
  • Use the Uber app or have numbers available for taxi companies.
  • Be prepared to have intoxicated guests spend the night.
  • Stop serving alcohol long before you expect the party to break up.

Allstate Insurance has partnered with MADD and Sheila Davis of Allstate Insurance said the 30 years is a bittersweet anniversary for them.

“Both organizations wish drinking and driving is not a problem on our roads,” said Davis.

Davis encouraged the public to spread the word about Project Red Ribbon and to not get behind the wheel while impaired.

Staff Sgt. Sean Bender of Windsor police called impaired driving “an avoidable nightmare” and no police officer wants to deliver the difficult message to a family that their loved one won’t be coming home. OPP Staff Sgt. Brad Sakalo also said impaired driving is preventable and that people need to remember that any amount of alcohol or drug can impair someone’s ability to drive.

Const. Sean Gazdig represented the Amherstburg Police Service and said Amherstburg police supports keeping roads safe. Amherstburg police sends officers every year to the announcement as the service is in full support of keeping impaired drivers off the road.

“We’re committed to keeping the roads safe,” said Gazdig.

Alleged road rage incident under investigation

 

 

An alleged road rage incident that led to minor damage to a vehicle is under investigation by the Amherstburg Police Service.

Amherstburg police that around 4:30 p.m. last Saturday afternoon, there was a dispute between the drivers of two pickup trucks in the area of Concession 3 North and Alma St. It was alleged that the driver of one of the vehicles kicked the door of other vehicle, causing a dent.

The matter is still being investigated, police add.

Accident   A female driver was charged following a two-vehicle collision at the intersection of Fort St. and Victoria St. S. last Saturday afternoon.

According to police, the accident took place between a Dodge Caravan and a Chevy HHR with the driver of the Caravan – a 73-year-old woman from Quebec – being charged for failing to stop at a stop sign. Police say there did not appear to be any injuries.

The accident was reported at approximately 4:45 p.m.

 

Stats   There were eight charges under the Highway Traffic Act or related offences with two 911 hangup calls and two alarm calls.

 

-All information courtesy of the Amherstburg Police Service

Public meetings on Windsor police proposal set

The town has announced the dates and times of the public meetings that will be held in relation to the possibility of switching from the Amherstburg Police Service to the Windsor Police Service.

The proposal from the Windsor Police Service, deemed “viable” by the Joint Police Advisory Committee and town council, will be the subject of four public meetings in January.

The town announced that the first meeting will be Jan. 17 at Amherstburg town hall from 6-8 p.m. The second public meeting will be in McGregor Jan. 18 at the K of C Hall at 9560 Walker Road, also from 6-8 p.m.

The third meeting is planned for Jan. 25 at St. Peter’s ACHS College School, located at 6101 County Road 20 from 6-8 p.m.

The fourth and final public meeting is planned for the Libro Centre Jan. 27 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Barring any delays or deferrals, the decision is expected to be made at the Feb. 26 town council meeting.