Wightman believes her experience will benefit council



By Ron Giofu


Lori Wightman believes she is at a good time in her life to try and obtain a position as a town councillor and hopes voters feel the same way.

Wightman was the first candidate to file her nomination papers and seek a position as a councillor. She said she has been thinking about running for council for the last few years and the Oct. 22 municipal election is the right time to do it.

“I’ve always been interested in local politics and I believe I can be good for the town,” said Wightman. “I have a lot of experience working with a variety of opinions and a variety of visions. I know the value of compromise and negotiation.”

Believing there is a lot of promise for Amherstburg, Wightman said she is hoping to help the municipality realize that promise.

“I love this town,” she said. “I think there is so much potential here.”

Wightman believes that Amherstburg “is on the right track” and believes it is important to not only plan for the four-year council term ahead, but for the next number of years as well. She cited the parks master plan process as one of the ways that the town is planning ahead.

“It’s important not only to look at what you are doing right now, but to look ahead five, ten and 15 years,” said Wightman. “Everything is not in a capsule. You have to have that forward vision.”

Wightman works for the Essex County Library system and represented workers during the 230-day strike in 2016-17 as unit chair of CUPE 2974.0. She believes that may help her during the election campaign, noting that “name recognition is always a good thing.”

“I like to think I put forth a good image during the strike,” she said.

Lori Wightman is running for the
position of councillor in the Oct. 22 municipal election.

Wightman said she wants to see people come to Amherstburg and “stay for a while” and that she knows there is talk of bringing a hotel to Amherstburg.

“I hope that happens,” she said.

Building the commercial and industrial base are other goals Wightman would like to see accomplished.

“I’d like to put Amherstburg on the map and get industries to come here,” she said. “I’d like to grow what is here for the people that are here.”

Noting the town’s finances and debt were the big issue in the 2014 campaign, she believes that four years later, things have improved. She added her belief that things will be even better four years from now.

The big issue of the current term has been the matter of policing and Wightman believes there is a lot of “misinformation” that is being discussed by residents.

“Social media is a great tool but it also has a flipside,” said Wightman. “If you read the reports, council was tasked with saving money and delivering the same service. I understand people are leery but I think (switching to the Windsor Police Service) saves a lot of money and that’s what people want. I think you are going to have to see proof in the pudding for some people.”

Wightman added that she is confident she can do a good job if elected as a councillor.

“I honestly believe I can do a good job for the town,” she said.

Councillors have to be informed, read their documents and look into the issues.

“You need people who will do the work,” she said. “You need to know what you are talking about. You need to know the details and make an informed decision.”

Meloche aiming to move into deputy mayor’s role



By Ron Giofu


After four years as a councillor, Leo Meloche is seeking a higher office.

Meloche is running for deputy mayor in the Oct. 22 municipal election, believing he has helped the town make progress over the past four years.

“I worked hard over the last four years to improve the town’s situation and I think we made some good inroads compared to where we were four years ago,” said Meloche, noting his campaign slogan is “Keeping the Momentum.”

Meloche said he wants to take on the deputy mayor’s position as he would like to contribute further to Amherstburg’s future, one that will include a new public high school and possibly a hotel.

“There are so many positive things coming out,” said Meloche. “It’s an exciting time to run for council given the success we’ve had the last four years.”

Continuing the growth of Amherstburg is a goal for Meloche, with small businesses being a key to that growth. Small businesses help bring jobs but also expand the tax base and “creates a domino effect in enabling Amherstburg to reach its potential,” he said.

“It’s the old saying ‘success breeds success’ and we are heading in the right direction,” he said.

Other local issues include building a community that looks after its aging population and continuing to carefully watch the town’s finances. Regarding the latter, Meloche said although progress has been made, “you never overextend yourself.”

Leo Meloche, a current town councillor, is aiming to be Amherstburg’s next deputy mayor.

Meloche believes he has the leadership skills and decision-making ability to be deputy mayor and if the voters agree, he would also join Essex County council. Meloche believes the county is run “very well” and that money is regularly budgeted for new roads and the new mega-hospital. However, in his day job of owning his own accounting and consulting business, Meloche works with the affordable housing industry including as the executive administrator with Leamington Lodge. That is a segment of the population that needs to be looked after, he believes.

Being on town council the last four years gives Meloche the experience he believes will help going forward. His experience as a councillor is something he thinks lends him insight as to what the town needs going forward.

One of the more controversial issues of the past four years was the policing issue, with Meloche being one of the three votes that got the motion passed and the service switched to Windsor. Policing costs were one of the major issues that he heard four years ago and continued to hear at conferences.

Meloche said Essex had $3.9 million in policing costs in 2018 as compared to Amherstburg’s $5.8 million.

“Yes, we get a higher level of policing but what we need to look at is are we really getting value for the difference,” he said.

Regional policing was discussed as far back as amalgamation and the deal with Windsor allows for a “hybrid formula for policing all the while containing costs.” The wishes of the people were respected, Meloche believes, in that the same officers, cars and police station will still be used while officers will get additional advancement opportunities if they wish.

“Overall, we thought it’s a good deal for Amherstburg as a whole,” he said, noting there are $14 million in potential savings over the next 20 years.

Getting out on the campaign trail is something Meloche said he is eager to do.

“I’m looking forward to campaigning and I hope to get another four years of serving the community,” he said.

DiCarlo seeking a second term as Amherstburg mayor



By Ron Giofu


Four years ago, Aldo DiCarlo didn’t enter the mayor’s race until late in the nomination period.

Now, he hopes doing the opposite will bring him similar results.

DiCarlo is running for a second term as mayor of Amherstburg and filed his paperwork shortly after the nomination period opened last Tuesday morning. He acknowledged he was doing the “opposite of last time, (and) being the first one in the door was my goal.”

Noting there are a number of initiatives “on the go,” DiCarlo said he wants to see them through to conclusion.

“I would like to see the positive momentum the town has had lately continue,” he said. “There are some new projects coming on line that I would like to be a part of.”

A pair of the projects DiCarlo cited as being excited about include the new public high school going into Centennial Park and the seniors’ hub in the former St. Bernard School.

“I think the town is definitely in need of more services for the growing seniors population,” DiCarlo stated.

When he first filed in 2014, the town’s finances were far and away the focal point of residents.

“The only way we could get in the media was for negative reasons, it seemed,” he recalled.

DiCarlo said while the town isn’t out of the woods yet, he believes things have improved and pointed out the town is able to pay cash for projects “which would have been unheard of back then.”

Town council is a more respectful place and there is a more positive atmosphere in the council chambers.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo is seeking a second term as Mayor of Amherstburg.

Goals for the future include ensuring that a hotel, perhaps even two, come to Amherstburg. That ties into another goal of bringing more people to town. Aside from the bed and breakfasts, DiCarlo said “the issue is that there are no places to stay.”

If there are opportunities for visitors to stay overnight, that will lead to more money for local businesses, he believed.

Attracting new development is another goal, noting the new apartment building on Pickering Dr. as an example of local development. More development will assist with another goal, which is keeping taxes at a reasonable level.

“The more people paying taxes lessens the burden for everybody,” said DiCarlo.

Expanding local festivals is another objective, pointing out the Amherstburg Uncommon Festival is coming this August.

DiCarlo acknowledged his controversial vote to contract out policing to the Windsor Police Service is still not popular with some residents. He defended it by saying the town will not see a reduction in police services and that most of the people he spoke with either supported the switch or were at least OK with it. He said he wants to stick around to ensure service levels stay where they are and that he has a good relationship with officials in Windsor.

“That affords me the opportunity to make sure Amherstburg residents are taken care of,” he said.

A number of services are already shared, he pointed out, including IT, ambulance and waste services.

“We already share quite a bit with the rest of the region,” he said.

DiCarlo said he believes in being held accountable for the decisions he was a part of.

“My simple message is if you like what you’ve seen the last three-and-a-half years, expect more of the same,” he said. “If not, don’t vote for me because plan to continue with what I’ve been doing.”