councillor

Candidate profiles – all in one place!

 

Here is a listing off all the candidate profiles that have been published by the River Town Times. All have been posted both in print and online.

We have gathered them into one post so that, should people want to review a specific candidate, it makes it easier to find.

Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

 

MAYOR

Aldo DiCarlo

Glenn Swinton

 

DEPUTY MAYOR

Rick Fryer

Leo Meloche

Diane Pouget

Bob Rozankovic

COUNCILLOR

Frank Cleminson

Peter Courtney

Pauline Gemmell

Elizabeth (Libby) Keenan

Jason Lavigne

Lena Lazanja

Donald McArthur

John Menna

Gregory Moore

Michael Prue

Marc Renaud

Patricia Simone

Ron Sutherland

Lori Wightman

 

The River Town Times is also running a web poll in order to gauge where the community is leaning with regards to the Oct. 22 municipal election. While the poll is unscientific, we hope it will lend an idea as to what the public is thinking. The link to the poll can be found at this link.

Levies, roads and industry among Menna’s priorities

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

John Menna said he wants the town to grow and be strong.

In order to try and do his part, Menna is running for a councillor position in the Oct. 22 election.

Menna has listed a number of issues and priorities he has heading into the election, one of which the introduction of a ward system.

“I think the people in Malden and Anderdon would be getting better representation in a ward system,” he said.

Menna is open to the idea of putting whether or not Amherstburg gets a ward system up to a vote. He believed the policing issue should have been decided the same way.

“We would have put this to bed,” he said. “We should do the same with a ward system. If you put it to a referendum, the question is answered. Either you want it or you don’t want it and then you put it to bed.”

Keeping the Amherstburg Police Service was something Menna preferred but wants to know how the projected savings were arrived at and how they will be used in the future.

“If the election is going to be where we re-hash the policing issue, I think we’re going down the wrong road,” said Menna. “The future will tell us if we made the right decision.”

Menna had questions over the levies the town has now built into every budget, stating if the town is in better financial shape, the levies could be eliminated or have an end date put on them. More money also has to be spent on roads.

“Our roads, that’s a need and not a want,” said Menna. “We’ve let things go too far.”

Citing Concession 2 North as an example, Menna stated that the road should be fixed properly.

John Menna is running for the position of councillor in the Oct. 22 municipal election.

“We should be doing the right thing and giving them a new road,” he said.

The town needs to stop having a “spending spree,” Menna added.

“I don’t see where they’ve made cuts,” Menna said, of the current council.

Menna added that “if it’s true we spent $2 million (additionally in salaries) in four years, we need a hiring freeze.” He said he doesn’t see any difference made with more staff.

More business should be welcomed, he continued, and credited those who voted against deferring a planning report that killed the Wendy’s project.

“We say we’re open for business but we are in peril of losing it,” said Menna. “It’s wrong. We should have gone ahead with that.”

Council members should vote with the mindset “is it good for Amherstburg?” and Menna pledged to do that.

As it relates to the Duffy’s site, Menna recalled issues with boat trailers taking up parking spots and being an “eyesore.” If a hotel does come to the area, he asked if the hotel operator would want trailers in front of the building.

“We’re going to create a problem we had 30 years ago,” he said. “If someone can solve that problem, I’d vote for a public launch.”

There hasn’t been a lot of buzz around the former General Chemical site, Menna added, and that promoting the site to developers “should be a priority” for the new council.

Taxation was another issue, stating if taxes rise two per cent but MPAC assessments rise 40 per cent, a homeowner has to deal with both increases.

“We should try for a zero per cent increase with our taxes,” he said.

More should be done to curb losses at the Libro Centre and try and help the situation. Regarding Belle Vue, Menna wants a “game plan” on what it will be used for.

“We have to study it and do a marketing plan,” said Menna. “I don’t want to see Belle Vue be like another HMS Detroit.”

Menna also wanted to know why the town didn’t purchase the water side and believed it will end up costing more if the town decides to purchase it in the future.

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.

Cleminson passionate about town and wants to give back

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Frank Cleminson enjoyed meeting with residents when he ran for council four years ago but didn’t get the result he wanted.

He is hopeful of improving his standing this year.

Cleminson is seeking a councillor position in the Oct. 22 municipal election, stating he wants to give back further to the community.

“I really enjoyed the first time I did this,” he said. “It was a good experience to get to know the people.”

Cleminson, a former chair of the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB), said is “very passionate” about that issue. He said he looks forward to seeing the final draft of the policing contract come before town council to see if and how his concerns raised during the process were addressed.

“That’s what re-engaged me to go again and try to have a seat at the table,” said Cleminson.

Cleminson was also a zone president while on the APSB, has been unit chair with IBEW through his employment at Enwin and has served as treasurer with the Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association (AMHA). He was also involved in planning a fundraiser for a friend, who had a daughter with cancer.

“I always like giving back,” he said. “It’s always been in me to pay it forward and give back. I think this is the next level I’d like to do it at.”

Teamwork is important and Cleminson advocates for a strong “team concept” around the council table. That would also involve administration so that issues that taxpayers are dealing with can be properly addressed. The taxpayers’ agenda will drive him and he said they will give the focus on what needs to be done.

Roads are a concern, he said, as are sidewalks for residents.

Frank Cleminson is running for the position of councillor in the Oct. 22 municipal election.

As it relates to Belle Vue, Cleminson said the taxpayers come first and that the town needs to explore partnerships in order to get the 200-year-old mansion restored.

“I want to minimize as best I can the cost to the town,” said Cleminson. “We have other projects that need attention.”

Cleminson supports having a boat ramp and boat trailer parking on the Duffy’s site, calling it a “viable option” for the town. Having boaters come into town would be a plus and that a marina with proper parking facilities could also allow for other services and amenities to come to town such as paddleboarding and jet boats.

The extra parking would help other events in the downtown area, Cleminson added.

“I’m concerned about the St. Bernard (School) property,” he continued.

There are concerns over possibly duplicating services that are already at the Libro Centre and Cleminson wonders why additional services couldn’t be provided for at the Libro Centre so that it could be utilized more and help offset operational costs.

The location of the new public high school is also something that Cleminson has questions over. He wonders why the south end of Centennial Park was chosen, thus causing the pending removal of the four baseball diamonds and swimming pool. There are also concerns over traffic in the area once the school is built and what will happen with the remaining 12 acres that were not sold to the Greater Essex County District School Board.

“That’s a nice park area in the town,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of questions with that piece of property.”

Amenities that are removed need to be replaced, Cleminson added, noting he has been at Centennial Park recently for events and they are well used.

“I really have a true passion for the town,” he said, adding he wants to be accountable to residents and to help the town be even better than what it is. He said that he would approach every issue with the passion that he recently showed during the policing meetings.

Courtney promotes teamwork, unity and respect among campaign pillars

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Peter Courtney ran for town council eight years ago and feels the time is right to try again.

Courtney said still has a vested interest in municipal politics since he last ran in 2010 and “I feel I’m in a good point in my life with my children being older.” He is one of 14 candidates seeking a councillor position in the Oct. 22 municipal election.

Noting he has a history of being involved with youth through coaching minor hockey and baseball, Courtney said he also has met a lot of parents and grandparents during that time as well. He said he wants to bring what he has learned about teamwork to the council table.

“Council chambers seems to be divided over the last couple of terms,” he said. “I’m looking to bridge that gap.”

Courtney said he wants opinions put to the side and have council unite in order to stop the “divide” on council.

Continuing to bring down Amherstburg’s debt is another priority, Courtney indicated.

Relating to the Duffy’s property, Courtney said he favours the boat ramp and revitalized marina downtown, noting the sale of Ranta Marina was a major issue the last time he ran for council. He added he is not opposed to seeing an amphitheatre erected at the site.

That said, Courtney believes more consultation has to be done with the public.

Peter Courtney is running for the position of councillor in the Oct. 22 municipal election.

“Public meetings are the way to go,” he said.

The future of Centennial Park and the amenities that are being lost due to the new public high school construction that will be happening there. Courtney said he is happy to see a new high school come to Amherstburg but there is concern over what is going to happen to the amenities being lost, including the ball diamonds and swimming pool. He believes user groups need to be consulted with better and fears losing enrolment in minor sports to surrounding municipalities.

“There’s a lot of concern (over the loss of the ball diamonds) in terms of what we’re going to do,” said Courtney, adding clear guidance is needed on that subject.

The remaining 12 acres of Centennial Park that wasn’t sold should remain “user friendly” for the area.

Belle Vue was obtained for a “good price,” he added, but using it to create revenue for the town is a big question.

“I wouldn’t want it to be seen as the big white elephant,” said Courtney.

Courtney believes the current council has done “a pretty good job” with transparency regarding meetings but he doesn’t think there is enough accountability after the meeting. He says decisions have been made which don’t seem to match what the people have been asking for.

“Tough decisions going against what people want doesn’t sit right with me,” said Courtney.

Citing the decision to go from a five-year contract with the Windsor Police Service to the “last minute curveball” of going to a 20-year contract “doesn’t make me confident as a taxpayer.”

Courtney said it is a “fine line” between being over-aggressive when it comes to trying to reduce debt and being balanced.
“I want to make sure we meet the needs on both sides,” he said.

Courtney is also interested in creating a blog or another type of interactive feature to get residents involved and build a better relationship with them.

“This is our town,” he said, and it has to be inclusive for everyone. To move the town forward, he believes good, logical decisions need to be made based on the facts. Social media can “sometimes be skewed and sometimes may include personal bias or side agendas,” he added. Many questions can be answered by simply contacting a council member or the town.

“Use the resources available to you, focus on the facts and be positive,” he said.