election

Recount issue becomes more complex in deputy mayor race

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The deputy mayor race saw the top two candidates finish within four votes of each other with a recount appearing to be more difficult than originally anticipated.

Leo Meloche finished with 2,579 votes while Diane Pouget ended up with 2,575 votes with Pouget’s route to a recount becoming more complex thanks to the Town of Amherstburg having no policy or bylaw pertaining on to how a recount would be addressed. Pouget said she requested a recount Tuesday morning but was told she could not have one as the town didn’t enact a policy or pass a bylaw regarding possible recounts before May 1.

Pouget said she was “very disappointed” to lose to Meloche by only four votes but understood it was the will of the people.

“I really respect my constituents. They voted in favour of Councillor Meloche to be deputy mayor,” said Pouget.

Pouget, also a current councillor, said she received a number of phone calls and e-mails suggesting she ask for a recount but was notified when she went to town hall Tuesday morning that a recount could not occur due to a new law that came into effect that called for the municipality having to have a bylaw or policy in effect by May 1.

“It appears my hands are tied,” she said, though noted she has two lawyers looking into the situation.

Regardless of the result, Pouget said she will still try and work on behalf of any resident that contacts her.

“I’m going to be there for anyone who needs help,” she said.

Should Pouget wish to pursue a recount, she would now have to go through the Superior Court and give reasonable grounds for a recount, said clerk Paula Parker. Election results became official Tuesday and Pouget would have 30 days from then to make her request.

Parker confirmed that Pouget did ask for a recount but an automatic recount is only available in case of a tie vote. As there is no bylaw or policy, the town has to rely on provincial legislation and that a recount has to be requested through the Superior Court.

There were no reports of issues with the process or the tabulators on election day, Parker added.

“Everything went very smoothly,” Parker reported.

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.

Three-way race for local Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board seat

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Frank DiTomasso wants to keep his spot on the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board (WECDSB) but has some competition.

DiTomasso is the incumbent trustee for Amherstburg and LaSalle but faces two challengers in the Oct. 22 election as Francis Ducharme and Kim Rathbone have also filed their nomination papers and are running.

DiTomasso said he wants to continue to see the students be “top notch” and pointed out the academies that exist in the Catholic system’s secondary level, including at St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School.

“The kids are more important than everything else,” stated DiTomasso.

DiTomasso touted the importance of the STEM program, noting he comes from a trade background. He said he wants “to see the trades come back” and also believed in the importance of robotics programs within the schools.

“A child should be well rounded,” he said.

Noting the additions of day cares to Catholic elementary schools, DiTomasso believed it will bring in more students as parents will have another option for their children.

Over the next four years, DiTomasso would like to ensure the board doesn’t overspend but also has the proper equipment for teachers and children. He also would like to make sure there is enough funding for autistic children and others who have different learning needs.

There is a tremendous team environment currently with the WECDSB, he added, and that the trustees vote with their heads and their hearts with the students always the main priority.

“When it comes to voting, I will ask all kinds of questions,” said DiTomasso. “I will ask the questions I need to in order to understand a situation.”

DiTomasso added that he hopes the voters will give him a chance to return, adding he has tried to attend as many school events as possible and answer whatever questions he is asked.

Rathbone, who is an Amherstburg police officer, said it was “a combination of variables” that led her to run.

“I think the timing is right for me,” she said, adding her children are older now and her work schedule allows her the opportunity to run.

Rathbone said she worked in the high school system in Windsor for a number of years and “I saw where there were gaps and I saw the successes.” She said she wants to bridge the gaps and celebrate the successes.

Rathbone also has a desire to “make positive change” and build further positive relationships. She said it is sometimes difficult for the average person to navigate through a system, in this case the school system, and she believes she can help people do that.

As a police officer, she has organized such community events as the “Not My Kid” community forum on opioids that was held in Amherstburg late last year and believes she can broaden community connections for schools. She believes the board currently has a good handle on that but she believes she can add to it.

“What I bring to the table is a strong voice,” said Rathbone. “If constituents have any issues, they can rely on me to be their strong voice.”

She added she can also be a strong voice for the board as well and that her goals will be the goals that the community wants to see. She said that, if elected, she wants to see what the board wants and the communities want.

Ducharme said he feels the system “needs a little bit of new life” and that it has become “a little complacent.” Ducharme believes that people picked a Catholic school for a reason so the Christianity and Catholicism should stay strong.

“It seems (the province) is trying to eliminate Christian values,” he said. “That needs to stay. The silent majority needs to speak up. That’s something I’d like to protect.”

Knowing there has been talk over the years of merging the public and Catholic boards, Ducharme questioned how that would happen. He said there are two unions representing workers so he wondered how it would work in terms of who has their job cut.

“If someone has any sort of action plan, I’d like to see it,” said Ducharme. “Show me a solution.”

The Catholic school board is “top heavy” with a lot of administration, he believes, and that while he doesn’t dispute people making a fair wage, he wants to ensure that teachers and in-school staff get the resources they need instead of “people at the top getting more and more.”

“There’s got to be some more accountability there,” said Ducharme.

Ducharme added that while he doesn’t have all the answers, he’d like to bring some new ideas to the board, if elected.

All three candidates live in LaSalle.

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.