Ken Antaya

Outgoing county council members say goodbye, returning members offer thanks

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The 2014-18 term of Essex County council is wrapping up with the final meeting of the term now having been held.

The five outgoing members said farewell while other members that are returning also offered thanks to administration, fellow county council members and Warden Tom Bain. It was also the last meeting as warden for Bain, although he is returning to Essex County council for the 2018-22 term due to him still being mayor of Lakeshore.

Saying goodbye were Amherstburg Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale, Leamington Mayor John Paterson, LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya, Essex Mayor Ron McDermott and Lakeshore Deputy Mayor Al Fazio. DiPasquale, Antaya and McDermott are retiring from politics while Paterson and Fazio were not successful in their re-election bids.

“It’s been a great pleasure for me to be here these last four years,” said DiPasquale. “I learned a lot of things I didn’t know. It’s been a great ride for me.”

DiPasquale thanked county council and administration, stating “I think we’ve done a pretty good job working together.”

Paterson recalled his early days on county council when he was told to take his Leamington hat off and wear a county hat instead. He noted he brought up questions that may have gone against the status quo but did so to for the benefit of the county, adding he never felt a “negative vibe” from anyone for doing so.

There were “battles” at points, Paterson added, but “when we were done, we were done.” He also recalled the times when the county was unified, including when meeting with ministers from upper levels of government on issues.

Antaya, the current deputy warden, thanked his own residents for electing him to begin with.

“It was a thrill serving the community I grew up in. It was the crowning moment of my career,” said Antaya.

Antaya thanked the administration at the county level, noting the transition between CAO’s was “seamless” after Brian Gregg retired and Rob Maisonville took over.  He called Bain a “terrific leader” and told him “you represented the county well.”

“I enjoyed working with every one of you,” Antaya told his fellow county council members.

McDermott got choked up at points during his farewell address, thanking his community for his 15 years of service. He also thanked his deputy mayor Richard Meloche, who McDermott said has been there the entire 15 years with him. Meloche will be returning to county council next term.

“The staff is unbelievable,” McDermott said of the county’s administration, and also expressed thanks to his colleagues and Bain.

Fazio thanked Bain for being his “mentor” in both Lakeshore and at the county level. He also expressed gratitude to administration, his family, his fellow county councillors and the residents. He also thanked members of the committees he has sat on.

“It’s been a great eight years on county council,” said Fazio.

The returning members to Essex County council include both Kingsville and Tecumseh mayors and deputy mayors with Nelson Santos and Gord Queen representing the former and Gary McNamara and Joe Bachetti representing the latter.

Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo will be returning as well. Hilda MacDonald and Marc Bondy will also be returning, but will be moving up from deputy mayor to mayor in Leamington and LaSalle respectively.

DiCarlo also expressed thanks to his colleagues for their hospitality when he first arrived four years ago. With the town going through severe financial challenges, DiCarlo recalled being given advice by many other members of county council.

“The support was truly overwhelming,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo also noted he was welcomed right from the start, despite not having much political experience when he was first elected. He wished outgoing members well and said he looks forward to working with the incoming county council to “continue to work together to make Essex County the best place to be.”

MacDonald noted she was the only female member of county council these last four years but said she was treated equally and with respect during the term. She thanked Bain for making her feel welcome and comfortable.

“You treated me well,” said MacDonald, who will be one of three women on the next Essex County council.

Amherstburg Community Services thanks volunteers at annual appreciation dinner

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) thanked their volunteers and did so with a western flare.

ACS held its annual volunteer appreciation dinner last Wednesday evening at the AMA Sportsmen Association with the event featuring everything from a barbecue meal to people dressed in western attire. There were also horse and carriage rides as well.

ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo noted the non-profit agency is in its 45th year, with providing meals being one of the early focuses.

Staff from Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) hold up letters spelling the words “Thank You” at last Wednesday night’s volunteer appreciation dinner at the AMA Sportsmen Association. ACS honoured their 132 volunteers with a dinner that had a western theme this year.

“Without the volunteers and original acts of kindness, we wouldn’t be here today,” said DiBartolomeo.

Meals on Wheels is now just one of the current services, with another 21 services also provided out of their Victoria St. S. office. ACS also provides services to Harrow, McGregor and LaSalle, she added.

ACS has 132 volunteers, DiBartolomeo noted, and she said all volunteers and every community play an important role.

“Volunteers not only play an important role in communities large and small, they are a necessity,” she said.

DiBartolomeo added that volunteers are “a special breed of people” and that ACS has developed a number of partnerships with other groups and organizations in the area. She said the agency can look back proudly on what it has accomplished.

“We are looking to the future with excitement,” she stated.

Terri Barrette, president of ACS’ board of directors, offered gratitude for the work of the volunteers. She referenced “Wanted” posters given the evening’s western theme when she pointed out there are so many wants and needs in the community.

Jim Cryowski was one of the ACS volunteers that helped barbecue the dinner at last Wednesday’s volunteer appreciation night at the AMA Sportsmen Association.

Volunteers give of their time and brighten the lives of people they help but Barrette added they are often another person’s “saving grace” and an inspiration to others.

“We tip our hats to all of you,” said Barrette.

Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo brought greetings, saying the thanks he was giving was miniscule compared to the volunteer time that people give.

“Know that your service does not go unnoticed or unappreciated,” said DiCarlo. “Amherstburg’s success is defined by you and for that we are eternally grateful.”

DiCarlo stated the Amherstburg is known for its volunteers.

“This is one of the few opportunities I have to let them know what difference they make in our community,” he said.

Sarah Parks from Sarah Parks Horsemanship (left) and Michelle Stein from Firehorse Leadership Organization (right) helped give Amherstburg Community Services’ volunteer appreciation dinner a western flare by bringing their horses. Gerald Lemire was one of the volunteers who stopped by to say hello.

LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya said ACS’ volunteer appreciation dinner is an “annual event I love coming to.” Antaya has been a volunteer himself, often as a Meals on Wheels driver.

“The service you provide is incredible,” said Antaya. “You are assuring people they haven’t been forgotten.”

Antaya added he has been proud to be a Meals on Wheels driver and said they often are the only people some clients may see in an average day.

For more information about ACS and the services the agency provides, visit their office at 179 Victoria St. S. or call 519-736-5471. Their website is www.amherstburg-cs.com.

LaSalle not to give Amherstburg a bid on police services

 

By Ron Giofu

 

And then there were two.

Should Amherstburg town council vote to switch policing services away from the existing Amherstburg Police Service, the choices will be between the Windsor Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). That is because LaSalle has opted not to submit a bid to police Amherstburg.

LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya noted that there was a large discrepancy between Windsor and the rest of the field on dispatching and that showed “we don’t have the economy of scale” to match up.

Windsor’s dispatching bid came in at $653,000 over a five-year period with LaSalle police’s bid being over $1.48 million over that time frame. Owen Sound police and Strathroy-Caradoc police also submitted bids with those bids being just under $1.48 million and $1.54 million respectively.

“It’s difficult for smaller municipalities to match that,” said Antaya.

When it comes to bidding for the overall service, Antaya indicated that LaSalle believes they couldn’t offer up the cost savings Amherstburg is looking for.

“We recognize the economic scales involved here. Amherstburg is looking at saving costs and we are not sure we can give them the savings they are looking for,” Antaya said.

The LaSalle mayor added his community is happy with the policing they receive and there were some concerns about “watering down” the LaSalle Police Service should resources have been necessary to include Amherstburg. With it now being possible that municipalities are non-contiguous can get to police one another, it now means LaSalle doesn’t have to be part of the equation, Antaya added.

Safety is the most important thing to LaSalle residents, Antaya added.

LaSalle council will discuss possibly giving Amherstburg a police costing Jan. 26.

LaSalle council will discuss possibly giving Amherstburg a police costing Jan. 26.

The news that LaSalle wasn’t going to submit a bid wasn’t the best news Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo has heard, but he was understanding of why it happened.

“Overall, my biggest reaction is disappointment more than anything else,” said DiCarlo. “With no disrespect to other mayors or other municipalities, they have to do what is best for the interests of their municipalities.”

DiCarlo indicated he is a fan of municipal policing, but believed a regional policing model would be cost-effective for those municipalities involved.

“As was stated when we first started this process, this council is the first one to do its due diligence in getting the numbers,” said DiCarlo.

An advisory committee has been set up and DiCarlo believes they have done a good job articulating what Amherstburg wants in a police force. He said Amherstburg has gotten used to a level of service and doesn’t want to lose it, adding that bidders will have to provide a similar method of policing to what exists currently.

The town issued an RFP and the deadline is mid-October. While DiCarlo anticipates there will be some savings, “if Windsor or the OPP can’t do it cheaper, that’s not a bad thing.” He said that is affirmation that the Amherstburg Police Service is providing a good service for a good price.

Saving are in the resources, he added, noting police salaries are roughly the same across the board.

DiCarlo emphasized that retaining the existing Amherstburg Police Service is an option council will have as well. Even though he anticipates a savings from bids from Windsor police and the OPP, DiCarlo said the question then would be whether those savings are enough to not keep the Amherstburg Police Service.

“That is ultimately up to council.”

Essex County celebrates Canada 150 by burying time capsule, dunking politicians

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The County of Essex celebrated Canada 150 last Friday and hopes that people 100 years from now will remember what 2017 was like.

An outdoor celebration took place at the Essex Civic Centre with one of the main attractions being the burying of a time capsule that isn’t supposed to be opened for another 100 years.

Warden Tom Bain (left) buries a time capsule with the help of Essex County council members and county CAO Brian Gregg (bottom right) on the grounds of the Essex Civic Centre. The capsule will be opened in 100 years.

Warden Tom Bain (left) buries a time capsule with the help of Essex County council members and county CAO Brian Gregg (bottom right) on the grounds of the Essex Civic Centre. The capsule will be opened in 100 years.

The event was funded by the Windsor-Essex Community Foundation.

County CAO Brian Gregg said in addition to it being Canada 150, it is also the 225th anniversary of the formation of Essex County. When it is opened, the county will be celebrating its 325th anniversary, he noted.

“The contents of this capsule features artifacts from all seven of the county’s municipalities,” Gregg pointed out.

Gregg said the capsule was buried on the grounds of the civic centre under a “symbolic maple tree” and will give a “snapshot” of the past when it is eventually opened. Gregg, who is retiring later this year, said he has spent over 30 years with the County of Essex and has seen it grow.

Members of Essex County council, administration and general public tried to form a Canada 150 logo on the grounds of the Essex Civic Centre last Friday. The celebration was funded by the Windsor-Essex Community Foundation.

Members of Essex County council, administration and general public tried to form a Canada 150 logo on the grounds of the Essex Civic Centre last Friday. The celebration was funded by the Windsor-Essex Community Foundation.

“I can only imagine what is in store for the next 100 years,” he said.

Warden Tom Bain said the Canada 150 event was “about honouring our history, relishing our present and looking forward to our future.”

Bain, who would later be one of the politicians and administration members to get wet in the dunk tank, also pointed out the 225th anniversary for the county. Bain stated Essex County has a rich history as he said it was the first county in Ontario to be formed prior to Confederation and the road that is now County Road 20 was the first road to be laid out in Ontario.

LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya reacts as he gets dunked during the County of Essex’s Canada 150 celebration last Friday afternoon.

LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya reacts as he gets dunked during the County of Essex’s Canada 150 celebration last Friday afternoon.

A number of children attended the Canada 150 celebration and the warden told them to learn from both successes and failures.

“Do not forget the words collaboration, communication, kindness, and my favourite word, teamwork,” said Bain.

Brian Gregg, CAO for the County of Essex, shows the time capsule that has now been buried on the northwest corner of the Essex Civic Centre grounds.

Brian Gregg, CAO for the County of Essex, shows the time capsule that has now been buried on the northwest corner of the Essex Civic Centre grounds.

The event also featured children’s activities, the formation of county officials into a human Canada 150 logo, a barbecue and the appearance of the Memorial Cup, the junior hockey trophy captured by the Windsor Spitfires.

Essex County council defers EMS report regarding Amherstburg concerns

 

By Ron Giofu

Town council wanted Essex County council to review Essex-Windsor EMS and to provide funding necessary to improve the areas that are “in need.”

However, Essex County now wants more information from the town and find out what was presented to Amherstburg council.

Essex County council deferred a recommendation at its June 7 meeting that would have county administration provide an information report to county council regarding funding and cost distribution of EMS services as well as tiered response and service levels.

LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya sought clarification on the request from Amherstburg.

“They’re suggesting increasing regional funding and identifying areas in need?” he asked.

Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said “the concerns that were raised by some members of Amherstburg council were there may not be enough coverage for the amount of calls we have.”

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DiCarlo also pointed out the concerns over tiered response and the fact firefighters go out on medical calls when ambulances were tied up. Town council discussed the matter in April when Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter appeared before them with Councillor Rick Fryer wondering why all municipalities don’t use firefighters at calls, citing Leamington as an example. Fryer said during the April meeting that if there is a fee for service, all municipalities should be equal. Councillor Diane Pouget added she was “very, very concerned” about the issue and said she “didn’t think it is fair” that some municipalities are not paying for the same service Amherstburg is paying for.

Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos made the motion for the deferral, noting the county didn’t know exactly what Amherstburg council heard.

“It may not be an Amherstburg issue,” said Santos. “It may be a county-wide issue.”