Weekly girls hockey clinic has new name, new location


A girls hockey clinic is returning for a third season this summer.

The clinic which has operated out of the Libro Centre the last two years has moved to the Vollmer Centre in LaSalle due to the fact there will no longer be summer ice in Amherstburg for the first time in over 40 years.

The clinic has a new name this year. It’s called “Back to Basics Girls Hockey Clinic.” The director of the program with over 20 years of coaching and operating hockey schools is Bill Atkinson. The co-director is Dan Pettypiece with over 40 years of coaching and hockey school experience. Bill worked for Dan for approximately 15 years back in the old Tri-Com Hockey School days and after years away from the business he decided to jump back in.

One of the motivating factors for him was the fact that he has three girls in hockey and he enjoys being a part of their hockey experience. He also recognized the need for all female hockey programs in the area. Bill is very passionate about teaching the skills especially skating. He has always enjoyed teaching skill development and these clinics provide an environment for that to happen. Skill development is something coaches don’t usually have enough time to do during the season.

Dan Pettypiece and Bill Atkinson will be running the Back to Basics Girls Hockey Clinic this summer, but it will be at the Vollmer Centre in LaSalle due to no summer ice at the Libro Centre.

Bill and Dan have always been on the same page in regards to teaching skating and hockey skills.

One of our main philosophies in teaching skating and hockey skills is emphasizing proper techniques, with drill progression and correcting bad habits,” they state. “Too many programs just seem to run drills and have lots of gadgets on the ice but there is not a lot of teaching and correcting going on. This prohibits skill development and as the players move up in the older divisions they become frustrated and some end up walking away from the game. Our goal is to slow the players down, break down the skills into smaller parts and try to get them to perform drills correctly with proper technique. If a program doesn’t have that philosophy it can have less of an impact on a player’s improvement.”

The clinic will again feature two age groups – 5-10-year-olds and 11-15-year-olds. New for this year we will introduce a beginners program for newer players ( –14) that have just started playing this year or are starting this coming season. It will feature six one-hour sessions.

Back to Basics Female Hockey Clinic will take place in August. The six 90 minute sessions will take place on Tuesdays Aug. 7, 14, 21 and 28 and Thursdays Aug. 23 and 30. The beginner program will be at 5 p.m. on the same dates, the 5 -10 year old group will be at 6 p.m. and the 11–15-year-old group will be at 7:30 p.m.

The program will focus on power skating but they will also work on hockey skills. The program also offers specialized goaltending instruction (with their own instructor). The program fee is $120 for the beginners program and $175 for the hockey clinic.

Bill believes that making the girl’s programs affordable and giving them the chance to compete against other girls helps make the program a success. It’s important to have all girls programs because many girls do not feel comfortable playing hockey and training with the boys programs. The first year the program had one group with 36 players, the second year had two groups with over 60 players.

We were sold out each year,” he said.

For Bill and Dan it’s the perfect way to cap off the summer working with the girls and getting them ready for the coming hockey season. Also serving as instructors at the clinic this year will Carson Clark-Bartolo, Allison Langille, Chad Mayrand and goaltending instructors Jason Dion and Adam Frye. Additional instructors will be added later.

If you wish to have more information or to register, e-mail us at or see our Facebook page Back to Basics Hockey Clinic @backtobasicshockeyclinic.

Most town roads will require rehabilitation within ten years


By Ron Giofu


The town’s roads are OK now, but a lot of work looms on the horizon, according to a consultant.

Kyle Edmunds from Dillon Consulting appeared before town council last Tuesday night and presented an updated roads needs report and while that report deemed the roads to be in “fair” condition, it was also determined that 83 per cent of the town’s roads need to be rehabilitated within ten years.

To combat that problem, the town agreed to a plan that would see $1.41 million committed annually over ten years to road work to help combat the deteriorating road system and get some of the more urgent projects completed.

Of the 226.48 kilometres of roads the town controls, about 30.5 per cent need work now while 23.3 per cent need work in the next 1-5 years. About 29 per cent need work within 6-10 years while the remained don’t need work for beyond a decade.

Less than four per cent of Amherstburg’s roads are considered to be in “excellent” condition, as compared to 20.16 per cent in LaSalle and 15.6 per cent in Tecumseh. As for roads in “good” condition, there are 23.38 per cent of roads in Amherstburg in that category as compared to 45.82 per cent in LaSalle and 29.7 per cent in Tecumseh.

Amherstburg has 16.75 per cent of its roads classified in “fairly good” condition with just over 22 per cent of LaSalle’s roads in that category. Tecumseh has 25.5 per cent of its roads classified as “fairly good.”

As for roads in “fair” condition, 27.72 per cent of Amherstburg’s roads fall in that category, as compared to 11.31 per cent in LaSalle and 23.9 per cent in Tecumseh. Amherstburg has nearly 29 per cent of its roads classified as “poor,” as compared to less than one per cent in LaSalle and 5.3 per cent in Tecumseh.

Tecumseh has 181.4 kilometres of road while LaSalle has 187.56 kilometres. They were used by Dillon Consulting as comparators as the firm did roads needs studies in those two municipalities as well over the last few years.

Expect to see more construction signs over the next decade as the town’s road system requires a lot of work. Meloche Road (pictured here, earlier this summer before the road re-opened) is one of the more recent projects the town has undertaken.

Councillor Leo Meloche wondered why the entire focus was on repairing roads that need it now as he said some priority should be put on some of the roads in the 1-5 year category. The poor roads are already poor but the roads in the 1-5 year category will soon join them if not tended to quicker.

“We’re always chasing our tail,” said Meloche.

Councillor Diane Pouget said she didn’t want residents to think it was a “doom and gloom” situation, and added Amherstburg has more roads than Tecumseh and LaSalle.

“That does make a difference,” she said.

Provincial downloading also made a difference, she suggested.

“I think the municipalities started getting into trouble when the province started downloading to us,” she said.

Councillor Rick Fryer pointed out chunks of cement are coming off of Angstrom Dr. and Victoria St. S. is also deteriorating. There are heavily travelled roads like Concession 2 North that are also in disrepair, calling that road “a thoroughfare to LaSalle. It’s one of the worst roads but people use it.”

Traffic counts should not be the only factor in choosing where road projects should be done, Fryer added, as smaller roads need attention too. He said the town should focus on roads instead of “not needed purchases.”

CAO John Miceli called an increase to $1.41 million annually “significant” and said challenges will be ensuring there are enough contractors to do the work and what prices the town gets when projects are put to tender.

“I would suggest the market will indicate where we are going to be,” he said.

Miceli added he would like to see $120,000 in the crack seal program budget to prolong the life of some of the roads.

Councillor Jason Lavigne said the current council has done a lot of road repairs in its first three years.

“I think this council spent more on roads than the last four councils combined,” he said, noting Texas Road and Meloche Road have been upgraded.

Lavigne wanted to know “what will keep politics out of this” when choosing where and when projects get done. Edmunds said all roads have been classified based on a pavement condition index (PCI) and that shows what roads are in the worst condition.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale also stated that more roads have been repaired this term whereas “in the past, we didn’t do so much.

“Everyone has seen the number of roads that have been fixed in the last little while,” said DiPasquale.

The last complete roads needs study was done by Dillon Consulting in 2003 with a condition assessment update done in 2013.

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.”

Town welcomes new chief building official



By Ron Giofu


The town’s new chief building official is on the job and enjoying life in Amherstburg thus far.

Angelo Avolio was hired June 26 and officially took over from the retired Steve Brown last week after the latter retired June 30. Avolio, a 48-year-old married father of three, brings with him over 20 years of experience in the industry.

Avolio graduated from St. Clair College in the architectural technology and worked for engineering firms, homebuilders and was also self-employed before becoming a building inspector/plans examiner with the Town of LaSalle. He was employed by LaSalle for roughly 20 years and admitted it was tough to leave.

“After 20 years, I jumped ship and came to Amherstburg,” he said with a laugh.

Angelo Avolio is the town’s new chief building  official. He takes over for Steve Brown, who retired June 30.

Angelo Avolio is the town’s new chief building
official. He takes over for Steve Brown, who retired June 30.

Avolio said he saw a lot of changes in LaSalle over the last two decades and sees a chance for more changes in Amherstburg. The town’s heritage appeals to him and credited Brown for knowing a lot about that component.

“There’s going to be a lot of things happening here,” added Avolio. He cited the Belle Vue, the development proposed for the Duffy’s property and numerous new subdivisions that are planned as examples.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity to get in all of that,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting.”

Believing he has “huge shoes to fill” following Brown, he said his experience so far has been positive and notes he already knows a lot of people – including contractors – from his days in LaSalle. He said deputy chief building official Dave Atwood and building clerk Michelle Lavin-Chittle are a big asset as well.

“Without those people, we can’t function here,” said Avolio.

Avolio said the staff in Amherstburg is young and energetic and “excited for the opportunities that are coming.” His job consists of administrative duties but will still do inspections as well.

The opportunity to become Amherstburg’s new chief building official worked for him and his family, Avolio pointed out. He said he would like to be customer service-oriented and to be able to educate the public on building department issues and permits as much as possible.

“They do a lot of that here, I’ve noticed,” he said. “We want to try and educate the public.”

Avolio is based out of the Libro Centre along with the other building and planning staff members.

Policing decision could come quicker than anticipated


By Ron Giofu


Town council has taken the next step in deciding the future of policing in Amherstburg with the final decision possible this term of council.

At the conclusion of Monday night’s meeting, town council re-emerged from an in-camera session and passed a motion that administration be authorized to proceed with the issuance of a request for proposal (RFP) for police services and invited LaSalle, Windsor and the OPP to participate.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said the joint police advisory committee has met and the town is ready to proceed to the next stage, which is getting the numbers from the interested police agencies on what costs would look like for them to police the town of Amherstburg.

Town HallWEB

While it was looking like it would fall onto the next council to make the final decision, DiCarlo said the process has advanced quicker due to Amherstburg rising in the queue for an OPP costing. A number of municipalities have dropped out, the mayor said, which has led to Amherstburg’s costing request to be granted sooner.

“We will be getting numbers by the end of the summer, if all goes well,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo said the town’s two motions still stand as it relates to the OPP coming in and the possibility of a regional police force. He said existing officers with the Amherstburg Police Service would be offered jobs should a switch take place.

Residents are looking for the same standard of policing as they have currently, the mayor stated.

Town council wants to make the decision once and doesn’t want to accept or reject any proposal without knowing all the details, DiCarlo said.

“It was always council’s position to look at all of the options at the same time,” he said. “The goal is to have all of the information in front of us.”

Should a switch be made, DiCarlo said it would be six months to a year before it would be implemented.