municipal election

DiCarlo re-elected mayor, Meloche narrowly wins deputy mayor

 

By Ron Giofu

Aldo DiCarlo is returning as the Mayor of Amherstburg.

DiCarlo was re-elected Monday night, as the incumbent finished with 4,576 votes. He was challenged by Glenn Swinton, who finished with 2,726 votes.

The race of the night was for the deputy mayor’s position. Leo Meloche topped his council colleague Diane Pouget by a mere four votes – 2,579 to 2,575 – with Amherstburg Police Services Board chair Bob Rozankovic finishing with 1,142 votes. Rick Fryer, a current town councillor like Pouget and Meloche, finished with 948 votes.

There will be five new councillors with former journalist Donald McArthur topping the vote-getters with 3,508 votes. Michael Prue finished second with 3,011 votes. In third spot was Patricia Simone with 2,966 votes while Peter Courtney came in fourth with 2,402 votes. Marc Renaud grabbed the fifth spot with 2,274 votes.

Lori Wightman finished just out of the running with 2,241 votes while Jason Lavigne, the only incumbent councillor seeking re-election to that position, finished seventh with 2,237 votes.

All results were unofficial as of press time. Voter turnout was roughly 42 per cent, but clerk Paula Parker told the River Town Times that figure was not exact as of late Monday night.

Aldo DiCarlo celebrates his re-election as mayor with wife Laura Monday night at Wolfhead Distillery.

DiCarlo, who will enter his second term, said he felt good with the result.

“I wouldn’t have signed up for it if I didn’t want the job so it’s good,” said DiCarlo at his victory party at Wolfhead Distillery.

Noting he felt “lots of relief,” he ignored people who were telling him beforehand that he was going to win.

“I am not one to take anything for granted,” said DiCarlo. “It’s never over until it’s over. Now it’s over and the results are in.”

DiCarlo said he hasn’t stopped working even though there was an election and stated, although people questioned the timing of last week’s hotel announcements, those were a “culmination of four years of working with developers.” He stated that the new council will have to deal with these issues right away but that, plus the forcemain, two condominium projects and finishing the fiber internet project, are “good news” issues they have to finish.

“There’s a lot of good things ready to go,” said DiCarlo.

However, the new council will soon have to go into budget sessions and that is a different process than many might be used to, DiCarlo acknowledged. Training will be big for the new councillors but said this council faces a better situation than the outgoing council, which had no money in cash reserves and other issues to tend to in 2014.

Councillor and Deputy Mayor-elect Leo Meloche (left) chats with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo at Wolfhead Distillery Monday night.

Retaining his seat as mayor also means DiCarlo is retaining his spot on Essex County council. With Warden Tom Bain not seeking that position again and Deputy Warden Ken Antaya not seeking re-election as LaSalle mayor, those spots are now available but DiCarlo is uncertain whether or not to seek them.

“My personality is to focus on what you can focus on,” he said. He noted with his day job as physics lab co-ordinator at the University of Windsor, his role as mayor and the fact he still had to campaign left him little time to consider anything else.

“I figured I’d have to get past this election first,” he said. “I haven’t made that decision (on seeking a further role on county council) yet.”

Meloche trailed Pouget much of the night, but surged ahead at the end to narrowly win the deputy mayor position.

“I feel elated right now,” he said, just after results came in at the Libro Centre. “I guess my hard work paid off.”

Meloche congratulated all who participated in the election and was confident DiCarlo would retain the mayor’s chair. He said he knew Pouget had a strong following but “I guess I have a strong following as well.”

“At the end of the day, I’m at a loss for words,” said Meloche. “I’m looking forward to the next four years.”

From a personal standpoint, Meloche said he wants to take a little break as he had to campaign, continue in his role as a town councillor not to mention having to recover after the loss of his wife earlier this year. He said he spent a year-and-a-half caring for her plus tending to his other responsibilities.

“I just want some me time to recharge my batteries,” he said.

From a political standpoint, Meloche said the town has to keep growing and they have to work with the developers to get shovels in the ground as it relates to the two hotel announcements.

“We have good things going,” he said. “The town has to expand and grow to relieve pressure on the tax base.”

Unofficial vote totals, courtesy of the Town of Amherstburg’s website.

Pouget wasn’t sure as of Monday night whether she would ask for a recount.

“The people voted. That’s what they wanted,” she said. “I did my best for 14 years. It’s obvious they wanted change. I wish them all the best.”

Pouget said she knew it would be a tough race.

“I accept what the people have voted,” she said, adding that if people knew that council didn’t know ahead of time of the two hotel announcements, the result could have been different.

“I think that would have made a big difference,” said Pouget.

In the other mayoral races around the region, Leamington Deputy Mayor Hilda MacDonald unseated incumbent mayor John Paterson, while Larry Snively won the mayor’s job in Essex. Marc Bondy will succeed Antaya in LaSalle while Drew Dilkens retained his job in Windsor. Bain was acclaimed in Lakeshore as was Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara and Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos.

Ron LeClair was acclaimed as Greater Essex County District School Board while results of the local Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board were unavailable as of press time.

CANDIDATE Q&A – All candidates, all in one place!

 

All 20 election candidates (two mayor, four deputy mayor and 14 councillor) have had their questions and answers featured in the Sept. 26 print edition of the River Town Times.

All 20 have been posted online already, but due to there being 20 candidates, you have had to scroll through the pages under the “News” tab (for those unfamiliar, click “Read previous entries” at the bottom of the screen to get to the previous page) in order to find all of the candidates. Now, we are putting links to all 20 Q&A’s in one post to make it easier to find a candidate you are curious about.

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 municipal election is Oct. 22. Advance polls are Oct. 3 and Oct. 10 from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. at the Libro Centre.

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.

Prue wants to put his experience to work for Amherstburg

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Michael Prue believes he can use his municipal and provincial experience to work for Amherstburg.

Prue – a former mayor of East York, Toronto city councillor and MPP for the riding of Beaches East York – wants to focus on Amherstburg and what he feels he can do for it. Both he and wife Shirley have owned a home in Amherstburg for eight years and full-time residents for four.

“I came to love the town and everything in it,” said Prue.

After watching town council and the developments around town, Prue decided he wanted back in the political arena and threw his hat into the ring for a councillor position.

“I came to the conclusion that I can help a lot,” he said. “I have read the Official Plan cover-to-cover and I had a number of people ask me to run. I gave it serious thought and I decided to do it.”

Prue said a combined 26 years in municipal and provincial politics has “taught me a great deal” and he believes he can put those lessons to use for the residents of Amherstburg. He was mayor in East York for five years until the amalgamation with Toronto and during those five years, they had five budgets with no tax increases.

“We had $8 million in debt. We had swathes of industrial and commercial areas that were vacant,” he said.

Prue indicated they turned it around and saw commercial and industrial areas be developed. It was also the first place in the Toronto area to be fully wired for cable, allowing for projects that employed hundreds of people.

“We brought in businesses we never had before,” he said. “I played a role in cementing the deals.”

Michael Prue is seeking the position of councillor in the Oct. 22 municipal election.

The municipality also paid off its debt, Prue added.

Prue sees similarities in Amherstburg, believing “what the town needs is commercial and industrial rejuvenation.” He said it is an “entirely possible” proposal, particularly if a reworked North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) resembles what has previously been in place. If things take a different turn, alternative solutions would have to be developed.

“This is an ideal place for new business, better than Kitchener, better than Toronto,” Prue believes.

Housing development doesn’t provide sufficient revenue for municipalities, Prue stated.

“The way municipalities become more prosperous is through industrial and commercial assessment,” he said.

That is how East York paid its debt, Prue added, believing “the same can happen here.”

Amherstburg has a rejuvenated restaurant scene, he added, but further tourism enhancers like hotels are still needed. The town also has “wonderful festivals,” he stated, but there are ways to get people to walk around and see what is here.

“I have been a little disappointed with the stance of the town as it relates to environmental issues,” he continued.

Prue said this is “a very unique part of Canada” environmentally and wants to ensure that development doesn’t impact native species. He stated there are flora and fauna that is special to the area that needs to be protected.

Prue said he is also disappointed in the number of in-camera meetings the town has.

There should be more opportunities for residents to address council. He suggested that council meetings could be held in River Canard, McGregor, Malden and Anderdon to engage residents there.

The Duffy’s property “needs to be developed” and “I’m hoping people come forward much like they have at Belle Vue” with private donations. Prue is currently the treasurer for the Belle Vue Conservancy.

Plans for Duffy’s and Belle Vue have to be finalized as well, he said.

“Council is going to have to decide sooner rather than later, after receiving public input, to make it easier to raise funds,” said Prue.