municipal election

Fryer enters the race for deputy mayor

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A new name has entered the race for deputy mayor in Amherstburg and it is another current councillor.

Rick Fryer has filed his nomination papers and will be opposing Bob Rozankovic, Diane Pouget and Leo Meloche, the latter two also being a current councillors while Rozankovic chairs the Amherstburg Police Services Board.

Coming back in 2014 after losing the mayoral election in 2010 allowed him to be part of the recovery of Amherstburg, Fryer said.

Noting he had a “black and white” campaign four years ago, Fryer believed he has continued in that fashion the last four years as a councillor.

“Most residents have seen in the last four years that I’ve had black and white answers to issues in the town,” he said.

Fryer said he wants to continue to contribute to the growth and improvement of the town as deputy mayor. One of the ways that Amherstburg will grow will start to come to fruition this summer when the new forcemain is installed from the Edgewater sewage area to the main plant.

“The next four years will be the revival of Amherstburg,” he predicted.

Fryer said he would like to see the town return to what it was like in the 1980’s “when you didn’t have to leave Amherstburg to go to work.”

Amherstburg will be close to the new Gordie Howe International Bridge and Fryer believes that could assist in attracting jobs and industry to town so that “young families can come here, raise children here and work here.”

Town council has already demonstrated the ability to make the tough decisions though Fryer noted those “hard decisions may not be popular.” He said decisions have been made for the good of the town for the long-term.

Rick Fryer has his father Mike be the first one to sign his nomination form. Fryer is one of four candidates for the deputy mayor’s position.

One of the tough decisions was the issue of policing and Fryer was one of three council members to vote to contract out to the Windsor Police Service. Fryer said council has a “fiduciary responsibility” and that animosity over the decision will subside once residents see the savings that come as a result as well as the fact that the same officers will patrol the town, now that the switch has been approved by the Ontario Civilian Policing Committee (OCPC).

“I think savings are a big part,” he said. “We can’t spend like drunken sailors anymore. We have to look at the bigger picture.”

Fryer added: “Nothing is going to change. We are going to have the same people unless the officer decides to go to Windsor.”

Additional goals for Fryer would be to provide greater services residents in rural areas, including McGregor and River Canard. He said he will lobby for the reconstruction of Concession 2 North, stating it is a “thoroughfare” between Amherstburg and LaSalle.

Other goals include rebuilding more roadways around the community.

“A major push will be for our roads to be completed that have been neglected over many, many years,” he said.

Fryer added that removing interlocking brick sidewalks and replacing them with cement has paid dividends for those with disabilities as it provides a smoother surface for wheelchairs and other mobility aids.

Being deputy mayor means being on Essex County council as well, with Fryer stating he has plans for roadwork at that level too.

“I want to make sure that the county puts bike paths and walking trails on all county roads,” he said.

Fryer is the chair of the ERCA board of directors and he said that shows the confidence of his colleagues in his ability to lead. He added his decision to run for deputy mayor wasn’t one he made lightly and discussed it with family and friends.

“I want to make sure I represent the Town of Amherstburg in the best way that I can,” he said.

Renaud wants to be part of a more accountable and responsible town council

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Marc Renaud is a regular attendee of Amherstburg town council meetings and now wants to do so as a councillor.

Renaud said he believes in serving his community and that it is a privilege to serve the taxpayers and all of the residents. He said he has attended 95 per cent of the council meetings over the last four years and wants to apply what he has seen and heard for the next four years as a councillor.

“I’ve dedicated myself to understanding municipal politics and community issues,” said Renaud. “Based on my experience, I believe council can serve the needs of the community better. If elected, I plan on bringing a more responsible and accountable council to the taxpayers of Amherstburg.”

Renaud said he plans on meeting a lot of residents this summer, listening to their concerns and learning their vision for the future of Amherstburg. His own vision includes attracting more tourism, including sports tourism, dedicating more funds for road repairs, to try and attract more industrial development and attempt to bring in different types of businesses.

“Tourism, festivals and community events are an important part of Amherstburg’s future,” he said. “They bring new visitors to Amherstburg, support local business and encourage development and growth.”

The town’s purchase of the Duffy’s property was “important,” Renaud added.

“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire waterfront property,” he stated. “It will continue to make the King’s Navy Yard Park a jewel on the waterfront.”

Renaud pledged to consult the community before committing to any plans for the Duffy’s redevelopment.

Among Renaud’s areas of concern is the town’s purchase of the former St. Bernard School.

“It appears it was purchased without a detailed business plan and determining the feasibility of operating a senior centre,” he said.

Marc Renaud is running for the
position of councillor in the Oct. 22 municipal election.

Renaud questions whether the decision to purchase it was sound.

“How are they going to pay for it?” he asked. “If we are spending taxpayers’ money, we need to be accountable, up front and transparent with what the decisions are.”

Another decision of the current council he voiced concern with was the $100,000 donation the town made to Essex Region Conservation Foundation for the Cypher Systems Greenway. Renaud stated that was “not properly communicated to the taxpayers.”

As for his thoughts on the policing issue, Renaud said the “roughly $600,000 savings is a lot of money” but acknowledged that a lot of people are opposed to the switch. He said while the decision has been made, he hopes to hear from residents about their thoughts on the matter.

Renaud noted he is a lifelong Amherstburg resident and community volunteer and is “informed and engaged” on community issues. He believes in working as a team and believes he has the experience to do that.

“I have the energy to ask the tough questions,” he said.

Renaud’s background includes serving the last ten years as the president of the Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association and he said he is an advocate for youth sports in the town. He also serves on the Amherstburg property standards committee.

Renaud works at Ford Motor Company as the Unifor site training co-ordinator and has served the last ten years as the vice president of Unifor Local 200, representing 4,800 active and retired workers at Ford, Nemak, Diageo, Leadec and Penske.

“I have participated in negotiating their collective agreements for each, working as part of the team to bring them to successful conclusions,” said Renaud.

Wightman believes her experience will benefit council

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Lori Wightman believes she is at a good time in her life to try and obtain a position as a town councillor and hopes voters feel the same way.

Wightman was the first candidate to file her nomination papers and seek a position as a councillor. She said she has been thinking about running for council for the last few years and the Oct. 22 municipal election is the right time to do it.

“I’ve always been interested in local politics and I believe I can be good for the town,” said Wightman. “I have a lot of experience working with a variety of opinions and a variety of visions. I know the value of compromise and negotiation.”

Believing there is a lot of promise for Amherstburg, Wightman said she is hoping to help the municipality realize that promise.

“I love this town,” she said. “I think there is so much potential here.”

Wightman believes that Amherstburg “is on the right track” and believes it is important to not only plan for the four-year council term ahead, but for the next number of years as well. She cited the parks master plan process as one of the ways that the town is planning ahead.

“It’s important not only to look at what you are doing right now, but to look ahead five, ten and 15 years,” said Wightman. “Everything is not in a capsule. You have to have that forward vision.”

Wightman works for the Essex County Library system and represented workers during the 230-day strike in 2016-17 as unit chair of CUPE 2974.0. She believes that may help her during the election campaign, noting that “name recognition is always a good thing.”

“I like to think I put forth a good image during the strike,” she said.

Lori Wightman is running for the
position of councillor in the Oct. 22 municipal election.

Wightman said she wants to see people come to Amherstburg and “stay for a while” and that she knows there is talk of bringing a hotel to Amherstburg.

“I hope that happens,” she said.

Building the commercial and industrial base are other goals Wightman would like to see accomplished.

“I’d like to put Amherstburg on the map and get industries to come here,” she said. “I’d like to grow what is here for the people that are here.”

Noting the town’s finances and debt were the big issue in the 2014 campaign, she believes that four years later, things have improved. She added her belief that things will be even better four years from now.

The big issue of the current term has been the matter of policing and Wightman believes there is a lot of “misinformation” that is being discussed by residents.

“Social media is a great tool but it also has a flipside,” said Wightman. “If you read the reports, council was tasked with saving money and delivering the same service. I understand people are leery but I think (switching to the Windsor Police Service) saves a lot of money and that’s what people want. I think you are going to have to see proof in the pudding for some people.”

Wightman added that she is confident she can do a good job if elected as a councillor.

“I honestly believe I can do a good job for the town,” she said.

Councillors have to be informed, read their documents and look into the issues.

“You need people who will do the work,” she said. “You need to know what you are talking about. You need to know the details and make an informed decision.”

Rozankovic aiming to be the next deputy mayor

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Bob Rozankovic has his eyes on the deputy mayor’s position and believes the time is right to pursue it.

Rozankovic is running for that job in the Oct. 22 municipal election and has been accumulating a resume of municipal involvement over the last four years. He has been on the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB) and is the current chair. He has also chaired the former economic development committee.

Believing there is “going to be a lack of returning experience” on town council, Rozankovic cited that as a reason he is running for deputy mayor.

“I think the deputy mayor needs to be able to fill in for the mayor when the mayor is not available,” he said, “not just at council but at events around town as such.”

Rozankovic said he wants to see the growth of the town continue. He said a lot of open discussion and positive momentum came out of economic development committee’s “Mayor’s Breakfast” with local realtors three years ago.

“It goes to show how much can be achieved with honest and open discussion with as many stakeholders as possible,” he stated.

“There is so much work left to do and I feel that I have a lot to contribute to the process,” he stated. “I have a good working relationship with the current mayor and administration. Not always agreeing, but always having intelligent discourse.”

Rozankovic, a sales manager in the tool and die industry, believes finances have “turned around in the sense that we know exactly where we stand and we can plan ahead. We need to make decisions on solid business cases, always ensuring that residents get the maximum value for their tax dollars.”

Bob Rozaknovic is running for deputy mayor in the Oct. 22 municipal election

The next term of council will be critical, he said.

“I truly believe the next council is going to set the tone for the future of Amherstburg,” he said. “The last four years have been good but the next four years will be pivotal.”

Ensuring the town assists business startups, local organizations, and festivals is critical to developing a community that people want to live in and people want to move to, he added.

“We have to be branded as a community that is thriving, inviting, and progressive, while at the same time maintaining heritage that is at the core of who we are,” he said.

Rozankovic added: “We want to be the premier retirement community in Southwestern Ontario, and we can be just that. But we must commit to a strategic plan for this to be accomplished.”

Rozankovic would also sit on county council, if elected. He believes county council “does a fair job,” particularly with regards to infrastructure but also thinks the library strike “was mishandled badly.” His objectives would be to ensure Amherstburg’s concerns are lobbied for and also to help lobby the province for more infrastructure funding.

On the policing issue Rozankovic stated, “as a member of the APSB I am limited in what I can say at this time. Ultimately it is the decision of council as to the direction the town takes. Certainly there are both pros and cons and I have the ultimate respect for all councillors that voted on this difficult issue, no matter their individual preference.”

Rozankovic added “as a member of JPAC, I can say we attempted to address all concerns put forth by all stakeholders including residents, police officers, and administration. All facts were clearly presented without bias for council’s decision making process.”

There is a lot of “negative energy” around decision-making and Rozankovic said he will provide “leadership that addresses the root causes of voter dissatisfaction and redirect negative political energy into positive outcomes.”

Candidate information session being planned for next month

 

 

Special to the RTT

 

The 2018 municipal election is scheduled for Oct. 22 and those interested in becoming a candidate can get more information next month.

The municipal clerks in Essex County would like to welcome all interested potential municipal candidates, or even those who would like more information, to join them at a free candidate information session April 26 at 7 p.m. in the county council chambers at the Essex Civic Centre.

“We are pleased to present this free information session, in partnership with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs” said Mary Birch, Director of Community and Council Services/Clerk for the County of Essex. “We encourage residents to come out, ask questions, and learn more about becoming civically engaged.”

The Candidate Information Session will feature topics such as:

  • The role of local and County council
  • The role of municipal staff
  • The role of School Board trustees
  • Nominations and the eligibility to run
  • Candidate and third party advertiser rules and duties
  • General campaign rules and election finances
  • Compliance audits and penalties
  • Testimonials of being an elected official

The information session will feature speakers from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, and a senior municipal leader with both political and administrative experience.

More information is available by visiting countyofessex.on.ca/candidate or by contacting the County of Essex at COEinfo@countyofessex.on.ca.

The 2018 nomination period runs from May 1-July 27. Candidates now have to be endorsed by 25 people before they can officially get on the ballot.

The fee to become a candidate in the Oct. 22 election is $100 for deputy mayor and councillor candidates and $200 for mayoral candidates.