Nicole Rubli

Town council puts two-hour limit on downtown parking lot

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A two-hour parking limit is coming to the lot at the corner of Richmond St. and Ramsay St.

Town council voted to implement a parking limitation at that lot during Monday night’s meeting and to support the concept of a downtown parking study after the development of the Duffy’s property is complete.

The issue stemmed from an Oct. 23, 2017 request from Storey and Denomme Family Dentistry to have two dedicated spots in that lot. That request was denied but it sparked the investigation into options for that lot. The parking limitations would be Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Councillor Joan Courtney spoke against the two-hour limit, stating that it could deter people from eating out and enjoying the downtown area.

“Everything is two hours,” said Courtney. “I find that unreasonable.”

Courtney cited an example of a family eating at a restaurant and going for a walk in the summer with an ice cream only to have to keep checking their wristwatches in order that they don’t violate a two-hour parking limit.

“My wish will be no time limit from May until late August,” she said.

Two-hour parking is coming to the lot at the intersection of Ramsay St. and Richmond St.

Director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin said the town has dealt with complaints that people park in the lot downtown all day and said issues related to downtown parking in any municipality is a tough one.

“Finding the right mix of short-term versus long-term is something municipalities struggle with,” he said. “You will never make everyone happy.”

Galvin added he has seen four-hour parking limits on occasion, but “not that often.”

Councillor Rick Fryer said he was fine with introducing a two-hour parking limit in the lot. He said there are spots available in a town-owned lot east of the Heritage Square lot.

“From the downtown core to Heritage Square, it’s not that much of a walk,” said Fryer.

Fryer believed the issue for downtown businesses is “convenience over what is available.” He added a major issue is people parking in public spots for days without moving their vehicles.

“How do we move cars that have been there for days upon days?” he asked. “I hope the bylaw is strong enough so we’ll be able to tow.”

Courtney questioned where downtown employees will park. Manager of licensing and enforcement said there was material sent to downtown businesses showing there were a lot of spots just out of the core area and suggested that strategy could be used again.

“A report to council on March 9, 2015, identified that a parking review was conducted for the downtown in the area of Rankin Avenue to Park Street, and Dalhousie Street to

Sandwich Street. Through this exercise, administration reviewed all town-owned parking lots within this area and completed an inventory of available parking spots. Further, administration reviewed and created an inventory of all on street parking within the identified area along with time limits where applicable,” Rubli stated in her written report. “In 2015, it was identified that the town has a total of 97 parking spots available for use in town-owned parking lots and approximately 373 on street parking spots within the identified area.”

 

Town officially launches marriage ceremonies

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Couples wishing to tie the knot can now do so at town hall.

The Town of Amherstburg has officially started offering civil marriage ceremonies with the first one being Jan. 3. Amherstburg residents Nicholas Grimaldi and Danielle Cribley became the first couple to be wed at town hall.

The officiant was Nicole Rubli, who is also the town’s manager of licensing and enforcement.

Amherstburg residents Nicholas Grimaldi and Danielle Cribley became the first couple to be wed at town hall. The officiant was Nicole Rubli (centre).
(Photo by Barry Evans)

Civil marriage ceremonies were approved by town council last October, with clerk Paula Parker and deputy clerk Tammy Fowkes also being authorized to become officiants.

Ceremonies are available during office hours – 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday – at the Amherstburg Municipal Building or in King’s Navy Yard Park.  Saturday services are offered upon availability.  There will be an additional fee for any ceremonies provided outside of regular hours, or in any location outside of town hall or the King’s Navy Yard Park.

The cost that was approved last October for marriage services was $250 plus HST, which Rubli said “is consistent with what other municipalities charge.” An additional $100 would be charged for having the ceremony outside of regular office hours. An additional $117 would also have to be paid by the couple for the marriage license.

If the couple involved opts to have an off-site ceremony, they would be responsible to pay for mileage at the Consumer Price Index rate.

The town has estimated that an additional $6,250 in revenue could be collected for ceremonies conducted during regular business hours

Ceremonies must be booked in-person at town hall during office hours.

Amherstburg has become the sixth municipality in the region to offer marriage services, joining Lakeshore, LaSalle, Leamington, Windsor and Kingsville.

For more information about civil marriage ceremonies, please visit www.amherstburg.ca or call licensing officer Helen Sweet at 519-736-0012 ext. 2219.

Town to offer civil marriage ceremonies starting in 2018

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The town of Amherstburg will be offering couples the chance to tie the knot in civil marriages starting next year.

Town council officially approved a report recommending that the town be allowed to perform civil ceremonies. That means that, starting Jan. 1, people can get married by clerk Paula Parker, deputy clerk Tammy Fowkes or manager of licensing and enforcement Nicole Rubli.

The services would take place either in the council chambers or in Navy Yard Park, with the latter being contingent on availability and the couple securing it in a rental agreement.

The town has been issuing marriage licenses since 2011.

“Since that time, the Town of Amherstburg has issued approximately 110 marriage licenses per year based on a six year average from 2011-2016,” Rubli said in her report to town council. “Administration in the licensing and enforcement division has received numerous requests asking to have marriages solemnized by the municipality.”

Amherstburg will be the sixth municipality in the region to offer marriage services, joining Lakeshore, LaSalle, Leamington, Windsor and Kingsville.

“This is an opportunity for the Town to provide this additional service for residents and visitors where there is a known demand,” Rubli stated in her report.

The marriage services will be offered during regular office hours at town hall, with those being 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Rubli noted that Saturday services would be offered upon the availability of staff with a premium rate charged for a service outside of regular office hours.

The cost that was recommended for marriage services is $250 plus HST, which Rubli said “is consistent with what other municipalities charge.” An additional $100 would be charged for having the ceremony outside of regular office hours. An additional $117 would also have to be paid by the couple for the marriage license.

Should the parties involved wish to have an off-site ceremony, they would be responsible to pay for mileage at the Consumer Price Index rate, Rubli noted.

“A cost benefit analysis has been undertaken to examine the impact of such services and administration has concluded that such an endeavour will provide a positive return for the municipality,” Rubli stated in her report. “In addition, only non-union/management staff will conduct these ceremonies to reduce payroll cost.”

Rubli added that “based on data collected from the surrounding municipalities that currently offer civil marriage services, the Town anticipates that there will be approximately 25 marriage services per year requested.”

Based on the town’s estimates, an additional $6,250 in revenue could be collected for ceremonies conducted during regular business hours.

Two staff members will be trained at a cost of $1,110 with two others expected to receive training in 2018.

“Administration will work within its budget to prioritize training dollars in 2018 to ensure these cost are within the current budget envelope,” Rubli stated.

Council allows sign bylaw exemption and encroachment agreement for local business

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Town council has agreed to allow a local business to encroachment on town land and has granted a sign bylaw exemption.

John Collison from Woodland Home Renovations & Additions appeared before town council requesting that he be allowed to place a seven-foot by five-foot sign in front of his Sandwich St. N. business. He told council that if it were to be pushed back towards the building, people would not be able to see it.

Currently, he shares a sign with Riccardo’s Italian Restaurant but said people looking for his business sometimes go to the restaurant.

“My business is the residence,” he said.

Town hall signWEB

Councillor Rick Fryer said he was concerned about sight lines for drivers at the corner of Sandwich St. N. and St. Arnaud St. and the possibility of creating a blind spot for drivers and cyclists. Manager of licensing and enforcing Nicole Rubli said the town would work with the applicant on the sign to ensure such issues don’t arise.

Councillor Diane Pouget said she sits on both the parks committee and Communities in Bloom committees and both are “very concerned” about the application.

“They want to make sure we are following the rules we set forth,” said Pouget.

Councillor Joan Courtney worried that the town was setting a precedent by granting the request.

“If we grant this request, I think others will follow,” said Courtney, adding that council has to be cognizant of the bylaw.

Collison said he is in an area where he has all commercial units on that side of the street. He didn’t believe he would be standing out more than anyone else in the area. He added he is zoned similar to the other businesses in the stretch of road.

The motion to grant the sign bylaw exemption and encroachment agreement passed in a 6-1 recorded vote with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale and councillors Fryer, Courtney, Jason Lavigne and Leo Meloche being in favour while Pouget was opposed.

Town council approves outdoor smoke-free bylaw

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg now has smoke-free legislation restricting the ability of people to smoke on public property.

The bylaw passed by a 6-1 vote at Monday night’s town council meeting with only Councillor Rick Fryer opposed, as Fryer wanted the bylaw to be even more stringent and not allow smoking within nine metres of a public building. As it stands, the bylaw prohibits smoking in the town’s outdoor spaces which includes the town’s parks, recreational fields, playground areas, and trails. The bylaw further prohibits smoking within nine metres (approximately 29 feet, six inches) of a public entrance or public exit of a municipal building.

Fryer said when going into an arena, he has seen children have to walk through cigarette smoke. He believed the bylaw will be too hard to enforce and that “nine metres turns into nine feet” thus his request to have no smoking at all public places.

“It’s got to be stringent. It’s got to be tough,” said Fryer. “It’s got to be a lot tighter than what we have now.”

Councillor Leo Meloche said he understood Fryer’s concerns, with Meloche questioning how the bylaw was written. He said smoking is banned in parks but allowed in concentrated areas at public buildings.

Councillor Joan Courtney said she wanted the Legion exempted from the bylaw due to the service veterans have given to their country but Mayor Aldo DiCarlo pointed out the bylaw is for public buildings only and that the town has no jurisdiction over the Legion.

No smoking signage is already up at the Libro Centre thanks to provincial legislation. Town council passed its own smoke-free outdoor spaces bylaw at its Dec. 12 meeting.

No smoking signage is already up at the Libro Centre thanks to provincial legislation. Town council passed its own smoke-free outdoor spaces bylaw at its Dec. 12 meeting.

Courtney did question Fryer’s concerns over the nine metre restriction being removed, noting it could impact firefighters who smoke.

“They do their duty to the town,” said Courtney. “It’s a stressful position. There are some rights there, I think.”

Director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin said the nine metre restriction is the “benchmark” for municipalities, noting he could not find another distance specified in another municipal bylaw during his research. He stated that people may not come to public events if they have to stand too far back from building entrances to smoke.

Galvin added that smoking is not illegal and Councillor Jason Lavigne questioned whether the town would be going too far if they took away the ability to smoke nine meters or farther from an entrance.

Manager of licensing and enforcement Nicole Rubli said there would be an area where smokers would be encouraged to go to at the Libro Centre that is not near the parking lot. That way, non-smokers and children could avoid having to endure cigarette smoke.

Rubli added that communication and education is important so that people comply with the new bylaw. She said the bylaw was advertised but no public feedback was returned.

The bylaw was drafted in partnership with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.