Oct. 22

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.

Three-way race for local Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board seat

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Frank DiTomasso wants to keep his spot on the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board (WECDSB) but has some competition.

DiTomasso is the incumbent trustee for Amherstburg and LaSalle but faces two challengers in the Oct. 22 election as Francis Ducharme and Kim Rathbone have also filed their nomination papers and are running.

DiTomasso said he wants to continue to see the students be “top notch” and pointed out the academies that exist in the Catholic system’s secondary level, including at St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School.

“The kids are more important than everything else,” stated DiTomasso.

DiTomasso touted the importance of the STEM program, noting he comes from a trade background. He said he wants “to see the trades come back” and also believed in the importance of robotics programs within the schools.

“A child should be well rounded,” he said.

Noting the additions of day cares to Catholic elementary schools, DiTomasso believed it will bring in more students as parents will have another option for their children.

Over the next four years, DiTomasso would like to ensure the board doesn’t overspend but also has the proper equipment for teachers and children. He also would like to make sure there is enough funding for autistic children and others who have different learning needs.

There is a tremendous team environment currently with the WECDSB, he added, and that the trustees vote with their heads and their hearts with the students always the main priority.

“When it comes to voting, I will ask all kinds of questions,” said DiTomasso. “I will ask the questions I need to in order to understand a situation.”

DiTomasso added that he hopes the voters will give him a chance to return, adding he has tried to attend as many school events as possible and answer whatever questions he is asked.

Rathbone, who is an Amherstburg police officer, said it was “a combination of variables” that led her to run.

“I think the timing is right for me,” she said, adding her children are older now and her work schedule allows her the opportunity to run.

Rathbone said she worked in the high school system in Windsor for a number of years and “I saw where there were gaps and I saw the successes.” She said she wants to bridge the gaps and celebrate the successes.

Rathbone also has a desire to “make positive change” and build further positive relationships. She said it is sometimes difficult for the average person to navigate through a system, in this case the school system, and she believes she can help people do that.

As a police officer, she has organized such community events as the “Not My Kid” community forum on opioids that was held in Amherstburg late last year and believes she can broaden community connections for schools. She believes the board currently has a good handle on that but she believes she can add to it.

“What I bring to the table is a strong voice,” said Rathbone. “If constituents have any issues, they can rely on me to be their strong voice.”

She added she can also be a strong voice for the board as well and that her goals will be the goals that the community wants to see. She said that, if elected, she wants to see what the board wants and the communities want.

Ducharme said he feels the system “needs a little bit of new life” and that it has become “a little complacent.” Ducharme believes that people picked a Catholic school for a reason so the Christianity and Catholicism should stay strong.

“It seems (the province) is trying to eliminate Christian values,” he said. “That needs to stay. The silent majority needs to speak up. That’s something I’d like to protect.”

Knowing there has been talk over the years of merging the public and Catholic boards, Ducharme questioned how that would happen. He said there are two unions representing workers so he wondered how it would work in terms of who has their job cut.

“If someone has any sort of action plan, I’d like to see it,” said Ducharme. “Show me a solution.”

The Catholic school board is “top heavy” with a lot of administration, he believes, and that while he doesn’t dispute people making a fair wage, he wants to ensure that teachers and in-school staff get the resources they need instead of “people at the top getting more and more.”

“There’s got to be some more accountability there,” said Ducharme.

Ducharme added that while he doesn’t have all the answers, he’d like to bring some new ideas to the board, if elected.

All three candidates live in LaSalle.

Open government, active transportation and tourism among McArthur’s vision

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Donald McArthur has covered his share of council meetings and now is trying to be a councillor.

McArthur, a former Windsor Star reporter and former executive producer at CBC Windsor, is running in the Oct. 22 election.

McArthur said the people he’s been speaking with “want to see us grow. They want to see us develop. They want to make sure there are jobs in town for their kids.”

McArthur said he wants to build on the momentum that he said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and the current council have given the town.

Tourism needs to be promoted further, he believed, including landing a hotel. With a hotel, he said people will stay and spend money in town, which will create jobs and expand the tax base.

“We have to promote commercial and industrial development,” he continued.

McArthur cited a downtown incentive plan launched in Windsor, one that brought nine projects worth about $60 million. He also noted that construction activity in Leamington tripled due to cuts in development charges.

Similar ideas could work in Amherstburg, he believes.

“We need commercial and industrial growth,” he stated. “We can’t have residents paying for everything.”

Amherstburg “is the sum of its unique communities,” he said. The Cypher Systems Greenway is a “gift,” he continued, and “we have to leverage it.” He advocates a paved shoulder on Alma St. from Fryer St. to Meloche Road and said that could connect residents from McGregor to the downtown core through use of trails and bike lanes.

Regarding policing, McArthur said he is hearing concerns including whether the service people are used to will continue.

“What people are saying is ‘let’s move on and let’s make sure it works for Amherstburg’,” he said. “They don’t want to rip up the contract and cause a big fuss. Let’s see if it works as promised for Amherstburg.”

Donald McArthur is running for the position of councillor in the Oct. 22 municipal election.

McArthur believes in open government and pledges to keep constituents informed through social media, a website and a newsletter. Having open meetings is key, he added, and that he will lobby for as many meetings as possible to be held publicly.

Live streaming council meetings is something McArthur wants to explore, so more residents can watch meetings online.

“The more people are informed and invested in the democratic process, the better it will be for all of Amherstburg,” he said.

As for the Duffy’s site, McArthur believes the best use is an amphitheatre and festival plaza as it will help tourism.

“I don’t want to pave paradise and put up a parking lot,” he said, adding he is open to a creative solution.

McArthur said he supports using Belle Vue for such things as weddings, showers, and conferences but noted “it doesn’t come cheap.” There has to be a solid business case for Belle Vue and that fundraising avenues such as grants as well as supporting the Belle Vue Conservancy should be done.

“I think if you ask yourself if Amherstburg is better off today than it was four years ago, there’s no question it is,” said McArthur.

McArthur said DiCarlo and council “inherited a mess” and turned things around.

“They had to fill key positions and shore things up to make sure the right things were getting done,” he said.

McArthur believes the town should have hired a communications co-ordinator to focus on economic development and celebrate local success stories that highlight the benefits of living and investing in Amherstburg. LaSalle, Lakeshore, Leamington, and Essex all have one and Windsor has several, he said.

McArthur also would like to see a seniors advisory committee established to ensure seniors are engaged in the town. He also supports exploring the feasibility of an outdoor rink that could be used for other purposes in the warmer weather. He also would like to explore an off-leash dog park, noting that Amherstburg is home to the Woofa-Roo Pet Festival.