River Canard

St. Joseph Catholic Church in River Canard looks back at its accomplishments



(EDITOR’S NOTE — The River Town Times invited service groups, churches, non-profit organizations and museums to recap their activities and accomplishments. Three organizations responded in time for the Jan. 2 issue and we printed their submissions.)


St. Joseph Church is a bilingual Catholic church in River Canard. We are blessed to have a pastor, Father Dwayne Adam, who encourages us to be a welcoming community, encouraging all families, especially with young children, to be members of our parish family.

In 2015, we undertook the first phase of the restoration of our church. This restoration comprised the stabilization of the ceiling plaster, the restoration of the 13 murals on the church ceiling and the repainting of the entire church. The 14 stations-of-the cross, made in Montreal, were also restored.

This restoration cost $2.7 million and through the generosity of our parishioners, our current loan is under $300,000.

In 2017 – 2018 we added new audio/ video systems in the church and the church hall. The church system consists of two – 80” monitors which displays the mass readings, songs and the responses. We also added a handicapped washroom in the church and replaced our kneelers.

Our immediate plans are to replace the front steps, a project that will be completed after Easter 2019.  Our future plans include the completion of the interior of the Church and to replace the two belfries.


River Canard K of C helps out Canadian Tire’s “Jumpstart” program



By Ron Giofu


The River Canard Knights of Columbus are doing their part of help children in Amherstburg play sports through the Canadian Tire “Jumpstart” program.

Knights of Columbus Council #5642 were at the Canadian Tire store in Amherstburg to present local dealer Stephen Pike with cheques amounting to $3,000, with that money earmarked for the Jumpstart program. Much of the money was from the River Canard K of C’s car show that was held Aug. 24 but Rolly Beaulieu, one of the organizers, said they also used bingo and Nevada ticket funds as the car show had decreased attendance this year due to rain.

Bill Paun – another organizer, executive board member and bingo representative – noted that bingo is held in River Canard every Wednesday night from 7-9 p.m.

“We only started doing the car show three years ago,” Beaulieu explained.

Beaulieu’s brother suggested donating the proceeds to Jumpstart and, after looking into it, the River Canard K of C agreed.

Representatives from the Knights of Columbus Council 5642 in River Canard presented Canadian Tire officials with cheques amounting to $3,000 for the Jumpstart program. From left: Canadian Tire manager Brian Brouillette, Rolly Beaulieu, Canadian Tire dealer Stephen Pike, Bill Paun and Tom Normand.

“It’s an excellent cause,” said Beaulieu, adding that the Canadian Tire store in Amherstburg have been a tremendous help with both the car show and giving background on Jumpstart.

“For everything we wanted, (Canadian Tire) was there for us,” said Beaulieu.

Pike said that money stays local and helps children in the Amherstburg area. Brian Brouillette, a manager at the Amherstburg location, added that the program is administered locally through Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and doesn’t necessarily have to be used for sports.

“They may not be into sports but the money can work for them too,” said Brouillette, noting arts and crafts programs can also be paid for through Jumpstart funding.

Numerous schools, businesses and organizations have also helped donate to Jumpstart, added Brouillette.

Beaulieu added that the River Canard Knights of Columbus #5642 are planning their 2019 car show for late-August and have booked a rain date for next year as well.

ERCA native garden tour a sell-out



By Ron Giofu


The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) gave residents from Amherstburg and surrounding areas ideas on native gardens thanks to a Sunday afternoon tour.

ERCA’s native garden tour started at the River Canard Park with guest speakers and ERCA staff accompanying 40 participants on the WE Trolley. Caroline Biribauer, outreach co-ordinator with ERCA, said the conservation authority did something similar in the past.

Darlene Bernyk of Amherstburg addresses the crowd during a native garden tour presented Sunday afternoon by the Essex Region Conservation Authority. The first stop was River Canard Park (pictured).

Darlene Bernyk of Amherstburg addresses the crowd during a native garden tour presented Sunday afternoon by the Essex Region Conservation Authority. The first stop was River Canard Park (pictured).

“We did a version a couple of years ago,” said Biribauer.

The tour was aimed at native plants and the species of wildlife and butterflies that use these sites for food and shelter. Biribauer stated that each stop had a guest speaker who talked about the plants, butterflies or anything related to the plants in the garden. Tips were also provided on garden design so that people would be encouraged to plant native species in their front yards, backyards and side yards.

“We’re highlighting three gardens within our garden network,” Biribauer explained, adding ERCA has about 10 or 11 such gardens including schoolyards. Other stops included Turkey Creek in LaSalle and the Harrow rain garden.

“We sold out,” she added, noting there were 40 people on the trolley with roughly five speakers and ERCA staff members including herself.

River Canard Park was the first stop on ERCA's native garden tour Aug. 7.

River Canard Park was the first stop on ERCA’s native garden tour Aug. 7.

The native garden tour was made possible thanks to a grant from TD Friends of the Environment, Biribauer stated. One of the deliverables of the grant was the ability to engage the community in such a tour, she added.

“We decided to start at River Canard because it was a central location,” Biribauer further explained, stating it allowed for people from the surrounding areas a chance to attend as well.

Darlene Bernyk, co-owner of Native Trees and Plants in Amherstburg, spoke at the River Canard stop and encouraged people to consider native plants in their yards.

“When you start growing native plants, you will never go back,” said Bernyk.

County approves $500,000 worth of restoration work to River Canard bridge



By Ron Giofu


Essex County council has approved a tender for the River Canard bridge, which was higher than what the county originally bargained for.

The tender was awarded to Front Construction Industries at an amount of $495,221.24 plus HST with the county having originally estimated the project to cost $400,000. The bridge was included as an “early release” project in January, meaning it was advanced to the tendering process prior to approval of the 2016 county budget.

“Despite the unfavourable variance between the Engineer’s Estimate and the tender results for this project, Administration anticipates that sufficient favourable tender results from other projects will be available to absorb this overage,” stated director of transportation services/county engineer Tom Bateman in a written report to town council.

The River Canard bridge will be repaired later this summer. It will be shut down for three months starting in late June.

The River Canard bridge will be repaired later this summer. It will be shut down for three months starting in late June.

Peter Bzuik, the county’s manager of design and construction, noted the bridge is “geographically located near a provincially significant wetland.” Because of that, significant dust control measures are necessary.

Staging and labour intensive work may have also caused the price to go higher than anticipated.

Essex Mayor Ron McDermott questioned whether the county should re-tender the work given that the price came in almost $100,000 higher.

“I have a problem with giving $100,000 extra on a project that we don’t think should be worth that kind of money,” said McDermott.

Bzuik told county council that when a project is re-tendered, the price can come back higher than the original tender due to information from the first tender now being public.

“That’s a bit of a risk,” said Bzuik. “All cards are on the table.”

Leamington Mayor John Paterson said he was supportive of the tender but admitted “$100,000 over-budget is not small potatoes.”

Paterson wondered if the project could be re-tendered next year but Bzuik noted that waiting a year could result in additional repairs needed to the bridge.

“We could see increased costs because the scope of the work is going to grow,” said Bzuik.

Bateman said in his report that the bridge is “an extremely unique and rare structure” There were originally four “tied arch” or “bowstring” bridges on the county road network but the River Canard bridge is the only one of those four that still exists.

The River Canard bridge was first built in 1937.

The bridge will be shut down in late June and is expected to remain closed for about three months.

Essex County council OK’s early release of funds for infrastructure repairs



By Ron Giofu


Essex County council has authorized the early release of millions in funding for road projects, two of which will have a significant interest for Amherstburg residents.

Nearly $6.7 million of the county’s road budget was released at last Wednesday night’s meeting in Essex with the overall budget being just over $10 million for rehabilitation work in 2016. Budget deliberations will occur next month.

The two projects impacting local residents include one in McGregor and one in River Canard, the latter being the rehabilitation of the Canard River bridge near St. Joseph Church. That project is estimated to cost $430,000.

The other project is the pavement rehabilitation of Middle Side Road, otherwise known as County Road 10, from Howard Ave. to Walker Road. The estimated cost for that is $505,000.

The River Canard bridge rehabilitation project is one of two projects county council has given "early release" for funding. It is one of two projects that impact Amherstburg drivers.

The River Canard bridge rehabilitation project is one of two projects county council has given “early release” for funding. It is one of two projects that impact Amherstburg drivers.

County engineer Tom Bateman explained that the annual process to have funds released prior to the approval of the budget are to try and obtain better pricing for the county when the project actually goes to tender as well as to lock in a better schedule for the work.

Exact costs and schedules won’t be known until the projects go out for tender later in the year.

Essex County’s 2016 rehabilitation program includes four preservation projects, two bridge engineering projects, four culvert rehabilitation and replacement projects, five culvert engineering assignments and 17 road rehabilitation projects.

“The 2016 rehabilitation program represents a preliminary program at a funding level provided by the original baseline $5,000,000 allocation and funds available from the Gas Tax Program for 2016 and planned series of incremental increases moving the annual program towards the $11,200,000 target funding level. The Gas Tax allocation of $2,161,320 plus the $7,850,890 base amount established a program value of $10,012,210 for 2016,” Bateman stated in his report to county council.