town of Amherstburg

Two culvert replacements to occur in rural Amherstburg

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A pair of culvert replacements will be taking place in Amherstburg.

The County of Essex will be replacing a concrete box culvert on County Road 20 over the Concession 7 South drain this summer. Director of Infrastructure Services/County Engineer Tom Bateman said the other will be in Kingsville, specifically on County Road 27 over the Cottam Outlet Drain.

“Both of them are full replacements of existing box culverts,” said Bateman.

The roads will have to be closed when the work is going on, he added. Both projects are anticipated to take three weeks.

The County Road 20 project in Amherstburg was awarded to Southshore Contracting Inc. for a total tender amount of $397,325 plus HST. The engineer’s estimate was $490,000.

Southshore Contracting Inc. also received the Kingsville project, with that being slightly over budget. The tender amount was $467,888 plus HST with the engineer’s estimate being $420,000.

“We can accommodate the variances within our overall program,” said Bateman.

A map, provided by the Town of Amherstburg, shows where the culvert replacement will be taking place on Howard Ave. starting July 3.

The town will be undertaking a culvert replacement on Howard Ave. early next month. The town advises that, starting July 3, a culvert just south of County Road 18 will be replaced with the construction period lasting an estimated four weeks, weather permitting.

The town advises that no traffic will be permitted through the construction zone. Howard Ave. will remain open to local traffic only up to the road closure for northbound motorists, but will not be permitted through the construction zone.

The Town of Amherstburg reminds residents that during construction traffic disruptions will occur and some delays may be experienced. Please slow down, obey all traffic signage, and follow all posted detour routes.

Shane McVitty, drainage superintendent and engineering co-ordinator with the Town of Amherstburg, said the culvert is part of the 8th Concession Road Drain South with the actual culvert work – approximately $180,000 – being paid for by the county. He said the town is undertaking about $492,000 worth of work on the drain and the culvert is at the bottom portion of the drain.

Those costs include engineering work, McVitty added.

Ideas floated for what to do with the Belle Vue property

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Town of Amherstburg held the first of two public consultation meetings regarding the Belle Vue property last week with several ideas floated around on what to do with it.

About 20 people attended last Tuesday night’s meeting at the Libro Centre, many of whom are members of the Belle Vue Conservancy. The conservancy is fundraising for the restoration of the property that the town purchased in 2016.

Robert Honor, a local historian and member of the Belle Vue Conservancy, outlined the history of the 200-year-old Dalhousie St. mansion from when it was built by the Reynolds family to its various private owners and its stints as a veterans’ home and as St. Nicholas Ukrainian Church.

Town treasurer Justin Rousseau said the conservancy has been busy with fundraisers since it was formed.

“There’s always a campaign going on,” he said.

An image of what a restored Belle Vue would look like, according to renderings by Architectura.

The money the Belle Vue Conservancy raises is then given to the Town of Amherstburg with Rousseau stating that cash donations as of last Tuesday’s meeting were at $210,000 with another $65,000 of committed contributions. There are also $18,000 in in-kind contributions for an overall total of $292,000.

“The fundraising efforts have been very good,” said Rousseau.

The fundraising has helped offset costs of the new roof that is currently being installed, he noted, adding the town is also working to find grant opportunities.

The meeting turned into a question-and-answer period with CAO John Miceli, with Miceli calling the roof “a great first step” in the restoration process.

“We’ve got really good momentum,” he said. “We don’t want to lose that.”

The CAO added “the conservancy has done a tremendous job raising money.”

Miceli called Belle Vue an important piece of the town’s tourism industry going forward.

“It is going to be one of the catalysts of the tourism industry. I strongly believe that,” he said.

A proposed look at what the Belle Vue property would look like.

A restored Belle Vue will not just benefit Amherstburg, Miceli continued, but will be a boost to the region as a whole.

“I view Belle Vue as a regional property,” he said. “It’s not just an Amherstburg property, it’s a regional property. It’s a property that belongs to the entire region.”

What the property is going to be used for is still open for debate, though Miceli said the main comments he has heard are to use the building as a conference centre.

“Ultimately, it’s going to be driven by the community,” stated Miceli.

The chief administrative officer envisioned Belle Vue as a “tremendous opportunity” and one that will surpass another property he was responsible for when he was the director of parks and recreation for the City of Windsor.

“In my opinion, it will blow Willistead (Manor) out of the water,” he boasted.

Michael Prue, treasurer of the Belle Vue Conservancy, spoke in favour of a conference centre concept. He said the home is in relatively close proximity to the town’s downtown core and believed a conference centre would be a draw for the community and bring economic development.

Other ideas included themed boardrooms on Belle Vue’s upper levels, having horse-drawn carriage rides at the site, a greenhouse so the town can grow its own plant materials and hold plant sales, a café with caterers on site to prepare food, a seniors’ home and some botanical gardens.

Miceli said he envisions transforming the garage into a kitchen facility.

The potential gardens that could go behind Belle Vue are depicted in this rendering.

“I just don’t think we should be doing that inside the home,” he said. “These are just my thoughts. You don’t have to agree with me.”

Anne Rota, manager of tourism and culture for the town, said her research shows that tall ships and botanical gardens are top attractions for visitors in North America.

Paul Hertel, whose work with the Belle Vue Conservancy has included research into its time as a veterans’ home, said he has no problem with the conference centre idea as long as the public interest is protected. He also said the proximity to Iler Creek could enhance eco-tourism in the area.

Hertel believed a refurbished Belle Vue would enhance the “southern gateway” to Amherstburg.

Historian Robert Honor speaks at a May 29 public meeting regarding potential uses for the Belle Vue property.

The town purchased the site for $1.1 million and a $200,000 donation receipt with the town paying $100,000 down and $200,000 per year over a five-year period on an interest-free mortgage. Cost estimates have ranged from $2-3 million to restore the building itself with restoration of the entire 8.6-acre property estimated at upwards of $9 million.

The second Belle Vue meeting is Tuesday, June 5 at 6 p.m., also at the Libro Centre

Amherstburg Community Services partnering with town to deliver two-day Seniors Expo

 

 

Special to the RTT

 

Dozens of organizations, businesses and individuals will be making their way out to Amherstburg June 11-12 to help seniors in the region discover services, resources and activities specifically designed for them.

The 2018 Active & Aging Well Expo, hosted and organized by Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Town of Amherstburg, is described as “a one-stop shop for everything from home health care to yoga demonstrations curated specifically for seniors, older adults and caregivers.”

“We really wanted to appeal to as many people as we could,” Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director at ACS said. “We all age differently and find ourselves with a variety of different needs.  Some of us are looking for activities and hobbies to keep us busy, others will be looking for services that provide support for a specific need.  We’re excited that this event will cover all of that and more!”

Rick Daly, the manager of recreation Services with the Town of Amherstburg, says he is excited by the responses seen by businesses that have been invited to take part in the event.

“Amherstburg’s population is getting older. It only makes sense that we offer programming, activities and events that cater to our older adult population,” Daly said. “With the response that Amherstburg Community Services is getting, the Expo looks to become an annual event that will educate and entertain our seniors on the many activities and services offered in our town.”

The 2018 Active & Aging Well Expo will take place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both June 11-12 at the Libro Credit Union Centre in Amherstburg.

Over 35 different vendors will be at the event, with demonstrations and presentations taking place throughout the day.  Admission will be $5 at the door and will include a boxed lunch and access to various raffle prizes.

For more information, please contact Amherstburg Community Services at 519-736-5471.

 

DiPasquale announces he will not seek re-election

 

By Ron Giofu

The town will be electing a new deputy mayor Oct. 22, as the current deputy mayor has decided to step out of the political arena.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale made it official Monday night that he will not seek re-election. His political career lasted eight years, as he was elected as a councillor in 2010 and won the deputy mayor’s job in the 2014 municipal election.

In a statement read during the “new business” portion of Monday’s town council meeting, DiPasquale said that “after careful consideration and discussion with my loving wife and family, I would like to announce that I will not be seeking re-election this fall and (will) be spending more time with my friends and grandchildren. I will also be looking forward to casting my ballot in this year’s election.”

DiPasquale said he enjoyed serving the town as deputy mayor and as a member of Essex County council.

“I have also been truly blessed in serving this community as a municipal employee and also a police officer,” he said.

DiPasquale had a 35-year career with the Amherstburg Police Service, retiring as deputy chief in 2009. His community involvement has also seen him serve with local service clubs and non-profit organizations and has resulted in numerous awards and honours over the years. He recalled starting to work for the town at age 16, grooming baseball diamonds under the direction of former administrator Tom Kilgallin.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale announced May 14 that he will not seek re-election.

“During my years of employment with the Town of Amherstburg and as an elected official, I have learned that this community is truly special and resilient. We have persevered through much of our debt load adversity and began updating our aging infrastructure,” he said. “We also began rebuilding our management structure and I am grateful for being part of this and serving together with all the other council members.”

DiPasquale also thanked CAO John Miceli, the management team and employees “that kept this great municipality solvent, the neighbourhoods and roads safe, the water flowing and clean and our parks active. It has been a truly superb performance and thank you.”

Wishing the next deputy mayor and council members well, DiPasquale said he wishes they will have “the same wonderful experiences and lifetime of memories I have acquired” by serving the community.

Following his statement, DiPasquale was met with a standing ovation from all in attendance at Monday night’s meeting, including his fellow council members. Several members of DiPasquale’s family, including his wife Carmen, daughters Luisa and Sandra, their grandchildren as well as other loved ones were in attendance.

Town, WECHU launching distribution of KI pills

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Those living within 16.1 kilometres of the Fermi II nuclear power plant will soon have an opportunity to receive their potassium iodide (KI) pills.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU), the Town of Amherstburg and the Amherstburg Fire Department held a joint news conference Thursday morning where it was announced that the distribution of KI pills would begin May 7.

The 16.1-kilometre zone encompasses a small portion of Amherstburg, roughly 500 homes, primarily in the Amherst Pointe area with residents in that area either having received or due to receive a letter informing them they can get the KI pills. Boblo Island is also included in the primary zone due to the logistics of getting people off of the island in case of an emergency.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo called it an “important first step,” stating that town council has been pressing for “a long time” that Amherstburg be treated on an equal basis as compared to other Ontario municipalities with a nuclear reactor nearby.

The difference between Amherstburg and the other Ontario municipalities is that Fermi II is actually located in the United States.

DiCarlo credited town staff, including fire chief Bruce Montone, deputy chief Lee Tome and clerk Paula Parker for their work on pressing the issue with the Ontario government.

“Through their persistence, we are starting to see progress,” said DiCarlo.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU), shows a box of potassium iodide (KI) pills as Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and fire chief Bruce Montone look on.

Montone urged people to have a plan in case of any emergency, not just a nuclear one, including how to get out of your home, neighbourhood or town.

“Are you ready, no matter where you live?” asked Montone. “Are you ready for any emergency that may occur?”

Specific to the KI pill distribution, people who fall within the primary zone can pick them up at the Libro Centre starting May 7-8. Those who can’t attend those dates can still get their pills later this spring or early summer with Montone stating that those who get their pills will be tracked. If there are those unable to get their KI pills, Montone suggested alternative measures will be explored including door-to-door delivery.

Should an emergency occur, Montone indicated that the siren system would be activated, that messages would be sent to the media for dissemination and the town’s “Amherstburg Alert” system would be activated. He encouraged members of the public to sign up, if they haven’t already done so, at www.amherstburg.ca/alert.

If it was a nuclear emergency, how fast the town would be impacted would depend on such things such as weather, temperature, wind and other factors. Montone said there would be six to 24-hour time period before the possibility of a release and noted most nuclear incidents are relatively minor when, and if, they do happen.

“Not every single event is going to be a catastrophic event that we see in the movies,” he said.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, acting medical officer of health with the WECHU, gives a closer look at the packages Amherstburg residents can expect when they pick up their KI pills. Those in the “primary zone,” which is those within a 16.1 kilometre radius of Fermi II, can start picking up the pills May 7 at the Libro Centre.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, acting medical officer of health with the WECHU, said the KI pills are a form of salt and, when taken prior to exposure to radiation, assists the thyroid in not absorbing radioactive material.

“It’s not a magic pill,” he said. “It just protects you from thyroid cancer.”

The province will absorb the $370,000 cost of the pills, he noted, adding that adults usually take two of the pills while adolescents take one.

Those in the secondary zone, which includes the rest of Amherstburg and is a radius of 80 km from the plant, can sign up to get the KI pills as well. The pills have rare side effects such as gastrointestinal issues and a hypersensitivity reaction.

“You have to take KI pills only when directed,” noted Ahmed. “Don’t take them unless you are directed to.”

For more information, visit www.wechu.org/KI, e-mail weki@wechu.org or call 519-258-2146 ext. 4445.