About theburgwatch

the first to create a record of amherstburg town council's performance

Reality To Counter Accolades – Open Air

I would like to counter all the accolades with a dose of reality.

Shame on Anne Rota for recommending a report for adoption that omits compliance with provincial legislation.

Rota’s Report referenced under-utilized parking for employees but plans to continue offering those spots. However, the alleged under-utilized accessible parking in the King’s Navy Yard Park lot will be reduced. The rationale for this differentiation was unclear, until the council meeting when Ms. Rota stated this reduction would allow for a turn around to be created instead. Further, the plan is to add three accessible parking spaces in three locations at the outside perimeter.

Shame on council for approving a plan that fails to meet its obligation to consult with the public.

Mayor DiCarlo advised, in April 2021, the Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee was not consulted with respect to Open Air Weekends and only one person with a disability was consulted in the design of the footprint.

It is mandatory, pursuant to O. Reg. 191/11: Integrated Accessibility Standards for the town to consult on the need, location and design of accessible on-street parking spaces and shall do so with the public and persons with disabilities as well as its Accessibility Advisory Committee.

My submission to members of council, prior to the council meeting, wherein I asked if the town would discriminate against persons with disabilities, quoted the provincial legislation regarding public consultation, and objected to the arbitrary placement of accessible parking spaces, especially in a distant perimeter, and accessible spaces that cannot be accessed due to road closures, was ignored.

Given council’s duty to represent the public and to consider the well-being and interests of the municipality, I must question the $90,000. taxpayer funded expenditure that creates barriers to persons with disabilities.

Commentary by Linda Saxon as published in the River Town Times December 1, 2021

Windsor Police Reject Freedom of Information Request

The Office of the Chief of Police Windsor has rejected a Municipal Freedom of Information Request for general records related to policing costs and service for the Town of Amherstburg.

There was no letter, just a Notice of Application Fee that highlighted, “Attach a copy of two pieces of identification.” The cheque with the appropriate fee was returned.

All the requirements of the provincial legislation were met:

Access Procedure Request

(1) A person seeking access to a record shall,

(a) make a request in writing to the institution that the person believes has custody or control of the record, and specify that the request is being made under this Act;

(b) provide sufficient detail to enable an experienced employee of the institution, upon a reasonable effort, to identify the record; and

(c) at the time of making the request, pay the fee prescribed by the regulations for that purpose.  1996, c. 1, Sched. K, s. 14; 2017, c. 2, Sched. 12, s. 6 (1).

An Appeal will be filed since provincial legislation allows institutions to request verification of identification for requests for personal information.

Decorum, Please!

The Town of Amherstburg Code of Conduct states, in part:

Every Member shall conduct themselves with decorum and respect at council, committee, local board and other meetings, and in accordance with the provisions of the Procedural By-law, this policy, and other applicable laws.

My personal observations of a meeting of council and the Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee follow.

Members:

do not always go through the Chair.

talk over each other.

grandstand.

belabour the point.

go off-topic.

share irrelevant personal anecdotes.

use acronyms.

do not appear prepared.

Staff:

monopolize the discussion.

interject their opinions to lead the discussion.

belabour the point

General:

The committee’s agenda was posted the day before the meeting.

There was no link to the live feed of the committee meeting.

Off camera speakers do not identify themselves for home viewers.

Minutes do not accurately reflect content of meetings. (read the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee post.)

Year – old Report Recently Surfaced

Anne Jarvis, the Windsor Star, reports, in Deferred development charges for a town employee, a missing report and now a possible audit, Two agreements described as “distasteful” between the Town of Amherstburg and a company owned by the town’s former chief administrative officer, John Miceli, and his wife to defer $84,000 in development charges have angered some councillors and the public.

The agreements were discussed at the Nov. 8 council meeting, along with a $14,500 consultant’s report, on a key, much-debated town property that only recently surfaced more than a year after it was completed and paid for.

No Response From Rozankovic, Mayoral Candidate

Robert, Bob, Rozankovic announced his intention to be a mayoral candidate and stated in the River Town Times, “Personally ensuring that council lives up to these words is predicated on completely understanding what must, by law, be discussed in-camera, and always insisting that as much as possible be debated in public. We must be respectful of our taxpayers.”

The following questions were asked and have not been responded to.

Do you consider the following exclusions of the public accountable and respectful of taxpayers?

1)    You were a member of the Joint Police Advisory Committee (JPAC) when it excluded the public to discuss the policing RFP on the four occasions, once as the mover to go in camera, when the Ombudsman concluded: Failing to comply with these terms of reference was wrong under s. 21(1)(d) of the Ombudsman Act.

2)    According to the hired consultant, MPM Consulting, “The Committee has determined that the first phase of the project must begin with the community consultations identified in section 6.4 of the mandate.” However, the public was not consulted until after the recommendation that Windsor Police was a viable option.

Do you consider the following fiscally responsible?

1)    Council passed two motions to obtain an OPP Costing. At its inaugural meeting, JPAC “determined that the OPP costing process is not feasible.”

2)    You were Chair of the Amherstburg Police Service Board and a Deputy Mayoral candidate when the police service was disbanded and when the board donated remaining funds of $8000.00 to four local charities.

What’s One More Survey?

There was no link to today’s Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting on the town’s site, although it was live streamed; the agenda was available in html format only and it was posted one day prior to the meeting.

There will be a very limited timeframe, deadline December 7, for asking people if they ‘feel’ the Town’s amenities meet their accessibility needs. The general questions the Accessibility Committee reviewed are at the end of this post.

Asking people how they feel, in general terms, is not the same as the legislated stipulation to review and update the town’s accessibility plan in consultation with persons with disabilities, aside from an accessibility advisory committee.

I’m guessing the survey’s short time frame and plan to present to town Council on December 13 is because the last multi-year plan on the town’s website is from January 2013.

The committee reviewed the brief questions:

  1. Are you an Amherstburg resident?
  2. What is your age?
  3. Do you identify as a person with a disability?
  4. Do you feel that Town facilities and amenities meet your accessibility needs?
  5. Do you feel that Town parkland and recreational amenities meet your accessibility needs?
  6. Do you feel that Town sidewalks and paths of travel meet your accessibility needs?
  7. Do you feel that the Town’s multi-use trail network  facilities meets your accessibility needs?
  8. Do you feel that the Town’s communications meet your accessibility needs?

Amherstburg Skateboard Park On Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee Agenda

The town is conducting an online survey regarding the new location for a multi-use skate park although it was on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee Agenda.

On August 13, 2020, the motion That the discussion of the future location of the Amherstburg Skateboard Park BE DEFERRED to the next meeting of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee was unanimously carried.

The October 20, 2020 minutes, 7.1 unfinished business, discussion of the future location of the Amherstburg skateboard park is blank.

The June 8, 2021 agenda included 6.1.  Amherstburg Skate Park, but with no quorum present, the meeting was adjourned.

September 14, 2021 AGENDA includes 6.3.  Skate Park Location Public Consultation but the minutes are not posted.

Minutes Not Posted

2020 5 agendas posted, only 2 minutes posted

2021 2 agendas posted, only 1 minutes posted

In five different meetings’ minutes and agendas in 2020 the same motion That the minutes of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee meeting of November 28, 2019 BE ADOPTED was listed.

JUNE 8, 2021?
this meeting is listed under 2021, but the minutes state 2020 at the top and 2021 at the bottom.

TEMPORARY SKATE PARK REMOVED IN AMHERSTBURG DUE TO ‘DESTRUCTIVE CONDUCT’

am800 reports on the temporary skateboard park removal.

Aldo DiCarlo, Mayor of Amherstburg, says it’s being shut down despite having police and security there.

“We just can’t seem to get a handle on it,” he says. “We’re working on it but in the short term, unfortunately we’ve had so many complaints that we had to address it now.”

DiCarlo says everyone has been working on this since the problems started not long after the ramps were opened.

MORE SENIOR STAFF RESIGNATIONS ANNOUNCED AT THE TOWN OF AMHERSTBURG

iheart radio am800 reports the Town of Amherstburg is losing more staff.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo has confirmed Rob Sassine, the Manager of Bylaw and Licensing along with Interim Treasurer Mark Spizzirri have resigned.

He says both have accepted positions with municipalities in Windsor-Essex.

“We’re all looking for people and it is just a competitive market right so municipalities offering more money and better working conditions are attracting new employees,” says DiCarlo.

What’s Wrong With Rota’s Open Air Weekends 2021 Post Report?

Commentary by Linda Saxon

edited: this was sent to members of council on November 21, prior to the November 22 meeting

Aside from the spelling and grammatical errors, and the ‘boots on the ground’ reference, I have some concerns regarding Anne Rota’s recommendation that council approve the 2022 Open Air weekend in principle.

Will the Town of Amherstburg discriminate against persons with disabilities?

The report notes 50 downtown employee parking permits were not used to full capacity at times, but the same amenity would be offered in 2022.

Yet, administration noted the accessible parking lot at the Kings Navy Yard Park (KNYP) was under-utilized and Administration recommends those spaces be reduced to two.

I fail to see the rationale for the differentiation.

Public Consultation Is Mandatory

Mayor DiCarlo previously advised only 1 person with a disability was consulted.

Pursuant to provincial legislation, the Town of Amherstburg is obliged to consult the public and persons with disabilities, as well as its Accessibility Advisory Committee on the need, location and design of accessible on-street parking spaces.

According to the report, Administration would recommend the addition of 3 accessible parking spaces at the other 3 entrances and mentions future consultation with only the Accessibility Advisory Committee.

The arbitrary placement of accessible parking spaces, especially in a distant perimeter, is unacceptable, as are accessible spaces that cannot be accessed due to road closures.

While the report includes the total number of parking spaces, there are no locations listed, no percentages of accessible spaces stated, and no types of accessible spaces mentioned.

Economic Development was the primary objective of Open Air weekends.

Rota states, “By using the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries; Regional Visitor Profiles figures indicated that; A one day spend of a tourist is $79 p.p. and overnight spend of a tourist (40km+) is $244 p.p. We can then conclude the following of Open Air Weekends 2021:

Total # of visitors 64,310
Day visitors 52,091 (81%) spends $ 79 p.p. per day for a total of $4,115,189

Overnight visitor (19%) 12,219 spends $244 p.p. per day for a total of 2,981,436

Total visitor spending $7,096,625.”

However, the Ministry’s regional figures are based on Region 1: southwestern Ontario, which includes the municipalities in the Windsor, Essex, Lambton, Elgin, Middlesex and Haldimand Norfolk areas. (see map here: http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/images/regions_maps/Region01.pdf and below)

Additionally, the statistics are based on pre-COVID 2018 data – prior to restrictions.

Therefore, the conclusion regarding tourist spending for Open Air 2021 is flawed.

map of region 1 southwestern Ontario tourist area

Financial Matters

The proposed budget is generalized with no line-by-line details. As a taxpayer, and in the spirit of accountability and transparency, a detailed request for approval is warranted.

Risk Analysis

In my opinion, Council should not approve this report in principle; it is flawed and contains proposals that are contrary to provincial legislation and fiscal responsibility.

Key Municipal Election Dates 2022

The AMCTO has developed the Municipal Elections Calendar.

Key dates include:

May 2 Nomination and registration periods begin. 

September 24 First possible day to hold an advance vote.

October 23 Last day to make the Accessibility Plan (regarding the identification, removal and prevention of barriers that affect electors and candidates with disabilities) available to the public. 

Note: It is beneficial to post the plan prior to this date, especially ahead of advance voting dates.

October 24 Voting Day

First Municipal Council Candidate 2022 Declared

The River Town Times reports that Bob Rozankovic has declared his candidacy for Mayor.

The message is stale: accountability and transparency, seniors, youth, pre-amalgamated townships, fiscal responsibility.

Regarding accountability and transparency, Rozankovic stated, “Personally ensuring that council lives up to these words is predicated on completely understanding what must, by law, be discussed in-camera, and always insisting that as much as possible be debated in public. We must be respectful of our taxpayers.”

Rozankovic was a member of the Joint Police Advisory Committee (JPAC) when it excluded the public to discuss the policing RFP on the four occasions, once as the mover to go in camera, when the Ombudsman concluded: Failing to comply with these terms of reference was wrong under s. 21(1)(d) of the Ombudsman Act. The discussion about the request for proposals did not fit within the “security of the property” exception or any of the exceptions provided in the Local Boards/Committees – Terms of Reference.

At its inaugural meeting, JPAC “determined that the OPP costing process is not feasible” although council’s motion was to obtain an OPP costing.

According to the hired consultant, MPM Consulting, “The Committee has determined that the first phase of the project must begin with the community consultations identified in section 6.4 of the mandate.”

Section 6.4: “To conduct community consultations to solicit feedback,             identifying community needs & expectations and to inform Council of the identified needs and expectations as collected during the process.”

MPM Consulting advised the JPAC he would like to prepare a rough draft of the RFP to present to the committee before public consultation.

The public was not consulted until after the recommendation that Windsor Police was viable; their proposal had not been disclosed to the public and was only obtained following an Information and Privacy Commission Ontario Appeal.

related: Shameful Lack Of Transparency – Amherstburg Police Costing

The Burg Watch is 10 Years Old

Ten years ago, the burg watch was the first site to create a permanent record of council’s performance as a reminder to voters heading to polls.

In 2011, and again in 2018, posts were about council’s and JPAC’s contraventions of the Municipal Act and the Ombudsman Reports regarding in camera meetings, flip flops and a lack of commitment to accessibility.

In 2014, the burg watch provided an historic opportunity for residents to question the candidates directly.

Not being a ‘local,’ the burg watch provides a unique perspective – one that has no affiliations and is not visceral like some of the sites that have since popped up.

Thank you to those who follow and stay connected.