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

Councillor Candidates’ Contact Info Will Be Available

Valerie Critchley, town clerk, emailed, “As Candidates provide us with their Campaign phone numbers and email addresses, we will be adding these to the site. I believe we were provided with that information for the two candidates that have filed to date last week and the website will be updated.”

I had advised that having to visit the town hall to inspect the nomination papers to obtain that information is a barrier to persons with disabilities. 

Now everyone benefits; that’s what inclusive means.

Related: WANTED: Councillor Candidates And Their Contact Info

Amherstburg Town Hall Displays Wheelchair Access Symbols

Amherstburg town hall displays the inaugural Essex County Accessibility Flag for National AccessAbility Week along with the ‘accessible entrance at back’ lawn sign.

The 54 year old wheelchair access symbol was intended to indicate access. A more inclusive symbol to display on a flag would be the Hidden Disability Symbol Canada.

amherstburg town hall accessibility flag with access at rear lawn sign

WANTED: Councillor Candidates And Their Contact Info

Personally, I’d like to have five new councillors on Amherstburg town council.

There are no councillor candidates yet on the uncertified list for the upcoming 2022 election, although candidates have until August 19 to register. We’ll need time to sort through those that make sincere promises that are achievable and those that spew the usual rhetoric.

Getting to know the candidates might be a bit easier if their contact information was also published on the town’s website; Lakeshore and Tecumseh both post it – wouldn’t that be a good start to accountability and transparency?

Amherstburg’s Open Air 2022 Barriers To Inclusion

Sunday, May 29, 2022 – the start of National AccessAbility Week; inclusive from the start is this year’s theme and this photo is my contribution to raising awareness of the need for inclusion in our community.

barriers that restrict access to Downtown Amherstburg during its open air event on weekends

Amherstburg’s Open Air event where, for the third year, barriers prevent the almost 5,000 persons with disabilities from equally participating in their community: barriers to the downtown core, including the post office, banks, hair salons and parking to allow for games, patios, entertainment to occupy the streets.

Request Held In Abeyance, Advises Clerk

Valerie Critchley, town clerk, has advised, “as Councillor Simone has not yet brought back her motion, your correspondence has been held in abeyance.”

In a May 12 email to Councillor Simone, I stated, “Since your notice of motion was ‘pulled’ from the agenda, without a motion detailing when it would return, my submission was put on hold, which delayed consideration of any actions to address truth and reconciliation. my requests should not be dependent on your decision to follow up/not follow up on your notice of motion.

i hereby request that my original submission be placed back on council’s agenda for consideration. if administration decides not to do so, then i request that you or any other member of council introduce my submission at the next council meeting just as has been done for any taxpayer concern.”

How long will Councillor Simone take to decide to take action/not take action?

Mayor DiCarlo Responds for Councillor Simone

Spoiler alert: Mayor DiCarlo didn’t answer the questions put to Councillor Simone 10 weeks ago.

Mayor DiCarlo emailed:

“Thank you for your email. I am assisting Councillor Simone with her notice of motion, and have been asked to provide responses to any inquires that come forward.

I can advise that consultations continue to take place with various indigenous peoples.  Once we have had the appropriate consultations with them, including their concerns and expectations to move forward, a revised notice of motion may be brought forward to council.

I am not sure what you mean by “as has been done for any taxpayer concern”.  I can confirm from experience that not every taxpayer concern is moved forward by a council member in a public meeting.  Many are addressed, as appropriate, outside of a council meeting.  Since all members of council have received this correspondence, they can certainly bring your requests forward under unfinished or new business.

As your requests would affect the indigenous peoples of our community, and/or our region, I think it would be more appropriate to raise your suggestions with indigenous peoples, before adopting them as a municipality.  If you have had discussions with local indigenous peoples regarding your requests, I would appreciate that information so that I can follow up, and ensure the town can move forward with their guidance.”

Related:

Now Eight Weeks Awaiting Answers On Amherst Namesake From Councillor Simone

Amherstburg Councillor Simone’s Notice of Motion to Redefine Town Name

Now Eight Weeks Awaiting Answers On Amherst Namesake From Councillor Simone

Follow up emails have been sent to Councillor Simone, who has still not answered questions from March 16 as she said she would.

Following several media interviews about Amherstburg Councillor Simone’s Notice of Motion To Redefine Town Name, I sent questions on March 16, 2022, a phone message was left and another email was sent asking if there was a good time to call.

As of March 28, she “will review the questions and respond as soon as possible.”

Questions:

what prompted you to bring forward the notice of motion?

why is changing the town’s name “not feasible?” Specifically?

how is it possible that “Amherstburg is an inclusive community that recognizes the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all persons to live in a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the worth of each person, allowing them to contribute fully to the development and well-being of the community” if the town creates barriers to persons with disabilities? excludes persons with disabilities from decision-making?

did you consult any Indigenous people about your intention to denounce the town’s namesake?

did you consult any legislation about your intention to denounce the town’s namesake?

did you consider your terminology might be perceived to be downplayed?

why did you choose ‘controversial nature of this individual’ and ‘Amherst’s legacy is controversial’ when what actually occurred was atrocities and crime against humanity?

Feedback Wanted for the County’s 2023-2027 Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

Unlike Amherstburg, Essex County is allowing plenty of time for feedback – almost 7 weeks!  You have until June 30. Not days like Amherstburg and then it closed early.

The county’s administrative team and the Essex County Accessibility Advisory Committee will review the feedback received during the preparation of the 2023-2027 Multi-Year Accessibility Plan, which will then be presented to county council for final approval.

The Town of Amherstburg approved a DRAFT plan. Shameful.

 

Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee Could Use Tips

I watched today’s rescheduled Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting.

Committee members still stray off topic, but did finally have a discussion regarding keeping track of money allocated to projects and decisions regarding the same. For quite some time I have wondered why resolutions were not passed and recorded in the minutes for reference. In the future, an unfinished list of sorts will be used. Why it took so long I have no idea, especially when a few members sit on other town committees.

I didn’t hear the committee members deal with an AODA Alliance tips for committee members that I forwarded through town clerk Valerie Critchley. I also sent it to members of council so they would be better informed; see below.

“This Update gives members of AACs and SEACs practical tips on how to give as strong a voice as possible to disability issues. We identify seven areas of concern and then provide a fuller explanation for each point below. In summary, here is what all members of AACs and SEACs should know:

1. AACs and SEACs should set their own meeting agendas! Don’t let city staff or school board staff set their advisory committee’s agenda or tell them what topics are “in order.”

2. Members of AACs and SEACs must remain free to also be disability advocates in private and public.

 3. Inaccessible virtual meeting platforms and application forms are not allowed.

 4. Public deputations to an advisory committee should not be artificially limited to five minutes.

 5. Municipal and school board bylaws cannot hog-tie the work of an AAC or SEAC.

 6. Members of the public are free to talk to or exchange emails with advisory committee members about accessibility issues, including those on the advisory committee’s agenda. (emphasized for council’s attention).

 7. AACs and SEACs have an absolute right to have their recommendations and advice shared directly with all the city council or school board trustees whom they are appointed to advise, and not just to a sub-committee.

Please share this Update with members of the AAC and SEAC in your community. Urge your member of city council and school board trustee to read this and to send it to all members of their AAC or SEAC.”

Lobbying in Amherstburg Part 2 THRIVE

There are no rules about lobbying in Amherstburg; the town did not enact a lobbyist registry.

THRIVE! Amherstburg was advertising for new members.

Is it a lobby group?

May 11, 2021, the Windsor Star reported, New lobby group aims at bettering Amherstburg; “We’ve told council we will be before them many times,” Peddie said. “We’re going to push them.”

RTT January 12, 2022 They reject the label “lobbyists,” instead preferring the view that THRIVE is “championing” initiatives for Amherstburg. 

What is “Lobbying”?

The municipality of Vaughn defines lobbying:

Any communication with a public office holder by an individual who represents a business or financial interest with the goal of trying to influence any legislative action, including, but not exclusively, development, introduction, passage, defeat, amendment or repeal of a bylaw, motion, resolution or the outcome of a decision on any matter before Council or a Committee of Council, or staff member acting under delegated authority.

Am I a lobbyist? Vaughn provides a quiz to find out; a flowchart can also be downloaded.

Does THRIVE charge a membership fee? 

Initially, membership fees were $50.00 for an individual.

According to the January 12, 2022 RTT article, membership is now free.

What is it? 

An October 13, 2021 Law Times News article featuring a $12000.00 donation by the Peddies to the Windsor Law Centre for Cities states, The centre has collaborated with Richard Peddie numerous times in the past, including by supporting the launch of Thrive Amherstburg, a placemaking council that he co-founded with Lauri Brouyette, a business developer.

Is it transparent?

People are encouraged to use the feedback form on the website. In October 2021, I submitted questions:

Does your organization not have an Accessibility Policy? A Conflict of Interest for Board Directors Policy? By-laws? Are you aware your website has some accessibility issues?

No responses were received.

A list of Board of Directors is posted, however, so people have the option of supporting/not supporting those involved if they wish.