News

Amherstburg native sees movie hit the big screen and VOD market

 

“The Scarehouse,” a movie written and directed by Amherstburg native Gavin Michael Booth, has hit the big screen and will soon hit the VOD and home movie market in the U.S. thanks to Universal Studios. There are also plans for it to go worldwide. (Photo courtesy of A Named Viking Entertainment)

“The Scarehouse,” a movie written and directed by Amherstburg native Gavin Michael Booth, has hit the big screen and will soon hit the VOD and home movie market in the U.S. thanks to Universal Studios. There are also plans for it to go worldwide. (Photo courtesy of A Named Viking Entertainment)

By Ron Giofu

 

Ever since he was a student at General Amherst High School, Gavin Michael Booth has been talking about making movies.

Now 36, his latest film effort has not only hit the big screen but has found a major studio in the United States to back it as well.

Booth’s latest movie, “The Scarehouse,” has premiered at Lakeshore Cinemas a little over one year after it was originally filmed and the Amherstburg native said he wants to let the home area audience get a look at the film first. Booth, the writer and director of the movie, describes the movie as a horror with two girls opening a haunted house with a plot to get even with a group of former friends.

“It’s being released in the U.S. through Universal studios,” said Booth.

The movie is being released to the video-on-demand (VOD) and home theatre market in the United States and Booth believes the reason Universal Studios is behind it is because it was filmed with a very small budget. Toronto-based movie distributor D Films helped the production get Telefilm funding and that led to Universal Studios getting involved.

The movie’s budget was so small that it included Booth’s mother and step-father helping with the catering, he noted. The movie was filmed in Windsor.

“It’s still a family and friends affair in many respects,” said Booth.

Booth called his days making smaller films and music videos his “film school” but his love for making movies goes back farther than that. He recalled the support of former General Amherst teacher Keith Harrick, who Booth said “believed in me and gave me a push.” Harrick always tried to inspire students with passion and talent, Booth added.

“He’d do anything for me,” said Booth. “I always refer to him as my Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society.”

After graduating high school, he opened a business shooting wedding videos and television commercials before branching out into larger projects. Even larger projects than “The Scarehouse” are what he is aiming for now as he tries to further his film making career.

Booth moved to Toronto in February 2013 but is still in this area often as he films a lot of his projects in the Windsor-Essex County area.

“I see less of Toronto than I do Amherstburg,” he remarked.

For more information on the film, visit www.scarehousemovie.com.

Roughly 350 people attend ACRG’s “Meet the Candidates” night

 

Candidates mingle with members of the public during last Thursday evening’s “Meet the Candidates” at the AMA Sportsmen’s Club. It was presented by the Amherstburg Citizens for Responsible Government (ACRG).

Candidates mingle with members of the public during last Thursday evening’s “Meet the Candidates” at the AMA Sportsmen’s Club. It was presented by the Amherstburg Citizens for Responsible Government (ACRG).

By Ron Giofu

 

Residents had a chance to speak one-on-one with candidates in the Oct. 27 municipal election and organizers of the night liked how the evening went.

The “Meet the Candidates” event was organized by the Amherstburg Citizens for Responsible Government (ACRG) group with the ARCG estimating that 350 people came through the AMA Sportsmen’s Club over a three hour period last Thursday evening to speak to the candidates. Most candidates attended with the council hopefuls each having their own tables to speak with voters in small groups or one-on-one.

“I like the format,” commented Dan Michaud.

Michaud said choosing five councillors out of a field of 22 “is a little daunting” so he liked the opportunity to be able to speak directly to the candidates.

“I just wanted to see some of the people here, ask questions and get their responses in an informal setting,” said Michaud.

Some council members deserve to stay, he believed, as they “asked tough questions” but Michaud added new blood is needed as well.

“I think it’s typical of the Canadian system,” he added. “We vote people out rather than voting people in.”

Bernie and Peggy Durocher also went around the room and spoke with candidates and also approved of the format. Peggy believed a similar opportunity should have occurred four years ago.

“I don’t think we would be in the trouble we are in if we were to talk to them beforehand,” she stated.

Peggy added there is a need for new faces on council but doesn’t believe the trouble is as bad as what is being reported.

“I don’t think it’s as bad as the media portrays it to be but I think we need new blood,” she said.

Bernie said he liked being able to speak directly with the candidates, adding he appreciates anyone that runs for council. He compared council members to that of a U.S. president in the sense that there are term limits.

Jim Broderick, the ACRG member who was the main organizer of the “Meet the Candidates” night, said their group was thrilled with how it turned out though added the ACRG expected the number to be in that range. He said the group believed it was a good way for voters to meet candidates, get information and decide who they are going to vote for.

“The feeling here has been this is a hell of an event,” Broderick said Thursday night. “I’m very happy with it. Our committee is very happy with it.”

Broderick said discussions occurred with the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce, who host their own all-candidate nights tonight and Thursday, about presenting a joint event but when that didn’t work out, the ACRG branched out on their own.

“We think we have a better format,” said Broderick. “We think connecting citizens and candidates is really critical. This is the most important election in the history of Amherstburg. That’s our opinion and that is why we are doing this sort of thing.”

Candidates were asked to make a $75 donation to be able to participate, Broderick stated, with that money being used to cover the ACRG’s costs. Those costs include advertising, hall rental, snacks and various supplies the group needed to put the event on. Broderick said any leftover money will be donated to the Amherstburg Food & Fellowship Mission.

Broderick said 28 candidates attended, although some weren’t there the entire three hours. Some reportedly left shortly after arriving. Broderick singled out John Sutton, a current councillor and mayoral candidate, for not attending but Sutton said prior commitments prevented him from being there.

Sutton said he did not receive the ACRG’s invitation until Oct. 3. By that point, he said he had already committed to two meetings dealing with his town appointment to the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) board of directors. Sutton said that one of those meetings was at 5 p.m. and the other at 7 p.m.

“You can’t be everywhere at once,” said Sutton.

Sutton added that he is getting his message out in the community and meeting residents in his door-to-door campaign. He plans on attending the Chamber of Commerce’s all-candidates night this Thursday when mayor and deputy mayor candidates will participate.

Town increasing development charges

 

Town Logo Small-webBy Ron Giofu

 

It will cost more to develop properties in Amherstburg.

Town council passed a bylaw at a special meeting held earlier this month which calls for a development charge of $12,139 per single detached and semi-detached dwelling, up almost $3,000 from the former charge. For a dwelling unit in an apartment with two or more bedrooms, the new development charge is $7,064 with the charge being $5,399 per dwelling in an apartment with one bedroom or bachelor. An $8,403 per dwelling unit charge is applicable to other multiple dwelling types. All those fees are for development in the sanitary service area.

Outside the sanitary service area, the development charges are $3,665 per single detached and semi-detached dwelling, $2,133 per dwelling unit in an apartment with two or more bedrooms, $1,630 per dwelling unit in an apartment with one bedroom or bachelor and $2,537 per dwelling unit in other multiple dwelling types.

Where the fees really rise is in the non-residential development category, as fees rise from zero to $6.33 per square foot of gross floor area for new development in the sanitary sewage area. Outside the sanitary service area, the fee is $1.99 per square foot of gross floor area.

In a report from manager of planning services Rebecca Belanger, she noted that council has passed a resolution allowing for the phase-in of non-residential development charges from zero to the full-rate of $6.33 per square foot, with those fees to begin July 1, 2015.

“The cost of this phase-in to be funded from another source is $171,037,” said Belanger in her report. “The intention of this phase-in period is to allow those developers that have substantially completed projects to proceed, based on their understanding that there were no development charges for non-residential developments.”

The implementation of non-residential development charges sees Amherstburg rise to having the highest rates in the area.

Councillor Diane Pouget believed the town was being fair in implementing its new development charges and that enough notice is being given to non-residential developers.

“If we don’t charge enough, it falls back on our taxpayers,” she said.

Councillor John Sutton said anytime development charges are raised, the town runs the risk of slowing development. He added the beauty of the bylaw is that it can be reviewed annually and that adjustments can be made if need be.

Amherstburg Fire Department holds open houses during Fire Prevention Week

Justin Gay, Zachery Gay and Brookelyn Wilder sit in an Amherstburg fire truck during an open house at Station 1 last Thursday evening.

Justin Gay, Zachery Gay and Brookelyn Wilder sit in an Amherstburg fire truck during an open house at Station 1 last Thursday evening.

Two-year-old Jack Roehler takes his turn at the wheel of an Amherstburg fire truck during an open house last Thursday night. Children and adults alike were given fire safety tips as part of Fire Prevention Week.

Two-year-old Jack Roehler takes his turn at the wheel of an Amherstburg fire truck during an open house last Thursday night. Children and adults alike were given fire safety tips as part of Fire Prevention Week.

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Fire Department opened its doors last week and helped promote fire safety in the process.

Fire Prevention Week was held Oct. 5-11 and the Amherstburg Fire Department held open houses at all three stations during it. Assistant deputy chief Brad Amlin, the fire prevention officer, noted they were promoting basic fire safety during the week.

Amlin pointed out smoke detectors are the theme of this year’s Fire Prevention Week with the public being reminded to check their alarms to ensure they are working and to have them on every level and in every bedroom of their home. The new building code is mandating that, Amlin added, with the fire code to soon follow suit.

Carbon monoxide detectors will also be mandated in both building and fire codes, said Amlin, with such detectors required in any room adjacent to a garage or furnace.

Residents are urged to have a fire escape plan and ensure there are two exits to escape from if one is blocked, Amlin added. Feeling the door to see if it is hot is also advised, said Amlin, and not to use it if it is.

“If it is hot, don’t open it.”

There should also be a meeting point outside so that the family stays together and so firefighters are aware everyone is out of the home. Amlin said knowing that everyone is out of the home changes their firefighting strategy as they know not to send in a rescue team to search for people.

“We stress never going back in for anything,” said Amlin. “Call 911 from outside the home.”

Amlin said he makes regular visits to schools spreading those messages as well and will soon be accompanying classes from Stella Maris School and St. Bernard School to the Children’s Safety Village in Windsor. He added he does presentations in apartment buildings for senior citizens.

 

ERCA board gets progress on its sustainability plan

 

ERCA logoBy RTT Staff

 

The Essex Region Conservation Authority received an update on its sustainability plan during its board of directors meeting last Thursday night.

A progress report on the plan, entitled “A Way Forward: Essex Region Conservation Authority Sustainability Plan,” came from ERCA general manager Richard Wyma. The sustainability plan was developed to address issues ERCA was facing related to ongoing budget pressures, infrastructure deficit, “at risk” core programs, and other organizational issues.

Wyma indicated work on the plan began in January 2013 after a lot of discussion occurred with the board of directors about the financial pressures ERCA was facing. Wyma pointed out a culvert at Holiday Beach Conservation Area had collapsed forcing the site to be closed for over a month as ERCA had difficulty getting the resources to repair it.

Work on the sustainability plan included restructuring that was undertaken to address ongoing budget pressures related to historic and chronic underfunding of levy contributions for operations, reducing departments and their managers from seven to four.

“In keeping with this plan, the organizational restructuring has led to increased collaboration with other municipal, provincial, federal and academic partners,” added Wyma.

In addition to the departmental consolidation, ERCA has created some reserve funds and reduced the operational deficit. Wyma said the operational deficit has been reduced from $470,000 in 2012 to $220,000 this year. The deficit is expected to be eliminated by 2017, he added.

ERCA reports it has still been able to move ahead with a number of infrastructure improvements at conservation areas, including upgrading the beach washroom, sewers and electrical at Holiday Beach,  repairing a bridge, replacing signs and the safety netting along the Chrysler Canada Greenway; and repairs to the several roofs at the historical John R. Park Homestead. Repairs were also made to the parking lot at Maidstone Woods Conservation Areas, and repairs have commenced at the John R. Park Homestead parking lot. Boardwalk repairs at Kopegaron Woods Conservation Area will take place in the coming months.

“The sustainability plan also introduced a new watershed science program as a means of facilitating the integration and development of research and knowledge in support of integrated watershed planning, great lakes research, and other related interests,” added Wyma. “This renewed focus has also led to new research programs with OMAFRA, the Ministry of Environment and others related to water quality, stewardship and BMPs, and other initiatives in our watersheds. As a result of the sustainability plan, ERCA is better positioned to respond to the next generation of conservation challenges related to climate change, water quality, and the ‘Great Lakes Agenda’.”