Windsor Star photo - IrekMy name is Irek Kusmierczyk and I am honoured to be your voice on Windsor City Council as the Councillor for Ward 7.  Welcome to my blog called Forward 7.  Scroll down and you’ll find posts about issues residents have raised at the door, ideas and plans for improving Ward 7, how I voted on matters before council, and discussions about innovative best practices in other cities.  I hope Forward 7 becomes a space where we can connect and a first step in making City Council more transparent, accessible, accountable and responsive to residents.  I invite you to surf my site and as always I am available any time to talk in person, by phone or email.

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I support the right kind of Sports Tourism – which is the reason I voted to support the OFSAA Track and Field Championship that will be hosted in Windsor this summer.

The City was asked to provide about $10,000 in support – about half in-cash and half in-kind – by the local organizers.

In exchange – the tournament will draw about 5,000 people to the City of Windsor.

Two things make OFSAA an appealing sports tourism draw the City should support:

(a) The organizers take on 100 per cent of the risk of organizing the event – which means no City staff are required to operate the event.

(b) The organizers are on the hook for the financial cost of the event – with City providing a small amount of support or leverage

(c) These Ontario championships will draw people from Ontario and hence potential repeat visitors –  since travel is shorter, easier and less expensive

(d) The return-on-investment (ROI) can be measured and documented – providing taxpayers with a high level of accountability and transparency

(e) The return-on-investment (ROI) is significant – both in terms of tourism, economic development and branding

Taken together – the City is getting one heckuva good return on it’s $10,000 investment.  See you at the starting blocks!

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I attended a meeting of the Public School Board – along with my Council Colleagues Rino Bortolin and Chris Holt – to get a better understanding of the Board’s thinking surrounding the latest recommended Program and Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) process which – once commenced – would review the viability of seven schools in the City’s core.

I firmly believe that the City and School Boards should work together to cultivate closer collaboration and coordination – and that collaborative approach is perhaps most sorely needed when the issue of school closures arises because the impact of school closures resonate far beyond school walls and beyond school board chambers.

Anne Jarvis of the Windsor Star put it best in her article titled “The Cost of Closing Core Schools” when she writes:

But an elementary school is the heart of a neighbourhood. If it closes, it leaves a chasm. The board and the city are partners, trustees are realizing. A vibrant neighbourhood and a successful school depend on each other.

The Board and the City ARE partners.  With a greater awareness of this fact and sustained leadership from both sides, the lines of communication can be opened up – and not only could alternatives to school closures be potentially found, but other opportunities for synergy could be identified- most notably through the concept of Community Hubs promoted heavily by the Province of Ontario.

For the entire Jarvis article – CLICK HERE

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Many residents walking along the Multi-Use Trail (MUT) at the foot of Banwell Hill along Radcliff Road will likely notice that after a rainfall the run-off from the hill brings mud onto the multi-use trail rendering it very slippery.

I have made our Parks Department aware of this problem and the City will be implementing a fix that will keep the mud from the trail.  In the meantime – please be cautious when the MUT is wet.

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.1 – Signing authority Yes 9-0 Consent
8.2 – Leamington tripartite sharing agreement Yes 9-0 Consent
8.3 – WECHC shareholder declaration Yes 9-0 Consent
8.4 thru 8.25 – Committee Consent Items Yes 9-0 Consent
8.23 – BIA Budget approval Yes 9-0 Consent
11.1 – Capital funding for WFCU fire alarm Yes 9-0 Consent
11.2 – Private sewer connection study Yes 9-0 Consent
11.3 – Capital Funds for ETS at City Hall Yes 9-0 Consent
11.4 – Lancaster Bomber – Part Swap Yes 9-0 Delegation
       
       

 

 

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.1 – WIATC combined heat and power Yes 10-0 Consent
8.2 – Meadowbrook Lane streetlights Yes 10-0 Consent
12.12 – Windsor Mold Inc. CIP Yes 10-0 Consent
13.4 – Bylaw to amend 8600 Yes 10-0 Consent
12.5 – Afternoon in Alley – Maiden Lane close Yes 10-0 Consent
12.11 – CIP for 775 Riverside Drive E. Yes 10-0 Consent
12.3 – Diversity Committee report no. 3 Yes 10-0 Consent
12.9 – Development approval  BPI Yes 10-0 Delegation
8.3 – Community garden collective Yes 10-0 Delegation
11.3 – Smoking Bylaw Yes 10-0 Delegation
 7.2 – Two Year Road Warranty  Yes  3-7  Communication

****Note change in Council Report format.   This new format – though more complicated – does make the use of electronic documentation easier and hence will ease transition to paperless reports.

Communication Item No. 7.2 – Queen Street Sewer and Pavement Rehabilitation – Two Year Warranty

Last August, Council directed Administration “to ensure that, as a pilot project, a future road rehabilitation tender have a provisional item or a trial added to it asking for the submissions to contain an extended two year warranty, and that the results be reported back to Council”.

The Queen Street road rehab in Ward 2 has an estimated cost of $1.23 million. The cost for an extended two-year warranty is $1,300 – representing less than 1/10th of 1 per cent of the total cost of the project.  I put forward the motion that the City purchase this additional one year of warranty on the roads in order to complete the pilot project and report back in two years the costs-and-benefits of a two year warranty on roads.

That motion was defeated.

It is interesting to note that the City of Toronto has a two-year warranty on all linear and vertical capital projects including roads.   In fact, a fairly recent City of Toronto report (2012) titled “Review of General Contract Conditions for Capital Projects” concluded:  The City’s standard 24-month warranty period has been successful in safeguarding the City against premature failures, defects and deficiencies in machinery, materials and workmanship, and it is recommended that this practice be maintained and continued.  

 

Council Question:

I asked the following Council Question:

CQ1: A resident approached me with a number of questions regarding the WFCU Centre.  I was directed by Administration to submit the inquiry in the form of a Council Question:

1. When this year will the gym floor be replaced, and what floor material will be used?

2. Will the main bowl sound system be upgraded before the FINA championships in December?

3. What will specifically be done to repave the WFCU parking lot? Will it be resurfaced before the FINA championships?

4. What specifically will be done this year in the floor drain washrooms in the community centre dressing rooms?

5. Confirm that nothing will be done until 2019 to repair the floor drains, and the pooling of water, in the Zamboni rooms?

 

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
1 – Local contribution to the proposed Windsor Essex Hospital Plan Yes 9-1 Delegation
Council Question: WFCU

 

I supported the Motion to fund the City’s portion of the construction of a New Hospital.

This vote is consistent with my earlier vote on December 25th, 2015 – which in essence gave the City’s approval for the New Hospital.

However – I do believe that the New Hospital could have been funded without the need for an additional tax levy for the simple reason that we already established a Debt Reduction Levy (DRL) over a decade ago that raises $32 million each year to fund capital projects.  This Levy should more appropriately be called a Debt Avoidance Levy (DAL) since its purpose is to have “cash-on-hand” to fund capital projects and thus avoid having to take on debt.

Historically we have used the Debt Reduction Levy to fund growth capital projects very similar to the New Hospital:

o   WFCU: $65 million

o   Family Aquatics Centre: $62 million

o   Huron Lodge: $42 million

o   400 City Hall Square building: $30 million

o   Richmond Landing: $10 million

o   Police Training Facility $10 million

o   Art Gallery: $6 million

 

Starting in 2021 – the full $32 million of the Debt Reduction Levy is unallocated, which begs th question: why can’t we simply ask that the Hospital Levy be funded from the Debt Reduction Levy from 2021 to 2026 at $16M per year?

In the end – I supported the Second Motion – supporting the Mayor’s Hospital Levy of 1 per cent.

 

 

 

 

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This is the first Council Meeting I missed in two-and-a-half years, on account of a personal vacation.

Both of our Council Assistants were notified in advance that I would be absent.

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
1 – Correction of Plan – George Avenue Park      
2 – Repeal of Bylaw 38-2016      
3 – Proposed expropriations- Riverside Vista      
4 – Agreement between City and Bridge Authority regarding species at risk      
5 – South Meritt Park      
6 – Parking for 14Skyline Lounge      
7 – LRWRP Centrifuge repair      
8 – Snow Angels recognition      
9 – RFP pre-approval seat replace Capitol Theatre      
10 – Mitchell Park playground RFT      
11 – EC Row overpass rehab      
12 – Local contribution to Windsor Essex Hospital Plan      
13 – 2016 EWSWA Budget      
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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
1 – Tax reductions Yes 10-0 Consent
2 – Electric vehicles update Yes 10-0 Consent
3 – YQG sweeper replacement Yes 10-0 Consent
4 – Site plan for New City Hall Yes 10-0 Presentation
5- RFP playground design Yes 10-0 Consent
6 – RFP Jackson Park splashpad Yes 10-0 Consent
7 – Vacant parcel of land Eugenie Yes 10-0 Consent
8 – SWOSSA Championship Yes 10-0 Consent
9 – 2015 year end operating budget Yes 10-0 Consent
10- Farmers Market relocate Yes 10-0 Consent
11 – Ash Grove Manor Parking Yes 10-0 Delegation
Report No. 385 – Buskerfest Yes 10-0 Consent
Report No. 356 – different Pedestrian markings No 10-0 Delegation
Report No. 353 – Central Box Yes 10-0 Delegation
Report No. 355 – Two way conversation Dougall No 0-10 Delegation

 

 

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What a wonderful way to spend a gorgeous Saturday morning – cleaning up Little River with friends from Rotary 1918, Safety Village and Neighbourhood Watch!

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