My 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.
On Friday, September 8th – I had the privilege of joining a small group of folks gathered at the corner of McHugh & Cypress – just a stone’s throw from the Village of Aspen Lake Nursing Home – to honour the life and work of the late Rev. Charles Payne who was a tireless and fearless advocate for the inclusion and empowerment of all people with disabilities and a champion for the removal of barriers in the City of Windsor and beyond.
A plaque was unveiled in Rev. Payne’s honour at the foot of a newly planted tulip tree – made possible by the generous contribution of Windsor residents through the Ward 7 Fund.
Special thanks go out to the people who were part of our little planning committee who made this day possible: MPP Percy Hatfield, Pat Delmore & Steve Habrun from Transit Windsor, City Forrester Paul Giroux, Accessibility & Diversity Officer Gayle Jones of the City of Windsor, the Windsor Accessibility Advisory Committee, Councillor Ed Sleiman, as well as Joanne Potts and the amazing staff of the Villages of Aspen Lake Nursing Home.
Beautiful memories and words were shared by many – including a moving tribute by Rev. Payne’s daughter that left not a dry eye among the gathered.
The text of the short speech I shared can be found after the photos by clicking the hyperlink.
In the days after last year’s devastating flood on September 29, 2016 – in which over 3,000 homes were flooded mostly in Wards 6 & 7 – I submitted to City Council what I call 20 Questions Plus - formal questions asking the City Engineer to explain the cause of the flood, the City’s response and the steps necessary to address the challenge of basement flooding in the future.
I am posting this as it contains some excellent information, and it may help answer some of the questions you have.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any additional questions yourself: email@example.com
To: Mayor and Members of City Council
Subject: 2016 Flooding Event Debrief Report and Response to CQ46-2016, CQ47-2016, CQ54-2016 and CQ57-2016
Author: City Engineer Date to Council: January 23, 2017
On Thursday September 29, 2016 a severe and extreme rainstorm event occurred in the City of Windsor resulting in rainfall amounts of up to 230mm in the hardest hit areas of the City. This rainfall event exceeded the 1:100 year design storm and in some areas, amounted to 144% of the amount of precipitation normally received during the month of September. The City’s sewers, drains, ponds and outlets functioned as designed but were overwhelmed by the extraordinary volume of rainwater, leading to flooded roads, basements and ponds that spilled onto adjacent properties. A total of 2853 callers reported incidences of flooding to 311 during the event and in the days following.
I met with the Mayor today in his office to discuss:
1. The new Mountabatten Development
a. Discussed the potential hiring of a full time Resiliency & Climate Adaptation Officer
b. Discussed options to increase uptake of the downspout disconnection program – including the potential of making the disconnection program mandatory as in Toronto
c. Discussed making the 100 per cent subsidy for backwater valves, sump pumps etc. avaialble to all residents who got flooded including those who experienced flooding in 2016 in Ward 7
|ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_||IREK VOTED||COUNCIL VOTED||TYPE OF ITEM|
|8.1 Mobile payment for parking system||Yes||10-0||Consent|
|8.5 Interim control bylaw land use study||Yes||10-0||Regular|
|8.2 Exemption form Sandwich Demolition control bylaw||Yes||5-5||Regular|
|8.2 Exemption from Sandwich demolition control bylaw – Motion to Note & File||Yes||9-0||Regular|
|11.2 Holiday lighting display||No||6-5||Presentation|
|11.3 National trade corridor fund||Yes||10-0||Consent|
Item 8.2 – Exemption from Sandwich demolition control bylaw: Council has a long-standing record of denying demolition permits to the Canadian Transit Company in the area of Old Sandwich Town. Issue related to demolition is currently before the Canadian court system, hence the rationale is to simply wait until the Supreme Court makes its decision.
In this one unique case – I voted to make an exception and permit the demolition, as the condition of the building in question was severely compromised due to a fire that gutted the building. Hence, in my opinion, this burned out shell of a building represented too much of a public safety hazard to allow it to stand. For example, I see a tremendous risk of injury should a child venture into that severely damaged building.
Item 11.2 – Holiday Lighting Display: I voted NO on the $3 million holiday light display in Jackson Park. Simply put, we have other priorities that are more important including maintaining our existing infrastructure which includes sewers, roads, parks, libraries etc.
I asked administration to report back on the chain-link fence recently erected in the water at Sandpoint Beach, and to provide both the reasoning for the fence as well as alternatives.
In my opinion, the chain link fence degrades the beauty of this park.
I met with the Mayor in his office today to discuss the following:
1. Sandpoint Beach improvements – especially the ugly chainlink fencing that was erected in the water along half the length of the beach which seriously degrades the beauty of the beach. I also shared photographs of the poor state of the beach.
2. Banwell Road
a. Mentioned the structural rating of Banwell Road – which puts it in the Now Deficient category. This is concerning since there are 19,900 daily vehicles using that road
3. Accelerated Playground Replacement e.g. Flora, Bush Park etc.
a. I was delighted to learn that the Parks Department will be putting forward a report which recommends using part of the money set aside for a new downtown parking garage – about $4 million out of $7.2 million – to accelerate the replacement of the neighbourhood playgrounds. Since I voted against the $7.2 million parking garage in 2014, I was delighted to see that money used for a better purpose.
Replacing the 28 old, expired and unsafe playgrounds that had been removed in 2016 & 2017 is easily one of the top issues that residents have contacted me about. It is about investing in existing infrastructure and assets.
4. Community Benefits for the new Gordie Howe Bridge
|ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_||IREK VOTED||COUNCIL VOTED||TYPE OF ITEM|
|10.1 United Way Presentation||Yes||10-0||Presentation|
|10.2 Ontario Senior of the Year||Yes||10-0||Presentation|
|10.3 PWC Review of Cash Control||Yes||10-0||Consent|
|10.4 PwC Action Plan||Yes||10-0||Consent|
|10.5 PwC Service Provider||Yes||10-0||Consent|
|10.6 PwC Management Action Plan||Yes||10-0||Consent|
|10.7 PwC Internal Audit Performance||Yes||10-0||Consent|
|10.8 PwC Internal Audit Report 2017||Yes||10-0||Consent|
|10.9 Status Report on Implementation Audit||Yes||10-0||Consent|
|10.10 Summary of hotline issues||Yes||10-0||Consent|
|7.3 – 2016 Consolidated Financial Statements||Yes||10-0||Consent|
|8.13 No action on recommendation to restrict homes with extended garages aka snout house||Yes||7-3||Delegation|
|8.20 Pillette Avenue bicycle lanes||Yes||7-3||Delegation|
|8.4 Ouellette Avenue enhanced streetscape||No||7-3||Delegation|
|8.5 Pelissier Parking Garage tender||No||7-4||Delegation|
|11.1 2017 Q2 Operating Budget Variance||Yes||10-0||Consent|
|11.2 Proposed budget timeline||Yes||10-0||Presentation|
|11.3 Amendments to sign bylaw Children’s Village||Yes||10-0||Consent|
|8.3 Award of tender Kamloops and Marentette reconstruction||No||8-2||Delegation|
Item No. 8.4 Ouellette Avenue Enhanced Streetscape & Item No. 8.5 Pelissier Parking Garage Tender & 8.3 Award of Tender for Kamloops and Marentette Reconstruction
Simply put – these three projects came in over budget: 75 per cent + 11 per cent + 21 per cent. Hence, although the projects on Ouellette and Marentette/Kamloops had merit – the fact that these projects were grossly over budget required us to change their scope and re-tender at a later date.
Item 11.2 Proposed Budget Timeline: As part of the motion, I asked that Administration report back on changing the scheduling of the Budget Night Council Meeting – to determine whether and how we could spread the final Budget Meeting over several council sessions in order to provide residents and Council with more time to deliberate the budget – and with fresh eyes – rather than the current sessions which often last from 1pm until 2am – 13 hours.
8.13 Recommendation to restrict construction of homes with extended garages: I voted NO on the administration recommendation to implement restrictions on houses with extended garages in new subdivisions. In short, I do not believe that the City should be restricting the choice for home owners. If folks want to have a house with an extended garage that will allow them to maximize living space, have room for their cars and allow them to have a backyard all at an affordable price – who are we to get in their way? Home owners should have choice.
I submitted a petition from the residents of Vanderbilt and Sandpoint streets who remain concerned about basement flooding.
(1) Residents of Sandpoint and Vanderbilt are concerned about the layers of dust coming from the commercial gravel piles on Riverside Drive. I direct Administration to come back with a report on options to address this matter.
(2) Residents on the north side of Riverside Drive are concerned about the state of the breakwall. The ownership of the breakwall has not been determined, and this stands in the way of progressing with maintenance. I ask administration to determine ownership and report back.
(3) A resident recently contacted me because she was injured in one of our large parks and had difficulty directing First Responders to her location. I ask administration to report back on signage & location options for first responders to help them identify location of residents who require their help during emergencies.
Today I biked both Forest Glade and East Riverside on my Ward 7 Walk & Ride.
I checked out the road work – milling & paving – that is taking place on Wildwood and Esplanade – and I made a note of the fact that Kerby & Chestnut can use a road refresh.
The Lakeshore Woods (newly renamed Banwell Park) playground was absolutely packed with families today – as it is every day!
Love the terrific off-road bike trails that Parks has freshly mowed along John’s Pond.
Here is my route today.
And – as always – don’t hesitate to wave me down for a chat if you see me barreling down your street!
In the summer – I like to get out on my bike and tour Ward 7.
I like to check in on road work and other capital projects that are in the process of being completed such as the walking trails at Forest Glade Optimist Park.
I also like to talk to neighbours on their porch or in the parks – ask them how things are in their neighbourhood, what recent investments they approve and where they would like to see improvements and investments.
Here is a map of today’s ride in Forest Glade. Don’t hesitate to wave me down for a chat if you see me zipping along your street.
Today I met with the Mayor in his office to discuss the following:
(1) Banwell EA – Tecumseh Road to EC Row expansion
- $6.5 M project – or two phases: $3.25M
- Expansion from 2 to 4 lanes
- Sidewalks & Multi Use Trail
(2) Sandpoint Beach
- $5M project that was contemplated in previous Capital Budgets
(3) Vanderbilt/Sandpoint Petition
Residents have experienced severe flooding on two occassions in 2010 and 2016 – while some neighbours flooded additional times.
Of interest to the residents are the three current studies being undertaken to get at the root of the problem:
East Marsh Pumping Station Study (2018)
Pontiac Pumping Station Study (2018)
Storm and Sewer Master Plan (2019)
Key questions for residents include: (1) Elevation (2) Storm/Sewer Design
I raised the issue of potentially doing a micro study of this particular neighbourhood.
A neighbourhood meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 5th to discuss the challenges in more detail with our City Engineer.