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 accessible, accountable and responsive to residents.  I also invite you to surf my site where I hope to introduce myself and some of my ideas.

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thestar_editorial_windsor_was_right

The Toronto Star published an editorial this week titled Windsor Is Right To Resist Excessive Rail Secrecy on Dangerous Goods.  

The article praised Windsor City Council for standing up to the railway companies who demanded that the City sign a restrictive non-disclosure agreement in exchange for little scraps of information about cargo.

Mayor Francis, Council Gignac and I argued strongly against signing the non-disclosure agreement.

A previous Toronto Star article quoted me as saying:

Councillor Irek Kusmierczyk said the agreement allows rail companies to arbitrarily determine how the information is used.

“I felt that it hog-ties our fire chief, it ties his hands,” said Kusmierczyk. “Our responsibility is not to the rail companies, it’s to the residents of the city.”

I stand by that statement.  In the wake of the terrible tragedy in Lac-Megantic, Quebec – we need more information, not less, and we need the federal government to put in place serious regulations that will prevent this from happening closer to home.

Here is the whole Toronto Star Editorial: CLICK HERE

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writers conference

I had the privilege of taking part in a press conference announcing the Windsor International Writers Conference for November 13-16, 2014 which will honour Alistair MacLeod.

Kusmierczyk applauded Goldstein and conference host Raindance Windsor for strengthening the city’s arts community by bringing the first international event of its kind to the area.

“Windsor is a literary city and we are a creative city and we have endless great stories to tell the world,” he said.

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
1 – Norman Road tender Yes 10-0 Consent
2 – YQG – Lounge project Yes 10-0 Consent
3 – Museum expansion Yes 10-0 Presentation
4 – Adie Knox recreation complex operation Yes 10-0 Delegation
5 – RFP for video image vehicle detection system Yes 10-0 Consent
6 – Road rehabilitation funds Yes 10-0 Presentation
7 – Extension of animal control contract Yes 10-0 Delegation
8 –Cabana road and Windsor Loop Yes 10-0 Deferral

 

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My friend Paolo Piunno from Windsor-based startup company Daedas suggested we Bike & Bus to work today. Great idea! So we commandeered the Crosstown 2 and in half-an-hour we were at the Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator on time, hands-free and air conditioned! AND….we scored mega points for the new Windsor grown environmentally driven web app called Balloo.

All in all, a great morning. SO looking forward to the bike ride back to the East Side!

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Letter_Editor_-_parkade

**** I was delighted to open up the Windsor Star this week and read a very positive review in the form of a Letter to the Editor written by Mrs. Joan E. Tinkess titled “Think Ahead and Look Reality in the Eye” about my vote against the $7.2 million construction of a downtown parking garage.

Here’s a link to the terrific Letter: click here.

Many, many thanks for the kind words Mrs. Tinkess.

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
1 – Transportation/Transit consolidations Yay 10-0 Presentation
2 – Pay As You Go leasing for Windsor Police Yay 10-0 Consent
3 – New City Hall – Parking Garage Nay 7-3 Presentation
4 – Transit Windsor roof replacement tender Yay 10-0 Consent
5 – Summer Games archery bylaw Yay 10-0 Consent
6 –Walker Road parking sign encroachment Yay 10-0 Consent
7 – 2014 Final Tax Rates Yay 10-0 Consent
8 – Welcome To Windsor sign repair Yay 10-0 Consent
9 – Land lease agreement with District Energy Yay 10-0 Consent
10 – Insurance premium Yay 10-0 Consent
11 – ETR Crossing repairs Yay 10-0 Consent
12 – Host Tall Ships in 2016 Nay 0-10 Presentation

 

Item #3 – I voted against spending $7.2 million on a downtown parking garage.  According to the Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative (OMBI), Windsor has the second highest number of paid parking spaces (per 100,000 citizens) in Ontario out of the cities examined.  Windsor also has nearly three times the number of parking spots as Hamilton and double the parking in London.  Hence, I don’t see parking as a critical enough issue to warrant spending $7.2 million.

If private companies or organizations such as the university or college need parking, let them build those parking garages.  I would even propose that the City lease the area around McDougall to these organizations for $1 in order for them to build a garage.

The truth is parking garages lose money. They are money pits.

Finally, last week I took part in a meeting of young people ages 18-39 called Your City, Your Ideas.  About 50 young people who care about their city gathered to discuss where they want to see investments in order to make our city livable and to keep these young people here in Windsor.  Parking garages were never once mentioned.  On that list of priorities, instead, was improving Public Transit and building Bike Lanes as well as investing in community centres.

These are priorities—public transit and expanded bike lanes—that would go a long way to solving our need for parking downtown.

On one final note – I strongly believe that holding off on spending that $7.2 million would have gone a long way to helping the next Council balance the next budget.  Of course, close to 40 per cent of the current Council is not returning next term.

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