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 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.
I put forward a motion at the City Council Executive Committee meeting on February 24, 2014. The motion addressed the schedule of audits planned by the auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) for the City’s agencies, boards, and committees (ABCs). If you take a look at the Audit Schedule (see image attached), you’ll notice six agencies, boards and committees are going first including Transit Windsor and The Airport (2013-14) followed by Tunnel, Solid Waste, Library and Community Housing (2014-15) . ENWIN is scheduled to go last in 2015-16 – two years from now. I put forward a motion that Council change the schedule and start with the ENWIN audit. There are several reasons for this.
First, when I was knocking on doors during the by-election campaign in December, the issue of accountability and transparency came up frequently and by far the object of those discussions was ENWIN. Not the airport. Not the tunnel. Not Transit. It was ENWIN. The concerns I heard at the door regarding accountability are reinforced by the fact that a petition was organized in support of an audit at ENWIN which gathered 800 signatures across the city. That is significant. In light of this existing demand, it makes sense to respond proactively by focusing the first audit efforts at ENWIN. If something comes up, we fix it. If nothing comes up, we move on with a greater degree of public confidence.
|Item # and Description||Irek Voted||Council Voted||Type of Item|
|1 – Internal audit dashboard||Yay||10-0||Presentation|
|2a – Internal audit revised||Yay||10-0||Presentation|
|3 – Internal audit – governance||Yay||10-0||Presentation|
|4 – Concerned citizen hotline||Yay||10-0||Presentation|
|2b – Motion to audit Enwin first||Yay||2-8||Presentation|
|Report #200 – North Portion OPA 94||Yay||10-0||Delegation|
|Report #160 – WCF Access||Yay||9-2||Delegation|
Item #2b – I put forward a motion regarding the schedule of audits planned by the auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) for the City’s agencies, boards, and committees (ABCs). Take a look at the Audit Schedule (see image attached). Notice that Enwin Utilities is scheduled to be audited two years from now in 2015-16. Six other agencies, boards and committees go first starting with Transit Windsor and the Airport this year. I put forward a motion that Council change the schedule and start this year with an audit of Enwin. That motion was defeated 2 to 8.
At the WESucceed Call-to-Action empowering young women to enter underrepresented fields such as science, engineering, skilled trades and politics where I announced my plans to take on University and College students to serve three-month stints as my Council Advisers – joining me for council and board meetings (e.g. Health Unit, Public Transit, Conservation Authority etc.) to study and shape public policy. My hope is that this program encourages more young women and young people in general to take leadership positions in our community on boards, on council, and ultimately in parliament.
Here is the link: Face-to-Face.
You can catch the full interview on COGECO.
Friday, February 28 – COFFEE CABINET
I will be at Lily Kazilly’s from 4:30pm until 5:30pm to chat with Ward 7 residents about their concerns, Ward 7 issues, how I voted and upcoming Council meetings. Join me for a coffee and make sure to bring your favourite political souvenir e.g. campaign button, poster or brochure!
|Item # and Description||Irek Voted||Council Voted||Type of Item|
|5 – Solar Panels on Aquatic Centre||Yay||10-0||Consent|
|7 – Construction of Fire Hall no. 2 & 5||Yay||10-0||Delegation|
|10 – Closing Sandwich Street for St. Patrick’s Day Party||Nay||9-1||Delegation|
|1 – Windsor/Sarnia Border System||Yay||10-0||Consent|
|2 – Construction of curbs and gutters||Yay||10-0||Consent|
|3 – Herb Gray drainage||Yay||10-0||Consent|
|4 – Waste disposal site||Yay||10-0||Consent|
|6 – Ditch cutting program||Yay||10-0||Consent|
|8 – RFP for outdoor furnishings||Yay||10-0||Consent|
|9 – Bylaw amendment||Yay||10-0||Consent|
***Consent items are normally administrative “housekeeping” matters, typically non-controversial, that are passed unanimously without discussion.
Item #10 – Sandwich Improvement Area came before council requesting the closure of Sandwich Street from Brock Street to Detroit Street from 11am to 11pm on Sunday March 16th and Monday March 17th for St. Patrick’s Day in order to establish an outdoor party area where people can consume alcoholic beverages purchased from the bars. I voted against closing off the street for two consecutive days for the following reasons (i) above all, General Brock Elementary School is located just outside the party area, and I did not feel comfortable knowing there would be St. Patrick’s Day revelry on Monday so close to school children AND the potential of impaired patrons and drivers near the school (ii) In total, 76 Transit Windsor buses would have to be rerouted on Sunday and 252 buses would be rerouted on Monday, representing a disruption to service (iii) closing a busy arterial road like Sandwich Street for two days not only creates traffic issues, but also creates disruption for small business owners in the area. As last year, I would support closing the street on the Sunday, but not for two consecutive days.
Item #7 – Confirmed the overall budget for the design and construction of two new fire halls no. 2 and no. 5 at a cost of $9 million to be completed by December 31, 2014.
Item #5 – Authorized administration to enter into agreement with Kiwi Newton Construction to build solar panels on the roof of the Aquatic Centre. I supported this project for environmental and economic reasons. The photovoltaic system (PV) is clean energy that reduces our carbon footprint and our emission of airborne pollutants that negatively affects Windsorites’ health. The PV system will also generate 320kw of electricity, which will be sold to the province and deliver $250,000 each year to the city. Hence, in four years the system will pay for itself, and after that the City of Windsor will enjoy clean profit. I raised the concern, which administration addressed, whether the PV system will negatively affect the ability of the City to fix any potential problems with the roof of the Aquatic Centre. It will not. Councillor Gignac also inquired about warranty, which would cover the first ten years of the system.
Thirty years ago, my brother Andrew and I began school in Windsor at St. Jules elementary on Norman Road where–among an incredibly dedicated faculty and staff that included Principal Sr. Doreen Park, Mrs. Murphy, Mr. Caspick, Mr. Veitch, Madam Wong, and Mr. Goggins–there was a custodian named Mr. Janisse who all the kids absolutely adored. Funny thing, you see, that the person who welcomed me to my first ERCA board meeting last week was none other than Mr. Janisse…..Councillor Janisse of Lakeshore.
I was honoured to join St. Clair College President John Strasser and students representing 13 high schools across Windsor Essex–including St. Joseph’s H.S. and Tecumseh Vista–at the Ford Centre for Excellence in Manufacturing where St. Clair College announced a $1000 sponsorship for each one of our 13 Robotics Teams. In addition, St. Clair College assigned a technician at the FCEM to serve as a liaison with all high school robotics teams who require a machine shop for their machining. Earlier this year, St. Clair College also established a $1000 scholarship for every high school student who competes in our upcoming Windsor Essex Great Lakes Robotics Regional (April 3-5, 2014).
Here is an article from the event: click here.
And here is a link to video from the event: click here.
Here is my speech from the ceremony:
Today is about tomorrow.
President Roosevelt once said, “We cannot always build a future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future”.
This is what FIRST Robotics is about, and St. Clair College is once again looking beyond the horizon and demonstrating its leadership in preparing our young people for a future that is more and more dependent on technology, robotics, and innovation.
Over the last six weeks, students across 13 high schools in Windsor and Essex have been working hand-in-hand with engineers, skilled workers and programmers from companies such as Valiant, CenterLine, and Chrysler to design and build 120 pound robots. These students are also working together with mentors from the University of Windsor and St. Clair College.
In Windsor, we know how to build. We are the Automotive Capital of Canada.
But what St. Clair College is demonstrating here today, is that we have community leaders like President Strasser and his team who know how to build the kinds of partnerships we need to build our region’s future.
Education is economic development. And today is about tomorrow. It is about cultivating the next generation of engineers, skilled workers and technology entrepreneurs who will drive our economy forward well into the 21st century. It is about industry stepping off the sidelines and into our schools.
In just over a month, thirteen high school robotics teams from Windsor and Essex will join 1,500 high school students from across North America for a three-day robotics competition at the University of Windsor. This program would not be possible without the support of St. Clair College.
It is my sincerest hope that others will follow the leadership St. Clair College has demonstrated today and come onboard this remarkable program.