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 was very pleased with the enthusiastic turnout for our first Safe Streets meeting in Ward 7 to discuss all things related to public safety.  With the incredible help of Neighbourhood Watch, Constable Lindsay of the Windsor Police, Constable Leigh-Ann from Crime Stoppers and 911 Dispatch – we discussed building the kinds of partnerships that will help us ensure our streets are safe and that we have the tools necessary for neighbour to look out for neighbour.

I will be calling on the Association Presidents in the area to come together and establish a Neighbourhood Watch in order to be proactive and nip any problems related to safety in the bud.  Working together is the key.

I will also be asking Barry Horrobin of the Windsor Police to conduct a daytime and nighttime Security Survey of areas in Ward 7 to let us know where we can tighten things up (for example, more lighting around Blue Heron Lake and Banwell Hill).

We will also be looking to host some seminars–with the help of Neighbourhood Watch–on topics such as Seniors Safety as well as Fraud and Theft so that we are better able to protect ourselves and our neighbours from both.

All in all – a wonderful event!

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Anne Jarvis of the Windsor Star provided a strong endorsement of Ward 7 Councillor Irek Kusmierczyk today.

Incumbent Irek Kusmierczyk is an ideas guy. Windsor needs that. He sees a role for the city promoting education, even though schools are the province’s responsibility, because he recognizes the importance of education to the city’s future. As director of youth programs at WEtech Alliance, he has helped introduce robotics to high schools. He has taken on student advisers at council to engage young people. He also publishes his voting record.

Indeed, I am delighted to report that we now have the FIRST Robotics program launched in 15 high schools in Windsor and Essex including St. Joseph’s High School and Tecumseh Vista.  Plus – we have 28 FIRST LEGO League (FLL) grade school robotics teams established across the region.  We must continue to bring more resources and more partnerships to our schools in order to prepare our young people for jobs in our 21st century knowledge economy.  Thanks Anne!

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I had the privilege of speaking with CBC Radio’s Tony Doucette on Windsor Morning a few months back to discuss getting more young people engaged in municipal government and politics.  I spoke with Tony over the phone from Niagara Falls where I had attended the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). The hot button topic of the conference: youth engagement.

To listen to the CBC interview click HERE

What prompted me to recall this interview was the fact that Yknot Windsor Essex and The Urbanite had organized a Mayoral Debate tonight with the focus being on youth.

Simply put, with a 20-25 per cent youth unemployment rate we have a crisis unfolding in Windsor that needs urgent attention.  We also have to stem the tide of young people leaving our City in droves.  To do that, we have to make the City more livable for our young people and to make the city more livable means–first and foremost–creating more jobs, and especially the kinds of durable jobs that you can build families around.  Making the City more livable also means making sure that we have the recreational, cultural and educational amenities that make life enjoyable.  As a former US president once said, “it is not only about adding years to our lives…it is about adding life to our years”.

I am convinced that solving the challenge of youth unemployment begins by getting more young people engaged in government and engaged in politics, which is why I am proud to have helped lead the launch of the innovative mentoring program called Youth Advising City Councillors which you can find at www.youthadvisingcc.com

Youth Advising City Councillors invites students from university, college and even high school to participate in a semester-long internship as an adviser to a sitting City Councillor – joining the Councillor for meetings of Council, boards and committees while providing input into the decision-making process by providing policy briefs and reports.  The hope is that this brief but meaningful experience turns young people onto municipal government and municipal politics by seeing the real good that can be achieved in our communities through government – when it works right.

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The Windsor Star prepared and excellent Fact Checking Booklet online which you can find by clicking HERE

I was especially interested in the Fact Checking article on the $7.2 million downtown parking garage on which I voted NO.

Here is an interesting quote that I believe supports my decision:

That means the new $7.2 million garage is really only creating 102 new, free spaces downtown, and those are only for city employees….With the plan the way it is right now, the only new public parking spots will be the extra left over when the Goyeau and Park lot switches from a city staff to a public lot. That’s 13 new parking spots for the public.

The surest way prevent increases in the General Tax Levy and property taxes is to control spending and balance the budget by focusing on priorities.

That is the reason I voted NO on the $7.2 million parking garage downtown.

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life after fifty

I had such a great time today meeting residents at the Life After Fifty (LAF) community meeting at the WFCU Centre.

How appropriate that we met to discuss Quality of Life issues at the WFCU – where Council voted to build an indoor community swimming pool for the East End complete with eight lanes, a splash pad for kids and a fully accessible therapy pool for aquafit classes.  The motto on the podium of Life After Fifty read: Be Fit, Be Social, Be Well.  Exactly!

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
1 – New City Hall Design Concept Yes 9-1 Presentation
2 –Declaration of Vacant Lot Oak Street Yes 10-0 Consent
3 – Riverside Vista Project Yes 10-0 Consent
4 – Project methodology policy Yes 10-0 Consent
5 – Inaugural meeting of Council Yes 10-0 Delegation
6 – Enterprise Risk Management Yes 10-0 Consent
7 – Relocate garbage collection on Kildare Yes 10-0 Delegation
8 – University of Windsor - - -
9 – College and Brock parking lot Yes 10-0 Consent
10 – Vesting 530 Janette Yes 10-0 Consent
Repot No. 243 – Market Square Yes 10-0 Consent
Report No.228 – Acute Care Hospital No 2-8 Delegation
Communication no. 25 – ROW gardens Yes 10-0 Defer
       

 

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“I like Kusmierczyk. He’s widely read, and he’s a thinker. He recognizes the importance of education to Windsor’s future. He sounded the alarm over trains carrying highly explosive crude oil through the city. He took on student advisors to introduce young people to government.”

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