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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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.7 – McNorton Multiuse Trail Yes 10-0 Consent
8.21 – Zoning Bylaw 4350 Howard Yes 10-0 Delegation
10.1 – Festival Plaza finalization Yes 10-0 Delegation
10.2 – Ouellette Avenue streetscape Yes 10-1 Delegation
8.19 – Waiver of Fees for Diving Plongeon Canada No 6-5 Delegation
11.1 – Exemption from Demolition Control N/A 9-0 Delegation
10.3 – Karen Street One Way No 3-7 Delegation
11.2 – Sandwich Street roundabout Yes 8-2 Regular
       
       

 

Item 8.19 Waiver for Fees $75,000 for Diving Plongeon Canada: I voted NO on the waiver of fees for Diving Plongeon Canada in the amount of $75,000.

Firstly – providing a waiver of fees for a brand new sports/cultural organization like the diving club – while existing clubs like the Windsor Aquatics Club pay $120,000 in annual fees to the city – is patently unfair.

Second – I am not against Waiving of Fees.  I have supported waiving of fees for the Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF), the Downtown Farmers Market, the OFSAA Provincial Championships, the Filipino Community Basketball Tournament, and the Via di Italia Cycling Race among others.

In these instances – the organizations have clearly demonstrated (a) a significant economic benefit to the City of Windsor (b) a community-wide quality of life benefit.

In short – these organizations met a higher standard for a waiver exemption.

 

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
7.3 – Design Guidelines for fencing along Riverside Drive East Yes 10-0 Communications
7.4 – Use of Aerial drones in Parks Yes 10-0 Communications
11.1 – Phase 1 of Cabana Corridor Yes 10-0 Regular
11.2 – Roseland AGM Yes 10-0 Consent
11.3 – Canada 150 and Ontario 150 Grants Yes 10-0 Consent
       

 

Item No. 7.3 – Design Guidelines for Fencing Along Riverside Drive

Riverside Drive is classified as a Scenic Drive – making it the jewel of Windsor’s road network.

Residential property owners go to great lengths – and make serious investments – to maintain a high standard of landscaping and fencing along the waterfront of Riverside Drive East.

It only makes sense that the City of Windsor, as well as commercial and industrial property owners, maintain the same level of standard as residential property owners when it comes to fencing – and in particular the goal of the report is replace rusted, industrial chain-link fencing with something more appropriate to the waterfront location.  A good example is the rusted, chain-link fencing on the Ford Motor Company property in Ford City across from Drouillard Road.

The purpose of the report is to develop a mechanism that will encourage industrial and commercial property owners along the waterfront to upgrade their industrial chain-link fencing and replace it with something more decorative – a perfect example of quality fencing can be found along the property of Hiram Walker.

The City already has programs that encourage commercial and industrial property owners to improve their fencing – such as the Sandwich Community Improvement Plan (CIP) that provides a grant up to $15,000 or 50 per cent of the cost to improve fencing OR the Little River Fence Improvement Grant.

This report directs administration to expand that program along the waterfront to the Ford City CIP.

Finally – it is imperative that the City of Windsor also replace old chainlinked fencing along municipally owned waterfront property and replace it with something of a higher standard the reflects the pride of place that is our waterfront.

 

Item 7.4 – Aerial Drones in City Parks

I support the use of aerial drones for recreation and commercial purposes.

This report simply examines whether our regulations are sufficient to make sure that the safety and privacy of residents using our parks – such as Sandpoint Beach and Ganatchio Trail as well as playgrounds etc. – are protected.

Currently, our regulations align with what most municipalities across Ontario have in place.

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
5.1 – PwC Internal Audit Yes 10-0 Delegation
5.2 – Internal Audit Yes 10-0 Delegation
5.3 – Hotline Issues Yes 10-0 Delegation
5.4 – Implementation of audit recommendations Yes 10-0 Delegation
5.5 – Internal Audit employee hotline Yes 10-0 Delegation
5.6 – Management action plan for audit Yes 10-0 Delegation
6.1 – Compliance with applicable laws Yes 10-0 Business
6.2 – Delegation of authority report Yes 10-0 Business
6.3 – Audit Planning report 2016 Yes 10-0 Business
       
       
       

 

 

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
1-      Contracting Out Huron Lodge Caretakers No 6-5 Delegation
       

 

Item No. 1 – Outsourcing of Caretakers at Huron Lodge Nursing Home: I voted against the outsourcing of caretakers at Huron Lodge because it has not been sufficiently established that there will not be a reduction in the current standard of cleanliness and care.  These 244 residents at Huron Lodge Nursing Home are folks who have spent their lifetimes contributing to our community as teachers, nurses, factory workers, business owners, bus drivers and soldiers among many others.   At this juncture in their lives they deserve the best option, not the cheapest option.

I also believe that maintaining good wages ultimately benefits our City – especially since 100 per cent of those wages are kept in the community.

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.7 – Zoning amendment 1799 Wyandotte Yes 10-0 Consent
10.1 – Point in Time Count – Homes Campaign Yes 10-0 Presentation
8.10 – Sandwich Fire Hall – garage demo Yes 10-0 Delegation
8.3 & 8.4– Bike Share program Yes 10-0 Presentation
8.5 – International Playing Card Co. Heritage Designation Yes 10-0 Delegation
8.9 – 3799 Victoria Boulevard Yes 10-0 Presentation
8.1 – Expropriation for Riverside Vista Project Yes 10-0 Regular
11.1 – 2017 Agency Grant Payment Yes 10-0 Consent

 

 

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.9 – Great Lakes Sustainability Fund Yes 10-0 Consent
8.26 – Metered On-Street Accessible Parking Yes 10-0 Referral
8.12 – Plan of Condominium Ojibway Lakes Yes 10-0 Consent
8.13 – Rezoning 0 Walker Road Yes 10-0 Consent
8.20 – Prairie Court Sight Lines Yes 10-0 Delegation
11.1 – St. George Church Demolition Yes 8-2 Delegation
8.7 – Capital work Capitol Theatre Yes 10-0 Consent

 

8.9 – Great Lakes Sustainability Fund: Excellent report and excellent initiative – an application to the Federal Great Lakes Sustainability Fund (GLSF) that will support a pilot project involving Low Impact Design (LID) features such as bio-retention at the South Windsor Recreational Complex parking lot that will help divert storm water from the storm sewers thereby potentially mitigating damage from severe rainfall events – such as the one that impacted Ward 7.  LID projects are being implemented province wide by municipalities looking to lessen flooding during severe weather events.   For example, the City of Toronto is converting parks to serve a dual purpose as retention basins.  Windsor is fairly new to the LID game.  Lessons learned from this LID pilot project will be applied City Wide.

8.26: Metered On-Street Accessible Parking: I asked Administration in February, 2016 to report back on feasibility and cost of free metered parking for residents with Accessible Parking Permits.  Administration reported back and recommended keeping status quo aka NO free metered parking.  I asked that this report be referred to the Windsor Accessibility Advisory Committee for further comment, which City Council supported.

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
5.11 – PwC Concerned Citizen Complaint Yes 10-0 Deferral
5.1 – PWC EnWin Utilities Audit Yes 10-0 Presentation
5.2 – PwC Enwin Utilities Action Plan Yes 10-0 Presentation
5.3 – PwC EnWin Energy Audit Yes 10-0 Presentation
5.4 – PwC Energy Ltd Action Plan Yes 10-0 Presentation
5.5 – Windsor Utilities Commission Audit Yes 10-0 Presentation
5.6 – WUC Action Plan Yes 10-0 Presentation
5.7 – PwC Fraud Risk Management Yes 10-0 Presentation
5.8 – PwC Fraud Risk Management Action Plan Yes 10-0 Presentation
5.9 – PwC Internal Audit Dashboard Yes 10-0 Presentation
5.10 – PwC Internal Audit Report on Findings Yes 10-0 Presentation
6.1 – Status Report on Implementation of Audit Recommendations Yes 10-0 Business Item
6.2 – Summary of Hotline Issues Yes 10-0 Business Item
6.3 – Status Report – Compliance Yes 10-0 Business Item
6.4 – ERM update Yes 10-0 Business Item
6.5 – Annual performance management reporting calendar Yes 10-0 Business Item

 

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
7.1 – Conversion Pelissier Garage to Parking No 7-4 Delegation

Item 7. 1: Pelissier Street Parking Garage  - Conversion to Parking

There are a number of reasons to maintain commercial and retail space on the ground floor of the Pelissier Street Parking Garage – and many of them check off the key points in the 20 Year Strategic Vision put forward by City Council.

Promotes Downtown Revitilzation?  Check

Promotes Quality of Life? Check

Creates Jobs?  Check

Improves City Brand?  Check

Establishes new Revenue Stream?  Check

Has Measured ROI? Check

In addition to all the positive things that comes from maintaining commercial and retail, it also prevents the negative – namely – hurting the existing businesses and small business owners who have invested in the Pelissier Street corridor – businesses such as March 21 Cafe, Pho Maxim, The Squirrel Cage, A Dog’s Breakfast, Mario’s, Terracotta, Emone Korean Restaurant etc.   Creating a dead-zone of parking will hurt these businesses.

Finally, all one has to do is look two kilometers north and across the river to Detroit to see the best practises being adopted by all cities on the move.  The Z-Garage built by successful business owner Dan Gilbert has 10 floors and 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail.  The parking garage at the new Little Caesars Red Wings Arena has 7000 square feet of ground floor retial.  And the Studio One mixed use residential – a 150,000 square foot complex built by Wayne State University – also has a parking garage with …. you guessed it …. ground floor retail and commercial.

Windsor – unfortunately – chose a sub optimal path and voted to convert its ground floor commercial and retail to parking.

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.3 – POA agreements Yes 10-0 Consent
8.4 – Purchasing Card Policy Yes 10-0 Consent
8.8 – Condo conversion 1400 Ouellette Yes 10-0 Deferral
8.1 – Site Plan for WE Community Health Centre Yes 10-0 Consent
8.2 – Amendment to prohibit smoking Yes 10-0 Consent
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