ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
10.2 – Parking App Implementation Yes 10-0 Presentation
8.6 – Monmouth Road Parking Changes Yes 10-0 Consent
11.4 – Concession Group Canada agreement Yes 10-0 Referral
8.2. – New Windsor Public Library Sandwich Branch Yes 10-0 Delegations
11.3 – Parking Garage Improvements No 9-1 Delegation
11.1 – Sewer easement expropriation Yes 10-0 Consent
11.2 – Corporate LED lighting conversion Yes 10-0 Consent
8.7 – Dieppe Park Riverfront lighting, benches and trash improvements Yes 10-0 Consent
 Council Question: Snow Removal  Yes  10-0  CQ

 

Item 8.2 – New Windsor Public Library Sandwich Branch: I wholeheartedly supported and voted YES to the building of the new library branch in Sandwich Town. Not only will this investment maintain the heritage of the Old Firehall – but this new modern library will enrich the lives of residents for generations and I am confident will spur additional investment in Sandwich.

Libraries are so much more than just book exchanges – they are social spaces where residents meet and talk and collaborate. They are places where technology and innovation are made accessible to everyone. They are places of economic development where folks go to improve their skills, connect to employment and spark their careers.

8.7 – Dieppe Park Riverfront Lighting, Benches and Trash Improvement: Kudos to the Parks Department for once again bringing forward an excellent initiative – this time an investment of $685,114 to improve and replace lighting, benches and garbage receptacles in Dieppe Park.  I voted Yes.

11.3 – Parking Garage Improvements: I support improvements to the Goyeau Street and Pelissier Street parking garages – two old garages constructed in 1965 and 1979 that are showing their age and historic under-investment.   In particular, I support the roughly $300,000 in security improvements e.g. lighting, CCTV cameras.

However – I could not support the overall total price tag: $4.07 million.

Simply put – that is a significant amount of money and there are other priorities that would make substantially larger improvements to the Quality of Life of residents or the Economic Development potential of the City.

A more pragmatic approach would see the City make a more modest initial investment to immediately improve the conditions of the garage, while also setting a long term capital improvement schedule through the Off Street Parking Reserve Fund. One does that by setting monthly pass prices that are reflective of the true cost of operating and maintaining a garage.  At present – the City heavily subsidizes monthly passes and charges significantly lower rates than any comparable municipality.  This is reflected in the fact that the Off Street Parking Reserve is in a perennial deficit – and it is this Reserve Fund that should serve ongoing maintenance.

That is a more pragmatic path towards proper asset management – and one that allows us to invest funds in the short term in areas with more impact on the lives of residents than parking garages.

One further note – I am of the position that the City should consider selling one of the two garages which, as they age, will become more expensive to maintain.

Council Question – Snow Removal: Concerned that the level of snow removal was inconsistent after the first major snowfall of the year – with many streets in Ward 7 having been skipped over  – I asked the following Council Question:  “That administration review the residential snow clearing level of service policy and provide options to enhance the service along with estimating the associated enhanced costs, and include comparisons with like sized cities in Ontario”.  That Council Question was adopted by Council.

 

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.3 – Approve 2022 CanAM PoliceFire Games NO 9-1 Regular
8.2 – Erie Street Clock Yes 10-0 Consent
8.7 – Rezoning 3255 Jefferson Yes 10-0 Consent
8.9 – Rezoning Chapter Two Brewery Yes 10-0 Consent
8.6 – Rezoning Heritage Tire Sales Yes 10-0 Consent
8.11 – International Playing Cards Permit Yes 10-0 Consent
11.1 – Agency Payments Yes 10-0 Consent
11.2 – 2018 Interim Property Tax Yes 10-0 Consent
11.3 – Establishment of Arts Endowment Yes 10-0 Regular
11.4 –Concession Group Canada Agreement Yes 10-0
       

 

Item 8.3 – Approval for 2022 CanAm Police and Fire Games: I voted NO on spending $580,000 to host the six day competition that will draw 800 people to Windsor.

Simply put – I support Sports Tourism in instances where the City is not the sole or chief sponsor and organizer of a sporting competition.

For example – I supported the Ontario Federation of Secondary Schools Association (OFSSA) provincial championships which brought 5,000 people to Windsor and cost the City about $10,000. I also supported the Memorial Cup bid because the main sponsors and organizer was the CHL and the Windsor Spitfires. The City was one partner of many.

That is smart Sports Tourism – and the key is partnerships.

Looking at the successful bids put forward by the two previous organizers, there are two facts that stand out:

  1. The CanAm Games to be held in the Lake of the Ozarks in 2018 and 2020 is being paid for by the Tri-County Lodging Association (TCLA) which is a consortium of hotel owners. The TCLA was also the main organizer. The taxpayer was not on the hook for the cost. That is smart Sports Tourism.
  1. Windsor’s bid competitor – the City of Lethbridge – put forward $200,000 for the bid. The remaining funding was to be drawn from other partners.

There is a better way to support Sports Tourism – one where the entire financial and organizational burden of hosting the competition is not borne by the taxpayer and City staff.

8.11 – International Playing Card Heritage Alteration Permit: I enthusiastically supported this wonderful project, which will result in a modern elementary school being built that will beautifully incorporate the heritage features of the century-old International Playing Cards building.

Full marks to Director Erin Kelly and her team at the Public School Board for their determination to see this project through and for putting forward a vision that will serve generations of Windsor’s children and families – and make our City proud. Bravo.

11.3 – Establishment of Arts Endowment: I was excited to vote YES on this tremendous initiative, which is the establishment of a $2.75 million arts endowment fund.

Full marks to Mayor Dilkens for bringing this idea forward – an idea which provides a solid boost to the blooming of arts and culture in our City.

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.12 – Transit Windsor Affordable Pass Program Yes 10-0 Delegations
11.1 – Residential Rental Licensing Yes 10-0 Deferral
8.16 – Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation – Loan Repayment Application Yes 10-0 Consent

 

11.1 – Residential Rental Licensing: This is one of those issues where there are lots of valid arguments on both sides – and where the decision could respectfully fall either way. After several votes that were deadlocked – 4 to 4 – a motion was put forward to defer the issue to a later date.

There appears to be a universal appreciation that there is a problem – namely, a minority of landlords who are in serious breach of bylaws and certain minimum safety standards. There is also an appreciation of the serious consequences at stake. As well, there appears to be a consensus developing around this issue that the current status quo cannot hold.

Where Council is split is on the prescription to address that particular challenge.

After careful review of best practices in other cities, my position is that before moving towards a rental licensing regime –which will add significant costs to the majority of landlords who abide by the bylaws and maintain certain standard, and which will establish an additional layer of bureaucracy – I firmly believe we should take the interim step of “beefing up” our bylaw enforcement capacity by hiring additional staff who can proactively target the problematic rental units.

After a period of time – e.g. 12 or 24 months – a report can come back and Council can review the performance of the new more robust enforcement regime.

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.10 2016 Flooding Event Follow Up Report Yes 10-0 Regular
10.1 FINA Final Report Yes 10-0 Presentation
7.2 Banning Circus Acts No 6-4 Delegation
8.33 Literary Arts Bookmark Project Yes 10-0 Delegation
11.2 & 11.3 Riverside Vista Declared Conflict of Interest 9-0 Delegation
11.6 2018 Updated Budget Timelines Yes 10-0 Consent
Special: that Integrity Commissioner investigate comments made by a City Councillor in the Media Yes 9-0 Notice of Motion
       
Lights at Little River Corridor Park Yes 10-0 Council Question
       
       

 

10.1 – FINA Final Report: Below is my summation statement on this issue before the vote:

The report provides a large number of very large numbers.

The two most meaningful to me are the ones that indicate two things:

One: that City Staff did a phenomenal job of carrying out the assignment that they were given by City Council – namely – to carry out FINA on time and on budget. They should be commended.

Two: In addition to staff – there were over 800 volunteers that demonstrated once again why our residents are amazing and why our City & Region are spectacular places to work, live and play. We are a community that comes together, that is proud of our City, and proud of our successes. And we know how to put on world class event.

Those two numbers in this report are dependable and rock solid.

Where the report raises serious doubts – is in the Economic Impact Assessment.

Specifically – numbers that claim that FINA generated $32 million in economic activity for Windsor or that FINA reached an audience of 462 million people.

Those numbers are large – and they are largely unreliable.

Those numbers are based on assumptions and multipliers that experts have warned exaggerate the economic impact.

Sports economist Victor Matheson observes that “The vast majority of independent academic studies of mega-events show the benefits [of sports events] to be a fraction of those claimed by event organizers”.

Another professor who studies Sports Tourism – Dr. Milena Parent from the University of Ottawa – was quoted in CBC Windsor stating there are “too many flaws in the methodology of economic impacts” and that the economic impact numbers are exaggerated by at least 10 times.

Finally, a University of Windsor Sports Management Professor states that economic assessments like the one presented today are often “grossly overestimated”.

The point is – we don’t need to inflate economic numbers in order to tell a positive story. And certainly there are plenty of positive stories to tell about FINA without having to rely on numbers that aren’t real.

Where it matters to have real numbers – real numbers you can count on – is when in the very near future we are trying to figure out as a community and as a City Council – what types of sporting & tourism & cultural events we want to invest in and which events bring the best Return on that Investment.

That’s where the real numbers matter.

Just one example: FINA sold 15,000 tickets over six days. The Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF) sold 22,000 tickets – or 7,000 more tickets – over the same period of time.

One way to determine the true Cost & Benefit of events like FINA – is to conduct a Value- for-Money audit from an organization like KPMG or a third-party Cost-Benefit Analysis.

The numbers may come back smaller – but they will be more reliable, and more useful as a guide for future investment.

I want to thank once again our residents, our volunteers and our administration for making our City proud during FINA.

** Councillor Francis put forward the Motion to Adopt the Recommendations. I requested a Friendly Amendment to add the following recommendation: that Administration conduct an independent third party Cost & Benefit Analysis of the FINA event. That amendment was not accepted.

7.2 – Bylaw Banning Circus Acts: I strongly support the humane treatment of all animals and in the strongest possible way condemn anyone who mistreats animals. I voted NO on this motion because the Superior Court of Ontario already ruled against a similar City of Windsor Bylaw.

11.6 – Updated Budget Timeline: Something that we pushed for this year is to split up the Budget deliberations into two nights – one for Operating and one for Budget.

We wanted to avoid a repeat of recent marathon budget nights that started at Noon and ended at 2AM.

This achieves two things:

  • It improves accessibility and transparency because residents are better able to attend budget deliberations and have their say or follow along on television
  • It improves decision-making since Councillors debate the budget and multi-million dollar items with fresh eyes and a clear mind

Process matters. Not just the outcomes. And in this case we took a big step forward improving the City’s annual Budget deliberation process.

Council Question – Lights at Little River Corridor Park: I asked administration to report back on options and costs for installing lighting at Little River Corridor Park including solar lighting. This is part of the effort to improve safety and accessibility of the Ganatchio Trail in Ward 7.

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
5.1 PwC Audit Quarterly Report Yes 10-0 Presentation
5.2 PwC Year in Review 2016-17 Yes 10-0 Presentation
5.3 Summary of Hotline Issues Yes 10-0 Presentation
5.4 Status of implementation of recommendations Yes 10-0 Presentation
6.1 Compliance with applicable laws Yes 10-0 Business

 

5.1 PwC Audit Quarterly Report: Among the issues raised – the one that drew my attention were the concerns surrounding the City’s Inventory Controls, meaning, things like paint, bus parts, mowers etc.

Here are three quotes from the audit that raised some flags:

“Two of three operational areas had limited or infrequent controls over documentation and tracking of inventory” (pg. 89)

For facilities “the one site visited did not have any security measures in place in the area where inventory was stored” (pg. 94)

With regards to raw materials “the use of inventory is not tracked nor is the quantity known” (pg. 95).

The key question that arises is: how would we know if items in our inventory were misplaced or misused?

Administration has responded to these concerns raised in the audit with a plan to review current controls, review best practises from other municipalities, and put in place tighter controls.

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
7.4 Recognition of Riverwest Neighbourhood Yes 10-0 Communication
7.5 City Hall construction update Yes 10-0 Communication
8.19 2017 report on state of our environment Yes 10-0 Presentation
8.17 2016 Flooding Event Follow Up Yes 10-0 Deferral
11.1 Donation of Streetcar and Restoration No 7-4 Delegation
8.22 and 8. 11 Sandwich Town gateway arch Yes 10-0 Delegation
8.9 Site plan application for University of Windsor Bus Depot Re-Development Yes 10-0 Delegation
8.8 Riverside Minor Baseball Association lease agreement for Miracle Diamond Yes 10-0 Regular
11.2 Renovations at 2437 Howard Avenue Yes 8-2 Regular
11.3 Windsor Express Proposal Yes 10-0 Deferral

 

Item 11.1 – Donation and Restoration of Streetcar: I voted NO on spending $750,000 to restore a historic streetcar. Although I support the City accepting the donation of the streetcar, I believe the City did not review all restoration options that could have saved the taxpayer $750,000. For example – streetcar restoration was undertaken by volunteers in both Ottawa and Winnipeg. In both cases, the streetcars were of the same relative vintage as the one in the City of Windsor.

Hence, I voted NO on the single sourcing of the restoration. In other words, I opposed the fact that not even an Request-for-Proposal (RFP) was issued to see whether there were less expensive options.

A final concern is the fact that – in the photos that I have seen – very little of the original streetcar appears to be salvageable. In other words – I would have liked to find out what percentage of the original streetcar could be restored (10 per cent? 20 per cent?) before committing $750,000.

I just felt there are other capital priorities in the City – and hence we owed it to the taxpayer to do some homework.

Item 8.19 – 2017 Report on the State of Our Environment: Very good Report On the State of our Environment (ROSE).  I raised the following question:

1. The total phosphorous removal in the Little River has decreased (pg. 6) – and what improvements can be introduced e.g. at the Little River Pollution Control Plant?

2. We see a huge spike in the phosphorous loading into Little River recently – how can that be explained?

3. Can we accelerate tree planting in the City of Windsor?

4. In light of the recent storms and flooding – 2016 & 2017 – has the amount of water bypassing treatment at the Little River Pollution Control Plant increased?  If so – what can be done to improve the situation?

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
10.1 & 10.2 & 10.3 Downtown Windsor Enhancement Strategy Yes 10-0 10-0

 

10.1 & 10.2 & 10.3 Downtown Windsor Enhancement Strategy: City Council approved 36 of 39 recommendations of the Downtown Windsor Enhancement Strategy unanimously. This is a strategy that provides incentives for private sector investment in the downtown core.

The majority of the incentives were aimed at improving and increasing commercial & retail space as well as residential offerings by, for example, providing grants to landlords to improve store fronts, or providing grants to entice landlords to convert upper floors of commercial buildings to residential apartment units.

There were three recommendations that invited debate and that ultimately did not pass.

I voted in favour of the first two: a Small Things Matter Community Grant would provide neighbourhood organizations a matching grant up to $1000 to help improve public spaces like boulevards and parks. The Alley Improvement Program would also provide incentives for community groups and commercial business owners a matching grant to improve public back alleys e.g. lighting etc.

I felt that both of these programs empower neighbours and leverages their energy and civic pride to improve public spaces in our community. I felt the City could be a great partner in such a program and the results could be reviewed regularly to make sure the results match the intent.

The one recommendation I voted against was the Small Things Matter Micro Grant program which would provide private home owners in the core with up to $1000 to make small improvements to their homes such as putting in a garden, or painting a fence or fixing a porch. I voted against for two reasons (a) the first is based on the administrative and operational challenges this program presents, namely, that staff time and resources would be tied up processing, administering and reviewing a lineup of very small projects – for example even small DIY projects valued at $50 (b) the second concern was with the fact that public dollars were being used to improve private property without a clear public-benefit. One can argue that incentives which leads to the opening up of a new store in the downtown core has the public benefit of (a) bringing a new service to the core that is open to the public (b) bringing job creators to the core in the form of a small business.

At the end of the debate – I was content to support 38 or 39 recommendations for the downtown core.

I met with the City Engineer today to discuss the following issues:

(1) Update on current capital projects and those on the horizon for Ward 7

(2) Need to improve Banwell Road from Tecumseh Road East to Mulberry with streetlights, road expansion, multi-use trail

(3) I raised the idea of conducting a micro-study of a neighbourhood – such as Vanderbilt/Sandpoint streets – to (i) investigate how resilient are individual properties to flooding by checking things like grading, backwater valves, downspout disconnection etc. (ii) investigate City infrastructure and potential improvements that could be introduced.  The micro-study could be used as a pilot or demo for other neighbourhoods that have experienced flooding

(4) Flood mapping for Little River Corridor

(5) Need to expedite dyke improvements in Little River Corridor in order to protect homeowners against overland flooding – a risk that could have materialized had the major storm of August 29-30 tracked just a short distance east over the Little River Corridor

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
5.1 Presentation by WEEDC CEO Yes 10-0 Presentation
6.1 Asset Management Plan 2018 Yes 10-0 Business
6.2 Workforce Management Project Request Yes 10-0 Business
Basement Flood Subsidy Program Report Yes 8-2 Business
       

 

The City Engineer provided a report on the Basement Flood Protection Subsidy Program.

The City Engineer introduced the new Fast Track program which allows residents to skip a Courtesy Visit by a City Inspector before hiring a contractor to install city-subsidized sump pumps, backwater valves and other items that helps flood-proof their homes. This allows the City to process the backlog of over 3,000 applications for the basement flood subsidy program.

My concern is that I get the sense from talking to residents that most folks prefer having the reassurance and information that comes with a City Inspector coming to their home and providing a Courtesy Pre-Inspection beforea resident makes the decision to invest $2800 to flood proof their home.

Hence – I asked that administration to report back on the investment necessary to increase the number of City Inspectors in order to expedite the traditional process which includes a Courtesy Pre-Inspection by a City Inspector – and I wanted to see how many inspectors it would take to reduce the wait time to 30 – 60 and 90 days.

 

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
11.1 Little River Dykes Flood Protection Yes 10-0 Deferral
11.2 Synchro Canada 2018 Qualifier Yes` 10-0 Consent
11.3 Improvements to Basement Flood Protection Subsidy Program Yes 10-0 Presentation

 

Council Questions:

(1)    I asked administration to report back on staff adjustments necessary to reduce courtesy inspection wait times for the Basement Flood Protection Subsidy Program – from about 8-12 months to 30, 60 or 90 days. That motion did not pass.

(2)    I asked administration to report back on the current education campaign for the Basement Flood Protection Subsidy Program – to understand how social media has been employed including number of views, what is the content, and what improvements are recommended and needed to get this information into the hands of residents. This motion passed.

(3)    I asked administration to confer with the Windsor Police Services – Mr. Barry Horrobin – and report back on the safety of Banwell Road in the absence of street lighting on the stretch from Tecumseh Road East to EC Row. This motion passed.