I met with the Mayor in his office today to discuss the following:

1. Sandpoint Beach improvements – especially the ugly chainlink fencing that was erected in the water along half the length of the beach which seriously degrades the beauty of the beach.  I also shared photographs of the poor state of the beach.

2. Banwell Road

a. Mentioned the structural rating of Banwell Road – which puts it in the Now Deficient category.  This is concerning since there are 19,900 daily vehicles using that road

3. Accelerated Playground Replacement e.g. Flora, Bush Park etc.

a. I was delighted to learn that the Parks Department will be putting forward a report which recommends using part of the money set aside for a new downtown parking garage – about $4 million out of $7.2 million – to accelerate the replacement of the neighbourhood playgrounds.  Since I voted against the $7.2 million parking garage in 2014, I was delighted to see that money used for a better purpose.

Replacing the 28 old, expired and unsafe playgrounds that had been removed in 2016 & 2017 is easily one of the top issues that residents have contacted me about.  It is about investing in existing infrastructure and assets.

4. Community Benefits for the new Gordie Howe Bridge

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
10.1 United Way Presentation Yes 10-0 Presentation
10.2 Ontario Senior of the Year Yes 10-0 Presentation
10.3 PWC Review of Cash Control Yes 10-0 Consent
10.4 PwC Action Plan Yes 10-0 Consent
10.5 PwC Service Provider Yes 10-0 Consent
10.6 PwC Management Action Plan Yes 10-0 Consent
10.7 PwC Internal Audit Performance Yes 10-0 Consent
10.8 PwC Internal Audit Report 2017 Yes 10-0 Consent
10.9 Status Report on Implementation Audit Yes 10-0 Consent
10.10 Summary of hotline issues Yes 10-0 Consent
7.3 – 2016 Consolidated Financial Statements Yes 10-0 Consent
8.13 No action on recommendation to restrict homes with extended garages aka snout house Yes 7-3 Delegation
8.20 Pillette Avenue bicycle lanes Yes 7-3 Delegation
8.4 Ouellette Avenue enhanced streetscape No 7-3 Delegation
8.5 Pelissier Parking Garage tender No 7-4 Delegation
11.1 2017 Q2 Operating Budget Variance Yes 10-0 Consent
11.2 Proposed budget timeline Yes 10-0 Presentation
11.3 Amendments to sign bylaw Children’s Village Yes 10-0 Consent
8.3 Award of tender Kamloops and Marentette reconstruction No 8-2 Delegation
 

 

Item No. 8.4 Ouellette Avenue Enhanced Streetscape & Item No. 8.5 Pelissier Parking Garage Tender & 8.3 Award of Tender for Kamloops and Marentette Reconstruction

Simply put – these three projects came in over budget: 75 per cent + 11 per cent + 21 per cent.  Hence, although the projects on Ouellette and Marentette/Kamloops had merit – the fact that these projects were grossly over budget required us to change their scope and re-tender at a later date.

Item 11.2 Proposed Budget Timeline:  As part of the motion, I asked that Administration report back on changing the scheduling of the Budget Night Council Meeting – to determine whether and how we could spread the final Budget Meeting over several council sessions in order to provide residents and Council with more time to deliberate the budget – and with fresh eyes – rather than the current sessions which often last from 1pm until 2am –  13 hours.

8.13 Recommendation to restrict construction of homes with extended garages:  I voted NO on the administration recommendation to implement restrictions on houses with extended garages in new subdivisions.  In short, I do not believe that the City should be restricting the choice for home owners.  If folks want to have a house with an extended garage that will allow them to maximize living space, have room for their cars and allow them to have a backyard all at an affordable price – who are we to get in their way?  Home owners should have choice.

Petition

I submitted a petition from the residents of Vanderbilt and Sandpoint streets who remain concerned about basement flooding.

Council Questions

(1)    Residents of Sandpoint and Vanderbilt are concerned about the layers of dust coming from the commercial gravel piles on Riverside Drive.  I direct Administration to come back with a report on options to address this matter.

(2)    Residents on the north side of Riverside Drive are concerned about the state of the breakwall.  The ownership of the breakwall has not been determined, and this stands in the way of progressing with maintenance.  I ask administration to determine ownership and report back.

(3)    A resident recently contacted me because she was injured in one of our large parks and had difficulty directing First Responders to her location.  I ask administration to report back on signage & location options for first responders to help them identify location of residents who require their help during emergencies.

Today I biked both Forest Glade and East Riverside on my Ward 7 Walk & Ride.

I checked out the road work – milling & paving – that is taking place on Wildwood and Esplanade – and I made a note of the fact that Kerby & Chestnut can use a road refresh.

The Lakeshore Woods (newly renamed Banwell Park) playground was absolutely packed with families today – as it is every day!

Love the terrific off-road bike trails that Parks has freshly mowed along John’s Pond.

Here is my route today.

And – as always – don’t hesitate to wave me down for a chat if you see me barreling down your street!

 

Ward_7_Cycle_-_August_7_2017_a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND….

Ward_7_Cycle_-_August_7_2017_b

 

In the summer – I like to get out on my bike and tour Ward 7.

I like to check in on road work and other capital projects that are in the process of being completed such as the walking trails at Forest Glade Optimist Park.

I also like to talk to neighbours on their porch or in the parks – ask them how things are in their neighbourhood, what recent investments they approve and where they would like to see improvements and investments.

Here is a map of today’s ride in Forest Glade.  Don’t hesitate to wave me down for a chat if you see me zipping along your street.

Ward_7_Cycle_-_August_2,_2017

Today I met with the Mayor in his office to discuss the following:

(1)   Banwell EA – Tecumseh Road to EC Row expansion

  1. $6.5 M project – or two phases: $3.25M
  2. Expansion from 2 to 4 lanes
  3. Sidewalks & Multi Use Trail
  4. Streetlights

(2)   Sandpoint Beach

  1. $5M project that was contemplated in previous Capital Budgets

(3)   Vanderbilt/Sandpoint Petition

Residents have experienced severe flooding on two occassions in 2010 and 2016 – while some neighbours flooded additional times.

Of interest to the residents are the three current studies being undertaken to get at the root of the problem:

East Marsh Pumping Station Study (2018)

Pontiac Pumping Station Study (2018)

Storm and Sewer Master Plan (2019)

Key questions for residents include: (1) Elevation (2) Storm/Sewer Design

I raised the issue of potentially doing a micro study of this particular neighbourhood.

A neighbourhood meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 5th to discuss the challenges in more detail with our City Engineer.

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
10.1 & 10.2 Community Energy Plan Yes 9-0 Delegation
8.22 Parking Clearance – Note & File Yes 5-4 Delegation
8.7 Atkinson Skateboard Park Yes 9-0 Consent
8.32 Seniors Advisory Committee Final Report Yes 9-0 Presentation
8.33 Seniors Advisory Committee Summit Yes 9-0 Presentation
8.9 Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Yes 5-4 Delegation
8.20 Community Improvement Plan – Walker Road Yes 9-0 Consent
8.21 Community Improvement Plan – Walker Yes 9-0 Consent
19.1 Clean Waster Water Project Adjust Yes 9-0 Consent
8.16 3169 Dougall Avenue zoning Yes 9-0 Deferral
       
       

 

Item 8.9 – Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling (OMCC) Grant:  The Province of Ontario invited cities to submit lists of commuter cycling projects that could be funded up to 80 per cent of eligible costs from a $40.5 million fund.

The Administration put forward a list of eleven projects.

I put forward a motion to include on that list two additional projects:

  • Outfitting existing EC Row underpass at Derwent Park to permit cycling from Forest Glade to Twin Oaks Business Park
  • Rhodes Avenue as recommend by Council Payne

The key word for this grant is commuter  - which refers to those routes used daily by cyclists to get to work or school.

Twin Oaks Business Park employs around 2,000 residents across about two dozen companies such as

  • Greenshield Canada
  • Magna
  • Jamieson
  • AlphaKOR
  • Diefenbacher
  • Riverview Steel
  • CS Wind

Currently – Twin Oaks Business Park is totally isolated, as EC Row acts as an impenetrable barrier for cyclists and pedestrians.  Breaking that barrier would permit residents, for example, who reside in Forest Glade to be able to bike to work.  For single car families – this is a huge plus.

Furthermore – this important north-south connection was already included in the Bicycle Use Master Plan (BUMP) and also the Windsor Area Long Range Transportation Study (WALTS).  Hence – administration has identified this route as a key priority.

At the end of the day – the Province of Ontario will decide whether to fund 80 per cent of this project.

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
11.4 – Windsor Essex 10 Year Housing & Homeless Plan Yes 10-0 Delegation
11.3 – Draft Subdivision Plan Maguire Street Yes 10-0 Delegation
8.8 – Town of LaSalle Transit Service Yes 10-0 Consent
8.6 Report 67 WBC gap between St. Rose & George Yes 8-2 Referral
8.7 Wyandotte Street Windsor Loop Connection Yes 8-2 Referral
11.1 & 11.2 Proposed Riverside Baseball Park Yes 9-1 Delegation 

 

Item 11.1 & 11.2 Riverside Miracle Field Baseball Park: I enthusiastically voted YES in favour of the redevelopment of the old Riverside Arena grounds into a Miracle Field Baseball & Recreational Park.

This is a wonderful example of the best kind of leadership – grassroots leadership from a remarkable community organization – Riverside Minor Baseball – and the surrounding community of Old Riverside.

Sincerest kudos to the Farrow Family who stepped up and demonstrated the positive power of business leadership in our community.

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
10.2 South Cameron on Street Yes 10-0 Deferral
10.1 Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island Review Yes 10-0 Presentation
8.3 BIA Cross border marketing initiative Yes 10-0 Consent
11.2 Lonsdale Proposed Parking – Compromise Solution favoured by residents Yes 7-3 Delegation
11.1 Open Streets Windsor report Yes 10-0 Regular
11.3 Parking Clearances at Recreational Trail Crossings Yes 10-0 Deferral
11.4 Agreements Broadway @ ETR crossing Yes 10-0 Consent

 

 

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.10 – Kinsmen Park community garden Yes 10-0 Consent
11.1 – BIA budget approval Yes 10-0 Consent
8.13 – 1207 Drouillard Road rezoning Yes 10-0 Consent
10.1 – Sandison rezoning Yes 10-0 Delegation
10.2 – Sandwich Gateway Roundabout  – Heritage Features Yes 10-0 Delegation
10.2 – Sandwich Gateway Roundabout – Statue Location No 6-4 Delegation
       
Motion: Matchette Road Closure EA Yes Not Supported Not Supported
10.3 – Report No. 95 re: Matchette Road closure – Eco Passages Yes 10-0 Delegation
10.4 – Inquiry regarding process for Matchette Road closure – Eco Passages Yes 10-0 Delegation
10.5 – Inquiry regarding process for Matchette Road closure – Eco Passages Yes 10-0 Delegation
       
11.2 – 673 Caron Avenue demolition deferral Yes 10-0 Consent
       

 

Item No. 10.2 – Sandwich Gateway Roundabout Location:

I voted in favour of the heritage features of the Sandwich Roundabout, however I voted NO on the location.

To be clear – I actually like the vision put forward by the proponents of the roundabout location for the statute, but I also understand that the Sandwich community has an important say in the matter.

The reason I voted NO is because I felt the City could have taken a pause to consult with the residents of Old Sandwich Town.  This is particularly true when one considers that the original location – Patterson Park – was approved unanimously by the previous City Council and it is the location, which organizations such as the Sandwich Town Business Improvement Association (BIA) support.

At the very least – the community should have been consulted on the change in plans that until now had been broadly supported by residents and City Council.

Item No.  10.3 & 10.4 & 10.5 – Inquiry Regarding Process for Matchette Road Closure:

On Monday night, I put forward the following motion:

That Council directs administration to pursue an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the closure of Matchette Road from Titcomble to the northerly edge of the developer’s property – and that the matter be referred to the 2018 budget deliberation.

The motion was not supported by my Council colleagues, which means the motion was defeated without discussion or debate.

I want to emphasize that we were not deciding to close Matchette Road that night.

The motion sought to gather more information – and more facts – through an Environmental Assessment (EA) to see whether the closing of Matchette Road was feasible.

It may be that the report would conclude that the disruption to the transportation network and to neighbouring communities would be severe.

Or the report may have discovered that the traffic could be diverted seasonally or permanently with manageable impact.

The fact is – we don’t really know.

What we do know is that Ojibway sets our city apart.  What we have in the Ojibway Prairie Complex is a natural urban park that exceeds New York’s Central Park in scale and most nature preserves in North America in ecological diversity.

And that in itself, many would argue, is enough to warrant looking into ways of expanding the protections afforded this unique park while elevating its position – perhaps as a national urban park or with a UNESCO Heritage designation as recommended in the Parks Master Plan unanimously approved by City Council in 2016.

Before the Rouge National Urban Park was established in Toronto – a 79.1 sq. km park that is the first national urban park in Canada- Parks Canada consulted with 20,000 Canadians and 200 organizations including all levels of government.

Public consultation is also at the heart of the EA process and it gives the breadth of our community a voice in what could be a transformative decision for our City.

In an EA process, City Council has a voice.

Community organizations have a voice.

The Aboriginal community has a voice.

And last, but certainly not least, business has a voice.

The legal concerns brought forward Monday night are valid. The concerns brought forward by the developer are definitely valid.  The voice of the community is, of course, always valid.

As a result, I think that an EA would be the perfect vehicle to bring all of those concerns into a broader analysis and consultation process.

That is why I moved for an EA – because it provides a platform for gathering technical information and for measuring the pulse of the community on this issue.

It is easy to give into fear of the legal risks, engineering challenges and political uncertainties.

With vision, I believe it is possible to rally a community – and work together to overcome all three.

I believe that a pragmatic, measured and informed approach is the way forward when it comes to balancing economic and environmental concerns – and an Environmental Assessment (EA) would have provided an important piece of the puzzle.

Although my EA motion was not supported – Council did eventually unanimously agree to explore the possibility of incorporating eco-passages along Matchette Road as a mitigation effort to reduce mortality of species at risk crossing the road.

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
7.3 – TD Friends of the Environment Yes 10-0 Deferral
11.4 – GECDSB Bus Bay and encroachments Yes 10-0 Deferral
8.8 – Upper Little River management plan Yes 6-4 Delegation
10.3 – Pilot project for EPIPens @  Forest Glade Arena Yes 3-8 Delegation
8.11 – Downtown Collaborative garden Yes 10-0 Delegation
11.1 – 2017 Tax Policy – Ratios No 8-3 Delegation
11.3 – Riverside Baseball Park Yes 10-0 Deferral
11.2 – BIA Assistance Fund – Memorial Cup Yes 10-0 Consent
 Item 7.2 – Waterront property Acquisition – ex Abars  Yes  10-0  Referral

 

Item 11.1 – 2017 Tax Policy Ratios: Council already set the tax levy January – tonight City Council was deliberating on how that tax levy cost will be divided among the different tax classes, for example:

  • Residential
  • Farm
  • Commercial
  • Vacant land/parking
  • Industrial

Although I acknowledge the very good work by Administration in putting this complicated puzzle together, ultimately I could not support the way the tax burden was divided among tax classes because it raised the tax ratio among job creators such as commercial property owners while at the same time reducing the tax burden on vacant property owners.  Furthermore, even after assessment is taken into consideration, another job creator class – shopping centre owners – ended up paying more than the previous year.

In principle – I cannot support a distribution of the tax levy which raises tax ratios or tax impact on job creator classes such as commercial and shopping centres – while at the same time reducing the tax burden on vacant property owners – a tax class which creates zero jobs.