ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
7.5 – Sewer Master Plan Project Yes 9-0 Correspondence
8.1 – Election Sign Question Yes 2-8 Referral
8.15 – Front Yard Parking at 1850 Gladstone Yes 9-0 Regular
10.2 City of Windsor Poet Laureate Yes 9-0 Presentation
10.1 Windsor Port Authority – Cruising Great Lakes Yes 9-0 Presentation
11.1 2018 Strategic Tax Policy Discussion Yes 9-0 Presentation
8.9 Windsor Essex County Health Unit overview Yes 9-0 Presentation
8.20 Sandison Street encroachment Yes 9-0 Presentation
11.7 Alley Closure at Vera and Karl Place Yes 9-0 Deferral
11.3 2017-18 Solid Waste Authority Operating budget Yes 9-0 Consent
11.3 Advance approval of capital for Roseland Golf Course and Little River Golf Course Yes 9-0 Consent
11.5 GECDSB Bus Bay & Parking Yes 9-0 Consent
11.6 AMO Request for proposals to host Yes 9-0 Consent

 

Item 7.5 – Sewer Master Plan Project: The City officially kicked-off the two year Storm and Sanitary Sewer Master Plan study which will culminate in 2019 with a blue print that will guide our work towards making our neighbourhoods more resilient in the face of climate change and flooding.

This is one of the most important – if not the most important – undertaking for our City and our Community.

An integral component of this initiative is public engagement and input. It is vital that we hear from residents themselves. The Master Plan includes the striking of a Public Stakeholder Advisory Committee that will be comprised of 12 to 20 members representing residents and other stakeholder organizations.

More information on the Master Plan can be found on the following website: www.weatheringthestorm.ca

In addition – the website contains links and email addresses where residents can submit their application to join the Public Stakeholder Advisory Committee.

Item 8.1 – Election Sign Question: A number of residents have approached me wondering whether there is a way to curtail the amount of time that election signs are allowed to be up across the City.

Currently, the City allows election signs to be up for six (6) months – from May 1st to Election Day on October 22nd.

Some cities – like Toronto – limit the time to twenty-five (25) days. Other cities limit to 60 and 90 days.

I referred the report back to Administration and asked for information on how other cities regulate their election signs – hoping that this would also spark a conversation with residents about what they prefer.

Unfortunately, that motion was defeated.

Item 8.15: Front Yard Parking at 1850 Gladstone Avenue: This was not an easy decision. A gentleman approached the City asking for permission to convert a portion of his front yard into a paved parking space. The gentleman has a valid disability permit from the City of Windsor and has stated that a doctor’s note supports his request – though that doctor’s note was not provided in the documentation to Council. The gentleman acknowledges that a paved alley exists in the rear of the property with access to a two-car garage.

Bylaws prohibiting the conversion of front yards to parking are standard practise across the Province of Ontario – and also across North America. There are very valid reasons for prohibiting front yard parking including:

  • It diminishes the appeal of the neighbourhood
  • It permanently eliminates one public on-street parking space
  • It adds runoff to the storm and sanitary sewers that already struggle to handle heavy rainfall events
  • Paving over green lawns with hard surfaces increases the heat island effect
  • There are also public safety concerns with sightlines

There are instances where City Councils grant an exception to the front yard parking prohibition – for example in situations where mobility challenges – and the severity of the disability – are evident and support a request for accommodation that includes the installation of a front yard parking pad.

Here is an example from the City of Toronto: https://www.toronto.com/news-story/7071573-north-york-couple-granted-lawn-parking-spot-as-a-matter-of-human-rights-/

In the case that came before Windsor City Council – taking into consideration all of the information that was presented by the resident to Council – the decision was made that in this particular case an appropriate accommodation could be met by establishing a dedicated Accessible Parking spot with signage in front of the resident’s home.

In this case, an exemption was made to the existing bylaw – which states that the resident does not meet the standard for a dedicated accessible parking sport because of the presence of paved alley access to a rear-yard garage – in order to allow for a dedicated Accessible Parking spot.

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.10: Downtown Windsor Enhancement Strategy Yes 7-0 Consent
11.1: Fire protection and prevention act regulations proposed Yes 7-0 Regular
11.2: Wyandotte Town Centre World Marketplace – to move forward Yes 4-7 Regular
11.2: Wyandotte Town Centre World Marketplace – to refer back to administration Yes 7-0 Regular
11.3: Enhanced Capital Budget approval with addition of alley lighting language Yes 5-4 Regular
12.2: Special Meeting of ETPS Standing Committee Yes 7-0 Deferral

 

 

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.12 – Sandpoint Beach Chainlink Fence Yes 8-0 Regular
8:20 – Lublin/Icewater storm oversizing Yes 8-0 Regular
8.36 – Tecumseh Road & Forest Glade Drive Intersection Yes 6-2 Regular
11.2 – Banwell Road Development rezoning Yes 7-1 Delegation
8.18 – Hiram Walker sign amendment Yes 8-0 Delegation
8.6 – Seniors Advisory Committee Yes 8-0 Delegation
8.15 – Franklin OPA Amendment Yes 7-1 Delegation
8-13 – 1052 Drouillard zoning amendment No 3-5 Delegation
8.4 – WECHC Smoke Free Policy Yes 8-0 Delegation
11.1 – Cabana Road expropriation Yes 8-0 Regular
15.1 Chilver Crosswalk – Referral No 5-4 Notice of Motion
15.2 – Exemption from parking meter fees for 188 Ferry Street Yes 8-0 Notice of Motion
       

 

Item 8.2 – Sandpoint Beach Chainlink Fence: The City erected a large industrial chain-link fence in the water at Sandpoint Beach in response to an audit conducted by the Life Saving Society which recommended restricting access to the western portion of the beach and water due to the steep drop-off and dangerous currents.

The Capital Budget does have a project on the books to making improvements at Sandpoint Beach – including a possible “eastern shift” of the beach in order to permanently address the danger on the western portion. To date – no funding has been set aside for this project.

It has been 37 years since the last major investment in Sandpoint Beach.

Hence, I put forward a motion which was passed unanimously directing administration to bring a report back to the 2019 budget deliberations outlining opportunities for a phased approach for a long term solution at Sandponit Beach – one that would eliminate the need for a chain-link fence – including the estimated cost for any preliminary studies that would be required.

 

Item 8.20 – Lublin/Icewater Storm Sewer Oversizing: The City is partnering with the developers of the new streets between Little River Boulevard and Wyandotte Street in order to install over-sized storm sewer overflows in order to improve flood resiliency for the surrounding neighbourhood. This is in part a response to the flooding event of 2016 – making sure new development in East Riverside has the infrastructure necessary to protect homes in new and existing neighbourhoods.

 

Item 8.36 – Intersection Tecumseh Road East at Forest Glade Drive: I heard from residents that there appeared to be an increase in collisions at this intersection. Hence, I asked administration to prepare a report.

That report found that the collision rate is significantly higher than the City average – 68 collisions at the intersection and 43 total collisions at the mid-block approach – for a total of 111 collisions over a five year period. That collision rate is double the city average.

The report also states that the number of collisions have doubled at the intersection since 2014

In short – it appears that the current road infrastructure has not kept pace with new development that has taken place in the vicinity of that intersection from 2015 onwards.

There is a solution on the books in the form of the Environmental Assessment (EA) for Tecumseh Road East, which was completed in 1996 – 22 years ago. The EA provides a blue print for the infrastructure investments that are planned for this stretch of road.

I put forward the following MOTION which passed: That the completion of the Tecumseh Road East approved design in the vicinity of Forest Glade be referred to the 2019 capital budget process, with the aim of accelerating this work as a Council Priority Project.

 

Item 11.2 – Banwell Road Development: This is the largest development in Windsor – in terms of the scale of mixed residential and commercial development. It is transformative for East Riverside.

It brings tremendous potential in terms of improving the quality of life of existing neighbourhoods and in terms of investments for the City. Residents want to be able to take a walk around Blue Heron Lake and then take a walk to a coffee shop or a bistro or a boutique. They want a neighbourhood doctor’s office or chiropractor.

However, there are significant concerns – namely centering around flooding & traffic.

The City Engineer and the Planning Department have reassured us that construction permits will not be provided until they are satisfied that this development will not negatively impact existing neighbourhoods. At the next stage of this process – the developers will have to provide independent third-party engineering studies that speak to storm & sanitary capacity as well as a traffic impact.

At the same time, our City Engineer has stated that Administration will be pursuing a redesign and reconstruction of the Banwell and McNorton intersection – which has been a source of concern for residents for years. These improvements are welcome.

The developers themselves have demonstrated a genuine desire to work with administration and – most importantly – to listen to existing residents.

When residents stated – loud and clear – that they did not want a car was and gas bar on that corner, the developers removed those two items from their plans immediately.

The developers also organized an Open House – even though it was not a requirement of this process – because they wanted to share their vision and also to listen to resident concerns.

When administration put forward its recommendations – the developers made the necessary changes.

The one issue that eluded consensus – was the question of a mid-block access. When speaking to residents, the two key major issues raised were flooding and traffic – specifically traffic on McNorton and Leathorne, as well as traffic at the intersection of Banwell Road and McNorton.

The mid-block access on Banwell is seen as a pressure valve that would relieve some of the traffic on those two residential streets and on the intersection.

For that reason – I support the recommendations in the report which include, among them:

  • A denial of rezoning for a car wash and gas bar
  • Permission for rezoning to permit commercial and residential as per the report
  • Permission for an Official Plan Amendment that would permit a mid-block access on Banwell Road

Move the administration recommendation with one alteration that is to proceed with an OPA that would allow a right-in & right-out midblock access on Banwell Road, requiring a traffic study and options for enhanced pedestrian safeguards to be submitted by the developer at site plan control.

As well, that administration refer the intersection improvements at Banwell Road and McNorton noted by the City Engineer in the report to the 2019 budget deliberations.

 

City Council passed a pragmatic Capital Budget in 2018 that totals $644 million over six years.

Two-thirds of that – or $420.5M -  is dedicated to roads, transportation infrastructure and sewers.

I say pragmatic, because the Capital Budget made significant investments in priority areas like roads, sewers and transportation – while also creating new investments in other areas, for example, among the highlights:

  • $12M allocated to the Social Housing Reserve Fund – which is used among other things for capital repairs to some of the 7,900 housing units across Windsor-Essex.
  • $250,000 for the Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF)
  • Support for Downtown Farmers Market with $75,000 for an electrical box installation
  • $6.02 M for the Riverside Drive Vista Improvements Project
  • $1.1 million for alley improvements

An additional $22.8 M was allocated for the Enhanced Capital Budget for priority projects identified by the Mayor and individual City Councillors.

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS FOR WARD 7 RESIDENTS – ENHANCED CAPITAL BUDGET IN ITALICS

   ROADS & TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE -

  1. We got the ball rolling on improvements to the intersection of Banwell Road and EC Row with a $3 million investment   – mostly design and land acquisition.  This is a good step forward on what is a massive capital works project that will require us to piece the funding together over time.
  1. Banwell Road – from Tecumseh Road to Mulberry – will finally receive street lights.  At a cost of $70,000 – this project demonstrates that oftentimes projects with the lowest costs can make the biggest impact.  Once lit up, this major arterial will be that much safer for the 19,900 cars and their passengers that traverse this road each and every day.
  1. The following ten (10) roads in Forest Glade will see rehabilitation in 2018:
  • Halpin
  • Lonsdale
  • Halstead
  • Palms
  • Dolphin
  • Alten
  • Ashland
  • Beachdale
  • Regis
  • Ryerson

These ten (10) road rehab projects are in addition to the seven (7) streets in Forest Glade that were repaired in 2017.

  1. We added one more street for rehabilitation in Forest Glade – Briarbank – which is a long street at a cost of $340,000, as it was already in the now deficient category.
  1. The intersection at Forest Glade Drive and Tecumseh Road East has $1 million earmarked for re-design and engineering.  A report is forthcoming that will highlight the increase in traffic accidents at his intersection – and the need for improvements.
  1. The following streets will see sidewalk rehabilitation in 2018:
  • Deerbrook
  • Forest Glade Drive
  • Rosebriar
  1. The intersection at Lauzon Road and McHugh will see improvements at a cost of $370,000 – an important intersection just outside the ward boundaries that are used extensively by Ward 7 residents

8. A total of $2.65M is set aside for the extension of Wyandotte Street to Jarvis

9. Lauzon Parkway is a busy regional arterial that will receive median improvements at a cost of $500,000 and also concrete panel repairs in 2018

10. The roundabout at Banwell and Mulberry received $200,000 for the design and engineering work

11. The Little River Bridge on Riverside Drive will share $2.5 M for rehabilitation with several other bridges across the City

 SEWERS & FLOOD RELATED

       12. The Storm and Sanitary Master Plan will be accelerated and should be brought before City Council in the first half of 2018 – this will be the blue print for additional investments in the City’s storm and sanitary network as we move to build resiliency in the face of larger and more frequent and unpredictable storms

13. Three studies are funded to analyze pumping station capacity at Pontiac Pumping Station, East Marsh Pumping Station and St. Paul Pumping Station – all with impacts on Ward 7

14. Pontiac Pumping Station – at Little River Pollution Control Plant – will see a $2M upgrade

15. Little River Pollution Control Plant will see $10.39 M in upgrades over the next six years – a significant investment

16. $2.5M is dedicated to critical improvements to the Little River steel retaining walls

17. Blue Heron Lake will see dredging at a cost of $400,000

18. $500,000 for shared Reserve for Basement Flood Mitigation – these are for improvements that will be identified in the upcoming Storm Sewer Master Plan

PARKS & RECREATION

        19. Elizabeth Kishkon Park – corner of Banwell & Little River Road – will see the installation of a new washroom near the popular new playground that was installed in 2016, and will also serve residents using nearby Little River Corridor Park and the trails around Blue Heron Lake, as well as Morningstar Park, Cora Greenwood Park and Little River Boulevard Park

20. Forest Glade Optimist Park will receive a splash pad with $500,000 investment in 2020 & 2021

21. Lakeview Park Marina will see $305,000 in improvements

22. The basketball courts at Forest Glade Optimist Park will see $200,000 in improvements

23. IMPORTANT:  City Council unanimously supported my motion to include the addition of trail lighting at Little River Corridor Park and the Ganatchio Trail in the Capital Budget.  Although funding still has to be identified – getting trail lighting in the budget means this is now a City Council priority.  A $500,000 placeholder was established.

24. Forest Glade Community Centre and Forest Glade Library will receive a new roof with investments totalling $228,700.

25. Forest Glade Arena will receive an upgrade to its dehumidification system

26. Bridges at Little River Corridor and Peche Island will be improved with an investment of $300,000

27. Ganatchio Trail will be among several trail systems sharing $600,000 in improvements

28. Sandpoint Beach will see some $120,000 in improvements that include, for example, the addition of paddle boats and improvement to lifeguard stations

FOREST GLADE LIBRARY

29. Forest Glade Library will share in a $650,000 investment with several other branches for the purchase of books and e-resources

MAYOR’S ENHANCED CAPITAL BUDGET IMPROVEMENTS IN WARD 7

30. Mayor Dilkens brought forward an innovative initiative that will see the City invest in improvements to Peche Island including the establishment of a boat shuttle.  Peche Island is out-of-reach for many residents, and this initiative aims to connect residents to the City’s only island park.  Last summer, when partner organizations teamed up with the City to provide ferry service to the island – close to 700 people took advantage, demonstrating a significant demand on the part of residents to connect with this natural jewel in the middle of one of the busiest shipping channel in North America.  This represents an investment of $1 million.

31. Wayfinding signage and markers will be installed at Ganatchio Trail and Little River Corridor Park.  I had asked a Council Question directing administration to look into this very worthwhile initiative which will help residents and First Responders navigate this large and winding park.  This investment is $100,000.

          32. Mayor Dilkens brought forward $500,000 to fund the establishment of a new off road bike park – after the bike park at Little River Corridor Park was dismantled last year.  The location is yet to be determined – but the cycling community will receive a welcome addition shortly.  Note – the City is hosting two Open Houses on the bike park in January 25th and February 8th: https://www.citywindsor.ca/Newsroom/Pages/Off-Road-Biking-in-City-Parks-Open-House.aspx

 VERDICT: A pragmatic Capital Budget that provided significant and balanced investments across the City and significant improvements for Ward 7 residents.

AREAS OF IMPROVEMENTS:

During the deliberations – I raised several areas within the Capital Budget that could use improvement, including:

  • Increasing the budget for the Minor Road Deficiency Rehab program, which dropped to $140,000 in 2018, which is below historic levels of $250,000 and $500,000 per year
  • Increasing funding for the Sidewalk Rehab Program and making it more consistent over time.  This budget fluctuates from a high of $2M to a low of $317,000.  A more consistent, steady budget will improve this important service
  • The Concrete Road Panel Repair program – think Lauzon Parkway – has $0 committed over the next four years.  This is a new program and I would like to see it funded earlier so as to start to tackle the 215 km of concrete arterials and collectors like Lauzon Parkway that require work
  • The average lifespan of a traffic light is 20 years.  The City has 108 signals that are 20+ years old and 56 that are 30+.  At the current funding rate of $300,000, the City is able to replace two (2) traffic lights per year.  I would like to see that program accelerated.
ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.4 – Iona College – Request for Deferral Yes 10-0 Deferral
8.3 – Approval of Plan of Subdivision – Concession North of Talbot Road Yes 10-0 Consent
8.8 – Riverside Brewery Co. Demolition Yes 10-0 Consent
8.11 – CIP Plan for Windsor Freezer Services Yes 10-0 Delegation
       

 

Item 8.8 – Riverside Brewery Co. Demolition Request:  I voted YES on this item.  An independent third-party engineering report stated unequivocally that the 90+ year old building had serious structural deficiencies and failings that threatened public safety if it was allowed to remain standing.

After consultations with nearby residents, and after on-site discussions with the proponents, it was determined that the best course of action would be to demolish the building only after the proponents provided plans satisfactory to the City Planner which provides buffering from the road and landscaping elements that improve the aesthetics of the industrial site while also  addressing the resident’s concern about dust emanating from the gravel piles.

WARD 7 – ENHANCED CAPITAL BUDGET SUBMISSION

In recent Capital Budgets – there is $10 Million that has not been allocated by Administration.  In other words – that funding is available.

Every year the Mayor invites Councillors to submit a list of capital projects for their Wards for the Mayor’s consideration – above-and-beyond those recommended by Administration in the Capital Budget.

The following is a list of the projects I submitted to the Mayor – which is broken down into levels of priority: Highest, High & Medium Priority.

As you may notice – the majority are related to key infrastructure improvements (roads) in addition to safety (lighting), quality of life (parks, tennis courts) and neighbourhood beautification (gateway median enhancement).

Please keep in mind – this is not an exhaustive list of priority projects in Ward 7.  They were submitted knowing that the available funding is limited since the $10 million will be divided between the ten (10) City Wards.   Hence this list provides the Mayor with flexibility to determine what projects make the Mayor’s List submitted to City Council for consideration during budget deliberations on January 15 & 16.

I invite you to share your feedback: irek@citywindsor.ca

PROJECT PRIORITY COST
Banwell Road Improvements – Tecumseh Road E. to Mulberry: Design Engineering Highest $900,000
Banwell Road Lighting – Tecumseh Road to Mulberry Highest $70,000
Washroom at Elizabeth Kishkon Park High $400,000
Greenpark Avenue – Median Improvement High $20,000
Mill & Pave  – Briarbank Drive High $340,000
Mill & Pave – Mulberry Court High $135,000
Forest Glade Tennis Courts – Repair of six (6) courts High $600,000
Sandpoint Beach – Shoreline Repair EA Medium $150,000
TOTAL $2,615,000

 

HIGHEST LEVEL PRIORITY

Banwell Road Improvements from Tecumseh Road E. to Mulberry AND Banwell Road Lighting:

Project: Design Engineering                                      Project: Banwell Road Lighting Installation
Cost: $900,000                                                            Cost: $70,000

Banwell Road is a critical arterial for one of the fastest growing residential areas of the City – Ward 7 – with approximately 19,900 cars traveling this road every day.

Residents have expressed serious Safety and Quality of Life concerns related to the lack of some basic but important infrastructure on this critical arterial which includes:

  • Lack of street lighting – this safety concern is pronounced during dark winter months and during rain or snow when it is difficult to see the road
  • Lack of sidewalks and multi-use trails for pedestrians/cyclists – parents with young schoolchildren walk the gravel shoulders to get to the bus stop on the gravel shoulder
  • The need to expand Banwell Road from two (2) lanes to four (4) lanes to handle the increasing traffic flow

This dark corridor is also home to a Nursing Home, a Children’s Day Care, numerous businesses and of course a bus stop – which accentuate the safety and accessibility concern.

Safety is one concern – but the lack of pedestrian/cycling infrastructure also prevents the use of active transportation on this key North-South corridor that could connect residents to nearby parks & recreation (e.g. Elizabeth Kishkon Park; Wildwood Park; Blue Heron Lake; Ganatchio Trail; McHugh Park; WFCU), retail (e.g. Metro grocery; Shoppers Drug Mart plaza etc.); places of worship (Banwell Community Church); schools (St. Joseph’s High School; LA Desmarais and Parkview Elementary) and health care providers (Heron Terrace; Banwell Gardens; Village of Aspen Lake).

With regards to public transit – the Banwell Road Environmental Study Report (2014) states:

“Appropriate pedestrian amenities are required on the east side of Banwell Road between Wildwood and Tecumseh Road to access the service, and on the west side owing to the amount of employment generated in this area”
It makes sense to combine the engineering design scheduled for RFP for the Banwell/Mulberry roundabout and plan the two critical projects together on this corridor.

As well – the $70,000 for the installation of street lighting would immediately address one of the major present safety concerns – the total lack of street lighting – while the design engineering moves forward.

HIGH LEVEL PRIORITY

Washroom at Elizabeth Kishkon Park:

Elizabeth Kishkon Park is a high traffic park with families and residents utilizing the newly constructed playground, the basketball courts, trails and open sports fields.  A washroom will service immediate users of Elizabeth Kishkon Park and also nearby users of the trails around Blue Heron Lake as well as Ganatchio Trail.  In short, this washroom is strategically located.

Forest Glade Tennis Courts Refurbishment:

Tennis Court

The Lou Veres Tennis Courts in Forest Glade are seriously deficient.  Tall grass grows out of long cracks throughout the courts representing a significant safety risk and reducing the quality of life that healthy courts could provide residents.  Furthermore – the entrances to the courts are too narrow to allow access for residents with disabilities.

The aim of this project is to resurface and refurbish six (6) of the nine (9) tennis courts, to restore recreational amenities, improve quality of life and to make the courts more accessible.

 

 

 

Median Improvement – Greenpark Boulevard

Greenpark

Our aim is to replicate the successful rehabilitation of the Banwell Road median for Greenpark Boulevard, which is a major gateway into the East Riverside community.

The condition of the median is poor, with about half the wells empty or containing dead trees, severe cracking of the pavement and excessive weed infiltration.  Simply – the median falls far short of City standards, does not reflect the pride-of-place of the residents of this neighbourhood, and erodes the reputation of the City.

The goal of the project is to bring this gateway median back to an acceptable standard.

 

 

 

Mill and Pave – Briarbank Drive & Mulberry Court:

Both streets are now deficient and a timely Mill & Pave will prolong their life cycle.

 

MEDIUM LEVEL PRIORITY

Sandpoint Beach – Shoreline Repair Environmental Assessment (EA)

 Sandpoint

The Environmental Assessment (EA) will provide a blueprint for shoreline improvements necessary to address safety & aesthetic concerns on the western side of Sandpoint Beach.

The EA is just one piece of the puzzle – but an important piece – for the eventual rehabilitation of Sandpoint Beach e.g. eastward shift and redesign of the park.

This project moves the ball forward in terms of risk mitigation, safety and the improvement of a high profile recreational amenity in the City that has a big impact on the Windsor brand.

It is a step in the right direction.

 

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.