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 -
- 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.
- 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.
- The following ten (10) roads in Forest Glade will see rehabilitation in 2018:
These ten (10) road rehab projects are in addition to the seven (7) streets in Forest Glade that were repaired in 2017.
- 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.
- 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.
- The following streets will see sidewalk rehabilitation in 2018:
- Forest Glade Drive
- 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.