I support the right kind of Sports Tourism – which is the reason I voted to support the OFSAA Track and Field Championship that will be hosted in Windsor this summer.

The City was asked to provide about $10,000 in support – about half in-cash and half in-kind – by the local organizers.

In exchange – the tournament will draw about 5,000 people to the City of Windsor.

Two things make OFSAA an appealing sports tourism draw the City should support:

(a) The organizers take on 100 per cent of the risk of organizing the event – which means no City staff are required to operate the event.

(b) The organizers are on the hook for the financial cost of the event – with City providing a small amount of support or leverage

(c) These Ontario championships will draw people from Ontario and hence potential repeat visitors –  since travel is shorter, easier and less expensive

(d) The return-on-investment (ROI) can be measured and documented – providing taxpayers with a high level of accountability and transparency

(e) The return-on-investment (ROI) is significant – both in terms of tourism, economic development and branding

Taken together – the City is getting one heckuva good return on it’s $10,000 investment.  See you at the starting blocks!

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I attended a meeting of the Public School Board – along with my Council Colleagues Rino Bortolin and Chris Holt – to get a better understanding of the Board’s thinking surrounding the latest recommended Program and Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) process which – once commenced – would review the viability of seven schools in the City’s core.

I firmly believe that the City and School Boards should work together to cultivate closer collaboration and coordination – and that collaborative approach is perhaps most sorely needed when the issue of school closures arises because the impact of school closures resonate far beyond school walls and beyond school board chambers.

Anne Jarvis of the Windsor Star put it best in her article titled “The Cost of Closing Core Schools” when she writes:

But an elementary school is the heart of a neighbourhood. If it closes, it leaves a chasm. The board and the city are partners, trustees are realizing. A vibrant neighbourhood and a successful school depend on each other.

The Board and the City ARE partners.  With a greater awareness of this fact and sustained leadership from both sides, the lines of communication can be opened up – and not only could alternatives to school closures be potentially found, but other opportunities for synergy could be identified- most notably through the concept of Community Hubs promoted heavily by the Province of Ontario.

For the entire Jarvis article – CLICK HERE

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Many residents walking along the Multi-Use Trail (MUT) at the foot of Banwell Hill along Radcliff Road will likely notice that after a rainfall the run-off from the hill brings mud onto the multi-use trail rendering it very slippery.

I have made our Parks Department aware of this problem and the City will be implementing a fix that will keep the mud from the trail.  In the meantime – please be cautious when the MUT is wet.

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“If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.”

 - Rainer Maria Rilke

Residents of East Riverside and Forest Glade appreciate the diversity and beauty of our many parks – where one can expand the lungs and rest the eyes.  Here are a few scenes from a recent walk.

A Windsor resident recently posed a question on social media asking about the compensation that City Councillors receive in the City of Windsor.  The question was asked in the context of some of the perks that City of Toronto councilors receive.  It’s a fair question and definitely that information should be easily accessible at taxpayer fingertips!  For that reason, I am posting my response below which hopefully sheds some light.

Hi Denise! Happy to provide some answers regarding City Council compensation in the City of Windsor and some of the benefits – and I can follow up on any additional questions you may have. I will start with the Toronto context that is referenced in the video you mention. City of Toronto Councillors receive an annual salary of about $110,000 + an annual staff budget of $230,000. That salary is pegged to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which means that every January 1st – Toronto City Councillors receive anywhere from a 1% to 2% pay raise. Sometimes more. Brampton City Councillors for instance gave themselves a 7% pay raise in 2015.

A Windsor City Councillor receives about $29,000 in annual salary – 1/3rd tax free in place of reimbursement for things like mileage, paper, pens, printer cartridges etc. – and an additional $11,000 in compensation for sitting on Boards and Committees. The last time Windsor City Council gave itself a pay raise was eleven years ago in 2005 – an increase of 1.5%. I believe before that – the second last pay raise was about 22 years ago in 1994. We receive a $2000 stipend to purchase a laptop computer and/or office equipment and that covers the four-year term.  I have not used it.  We can also get reimbursed for phone and internet.  I have not asked for reimbursement.  We do receive Free Parking that is City Wide. I also have a pass to Conservation Areas in Windsor-Essex as a result of sitting on the Essex Regional Conservation Authority. I am unaware of any other free passes to other City Facilities – but I can get that information for you. I personally have not used them if they do exist. Windsor Councillors also do not have Transit Windsor passes. When we have board meetings out in the County of Essex – we do get compensated for mileage. Two of the committees and boards I served on provide a snack before meetings e.g. crackers, grapes, cheese. Tourism Windsor Essex and Pelee Island (TWEPI) meets at lunch and provides wraps. Councillors are also allowed to travel to two out-of-town conferences each year such as the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) or the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) where we meet with councilors from across the Province and the Country to exchange best practices. Thus far – I have attended two conferences – AMO & FCM – both in Niagara Falls. I also attended the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative on my own dime. I am trying to think of any other pertinent information I can share with you, so please bear with me if I forgot an item. I definitely hear what you’re saying, and agree, that those who are fortunate enough to be called to public service should do it for the right reasons. Let me know if you have any questions any time. Cheers!