ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
7.2 – Assessment valuation report Yes 10-0 Communication
7.3 – Canada Goose control program Yes 10-0 Communication
7.4 – Asphalt Specifications and Quality Assurance Yes 10-0 Communication
7.5 – FINA Expenditures report only – note and file Yes 10-0 Communication
7.6 – McDougall Rail Crossing grant application Yes 10-0 Communication
7.7 – Smart Community and Fibre Optics Yes 10-0 Communication
11.3 & 11.4 – Clothing Donation and Bin Yes 10-0 Deferral
11.7 – Riverside Vista expropriation Yes 10-0 Deferral
10.1 – Friends of Ojibway video Yes 10-0 Presentation
10.2 – Property assessment notices MPAC Yes 10-0 Presentation
10.3 – Grand Marais drain concrete channel update Yes 10-0 Presentation
8.5 – Riverside Underpass EA acceptance No 8-2 Consent
8.8 – Parking clearance implementation Yes 10-0 Delegation
11.1 – IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship Bid No 9-1 Regular business
11.2 – Town of Lasalle Transit Yes 10-0 Regular
11.5 – Swimming Canada bids Yes 10-0 Regular
11.6 – Rimini Street Peoplesoft software Yes 10-0 Regular
11.8 – WEEEDC agreement with City Yes 10-0 Regular

 

7.3 – Canada Goose control program: In 2009, the Town of Vernon, B.C was a defendant in a case brought before the Supreme Court of British Columbia by a resident who was injured after slipping on a park sidewalk covered in goose droppings.  The court ruled in favour of the City – but in large part as a result of the fact that the City demonstrated a reasonable level of care having put in place a regular cleaning schedule three days per week.

My line of questioning during this debate centered around making sure that we have in place similar protections against liability in the form of a regular cleaning program.  Subsequently, I forwarded the BC Supreme Court Case to Administration.  Stay tuned for the response.

7.4 – Asphalt Specifications and Quality Assurance:  First off, I would like to congratulate and thank Mr. Andrew Lewis – from the Engineering Department – for an excellent report that really underscores the critical importance of one of our most important and expensive assets: roads.

The City spends $22 million every year on roads.  Increasingly, we have witnessed roads falling apart prematurely after only a few seasons – much sooner than their expected 25 year life-cycle- not just in Windsor but across Ontario.  This is a serious enough issue that even the industry association – Ontario Hot Mix Producers Association (OHMPA) is studying the issue.

Hence – one would think the City would make certain that (a) we have tight specifications in place that make sure good material is used in our roads, while the bad stuff is kept out (b) that we have a robust Quality Assurance program that can verify that contractors are using good stuff, and keeping the bad stuff out of Windsor roads.

Bad stuff like used motor oil – or what the industry calls Re-Refined Engine Oil Bottoms (REOB) and also something called Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP).

A large number of studies – including those conducted by Queen’s University roads expert Dr. Simon Hesp – clearly show that both REOB and RAP are junk by-products that lead to premature road failure when inserted into asphalt.

Five (5) major cities across Ontario restrict the use of RAP – with Ottawa and Toronto introducing restrictions in 2017.

Eight (8) major cities across Ontario ban the use of REOB – or used engine oil.

Windsor is one of the few large cities in Ontario that have NO restrictions on used engine oil, and still use RAP in our asphalt.

The good news – is that we have representatives from City Administration on two major taskforces and committees studying this issue – industry and government – which look like they might produce tighter specifications with greater restrictions on RAP and REOB by November, 2016.

Our hope is that Windsor adopts those stricter restrictions when they are made public.

In the meantime, we keep our eyes on the process and on the clock. Hopefully, we don’t spend too much money laying down asphalt that proves to have substandard material.

In addition to tighter specifications – we also need a strong Quality Assurance (QA) program, which is a fancy way of saying we have enough trained people in place who are testing what contractors put into our roads – making sure the good stuff is there, and the bad stuff like engine oil is kept out.

Well – you may be concerned to learn that the City spends a whopping 0.3 per cent of our roads budget on Quality Assurance every year.

Dr. Simon Hesp – from Queen’s University – recommends cities spend at least about 3 per cent per year more on Quality Assurance.

Even the City’s report states in bold lettering that “Quality Assurance must be the first priority of the infrastructure owner in keeping the supplied materials and contractors’ practises in check”.

My position is that the City’s current Quality Assurance program is weak and underfunded.  That appears to be the message in the report.

The good news is that this issue will be raised again at Budget Time.

In a zero per cent budget – we prioritize.  And I firmly believe – we can do more to make sure our annual $22 million capital roads budget is spent on good roads that last.

7.7 – Smart Community and Fibre Optics:  I am excited to report that super high speed internet is available in Forest Glade Community Centre, Forest Glade Library and Forest Glade Arena after all three community centres were connected to fibre optics.  Have fun surfing :)

8.5 Riverside Underpass Environmental Assessment (EA): I have opposed and voted NO on the Riverside Underpass since the first day.  To keep my vote consistent – I voted NO on accepting the Environmental Assessment – which is the blueprint for the underpass.  This is not a priority.

8.8 – Parking Clearance Implementation: The good residents in the condo association fronting Esplanade Drive will be relieved to learn that the City will not be eliminating the few available on-street parking spots near the multi-use trail.  This is the right call.  A one-size-fits-all policy for parking clearance adjacent to multi-use trails does not take into account local variations – like the one on Esplanade where it is readily apparent that the existing parking has absolutely no impact on sight lines for the nearby multi-use trail.

Hat tip to Mr. Michael Duquette for doing the heavy lifting of bringing this issue to the fore.

11.1 – World Junior Hockey Championship Bid: First off, let me state outright that I love watching World Junior Hockey.  Our family hunkers down in front of the television every boxing day to start the tournament.

Having said that – my research indicates that the four or five previous bids were put forward by cities that could guarantee to Hockey Canada a profit of between $10 million and $15 million. 

In addition, many of the Cities had large arenas that could host about 20,000 spectators – which neither Windsor nor our partner-city London have.

I question once again the Return-on-Investment (ROI) for Windsor taxpayers of hosting big ticket sporting events.  I would rather see that money put on long term infrastructure improvements – roads, parks, community centres etc.  That’s money well spent.

11.5 – Swimming Canada Bids: I did vote in favour of the City supporting three Swim Canada competitions.  The bids are cost neutral to the taxpayer – since the City is in essence only waiving the fees for renting out the Aquatics Centre.

The “in-kind” contribution for the three swimming championships is about $60,000 in total – and it will bring in hundreds of competitors and spectators to the City.  That’s a good trade.

I’ve consistently argued – that the City should support smaller and local sporting and cultural organizations and events such as OFSAA or the Windsor International Film Festival or Tour di Via Italia.  Not as the main sponsors – but leveraging existing organizations that are putting in most of the work, raising most of the funding, and taking on most of the risk.

The key words: leveraging partnerships, protecting the taxpayer.

 

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