ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
10.1 & 10.2 & 10.3 Downtown Windsor Enhancement Strategy Yes 10-0 10-0

 

10.1 & 10.2 & 10.3 Downtown Windsor Enhancement Strategy: City Council approved 36 of 39 recommendations of the Downtown Windsor Enhancement Strategy unanimously. This is a strategy that provides incentives for private sector investment in the downtown core.

The majority of the incentives were aimed at improving and increasing commercial & retail space as well as residential offerings by, for example, providing grants to landlords to improve store fronts, or providing grants to entice landlords to convert upper floors of commercial buildings to residential apartment units.

There were three recommendations that invited debate and that ultimately did not pass.

I voted in favour of the first two: a Small Things Matter Community Grant would provide neighbourhood organizations a matching grant up to $1000 to help improve public spaces like boulevards and parks. The Alley Improvement Program would also provide incentives for community groups and commercial business owners a matching grant to improve public back alleys e.g. lighting etc.

I felt that both of these programs empower neighbours and leverages their energy and civic pride to improve public spaces in our community. I felt the City could be a great partner in such a program and the results could be reviewed regularly to make sure the results match the intent.

The one recommendation I voted against was the Small Things Matter Micro Grant program which would provide private home owners in the core with up to $1000 to make small improvements to their homes such as putting in a garden, or painting a fence or fixing a porch. I voted against for two reasons (a) the first is based on the administrative and operational challenges this program presents, namely, that staff time and resources would be tied up processing, administering and reviewing a lineup of very small projects – for example even small DIY projects valued at $50 (b) the second concern was with the fact that public dollars were being used to improve private property without a clear public-benefit. One can argue that incentives which leads to the opening up of a new store in the downtown core has the public benefit of (a) bringing a new service to the core that is open to the public (b) bringing job creators to the core in the form of a small business.

At the end of the debate – I was content to support 38 or 39 recommendations for the downtown core.

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I met with the City Engineer today to discuss the following issues:

(1) Update on current capital projects and those on the horizon for Ward 7

(2) Need to improve Banwell Road from Tecumseh Road East to Mulberry with streetlights, road expansion, multi-use trail

(3) I raised the idea of conducting a micro-study of a neighbourhood – such as Vanderbilt/Sandpoint streets – to (i) investigate how resilient are individual properties to flooding by checking things like grading, backwater valves, downspout disconnection etc. (ii) investigate City infrastructure and potential improvements that could be introduced.  The micro-study could be used as a pilot or demo for other neighbourhoods that have experienced flooding

(4) Flood mapping for Little River Corridor

(5) Need to expedite dyke improvements in Little River Corridor in order to protect homeowners against overland flooding – a risk that could have materialized had the major storm of August 29-30 tracked just a short distance east over the Little River Corridor

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
5.1 Presentation by WEEDC CEO Yes 10-0 Presentation
6.1 Asset Management Plan 2018 Yes 10-0 Business
6.2 Workforce Management Project Request Yes 10-0 Business
Basement Flood Subsidy Program Report Yes 8-2 Business
       

 

The City Engineer provided a report on the Basement Flood Protection Subsidy Program.

The City Engineer introduced the new Fast Track program which allows residents to skip a Courtesy Visit by a City Inspector before hiring a contractor to install city-subsidized sump pumps, backwater valves and other items that helps flood-proof their homes. This allows the City to process the backlog of over 3,000 applications for the basement flood subsidy program.

My concern is that I get the sense from talking to residents that most folks prefer having the reassurance and information that comes with a City Inspector coming to their home and providing a Courtesy Pre-Inspection beforea resident makes the decision to invest $2800 to flood proof their home.

Hence – I asked that administration to report back on the investment necessary to increase the number of City Inspectors in order to expedite the traditional process which includes a Courtesy Pre-Inspection by a City Inspector – and I wanted to see how many inspectors it would take to reduce the wait time to 30 – 60 and 90 days.

 

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
11.1 Little River Dykes Flood Protection Yes 10-0 Deferral
11.2 Synchro Canada 2018 Qualifier Yes` 10-0 Consent
11.3 Improvements to Basement Flood Protection Subsidy Program Yes 10-0 Presentation

 

Council Questions:

(1)    I asked administration to report back on staff adjustments necessary to reduce courtesy inspection wait times for the Basement Flood Protection Subsidy Program – from about 8-12 months to 30, 60 or 90 days. That motion did not pass.

(2)    I asked administration to report back on the current education campaign for the Basement Flood Protection Subsidy Program – to understand how social media has been employed including number of views, what is the content, and what improvements are recommended and needed to get this information into the hands of residents. This motion passed.

(3)    I asked administration to confer with the Windsor Police Services – Mr. Barry Horrobin – and report back on the safety of Banwell Road in the absence of street lighting on the stretch from Tecumseh Road East to EC Row. This motion passed.

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On Friday, September 8th – I had the privilege of joining a small group of folks gathered at the corner of McHugh & Cypress – just a stone’s throw from the Village of Aspen Lake Nursing Home – to honour the life and work of the late Rev. Charles Payne who was a tireless and fearless advocate for the inclusion and empowerment of all people with disabilities and a champion for the removal of barriers in the City of Windsor and beyond.

A plaque was unveiled in Rev. Payne’s honour at the foot of a newly planted tulip tree – made possible by the generous contribution of Windsor residents through the Ward 7 Fund.

Special thanks go out to the people who were part of our little planning committee who made this day possible: MPP Percy Hatfield, Pat Delmore & Steve Habrun from Transit Windsor, City Forrester Paul Giroux, Accessibility & Diversity Officer Gayle Jones of the City of Windsor, the Windsor Accessibility Advisory Committee, Councillor Ed Sleiman, as well as Joanne Potts and the amazing staff of the Villages of Aspen Lake Nursing Home.

Beautiful memories and words were shared by many – including a moving tribute by Rev. Payne’s daughter that left not a dry eye among the gathered.

The text of the short speech I shared can be found after the photos by clicking the hyperlink.

 

Payne 1 Payne 2 Payne 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In the days after last year’s devastating flood on September 29, 2016 – in which over 3,000 homes were flooded mostly in Wards 6 & 7 – I submitted to City Council what I call 20 Questions Plus - formal questions asking the City Engineer to explain the cause of the flood, the City’s response and the steps necessary to address the challenge of basement flooding in the future.

I am posting this as it contains some excellent information, and it may help answer some of the questions you have.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any additional questions yourself: irek@citywindsor.ca

To:  Mayor and Members of City Council

 Subject:  2016 Flooding Event Debrief Report and Response to CQ46-2016, CQ47-2016, CQ54-2016 and CQ57-2016

Author: City Engineer     Date to Council:  January 23, 2017

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

On Thursday September 29, 2016 a severe and extreme rainstorm event occurred in the City of Windsor resulting in rainfall amounts of up to 230mm in the hardest hit areas of the City. This rainfall event exceeded the 1:100 year design storm and in some areas, amounted to 144% of the amount of precipitation normally received during the month of September. The City’s sewers, drains, ponds and outlets functioned as designed but were overwhelmed by the extraordinary volume of rainwater, leading to flooded roads, basements and ponds that spilled onto adjacent properties.  A total of 2853 callers reported incidences of flooding to 311 during the event and in the days following.

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.2 Renaming Two City Parks Yes 10-0 Consent
7.2 Banning Circus Acts with Animals – Motion to Defer Discussion Yes 10-0 Deferral
8.4 Maple Grove Homes 4785 Walker Road Yes 10-0 Presentation
8.10 Closing alley in 200 block of McKay – Motion to Receive for Information Yes 10-0 Presentation
11.1 State of City Playgrounds Update               Yes 10-0 Regular
11.2 National Disaster Mitigation Program Yes 10-0 Regular
11.3 National Disaster Mitigation Program Yes 10-0 Regular
       

 

8.2 Renaming Ward 7 Park – Elizabeth Kishkon Park: I was delighted to support the motion to rename the beautiful and popular park on the corner of Banwell Road & Little River Boulevard henceforth called Elizabeth Kishkon Park named after the first female Mayor of Windsor and a champion of city parks including the establishment of Peche Island as a public municipal park.

11.1 State of City Playgrounds Update: I was excited to support the motion – passed unanimously – which will dedicate approximately $7 million to the replacement of approximately 28 playground units that had been removed as part of the playground audit – including playgrounds on Flora Avenue and Bush Park on Esplanade in Ward 7.

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

1. The new Mountabatten Development

2. Flooding

a. Discussed the potential hiring of a full time Resiliency & Climate Adaptation Officer

b. Discussed options to increase uptake of the downspout disconnection program – including the potential of making the disconnection program mandatory as in Toronto

c. Discussed making the 100 per cent subsidy for backwater valves, sump pumps etc. avaialble to all residents who got flooded including those who experienced flooding in 2016 in Ward 7

 

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.1 Mobile payment for parking system Yes 10-0 Consent
8.5 Interim control bylaw land use study Yes 10-0 Regular
8.2 Exemption form Sandwich Demolition control bylaw Yes 5-5 Regular
8.2 Exemption from Sandwich demolition control bylaw – Motion to Note & File Yes 9-0 Regular
11.2 Holiday lighting display No 6-5 Presentation
11.3 National trade corridor fund Yes 10-0 Consent

 

Item 8.2 – Exemption from Sandwich demolition control bylaw: Council has a long-standing record of denying demolition permits to the Canadian Transit Company in the area of Old Sandwich Town.  Issue related to demolition is currently before the Canadian court system, hence the rationale is to simply wait until the Supreme Court makes its decision.

In this one unique case – I voted to make an exception and permit the demolition, as the condition of the building in question was severely compromised due to a fire that gutted the building.  Hence, in my opinion, this burned out shell of a building represented too much of a public safety hazard to allow it to stand.  For example, I see a tremendous risk of injury should a child venture into that severely damaged building.

Item 11.2 – Holiday Lighting Display:  I voted NO on the $3 million holiday light display in Jackson Park.  Simply put, we have other priorities that are more important including maintaining our existing infrastructure which includes sewers, roads, parks, libraries etc.

Council Question:

I asked administration to report back on the chain-link fence recently erected in the water at Sandpoint Beach, and to provide both the reasoning for the fence as well as alternatives.

In my opinion, the chain link fence degrades the beauty of this park.

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Enjoyed a great ride today – and the opportunity to talk to residents as well as get a street level view of what needs work and what is working well in our neighbourhood.

Ward_7_Cycle_August_12_2017

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