I had the great privilege of participating in the re-dedication ceremony for the WWI Veterans Memorial at Memorial Park attended by veterans, students, city officials as well as RCMP and Windsor Police Services.  It was a terrific way to pay our respects to those who served, who fought and who sacrificed for the values and freedoms we enjoy and that form the foundation upon which stand our schools, our places of worship and our halls of government.  Thank you.Memorial Park

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
Report No. 217 – Dawson alley closing Yay 10-0 Delegation
Report No. 216 – Buckingham alley closing Yay 10-0 Delegation
Report No. 215 – Huron Church permit Yay 10-0 Delegation
1 – First Quarter Variance report Yay 10-0 Administrative
2 – Status report compliance Yay 10-0 Communication
3 – Summary of hotline issues Yay 10-0 Communication
4- Time spent in open camera Yay 10-0 Communication
5 – Internal audit report Yay 10-0 Presentation
6- Revised audit plant Yay 10-0 Presentation
7 – Concern citizen hotline process Yay 10-0 Presentation
       
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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
1 – Establish tax rates Yay 10-0 Presentation
2 – Canadian Transit Company retaining wall Yay 10-0 Consent
3 – Status regarding clocks on Ottawa St. Yay 10-0 Consent
4 – Servicing agreement Yay 10-0 Consent
5 – Application to close alley north of CNR Yay 10-0 Consent
6 – Fire services bylaw Yay 10-0 Consent
7 – Tender California Ave. sewer Yay 10-0 Consent
8 – Car Pro Industries festival Yay 10-0 Deferral
9 – Construction of curbs and gutters Yay 10-0 Consent
10 – Pinoy Athletics request Yay 10-0 Delegation
11 – Central Box Study EA Yay 10-0 Consent
12 – Peacekeepers and Afghanistan Memorial Yay 10-0 Delegation
13 – Campaign Wake Up Windsor Yay 10-0 Consent
14 – Transfer of surplus funding Yay 10-0 Consent
15 – Utility cut restoration Yay 10-0 Consent
16 – Create corporate sponsorship policy Yay 10-0 Consent
Report No. 186 – Mediterranean Seafood parking Yay 10-0 Delegation
Report No. 185 – Opening our Streets Yay 10-0 Delegation
Notice of Motion – Accountability Act of Ontario Yay 10-0 Deferral

Item #12 – Council unanimously approved the establishment of a Memorial to Peacekeepers and Veterans of the Afghanistan War in Reaume Park, while also approving the inscription of Afghanistan on the Cenotaph at City Hall Square.  The delegation featured a stirring speech by Windsor Police Officer and Afghanistan Veteran Mike Akpata.

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Hundreds of people came out to plant hundreds of trees in Ward 7 in the Aspenshore area off McHugh Avenue as part of the ERCA-sponsored Earth Week celebrations.

Windsor has one of the lowest proportions of tree coverage in Ontario, hence this was a very important way to build up and pass along a natural heritage to future generations.

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
1 – Waiver of Fees and Grant Policy Yay 10-0 Consent
2 – Document Fees Yay 10-0 Consent
3 – Purchasing shared resources Yay 10-0 Consent
4 – Tree trimming Yay 10-0 Consent
5 – Year end operating budget Yay 10-0 Delegation
6 – Snow angels volunteer program Yay 10-0 Delegation
7 – Request from Town of Tecumseh re Land Yay 10-0 Consent
8 – Succession Planning Yay 10-0 Consent
9 – Naming of Community Rink Yay 10-0 Consent
10 – Site approval for 415 Ouellette Yay 9-1 Delegation
11 – RFP for three-point hoist Yay 10-0 Consent
12 – Alley closing Yay 10-0 Consent
13 – Enhanced capital plan forecast Yay 10-0 Delegation
14 – Established tax rates Yay 10-0 Consent
15 – Self watering planters and baskets Yay 10-0 Delegation
16 – Participation in investment Ontario Yay 10-0 Consent
17 – Paul Martin Bldg. encroachment agreement Yay 10-0 Consent
18a – City to enter discussion with Coco Paving and Ministry of Natural Resources regarding construction of Big Box Store adjacent to Ojibway Park lands Nay 8-2 Regular

 

Item #18a – the issue came up of the construction of a Big Box Store adjacent to the environmentally sensitive Ojibway Park lands at the corner of Matchette and  Sprucewood.  Recall, that approximately 7 years ago, City Council approved the permit for Coco Paving to build a Big Box Store adjacent to lands that contain a large number of species-at-risk plants and animals.  That decision was again reconfirmed in 2013.

The question before Council on Monday was whether the City of Windsor should be part of the conversation now taking place between Coco Paving and the Ministry of Natural Resources regarding the land in question as it is being developed.

That seems innocent enough, but here’s the rub:  the case of the Big Box Store development is currently before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), which has the right to reject the development.  The OMB process has been ongoing since 2011.  Coco Paving decided to circumvent the OMB process by using rarely used clause under the Endangered Species Act in order to deal directly with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).

Councillor Halberstadt raised the concern that by agreeing to be part of the conversation between Coco and the MNR – the City would be in essence signalling to the OMB that it supports the development.

I shared that concern which is why I first supported Councillor Halberstadt’s motion to delay a decision on this matter in front of Council in order to invite environmental specialists and the Save Ojibway group to comment.  This original motion was not supported by a majority of Council.

A subsequent motion was put forward for the City of Windsor to join the conversation between Coco Paving and MNR regarding the development.  For the concerns stated above, I voted against that motion.

In the end, I do not support the development of a Big Box Store adjacent to environmentally sensitive parkland that we should protect. For example, the development of a Big Box Store will triple the amount of traffic in that area (18,000 cars by one estimate), which will endanger our little Garden of Eden.

My predecessor Percy Hatfield voted against the Big Box Development when it came up years ago, stating that “I hope the developer loses at the OMB – this land is worth saving”.

I wholeheartedly agree.  We should allow the OMB to make its decision and not short circuit that process.

Windsor has one of the lowest levels of natural areas in Ontario.  We should do what we can to protect, improve and increase our parkland and natural areas.

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I had the great privilege of joining Minister of Economic Development Dr. Eric Hoskins and Minister of Children and Youth Services Teresa Piruzza and my Council colleagues Fulvio Valentinis and Ed Sleiman for a significant funding announcement from the Government of Ontario in support of a Mentoring program for Entrepreneurial Youth that will be administrated through the Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator (DWBA).  The Downtown Accelerator is home to 30 startup companies – many of whom are launched by young people who prefer to invest in Windsor rather than leave.  It is an exciting asset in the heart of Windsor that is cultivating the next generation of successful entrepreneurs. Kudos to all the partners involved!Irek - W7 accelerator grant

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ITEM # and DESCRIPTION IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
1 – Contract renewal for CGI Communications Yay 10-0 Consent
2 – Reduce development charges Nay 0-10 Delegation
3- Russette drain examination Yay 10-0 Consent
4 –Tender – purchase Chrysler minivans Yay 10-0 Consent
5- Year round cafes Yay 10-0 Consent
6 – Road widening University of Windsor Yay 10-0 Consent
7 – Service contract MTCU Yay 10-0 Consent
8 – Request for Grants Nay 0-10 Consent
9 – Waiver of fees policy Yay 10-0 Consent
10 – Public space recycling Yay 10-0 Consent
11 – Via Rail land acquisition Riverside Dr. Yay 10-0 Consent
12 – Construction of curbs and gutters Yay 10-0 Consent
13 – Changes to Windsor Water World Yay 9-1 Delegation
14 – Development charge overview Yay 10-0 Consent
15 – Railway spur to twin oaks Yay 10-0 Consent
16a – Willistead Park pathways Yay 3-7 Delegation
16b – Willistead Park pathways Nay 7-3 Delegation

 

Item #16 – The Parks department put forward a plan for Willistead Park that would (a) replace existing paving stone pathways with asphalt (b) double the number of paths (c) widen paths from 5 feet to 10 ft.

Councillor Alan Halberstadt put forward an alternative plan (16a) which I voted to support which would (a) keep the existing length of the pathways (b) widen the paths from 5 feet to 9 feet (c) use interlocking pavers instead of asphalt.

The Halberstadt plan for Willistead would achieve the following (a) maintain the park’s limited greenspace by keeping existing length of pathways (b) improve accessibility (e.g. for those with wheelchairs) by widening the paths (c) improve access for maintenance vehicles that are 8 feet wide (d) protect the heritage character of Willistead by using elegant pavers rather than dirty asphalt

Check out this video of the Cultural Bike Trail in Indianapolis: bike trail.  It is eight (8) miles of pathways around the heart of Indianapolis that uses elegant paving stones.  Notice how accessible the pathways are for seniors and those with physical disabilities.  Surely, if Indianapolis can install 8 miles of elegant pavers, we can install 3000 linear feet of pavers in Willistead to improve accessibility and maintain the unique historical character of Willistead Park.

Council voted against the pavers and against keeping the existing length of pathways.

A new motion (16b) was put forward by Councillor Dilkens to double the paths and use asphalt.  I voted against this plan.

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WARD 7 MEETING

COUNCILLOR IREK KUSMIERCZYK

FOREST GLADE ARENA
MARCH 4th, 2014

I would like to say Thank You to the folks who braved a cold winter night to attend our Ward 7 meeting on March 4th, 2014.  We discussed issues of concern and shared innovative ideas regarding parks and public transit, road and sewer work, speeding and traffic safety. I enjoyed the chance to chat with many of you and I will continue to work hard to address your concerns and work together to improve our neighbourhood.

Below, you will find a summary of the issues raised by residents and the responses provided by myself or by City Administration. Many thanks to the City Administration in attendance who made themselves available in the evening and offered their knowledge and expertise. You can find a list of the attendees at the end.

If you missed the Ward Meeting, remember that on my website you can find when and where I am hosting our next Coffee Cabinet session where I invite residents to join me over a coffee to discuss all things Ward 7. These Coffee Cabinets take place about once every two weeks.  While providing opportunities to meet to discuss ward issues I also encourage you to use our city’s 311 system to access services or register concerns, and as always, you can contact me at: 519.946.1111

Best Regards,

Irek

 

SUMMARY OF

GOOD THINGS HAPPENING

 IN WARD 7

 

 

 

 

 

Councillor begins by providing a summary of positive developments in Ward 7 including:

  • Transit Windsor proposing Lauzon 10 bus service directly to front door of WFCU Centre – no more getting off on McHugh and having to cross the parking lot
  • Two bus shelters will be added in front of Aspen Lake Nursing Home on McHugh
  • Councillor working on bringing coffee shop to Forest Glade Library
  • Repaving of Tecumseh Rd. from Forest Glade Dr. to Robinet begins in 2015
  • Development of Old Riverside Water Treatment plant into residential neighbourhood will begin within 12 months
  • Phase III of Environmental Assessment finished on old Wickes brownfield

CONCERN

 

RESPONSE

Wildwood Park should have soccer nets while other parts of Ward 7 should have dog parks, a pool, basketball courts etc. to improve health Councillor informs resident that he will be initiating talks with Parks about installing soccer nets at Wildwood Park
Resident comments that the Councillor should focus on just Ward 7 issues and not—for example—ENWIN which is regulated by the province Councillor explains that he ran on a platform of accountability and transparency, which he considers part of his mandate.
Resident raises concern about speeding on McNorton between Banwell and Lesperance and that a left turn signal be installed on Banwell and McNortonAnother resident on Timbercrest inquires about speeding on McNorton and St. Thomas. 

Another resident raises issue of speeding on Greenpark and Banwell roads

Councillor suggests that—since speeding is an issue in the Banwell Road area and across the Ward—he will work with the Windsor Police Services on a strategic plan for the area to reduce speeding and organize a separate resident meeting on this specific problem.City Engineer suggests a radar trailer can be deployed to monitor speed on streets to gather data before such a meeting.Cautions about left turn signal since it would affect the flow of traffic.
Resident asks why Clover has not yet been connected to Tecumseh Road as planned City Engineer confirms that the road will eventually be open but that depends on when the developer moves forward with development
A resident of Apple Lane asks that an area at Forest Glade park be fenced in for dogs.Expresses delight about the idea of a coffee shop at Forest Glade Arena Executive Director of Parks and Facilities explains a number of improvements to Forest Glade area in 2015 and that dog parks are being considered.  Encourages resident and others to submit their “wants” on the City of Windsor website under the Parks Master Plan Survey
Resident of Radcliff Road indicates residents on Radcliff do not want a bus stop and had a previous stop removed several years ago. Councillor explains that he will work with all residents to find a mutually satisfactory solution that will achieve the goal of better public transit in Ward 7
Resident of Blue Heron Drive refers to a petition signed by 150 people to remove jersey barriers and open avenue to McNorton City Engineer explains that ultimately the roadway to McNorton is on private property
Resident of Rushton remarks that City of Windsor has done a fantastic job of clearing snow but wanted to know if street parking can alternate sides in winter to improve snow removal Councillor concurs and thanks Public Works Department for the great work. Maintenance Manager explains a snow emergency plan has been discussed at Council to get cars off streets to allow plowing

CONCERN

 

RESPONSE

 

Resident of Radcliff and Solomon area asks whether bus traveling East on McNorton could turnaround elsewhere other than Tecumseh Arena Councillor explains that he is working with Transit Windsor to develop several alternatives to improve bus service in Ward 7
Resident asks why snow plows do not remove snow and ice from catch basins Maintenance Manager explains some trucks are not able to and that it is difficult for loaders to find out where curbs are located
Resident living close to CS Wind comments about constant noise from the plant as vehicles back up City Engineer explains that trucks must have beeping noise when backing up as a safety requirement
Resident raises issue of recycling bins and how he is forced to clean up after neighbours due to loose garbage Resident is directed to 311 booth and enteres their concerns on the spot
Member of Professional Firefighters Association invites Councillor to tour Station 7 Councillor is delighted and accepts invitation
Resident comments about not being happy about hard-sided garbage cans being mandated, stating that the wind will cause debris on the street and that the program will not work to curb skunks Councillor responds that the performance of the program will be measured once it is rolled out and that concerns of residents including seniors and those with physical challenges will be considered as improvements are sought.

 

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