My name is Irek and I am honoured to seek re-election as your voice on City Council as the Councillor for Ward 7.

Welcome to my blog called Forward 7.  Scroll up & down to find posts about issues residents have raised at the door, ideas for improving our neighbourhoods, and how I voted on matters before council. Publishing my voting record is part of my commitment to making City Hall more transparent, accountable and responsive to residents.

If you’re pressed for time – here are some highlights of investments in Ward 7:

INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Unanimous support for a historic $89 million investment in flood mitigation, pump stations, retention basins and sewers in Ward 6 & 7 – as a direct response to flooding in 2016 – with close to $40 million directly improving flood resiliency in Ward 7
  • Supported new $2 billion hospital that will provide Ward 7 residents with faster and easier access to acute health care
  • Unanimous support for over $3 million to improve Banwell Road including addition of streetlights (2019) and improving intersection at EC Row
  • Eighteen (18) streets repaved in Forest Glade by the fall of 2018

FISCAL PRUDENCE & LOW TAXES

  • Thanks to sound fiscal management the City’s tax levy is lower today than it was 10 years ago – with City Council working hard to attain zero percent increases to the tax levy each year
  • Meanwhile, this City Council continued to reduce our City’s debt from $230 million in 2003 to $85 million in 2017 – which will reach $54 million in 2021.
  • At the same time, this City Council has increased significantly our rainy-day reserve fund

INVESTING IN PARKS & QUALITY OF LIFE

  • Successfully supported construction of $6.5 million East End Community Swimming Pool at the WFCU Centre
  • Over $200,000 was invested on a brand new basketball & multi-use pickleball court in Forest Glade Optimist Park
  • Elizabeth Kishkon Park will receive a new paved parking lot + new basketball court + benches + trails in the fall of 2018 as well as a new washroom
  • A new splash pad in Forest Glade park is scheduled for 2021
  • By 2018 – three new playgrounds installed in Ward 7
  • Capital budget includes new trail lights for the Ganatchio Trail and also a new bike fix station

ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY

  • Voted YES for an independent Auditor General
  • The only City Councillor to publish their voting record online

Continue reading

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
7.2 Dust on Vanderbilt/Sandpoint Yes 9-0 Correspondence
10.2 Development Charges for SSPD Yes 9-0 Presentation
10.1 Diversity and Inclusion Initiative Yes 9-0 Presentation
11.4 Digital transformation of development services Yes 9-0 Delegation
11.1 2018 Final Tax Rates Yes 9-0 Consent
11.2 Capital variance Yes 9-0 Consent
11.3 Prince Road crossing Yes` 9-0 Regular
11.5 Tender Francois Road Yes 9-0 Regular
       

 

Item 7.2 Dust on Sandpoint & Vanderbilt: Residents are finding dust on their cars, their windows and their eavestroughs. According to the report –the Ministry of the Environment has authority over dust pollution, so residents are should submit their complaints directly to the MoE.

I put forward the following MOTION which passed: I would like to put forward the motion – that Administration write a letter to the Ministry of the Environment requesting an investigation into dust pollution concerns on Vanderbilt and Sandpoint – and to provide a written report to City Council.

 

Council Question: the following question was asked and passed:

Residents maintain the small piece of grass on the city boulevard in front of their homes or adjacent to their homes.

In some instances however – that piece of city boulevard is upwards of 50 feet wide and close to 200 feet long. These oversized boulevards are 10 to 15 times larger than the residents own lawn and – in many cases – these boulevards have never been sodded or prepared so they are filled with phragmites, thick weed, large rocks and piles of concrete thereby making maintenance difficult.

I would like to ask administration to review the boulevard maintenance bylaw in light of these oversized parcels – and come back with recommendations.

 

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.9 Playground Installation Yes 10-0 Consent
10.2 Bicycle Safety Audits Yes 10-0 Presentation
11.3 WUC AGM Report Yes 10-0 Presentation
11.1 BIA Budget Approval Yes 10-0 Consent
8.31 Road Safety Report Yes 10-0 Delegations
11.5 Downtown Windsor Enhancement Strategy a CIP Grant – Valente Development Yes 10-0 Consent
11.6 Catalyst Project Review for Downtown CIP for Valente Development Yes 10-0 Consent
11.9 Maple Grove Homes development on Walker Road Yes 10-0 Consent
10.1 Mayor Acknowledges Councillor Sleiman Yes 10-0 Presentation
10.7 Arts and Culture Heritage Funding Yes 10-0 Presentation

 

Item 8.9 Playground Installation: Delighted to report that City Council approved the installation of a number of new playgrounds to replace old ones that had been removed.  In Ward 7 these playgrounds include the playgrounds at Bush Park on Esplanade Drive and Flora Park.

Item 8.31 Road Safety Report: City Council received an informative 2017 Road Safety Report. Here’s the highlights – or should I say lowlights: Four out of the top six intersections for collisions are located in East Windsor representing major gateways for residents living in Wards 6 & Ward 7.

Here are the bad intersections that have significantly higher collision rates – sometimes two and three times the city’s average:

Lauzon Parkway @ Tecumseh Road East

Tecumseh Road @ Forest Glade Drive

EC Row @ Banwell Road

Lauzon Road @ McHugh

McHugh @ Banwell

Wyandotte @ Lauzon Road

Lauzon @ Forest Glade Drive

I asked a simple question: is infrastructure in East Windsor keeping pace with the pace of development?

I also put forward a motion – supported unanimously – to bring a report back to City Council during budget deliberations on short term safety improvements that can be implemented.

Petition: City Councillor John Elliott brought forward a petition with 3000 signatures to install a crosswalk on Malden Road after a collision sent a four-year-old girl to hospital with serious injuries. I put forward a motion – supported unanimously by council – to fast track a report to install the crosswalk.

I believe that when a City Councillor brings forward a public safety issue to council – one supported by local residents – the onus is on council colleagues to work together and step forward with a timely and pragmatic solution.  Every Councillor has such an issue – whether it is a crosswalk on Chilver Avenue, downtown alley lights, the Dougall Avenue underpass or the lack of lights and sidewalks along Banwel Road – these are all safety issues that call for collaboration and prioritization to improve safety and quality of life for our residents.

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.8 Referral of Rezoning for Dougall Avenue Medical Clinic Yes 9-0 Referral
8.7 OPA for The Gathering Windsor Inc Yes 9-0 Consent
8.10 Economic Revitalization Plan for WRA Clinic Yes 9-0 Consent
11.2 Streetlighting on Banwell Road Yes 5-5 Delegation
11.3 Alley closure on Vera Pl Yes 9-0 Referral
11.1 Jackson Park Washroom Yes 9-0 Regular
       
 

 

Item 11.2 Streetlighting on Banwell Road: I put forward the following MOTION:  That council authorize administration to proceed this year with the accelerated installation of the street lights on Banwell Road.

Note, the streetlights had been approved – but were not scheduled to be installed until 2019 at the earliest.  The whole point of the motion was that on an issue of public safety residents shouldn’t have to wait one more year to get basic infrastructure like street lights installed in a busy road.

It was possible to pull forward funding from an existing, approved and funded Banwell Road project scheduled for 2020 – and hence City Council had the opportunity to accelerate the installation of the streetlights on Banwell Road at no additional cost to taxpayers and no impact on existing projects.

Council unfortunately decided to go another direction and the motion was defeated in a close 5-5 vote.  Residents will wait to get their street lights.

The Windsor Police Services recommended in its report that “the City of Windsor should install street lights along this stretch of Banwell Road at the earliest possible opportunity.”

They conclude that the lack of street lights creates poor visibility that “greatly undermines their own personal safety while carrying out their duties.”

It should be acknowledged that the Police Chief did testify that in his opinion the road is not unsafe, based on the fact that the rate of collisions on Banwell Road are not elevated.

Yet, what was more compelling was the testimony provided by Tanya Adams who is the Executive Director of Banwell Gardends nursing home located right on that stretch of road – and the testimony of one of the residents Mr. Kim Kelly.

Both concluded that “safe, well lit, accessibility to the area services for the residents of Banwell Gardens Care Centre should be a top priority for this council.”

There are 172 employees and  142 residents who call Banwell Gardens their home – including the families that visit them, many whom are elderly themselves.

Imagine – residents in wheelchairs having to cut through parking lots on adjacent private property in order to get groceries at the nearby Metro because Banwell Road – a City road – is dark, it is not accessible and it is not safe for them to use.

Imagine that same nursing home – having to install reflectors on their driveways so that visitors can actually see the driveway when entering and exiting – trying to avoid the ditch in pitch black conditions.

Imagine – residents standing in front of two bus stops on narrow gravel shoulders in complete darkness waiting for their bus as thousands of cars whizz by.

In addition to residents of Banwell Gardens,  on average about  19,990 passenger cars drive down this road every day.

These residents deserve better than a road lacking in basic infrastructure – absolute basics like street lighting, adequate lanes, and sidewalks.

Below is a photo of a Mom and her Daughter walking on the unlit gravel shoulder of Banwell Road.

 

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
7.5 – Sewer Master Plan Project Yes 9-0 Correspondence
8.1 – Election Sign Question Yes 2-8 Referral
8.15 – Front Yard Parking at 1850 Gladstone Yes 9-0 Regular
10.2 City of Windsor Poet Laureate Yes 9-0 Presentation
10.1 Windsor Port Authority – Cruising Great Lakes Yes 9-0 Presentation
11.1 2018 Strategic Tax Policy Discussion Yes 9-0 Presentation
8.9 Windsor Essex County Health Unit overview Yes 9-0 Presentation
8.20 Sandison Street encroachment Yes 9-0 Presentation
11.7 Alley Closure at Vera and Karl Place Yes 9-0 Deferral
11.3 2017-18 Solid Waste Authority Operating budget Yes 9-0 Consent
11.3 Advance approval of capital for Roseland Golf Course and Little River Golf Course Yes 9-0 Consent
11.5 GECDSB Bus Bay & Parking Yes 9-0 Consent
11.6 AMO Request for proposals to host Yes 9-0 Consent

 

Item 7.5 – Sewer Master Plan Project: The City officially kicked-off the two year Storm and Sanitary Sewer Master Plan study which will culminate in 2019 with a blue print that will guide our work towards making our neighbourhoods more resilient in the face of climate change and flooding.

This is one of the most important – if not the most important – undertaking for our City and our Community.

An integral component of this initiative is public engagement and input. It is vital that we hear from residents themselves. The Master Plan includes the striking of a Public Stakeholder Advisory Committee that will be comprised of 12 to 20 members representing residents and other stakeholder organizations.

More information on the Master Plan can be found on the following website: www.weatheringthestorm.ca

In addition – the website contains links and email addresses where residents can submit their application to join the Public Stakeholder Advisory Committee.

Item 8.1 – Election Sign Question: A number of residents have approached me wondering whether there is a way to curtail the amount of time that election signs are allowed to be up across the City.

Currently, the City allows election signs to be up for six (6) months – from May 1st to Election Day on October 22nd.

Some cities – like Toronto – limit the time to twenty-five (25) days. Other cities limit to 60 and 90 days.

I referred the report back to Administration and asked for information on how other cities regulate their election signs – hoping that this would also spark a conversation with residents about what they prefer.

Unfortunately, that motion was defeated.

Item 8.15: Front Yard Parking at 1850 Gladstone Avenue: This was not an easy decision. A gentleman approached the City asking for permission to convert a portion of his front yard into a paved parking space. The gentleman has a valid disability permit from the City of Windsor and has stated that a doctor’s note supports his request – though that doctor’s note was not provided in the documentation to Council. The gentleman acknowledges that a paved alley exists in the rear of the property with access to a two-car garage.

Bylaws prohibiting the conversion of front yards to parking are standard practise across the Province of Ontario – and also across North America. There are very valid reasons for prohibiting front yard parking including:

  • It diminishes the appeal of the neighbourhood
  • It permanently eliminates one public on-street parking space
  • It adds runoff to the storm and sanitary sewers that already struggle to handle heavy rainfall events
  • Paving over green lawns with hard surfaces increases the heat island effect
  • There are also public safety concerns with sightlines

There are instances where City Councils grant an exception to the front yard parking prohibition – for example in situations where mobility challenges – and the severity of the disability – are evident and support a request for accommodation that includes the installation of a front yard parking pad.

Here is an example from the City of Toronto: https://www.toronto.com/news-story/7071573-north-york-couple-granted-lawn-parking-spot-as-a-matter-of-human-rights-/

In the case that came before Windsor City Council – taking into consideration all of the information that was presented by the resident to Council – the decision was made that in this particular case an appropriate accommodation could be met by establishing a dedicated Accessible Parking spot with signage in front of the resident’s home.

In this case, an exemption was made to the existing bylaw – which states that the resident does not meet the standard for a dedicated accessible parking sport because of the presence of paved alley access to a rear-yard garage – in order to allow for a dedicated Accessible Parking spot.

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.10: Downtown Windsor Enhancement Strategy Yes 7-0 Consent
11.1: Fire protection and prevention act regulations proposed Yes 7-0 Regular
11.2: Wyandotte Town Centre World Marketplace – to move forward Yes 4-7 Regular
11.2: Wyandotte Town Centre World Marketplace – to refer back to administration Yes 7-0 Regular
11.3: Enhanced Capital Budget approval with addition of alley lighting language Yes 5-4 Regular
12.2: Special Meeting of ETPS Standing Committee Yes 7-0 Deferral

 

 

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.12 – Sandpoint Beach Chainlink Fence Yes 8-0 Regular
8:20 – Lublin/Icewater storm oversizing Yes 8-0 Regular
8.36 – Tecumseh Road & Forest Glade Drive Intersection Yes 6-2 Regular
11.2 – Banwell Road Development rezoning Yes 7-1 Delegation
8.18 – Hiram Walker sign amendment Yes 8-0 Delegation
8.6 – Seniors Advisory Committee Yes 8-0 Delegation
8.15 – Franklin OPA Amendment Yes 7-1 Delegation
8-13 – 1052 Drouillard zoning amendment No 3-5 Delegation
8.4 – WECHC Smoke Free Policy Yes 8-0 Delegation
11.1 – Cabana Road expropriation Yes 8-0 Regular
15.1 Chilver Crosswalk – Referral No 5-4 Notice of Motion
15.2 – Exemption from parking meter fees for 188 Ferry Street Yes 8-0 Notice of Motion
       

 

Item 8.2 – Sandpoint Beach Chainlink Fence: The City erected a large industrial chain-link fence in the water at Sandpoint Beach in response to an audit conducted by the Life Saving Society which recommended restricting access to the western portion of the beach and water due to the steep drop-off and dangerous currents.

The Capital Budget does have a project on the books to making improvements at Sandpoint Beach – including a possible “eastern shift” of the beach in order to permanently address the danger on the western portion. To date – no funding has been set aside for this project.

It has been 37 years since the last major investment in Sandpoint Beach.

Hence, I put forward a motion which was passed unanimously directing administration to bring a report back to the 2019 budget deliberations outlining opportunities for a phased approach for a long term solution at Sandponit Beach – one that would eliminate the need for a chain-link fence – including the estimated cost for any preliminary studies that would be required.

 

Item 8.20 – Lublin/Icewater Storm Sewer Oversizing: The City is partnering with the developers of the new streets between Little River Boulevard and Wyandotte Street in order to install over-sized storm sewer overflows in order to improve flood resiliency for the surrounding neighbourhood. This is in part a response to the flooding event of 2016 – making sure new development in East Riverside has the infrastructure necessary to protect homes in new and existing neighbourhoods.

 

Item 8.36 – Intersection Tecumseh Road East at Forest Glade Drive: I heard from residents that there appeared to be an increase in collisions at this intersection. Hence, I asked administration to prepare a report.

That report found that the collision rate is significantly higher than the City average – 68 collisions at the intersection and 43 total collisions at the mid-block approach – for a total of 111 collisions over a five year period. That collision rate is double the city average.

The report also states that the number of collisions have doubled at the intersection since 2014

In short – it appears that the current road infrastructure has not kept pace with new development that has taken place in the vicinity of that intersection from 2015 onwards.

There is a solution on the books in the form of the Environmental Assessment (EA) for Tecumseh Road East, which was completed in 1996 – 22 years ago. The EA provides a blue print for the infrastructure investments that are planned for this stretch of road.

I put forward the following MOTION which passed: That the completion of the Tecumseh Road East approved design in the vicinity of Forest Glade be referred to the 2019 capital budget process, with the aim of accelerating this work as a Council Priority Project.

 

Item 11.2 – Banwell Road Development: This is the largest development in Windsor – in terms of the scale of mixed residential and commercial development. It is transformative for East Riverside.

It brings tremendous potential in terms of improving the quality of life of existing neighbourhoods and in terms of investments for the City. Residents want to be able to take a walk around Blue Heron Lake and then take a walk to a coffee shop or a bistro or a boutique. They want a neighbourhood doctor’s office or chiropractor.

However, there are significant concerns – namely centering around flooding & traffic.

The City Engineer and the Planning Department have reassured us that construction permits will not be provided until they are satisfied that this development will not negatively impact existing neighbourhoods. At the next stage of this process – the developers will have to provide independent third-party engineering studies that speak to storm & sanitary capacity as well as a traffic impact.

At the same time, our City Engineer has stated that Administration will be pursuing a redesign and reconstruction of the Banwell and McNorton intersection – which has been a source of concern for residents for years. These improvements are welcome.

The developers themselves have demonstrated a genuine desire to work with administration and – most importantly – to listen to existing residents.

When residents stated – loud and clear – that they did not want a car was and gas bar on that corner, the developers removed those two items from their plans immediately.

The developers also organized an Open House – even though it was not a requirement of this process – because they wanted to share their vision and also to listen to resident concerns.

When administration put forward its recommendations – the developers made the necessary changes.

The one issue that eluded consensus – was the question of a mid-block access. When speaking to residents, the two key major issues raised were flooding and traffic – specifically traffic on McNorton and Leathorne, as well as traffic at the intersection of Banwell Road and McNorton.

The mid-block access on Banwell is seen as a pressure valve that would relieve some of the traffic on those two residential streets and on the intersection.

For that reason – I support the recommendations in the report which include, among them:

  • A denial of rezoning for a car wash and gas bar
  • Permission for rezoning to permit commercial and residential as per the report
  • Permission for an Official Plan Amendment that would permit a mid-block access on Banwell Road

Move the administration recommendation with one alteration that is to proceed with an OPA that would allow a right-in & right-out midblock access on Banwell Road, requiring a traffic study and options for enhanced pedestrian safeguards to be submitted by the developer at site plan control.

As well, that administration refer the intersection improvements at Banwell Road and McNorton noted by the City Engineer in the report to the 2019 budget deliberations.

 

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 -

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. The following ten (10) roads in Forest Glade will see rehabilitation in 2018:
  • Halpin
  • Lonsdale
  • Halstead
  • Palms
  • Dolphin
  • Alten
  • Ashland
  • Beachdale
  • Regis
  • Ryerson

These ten (10) road rehab projects are in addition to the seven (7) streets in Forest Glade that were repaired in 2017.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. The following streets will see sidewalk rehabilitation in 2018:
  • Deerbrook
  • Forest Glade Drive
  • Rosebriar
  1. 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.