|Item # and Description||Irek Voted||Council Voted||Type of Item|
|1 – Acquisition of an easement||Yay||10-0||Consent|
|2 – Newspaper vendor boxes||Yay||10-0||Delegation|
|5 – Asset planning work plan||Yay||10-0||Consent|
|6 – Close portion of Twin Oaks Dr.||Yay||10-0||Consent|
|7 – Disposal of land policy||Yay||10-0||Consent|
|8 – Construction of curbs and gutters||Yay||10-0||Consent|
|9 – Provincial grant for sewer retention||Yay||10-0||Consent|
|10 – Construction of curb and gutters||Yay||10-0||Consent|
|11 – Purchase of vacuum truck||Yay||10-0||Consent|
|12 – Bridge rehab of CASO overpass||Yay||10-0||Consent|
|Report 204 – Central Park Athletics||Yay||5-5||Delegation|
|Report 202 – Close of alley b/w Giles and Erie St||Nay||0-10||Delegation|
Homegrown entrepreneurs–James and Leigh-Ann King–came before City Council to present their plan to build the third phase of a $17 million Central Park Athletics centre that will include two ice pads, gymnastics facilities, outdoor sports fields and an indoor soccer field that would be also used for football and baseball. They requested from City Council tax relief in the form of:
(a) roughly $300,000 in Development Charges
(b) roughly $60,000 per year (over ten years) of additional taxes they would be charged for doubling their current square footage during Phase III
In short, the Kings are building a $17 million recreation facility and are NOT asking taxpayers to contribute a single penny to the construction or operation of the facility.
I voted to support this motion. Consider, for a second, that over the last five years taxpayers have been asked to cover 100 per cent of the cost and 100 per cent of the risk for such local mega projects as:
- an $80 million recreation facility–the Aquatics Centre and Family Water Park
- a $70 million WFCU Centre and recreation facility
- a $23 million MRO airport facility
- even the $3 billion DRIC parkway, bridge, plazas etc. puts taxpayers on the hook for 100 per cent of the cost and 100 per cent of the risk
Today, we had two homegrown business-owners from Windsor–not London, Toronto, or Europe–come before Council who are willing to build a $17 million recreation complex that will benefit our community, and these private developers are assuming 100 per cent of the cost and 100 per cent of the risk of this project. This is the type of economic development model that we should be supporting–where private investors “step up to build up” our community and assume most if not all of the costs and the risk, and where the City is only asked to play a minor supplementary supporting role in the project. With the Central Park Athletics, the City is only being asked to contribute 5 per cent of the total value of the project in tax waivers while not contributing a single penny in direct funding.
On a personal note, as an Immigrant kid we didn’t have a lot of money for sports like hockey that required expensive equipment, so we played a lot of outdoor sports like soccer where all you had to pay for were a pair of cleats (usually second-hand). There are thousands of kids registered in soccer across Windsor (18,000 by one estimate!) and I bet a tonne are like me who played soccer in part because we could afford it. With this indoor soccer park, kids now have the option to continue playing in the winter time. Same goes for baseball and football, not to mention gymnastics.
The Central Park Athletics complex is a recreation complex that will provide tremendous good for the community for decades to come, with no cost and no risk to the taxpayer. Sign me up.