Fabio Costante Windsor

Our West End is a blog dedicated for residents to share information regarding neighbourhood issues and developments with the primary intention of making West Windsor a better place to live, work and play. If you would like to post or share anything related to the west-end, please email Fabio Costante at fabiocostante@gmail.com.

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Please note that any opinions expressed are those of the author/resident and not of any organization, unless expressly stated.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Push on to reopen College bridge (The Windsor Star, 31 Dec 2010, Page A3)

Push on to reopen College bridge
DALSON CHEN dchen@windsorstar.com or 519-255-5550
The Windsor Star
31 Dec 2010

Nobody likes the fact that the College Avenue bridge is still closed. “The people have been frustrated. I’ve been frustrated,” says city councillor Ron Jones. “Ongoing complaints.” Although the College Avenue crossing that connects Wellington and...read more...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Historic maps tell tale of Sandwich’s decline (The Windsor Star, 24 Dec 2010, Page A5)

Historic maps tell tale of Sandwich’s decline
The Windsor Star
24 Dec 2010

Sandwich is on the map — in a big way. A new historical atlas of Sandwich has been selected as the “2010 Best Map” by prestigious U.K. periodical, the Journal of Maps. The atlas, which contains eight historical maps of the former town of Sandwich as...read more...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Insight on the Ambassador Bridge Co. from a ward 2 resident and business owner

A letter from Mike Cardinal:

On Monday, 27 September 2010 at approximately 10 a.m. I witnessed employees of the Ambassador Bridge Company “landscaping” their neglected house at 781 Indian Road with a Front End Loader.
Last spring I witnessed and photographed an Ambassador Bridge truck and Front End Loader removing city trees from the city boulevard between the sidewalk and street of several houses in the 500 block of Indian.  This time, the Front End Loader drove toward me while taking pictures and only stopped within a few feet. He was attempting to intimidate me to stop taking pictures of their activity. 
Why the secrecy?
Why the intimidation?
If there is nothing wrong with what they are doing, why not take a picture?
If there is nothing wrong with what they are doing, why intimidate a witness with a huge Front End Loader?
If there is nothing wrong with what they are doing, why demand my name and take down my car license number?
If there is nothing wrong with what they are doing, why can I now fully expect my license to be run, name and address found, and the “front end loader” of the Ambassador Bridge office to start digging up dirt on me and my business in Sandwich Towne?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Windsor crimes hit the web

A great tool to fight crime!

Windsor crimes hit the web

Neighbourhood Watch

Due to an increase in break-ins lately, I want to remind all residents of the importance of building Neighbourhood Watch teams on your block. 

You can promote safety, crime prevention and bring your neighbours together by forming a Neighbourhood Watch on your street. In doing so, follow these 3 easy steps:

1) Get a FREE Police Clearance at Windsor Police Station and once complete, give to Didi Johnston at City Hall
2) Sign up at least 50% of your neighbours (only one representative per house required)
3) Organize 4 meetings per year at a local establishment

Together, we are building a safer west-end, one block at a time!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bridge sues over â€�bad faith’ interim demolition bylaws (The Windsor Star, 22 Jul 2010, Page A3)

Bridge sues over â€�bad faith’ interim demolition bylaws
The Windsor Star
22 Jul 2010

Charging the city with abuse of power and accusing it of “ulterior motivation,” the Canadian Transit Company, owner and operator of the Canadian portion of the Ambassador Bridge, is suing Windsor over its inability to tear down the west-side homes it...read more...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

3 Easy Steps in Forming a Neighbourhood Watch

You can promote safety, crime prevention and bring your neighbours together by forming a Neighbourhood Watch on your street. In doing so, follow these 3 easy steps:

1) Get a FREE Police Clearance at Windsor Police Station and once complete, give to Didi Johnston at City Hall
2) Sign up at least 50% of your neighbours (only one representative per house required)
3) Organize 4 meetings per year at a local establishment

Together, we are building a safer west-end, one block at a time!

Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis to seek third term

Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis to seek third term

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Young entrepreneurs see opportunity in weak economy (The Windsor Star, 15 Jul 2010, Page A3)

Young entrepreneurs see opportunity in weak economy
The Windsor Star
15 Jul 2010

Neo-punk entrepreneurs. That may be the most accurate way to describe two teenaged Windsor brother and sister who have eschewed those summer job hunt tribulations to go into business for themselves, supplying likeminded young people with “the stuff...read more...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

SKATE 4 DONOVAN - Fundraiser

At 9am skate-a-thon participants will skateboard from the downtown river front monument "The Spirit of Windsor" train and travel westbound along the path to the Ambassador Bridge then skate back to Atkinson Skate Park. After the closing ceremonies there will be a Game of S.K.A.T.E. along with a Childrens Fun Fair in the park.

Dovovan's Story:

At the age of two Donovan was diagnosed with a Brain Tumor which was located in his cerebellum. The brain tumor caused Hydrocephalus also known as "water on the brain" resulting in a permanent VP shunt. He had a tube running from his brain ventricles into his abdomen releasing CF fluid. Donovan was tumor free for 1 year and 4 months, as of February 2010 the tumor has begun to grow again. Donovan has had 4 brain operations, including an EVD (external shunt), a tumor removal, to insert the VP shunt, and another due to infection.

Since the tumor removal, we travel back and forth to London every 2-3 months for a MRI. After the date of the MRI, we then return 5 days later to get the results. Due to the lack of education and equipment here in Windsor, we have to travel to London even for an emergency.

The money raised in the skate-a-thon will go to Donovan and his family to assist in health and travel expenses. Donations will be accepted and appreciated.

Pledge forms are available at:
Hometown Skate Shop - 519-253-1113
Elements Action Sports – 519-977-1121
Friend 4 Atkinson - 519-254-8624

U.S. law on Moroun's side, constitutional lawyer says

"If Canada really cares about border congestion, it should beef up staffing of customs booths and support the Ambassador Bridge plan to twin its 1929 bridge, he said. That's the only way there's going to be a new bridge between the U.S. and Canada." -- a statement made by a Wayne State Law Professor. It's now up to the Senate to give the final approval...

U.S. law on Moroun's side, constitutional lawyer says

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Closing of Another West End School –

Good article written by City Council Ward 3 candidate Tristan Fehrenbach on school closings. To preserve existing schools, Tristan states: "It will also require an alliance of Windsor city councillors, school board trustees and administrators who are concerned about the problem, along with some creativity and passion." I agree with that statement on the belief that preserving and/or closing schools should not solely be a question of declining enrollment within the school board but should also be a city-wide planning issue whereby all parties come together to formulate a comprehensive, strategic plan that looks out for the best interests of students and the community.

The Closing of Another West End School –

Windsor police ID suspects in west-end brouhaha

Windsor police ID suspects in west-end brouhaha

Friday, June 11, 2010

Neighbourhood Watch

I have spent the past week organizing a Neighbourhood Watch on my block (California St., between College and Girardot) and this morning it is official, we were granted the status of a Neighbourhood Watch.  For residents who are interested in starting a Neighbourhood Watch on their block, here are the basic steps in doing so:

1)  One person at minimum from the block has to commit to being a Block Captain.  This simply entails organizing 4 meetings per year with the neighbours and when necessary, communicating with city officials and police regarding any issues or quarterly meetings.  Also, the Block Captain is responsible for getting a Police Clearance at Windsor Police Headquarters which is FREE of cost and will take about a week from the time you apply for the Clearance.  Thereafter, you will have to give the Police Clearance to Didi Johnston at City Hall and she will give you a package with materials and related info regarding a Neighbourhood Watch.

2)  There needs to be at least 50% approval from the neighbours on your block for the initiation of a Neighbourhood Watch.  This means going door-to-door and having neighbours sign their names and contact info.  From my experience, every single person who was home was interested in the idea and signed their names in support of a Neighbourhood Watch.

3)  Once you have completed steps 1 and 2, you then are responsible for setting up a meeting with your neighbours whereby you can all meet each other and learn about the Neighbourhood Watch program.  After a year of being active, you will be given street signs by the City.

It is by taking ownership and realizing that positive change begins with you, because together, we can build a greater west-end, one block at a time.

Fabio Costante

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Councillor Ward 2

See the link below for an update of candidates running for city council in the west-end. Today, incumbent Ron Jones has filed his nomination papers.

Councillor Ward 2

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sandwich Towne shows arty side

The Festival got great coverage from the Windsor Star. I was able to attend Sunday and really enjoyed the experience--a great way to promote our local artists and the west-end.

Sandwich Towne shows arty side

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

City Paying More Attention to University Neighborhoods

A recent post from a colleague of mine who sells real estate properties...  

"Last two weeks an inspection blitz was being conducted by City of Windsor Building Compliance Officers around the university area.

78 work orders have been issued in one week alone. Garbage is the main one but big or small issues are being written up.

Please ensure to pass this information along to all your tenants, other landlords and residents in the area to keep your property free and clear of garbage."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

School board wants old schools off heritage list

The Greater Essex County District School Board wants the following schools removed from Windsor’s heritage register:

• W.D. Lowe (built 1923) and J.L. Forster high (1922) schools

• Hugh Beaton (1929), J.E. Benson (1915-1922)/, William G. Davis (1966), Prince Edward (1921), Marlborough (1929), David Maxwell (1927), Gordon McGregor (1924) and Queen Victoria (1922) public schools.

J.L. Forster, J.E. Benson and Marlborough are all located in the west-end. In addition, St. Francis--located in Sandwich Towne--is closing this year. This is not good news for our grade school and high school students, and for the west-end community.

School board wants old schools off heritage list

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Volunteers Needed

The 'Friends for Atkinson' group will be finishing the expansion of the skate park this upcoming Saturday at 10am.  If you're interested and available to help, please don't hesitate to participate in this fantastic initiative. 

The 'Friends for Atkinson' park is located on University St. W. in between Rankin and Bridge St.

This group is a great example of how ordinary people can do remarkable things in their communities.  Keep up to great work! 

Sandwich Towne proud of heritage (The Windsor Star, 27 Apr 2010, Page A7)

Sandwich Towne proud of heritage

The Windsor Star
27 Apr 2010

Re: Objections explained, by Gregory Heil, April 9. In one breath, he berates the Ambassador Bridge company for the unauthorized use of his name, and then promptly condemns the entire Sandwich Towne neighbourhood to the heritage scrap heap he alone so...read more...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

CBAR Alum Champions West-End Community

I was recently featured in the CBAR-IPLIN (business-law) Newsletter regarding the community organizing work that I've been involved with alongside other volunteers and activists.  I pasted the article below:

"Our West-End is a grass-roots group, comprised of local citizens and students, begun by CBAR alum Fabio Costante several months ago. The focus of the group is to mobilize and bring people from Windsor‟s west-end together to share ideas and thoughts about the issues and opportunities they face. Such issues range from local peculiarities like the boarded-up homes on Indian Rd. and Edison St., to more general concerns such as attracting investment and development to the area.

Fabio hopes the initiative will engage local citizens and unite the west-end which he considers to be currently divided into four quadrants: Sandwich Towne; the University of Windsor and its surrounding neighbourhoods; the neighbourhoods south of college and east of Huron Church; and the neighbourhoods west of Huron Church and south of College. Efforts to engage local west-enders include going door to door, partnering with groups and organizations in the area, and the establishment of a blog.

There are great things happening in all of the west-end neighbourhoods, and there are also challenges, some unique to a certain neighbourhood, and some reflected in all of the areas. The group aims to bring the four quadrants together and work as one west-end, giving the area a stronger voice at city hall thus increasing its ability to confront its challenges and opportunities.

Fabio's affection for the Windsor's west-end goes back a long time; he has lived in the area for most of his life. “The area is special to me,” he says, “and I‟ve realized that if we seek to change it then someone needs to stand up. This is what I intend to do”"

Thursday, April 8, 2010

West end funds sought (The Windsor Star, 08 Apr 2010, Page A3)

Residents in Windsor’s west end are hoping their plan to revitalize the area will receive support — and money — from city council.

West end funds sought
The Windsor Star
08 Apr 2010

Residents in Windsor’s west end are hoping their plan to revitalize the area will receive support — and money — from city council. About 60 people filled a church basement Wednesday night as the Windsor West Home Owners Association unveiled its...read more...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The heart of downtown Windsor is still beating (The Windsor Star, 03 Apr 2010, Page A8)

The University looking to relocate its Music building downtown.

The heart of downtown Windsor is still beating
The Windsor Star
03 Apr 2010

Perhaps nobody will give a flying pogo stick now that we have our beloved carnival back on the riverfront where it belongs, in all its honky-tonk glory, but it appears downtown Windsor is in line for developments that could mean far more in the long...read more...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Ambassador Bridge v. City of Windsor

Today I came across an ad in the Windsor Star from the Ambassador Bridge, alleging that the City of Windsor--particularly Eddie Francis--is purposely impeding the demolition of boarded-up homes on Indian road.  Their rationale is simple:  we (Ambassador Bridge) are being prohibited from demolishing the homes and "greening" the area because the Mayor and the City are delaying our twin span to benefit their DRIC interests.

As west-end residents, we have been played as pawns in this battle between two large corporations.  I have been getting emails and many have expressed concerns as to the current state of their neighborhoods and its future should the Ambassador Bridge someday twin span.

What's concerning is that there are conflicting facts from both parties and as residents, we have a right to know the real facts.  What are the implications of a twin span on Sandwich Towne?  Does the Ambassador Bridge have a plan for what they will do once they demolish the boarded-up homes?  Is the government, both federal and municipal, acting in bad faith and thus illegally against the Bridge corporation?  Etc.

Once we know the true facts from both sides, we can finally assess the long-term benefits and costs of  demolishing the homes and a potential twin span.  I have been receiving information from local activists and concerned citizens who have a general idea but we still haven't reached any determinative, conclusive facts. We deserve the truth.  As a west-end, we must demand it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How to Plan for Sprawl

Should city council limit the supply of new lands made available to investors for commercial development?

how to plan for sprawl  (The Windsor Star, March 16, 2010)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Community Gathering this Saturday

To all west-end residents and anyone who may be interested:

I will be hosting an informal gathering at Faces on College and California this Saturday at 2pm.  The topics of discussion will range from developing and amalgamating Neighborhood Watch teams to discussing local issues and opportunities that affect us all. 

If you are interested in attending, please email me at fabiocostante@gmail.com or you can reach me at (519) 567 8719. 

I look forward to meeting you!

Fabio Costante

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Plan for 2nd span takes big hit (The Windsor Star, 03 Mar 2010, Page A1)

Another setback for the Ambassador Bridge Co.

Plan for 2nd span takes big hit
The Windsor Star
03 Mar 2010

The U.S. Coast Guard has terminated the Ambassador Bridge’s permit application for a twin span, delivering another major setback for billionaire bridge owner Matty Moroun. Hala Elgaaly, administrator of the coast guard’s bridge program in Washington,...read more...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

'Finally things are looking up' for Windsor-Essex County, survey says

Fantastic news from the annual 'Pulse of the Region' survey.  When I was in undergrad, Dr. Fleisher and I conducted the very first survey and the results were much less optimistic than these.
'Finally things are looking up' for Windsor-Essex County, survey says

Tough times still lie ahead (The Windsor Star, 18 Feb 2010, Page A3)

Good objective article regarding our tax rates and how we could be more competitve on that front.

Tough times still lie ahead

The Windsor Star
18 Feb 2010

It appears Windsor is alone among Essex County governments anxious to pass a 2010 budget that doesn’t include tax increases. The way other local governments in the rest of Essex County continue to raise taxes, you’d hardly know the regional economy...read more...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This secretive billionaire family owns the Ambassador Bridge - thestar.com

"It is like watching a game of seven-card stud. The cards are being turned, the odds seem to be going up for Canada and down for the Ambassador Bridge. ... But anyone who gives you a firm answer is misinformed or pushing an agenda..."
This secretive billionaire family owns the Ambassador Bridge - thestar.com

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Why Your Voice Matters!

Recently, the West Home Owners Association held a community gathering regarding the potential closing of Benson Public School.  The closing of Benson may have devastating effects particularly in the neighborhoods surrounding the school.  Furthermore, there may be greater implications throughout the west-end if the decision to close Benson comes to fruition.

We are all interconnected socially, culturally, and economically here in the west-end and therefore, the closing of a school on Wyandotte -- east of the Ambassador Bridge -- will implicitly have an effect on the small business owner close to the area, but also those west of the Bridge. 

Schools play an integral role in our communities and families are attracted to neighborhoods that have a school where their children can simply walk to, as opposed to taking a school bus.  It is clearly evident, therefore, that closing a school will dissuade many local families from living in the area as they may benefit from moving to a neighborhood with a school in close proximity. 

It is important that all stakeholders in the area speak out about this issue and let your voices be heard.

Please share your thoughts as all are welcome.   

Monday, February 8, 2010

Feds to ponder purchase of Ambassador Bridge

Feds to ponder purchase of Ambassador Bridge

Possible Closure of Benson Public School

Dear West End Residents,

This Thursday, February 11th at 7pm, there will be a community gathering discussing the potential closure of Benson Public School.  It will take place at St. John's Church at 3305 Sandwich St. 

Please pass this message along to anyone concerned. 

All are welcome.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Should Sunset Ave. be closed for pedestrians only?

For all those who attend the University or are regularly there, would you prefer Sunset Ave. (the main University street) closed for pedestrians only?  Let us know your thoughts.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Interested in meeting face-to-face?

Hello everyone,

If you're interested in meeting in person, we will begin hosting face-to-face gatherings in the next few weeks.  There has been a lot of positive feedback and many people are interested in doing good things for the area.    Please send me your contact information at fabiocostante@gmail.com or you can call me at (519) 567 8719 to learn more. 

Fabio Costante

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Do we have the will to change? What is your vision for Windsor?

Do we as a region have the will and the determination to become some place new, some place different? More importantly: How can this happen?

"First, we must let go of the past; it’s gone — history. What we need to focus upon is the future" (excerpt from the Windsor Star).

Do we have the will to change?
The Windsor Star
11 Jan 2010

Putting Windsor-Essex on the road to recovery as a city and a region implies that it has somehow fallen behind other centres in Ontario. Sure we have suffered proportionally from the most recent economic downturn and upheaval, but so have other...read more...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Boarded Up Homes

This article was featured in the Windsor Star today.  Any thoughts? 


Sunday, January 17, 2010

What is your vision for the west end?

As local residents, how do you see the west end?  What are some things we can do to make it better?  

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Our West End

This blog will be dedicated to discussing issues, opportunities and ideas for the west end and the City of Windsor at large.  Topics will range from local peculiar matters such as the boarded up homes on Indian road to city-wide issues such as diversifying our economy and creating jobs and investment.

I look forward to learning from you as we share ideas and work together for the betterment of our west end and city!