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.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Crafty solution to starting business - Olde Sandwich Towne

Speaking of positive stories...

Crafty solution to starting business

Positive Stories

Hello everyone:

I am deciding to incorporate more positive stories about the west-end routinely and continuously.  After chatting with several subscribers and asking them for their honest input, the biggest trend I found was that people wanted to hear more positive, good stories about the west-end.  I agree!!  We have so much to be proud about and we should tell our story to the rest of the city and region.  However, I can't do it alone and will ask that if anyone would like to write me a positive story about the west-end, I would be more than happy to post that story and share it with our many subscribers.

The original intent of Our West End was to discuss issues and opportunities related to our neighbourhoods, particularly to do with crime.  I have always been and will always be adaptable to changes but I still believe our core purpose is to make the west-end the best place to live, work and play and in doing so, we should be up front and honest about our challenges, but also celebrate our strengths.

Touching upon the latter, and consistent with the them of being positive, I will get the ball rolling on two positive stories regarding our west-end and both have to do with our greatest asset:  our people.

Yesterday I attended the Ward 2 debate which was extremely well attended.  It was wonderful to see so many people engaged in the political process.  It was a clear demonstration that west-ender's care about their neighbourhoods and love the area in which they live.  I can say unequivocally -- and I know this because I've knocked on thousands of doors -- that people who reside in the west-end are resilient, good hard working people who care not only for themselves and their families, but also their neighbours and their respective community.  I am fortunate to be a resident in the area and privileged to know so many great people.

This morning I presented to students at Forster high school.  To many in this region, Forster is seen as a tough school where students have bleak futures.  But today I saw something fundamentally different.  I saw bright minds and energetic personalities with immense potential.  All that these students need is a bit of hope and I am convinced that their future will be prosperous.

Like I mentioned earlier, it would be wonderful to have guest writers send me some positive stories every once in a while and I will post them to the blog.  In addition, I will try to post one positive story per week if possible. 

Thanks everyone for helping make Our West End the best place to live, work and play.

Fabio Costante

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Comments for Ward 2 meeting on November 23, 2011

Below is a letter that was written by a Ward 2 resident who will be unable to attend Wednesday's Ward 2 meeting.  His concerns and letter are as follows: 
I thank the representatives of the city and university for taking the time to hear comments from residents.  As I am unable to attend the Ward 2 meeting, I am providing these comments by email.  As suggested by council staff, I have indicated those comments to which I request a reply.
My vision for the neighbourhood is a clean, quiet, happy place with a diverse mix of families, university professors, graduate students, undergraduate students, and retirees.  The city and university should encourage and support diverse populations and property use within each neighbourhood since experience has shown that concentrating any one population leads to problems.

1. Parking by-law enforcement
A.   I commend the Commissionaires for their generally prompt response to complaints made on weekdays and Saturdays and they usually lay a ticket.
B.   Police are slower to respond to parking complaints after hours and on Sundays and holidays, which I fully understand since it is a low priority call.  I do not understand the unwillingness to write a parking ticket for even the most obvious violations.  I have observed several instances where all the police officers do is tell the driver to move the car so they don't need to lay a ticket.
C.   Parking on the lawn should be ticketed by the Commissionaires immediately instead of by the building inspectors after a few weeks of repeated complaints.  If this requires a revision to the by-laws, then city council should get started on it.  [I request a reply]
D.   The parking permit system is broken.  The restriction against a resident of the zone passing a permit to someone living outside the zone is easy to violate and apparently not enforced.  My street is full of parked cars during the day and most of those cars are gone at night.  That would not happen if the permits were truly issued only to drivers who lived on my street.  I propose instead a permit that is: permanently affixed to each vehicle; renewable for varible time periods to match academic schedules; and remotely scannable by an enforcement officer driving by.  [I request a reply]

2. Dirty yard/uncollected trash by-law enforcement
A.   By-law officers need to be quicker responding to these complaints.  Every day that a mattress, or a couch, or a roll of carpeting, or an old broken cabinet stays on the curb is another day of irritation for the responsible residents in the neighbourhood and another day of evaded accountability for the irresponsible residents.  The by-law is on the books; enforce it.
B.   There is a clear pattern during the year for the number of these complaints, with most coming at the end of the academic term when renters move in our out.  There should be a corresponding level of effort by the city to address these complaints.
C.   Is there already a summary report published by the city for dirty yard enforcement?  If so, please tell me how to obtain it.  If not, I request that one be prepared on an annual basis for each ward showing: the number of complaints received, the number of 'orders to comply' issued, the number of violations of those orders, the number of times a city crew picked up the trash, and the amount of fees charged to property owners.  [I request a reply]
D.   How can I find out from public records where the fees charged for city cleanups of dirty yards are accounted for?  [I request a reply]

3.    Noise by-law enforcement
A.   I have been disappointed for years by the indifferent and ineffective response of both police and by-law officers to repeated complaints.  In the latest round of disappointment, I made two complaints a few weeks apart against the same address.  A by-law officer responded by warning the residents at that address that more complaints may lead to charges.  He informed me that I would need to testify in court and I replied that I would do that.  After a third incident and complaint from me, the by-law officer informed me that my complaints were not sufficient to lay any charges and the file was closed.
B.   I would like to know from either the police or by-law (preferably both) what evidence they require to lay a charge for a noise by-law violation.  [I request a reply]
C.   Since most noise complaints in the neighbourhood occur late at night when the by-law officers are not available, the police need to apply a consistent and aggressive protocol to end the cycle of repeated violations that occur at a small number of locations.  Patrol officers prefer to exercise their discretion on such calls, but my experience has shown that approach to be wholly inadequate.
D.   The protocol I propose for the police response to house parties is:
First call to an address: Move all the guests inside or send them home, identify the tenants, name them in the call report, and warn them the next call will result in a Part I summary citation.
Second call to the same address: Move all the guests inside or send them home, identify the tenants, name them in the call report, issue a Part I summary citation to anyone previously warned, and warn them the next call will result in a Part III charge and a court appearance.
Third call to the same address: Move all the guests inside or send them home, identify the tenants, name them in the call report, lay a Part III charge against anyone previously cited.
It doesn't matter if these calls are an hour apart or a year apart.  If the same residents at the same address repeatedly violate the by-law, they must be called to account.  [I request a reply]
E.   On Friday of the Halloween weekend of 2010, all the house parties on Askin and Randolph north of Wyandotte were monitored by extra patrols and all were shut down before midnight.  That was a thoroughly satisfactory response by the police.  On Saturday, there was no such response and several house parties in the same area went on most of the night.  The pattern for house parties in Ward 2 is well established: the first weekend of term in September, the Halloween weekend, and the last weekend of term in April.  I would like to see added patrols on Friday and Saturday of those weekends and to see all the parties shut down by midnight.  I know the police are capable of it, but I don't know why they don't do it consistently.

4. Coordinated response
A.  I propose the U-W campus police “powers and patrol area” be expanded so they can promptly confirm complaints the police respond to slowly (like noise and parking).  I am not asking the campus police to enforce any laws, or even get out of their vehicles.  I am only asking they be dispatched by the city police to the scene of common late-night complaints (noise, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, parking, etc.).  Once on the scene, the campus police would report the situation to the city police dispatcher to either confirm or deny the complaint and assess the need for a more timely city police response.  Because the city police often take an hour or more to respond to common complaints in the neighbourhood, the proximity and quicker response time of the campus police should be exploited.  [I request a reply]
B.  Is there any data exchange between the by-law office, the city police, and the campus police so that an officer of any agency responding to a given address can view a list of complaints reported to the other agencies?  [I request a reply]

5.  Follow-up on Mill Street keg party of September 2009
A Windsor Star article of September 28, 2009 indicated that several people were arrested for public drunkenness, obstructing justice, and resisting arrest at a keg party on Mill Street.  The same article states the police were investigating possible charges under the Liquor License Act.  How were all of these charges resolved?  Were guilty pleas obtained and fines imposed?  Were any charges taken to trial?  If so, what were the results of those trials?  [I request a reply]

6.  Sidewalks and snow
What does the city require of a resident regarding clearing the sidewalk in front of their residence after a snowfall?  [I request a reply]

Break-In 900 Block of California Ave.

Hi Fabio...my neighbours house was broken into around 6:00 pm on Sunday evening. He believes they came through the front window. He also owns a dog which I never heard bark so he believes it could have been someone who knows them. They took a lap top and a new computer and a few other electronic items. He had just installed a new porch light as well as there had been a previous attempt a month or 2 ago. There has been much more foot traffic in the area from students so thieves blend in. I believe houses in this area are being targeted due to people believing most of the houses are student residences and have electronics in them.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

North Merritt Park

There was graffiti recently painted along the fences facing North Merritt Park, particularly on the properties adjacent to Vercheres, Askin and Merritt.  The action took place sometime after dark and before morning.  Police were notified and already inspected the premises.  Evidence such as paint cans was gathered and will hopefully be useful in catching the culprit(s). 

Source:  West-End Resident

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Windsor Targets Abandoned Homes

The City of Windsor plans to get tough on owners of abandoned or derelict buildings.  City council will deal with a "blight mitigation strategy," which was developed by city staff.  This may have implications on the boarded-up homes in Sandwich Towne.  See the link to learn more: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/story/2011/11/15/wdr-blight-mitigation-strategy.html

Friends of the Court

I was invited and attended the Friends of the Court annual general meeting. The Friends of the Court does work throughout the year to ensure that Mackenzie Hall remains the vibrant Cultural Centre it has grown to be.  To learn more about the Friends of the Court or Mackenzie Hall, click on the following link: http://www.citywindsor.ca/002846.asp

Fabio Costante

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thank You

Just a quick thank you to all of the volunteers who have helped me deliver flyers and knock on doors these past few weeks.  The success of Our West End is highly dependent on the level of involvement from residents in the area.  Whether it's reporting a crime, discussing an issue, helping spread the word by canvassing and dropping flyers, or simply telling friends and neighbours about what we do; every little bit counts.  So again, THANK YOU!

I will continue dropping flyers and canvassing every Sunday until the holidays.  If you're interested in coming along, please drop me an email at fabiocostante@gmail.com.

All the best,

Concern Over West-End Parks

Hi Fabio,
I have attached the Park Usage Report and the appendixes, the council minutes from July 4 --which aren't very informative (they deferred), although I think it is interesting to note that the topic was identified as "surplus parkland" (pg. 20 of July 4 council minutes) and that the report is titled "Park Usage", while all the media coverage is about the City's obligations under the accessibility legislation.  (Does this seem odd to you?--I am thinking that the accessibility legislation is being used as an "enabler" for the sale of public parks that Council has tried in the past.)
One line from the report particularly concerns me: "In some cases the function of a neighbourhood park can be better accommodated by the closest community/regional park."  Clearly, Ward 2 is "deficient" in "neighbourhood" parks and over-supplied in "community/regional" parks--the waterfront, Mic Mac and Malden are all in our catchment--I am concerned that this statement sets us up for being "better accommodated by community/regional" parks rather than our neighbourhood parks.
Finally, the statement "A separate in-camera report will be forwarded for Councils consideration regarding the acquisition/disposition of park land in accordance with the City's Procedural By-Law." also concerns me greatly, as I am afraid that the decisions about our parks might be taken behind closed doors and presented "Fait accompli".
Please forward these documents to others in our neighbourhood who might share my concerns and urge them to come to the Ward meeting on November 23.
If residents would like copies of the documents aforementioned, please email me at fabiocostante@gmail.com.  I apologize for not being able to attach them to this post but unfortunately blogger doesn't allow word attachments. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Attempted Break-In on Vercheres

There was an attempted break-in on the 2100 block of Vercheres earlier this week.  Fortunately, the culprits were unsuccessful in trying to get into the house.  Police have been contacted. 

Source: West-End Resident

Friday, November 11, 2011

Noise Complaint: City of Windsor By-Law 6716

Dear Residents: 

Sent to me by email from a west-end resident: 

Hello again Fabio,

Attached is a Word file with a stripped-down version of the written complaint form I left with you at the Green Bean.  Some people may find it more convenient than the hard copy.  Those who are not digitally adept could fill out by hand the hard copy.  The hard copy also has part of the by-law on the back, which the Word file does not.


I, (name )______________________________________________________________________
of  (address of Residence) _____________________________________________________
state that the following information is true to the best of my knowledge and belief (please attach additional pages if required):

Date of Incident

Description Of Noise
(Include as many details as possible)

From where did noise originate?
(Include address)
How do you know it came from there?

Where were you when you heard the noise?
(Include Address)

Were Windows/Doors Open?
At  your location?
At offence location?
  Yes          No
  Yes          No
  Yes          No
Did it interfere with your quality of life?

If so, in what way?

________________________________________________                ___________________________________
Signature of Witness                                                              Date

Monday, November 7, 2011

Proposed Lease of Sandwich Parkette at 3110 Sandwich St

City Council approved the lease of the property known municipally as 3110 Sandwich Street for a period of ten years, subject to mutually agreed upon terms and conditions between the City of Windsor and Suncor Energy Product Partnership.

The land will continue to be used as a parkette under the lease agreement.

To learn more about the agreement see this link: http://www.citywindsor.ca/DisplayAttach.asp?AttachID=24639


Fabio Costante

River Rouge stops hum investigation

River Rouge stops hum investigation

McEwan -- Replica gun sparks heavy police response

Replica gun sparks heavy police response

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ward 2 Meeting

Dear residents:

On November 23 at 6pm, Councilor Ron Jones will host a Ward 2 meeting at the Church of the Ascension on University Ave. W.  The meeting will address accomplishments and future plans and will feature representation from Windsor Police, Public works and the Planning and Bylaw department.  

I look forward to seeing you there!

Fabio Costante