Joan Mavrinac Answers Re: Community Engagement and Empowerment

1. I think that community advocacy is one of the great strengths of West Windsor.  There are a significant number of formal and informal groups who have come together to address issues that are important to them.  As a Council member, I think that making myself available to these groups, familiarizing myself with their objectives and helping them along in any way that I might would be my role. Networking groups with the resources they might need, as well as facilitating access to City administration and City resources.

2. This is a very important issue to me.  I will resist the sale of any park. The more park space and better use of park facilities has a direct co-relation with the health of communities.  The Windsor-Essex population suffers from unusually high rates of Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiac disease and Obesity.  We need to help our residents young and old to adopt healthy habits and exercise.  Green space in a community can play a significant role in keeping the population healthy.

As I have walked the neighbourhoods in Ward 2, I have noted both the total absence of playground equipment, or insufficient equipment in local parks to meet the needs of the neighbourhoods.  Many parks lack even simple benches or picnic tables. I have been told in more than one neighbourhood that residents don’t let their children visit the parks alone, because too often fights will occur when too many children are trying to access too little equipment.

We need to encourage usage of our community parks by working with neighbourhoods to properly equip and provide programming suitable to the area.

Not only could we provide children’s playground equipment, many municipalities have begun to equip community parks with outdoor Gym equipment suitable for adults—eliptical machines, treadmills, etc. that run only on human power and are weather-proof.

Community gardens, walking clubs, Tai Chi are other ways to engage both adults and children.  I would also like to see the summer parks supervisors that once organized games and crafts in the parks brought back.  I think that this program not only offered valuable summer employment for students, it also brought neighbourhood children together, interacting in a positive and constructive manner. 

3. There are a great number of ways we can work to eliminate the perception of West Windsor as an unsafe community.  Re-branding (“River West”), securing positive press, and encouraging our own residents to begin talking about West Windsor more positive ways, are but a few.  Community engagement, particularly bringing people together around neighbourhood issues and neighbourhood renewal, will, I believe,  be the catalyst for this change. 

I have a great deal of respect for the Windsor Police Service and enjoy an excellent relationship with our police personnel, having worked with them as Director of Human Resources several years ago.  I know that the Service is always keen to work with community organizations and neighbourhoods to improve the security and well being of local residents.  I know that the Police Service would be very helpful in organizing an effort to improve negative perceptions that plague West Windsor.

4. I support this initiative without reservation. One of West Windsor’s greatest strengths is the great number of individuals who demonstrate their commitment to our community through various forms of local activism.  From protecting and improving parks and neighbourhood resources, offering programs to children, to removing snow for the elderly--West Windsor is a community where people know their neighbours and look out for them. Bringing these groups together and focusing the combined energy and commitment can only improve and expand these efforts. 

I see this plan as pivotal in renewing and restoring West Windsor and I would unreservedly commit myself to doing everything I could to support this initiative.  I would see myself  helping as needed with matters involving City Administration, but also utilizing my broad network of contacts in the greater Windsor-Essex community to advance the objectives of this strategy for the betterment of our West Windsor.


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