City Updates - May 18, 2019


I have several updates since my last blog post. Let's get to it.

Council Meeting - May 6, 2019

At our Council meeting on May 6th, 3 applications came before Council for rezoning. All three applications dealt with student housing. One on Russell St. by Brock, the second on Wyandotte W. by Rosedale, and the third on the 700 block of Rankin. These types of applications have been made and approved over the decades to accommodate student housing and affordable housing in general. All the while, we've never had a coordinated student housing strategy. For this reason, I asked that administration report back on a student housing strategy that looks at, among many things, concentrating student housing on campus (UofW and St. Clair College) and on arterial roads and streets that do not intrude on residential neighbourhoods. I also called for a review of property standards bylaws to increase enforcement and safety for all tenants. There will be more to come on this and I am excited to get working on solutions with City administration, Council colleagues, and the community.

If you are interested in my full council question, send me an email and I can forward you the question in its entirety. Here are some articles that featured the council question and student housing developments:

West End Councillor Seeks Report to Tackle Student Housing

Councillor Looks to Solve Student Housing Issues in the West End

Dirty Yards Fee Increase and Proactive Blitzes 

At budget, City Council increased the fine for dirty yards to $215, effective May 7th. Council will further review at a future date the possibility of increasing fines for other bylaw infractions. We hope this increase in fines helps deter some of the activity. See the link for more info on this matter: Getting Tough with Dirty Yards!

At our May 7th Council meeting, I further asked for a report back on proactive by-law blitzes and the cost to do the same. This came from Coun. Gignac's Council Question in 2017. This may be a short-term investment that may prove to be beneficial long-term and reduce the number of complaint-driven by-law calls and enforcement. More to come on this too.

Sandwich Town Business District Developments 

You may have heard that Dollarama is looking to open up at the old grocery store on Sandwich St. An application will come to council at our next meeting on May 27th. I welcome any new development in our community, especially on our main street where we've had a vacant building for 1.5 years that is in desperate need of repair. There will be significant investments made to restore the property, add an addition, and extend the parking lot. With all this said, we still have to continue the fight for a grocery store, financial institution, and other core amenities for Sandwich Town. I am hopeful that our revised Community Improvement Plan, along with increased density and investments, can be the catalyst to drive further growth and development.

I want to give a shoutout to an already existing small grocery store / mini mart that exists in Sandwich. The Community Food Mart right next to Buddies and two stores from my law office has been around for several years. Here is a review from a local west-ender on the Community Food Mart:

"Community Food Mart carries a wide selection of foods from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria. In addition, there is a good selection of Canadian foods and fresh produce. Said and his wife are most friendly and always pleased to help me find things. Said is a butcher; the meat is always fresh. On Fridays there is mouthwatering biryani for takeout, too! Don’t be fooled by the modest storefront, CFM is a truly a diamond in the crown of Sandwich Town. Address: 3212 Sandwich Street. Phone: 519.915.3642"

Gateway Park / Riverwest / University Ave / Grace Site

We are on the brink or a complete revitalization. I can sense it. I can see it. We are very close.

In late April, many residents, MP Brian Masse, Coun. Rino Bortolin, myself, community groups and stakeholders got together and helped clean Gateway Park (between Cameron and Wellington from Riverside to University Ave. and another stretch from University to Wyandotte). There is still a lot of work to do and if the City can gain access to the park, the opportunities are endless. More on this development here: An Awesome, Awesome Space

Between the possible Gateway Park development, University Avenue West reconstruction, and development at the old Grace Site and the old Junction property, Riverwest is on the brink of complete revitalization. Yes, I am hopeful, but I am also very much encouraged by the level of involvement from residents and leaders in our community to make their community better.

Have a great long weekend!



  1. We don't want student housing project on wyandotte street west help us fight this..


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