Ward 2 Update
It has been a while since I last posted on here. Due to COVID-19, all ward meetings across the city will be postponed this year but we will be hosting a telephone town hall this upcoming Thursday, October 8th at 6:30pm. More details to come on this so stay tuned and mark the date and time in your calendar!
I would like to post only some updates since my last post in no particular order of priority or sequence. I know I'll be missing some things but I intend to regularly blog here and share information on my social media sites (facebook and twitter) moving forward.
Sandwich Street Reconstruction
There has been some developments on the Sandwich St. reconstruction project. If you recall, the WDBA, through the Gordie Howe Community Benefits fund, allocated $12million to this project. Thanks to the support of City Council, the City this past year allocated an additional $13.8million. Some preliminary work has started including archeological testing and site testing for sewer realignment. The project is intended to start next year and will be done over several phases and years. It is a huge sewer and road reconstruction spanning from the roundabout to the Gordie Howe Bridge.
Even during the pandemic, we face a housing crunch in our community. As a board member on the Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation (CHC), and as a Councillor, I've been fighting for more social and affordable housing. I am proud of the Meadowbrook development underway that will feature 145 new affordable housing units, and all of the projects Council recently approved along University Avenue West, Sandwich St., and the downtown core.
Council also recently approved moving forward with a city-wide affordable housing CIP. There will be a future report on this so stay tuned.
Lastly, I will be pushing for more social housing development, both at the CHC board and at Council. The federal government is making record investments in social housing and interest rates are at a very low level. Now is the time to invest and build more housing.
Sandwich St. Businesses
If you've taken a stroll down Sandwich St. recently, you would've noticed that there is not one vacant storefront! I will provide more updates on this in the near future but in the meantime, if you get a chance, pop by and support your local business! It is more important than ever during this most difficult period.
Bridgeview Park Update
This is one of those "pull your hair out" projects that took way longer than anticipated. Factors such as COVID and major draining issues greatly delayed the project but it is (fingers crossed) in the final phase now. The trail was installed earlier this summer and the seeding is complete as well. Benches and lighting to be installed shortly. Once it is all done, this will be a great community park for Bridgeview residents, particularly those on Partington, Rankin, Askin, Josephine, Bridge and Campbell. All within walking distance of this newly constructed park.
McKee Park and Paterson Park Updates
I've been working diligently with city administration and other stakeholders to address the dock and boat ramp at McKee Park. Due to climate change and record high water levels, both the dock and boat ramp have been out of commission at McKee Park for a few years now. I will not stop fighting until we see proper infrastructure investment in that park to handle the "new normal" of high water levels. More to come on McKee Park in the near future. Stay tuned!
Paterson Park will see a small investment from the community benefits fund. If you recall, we installed the beautiful Black history murals at the park earlier this year, and during the summer completed the lighting and landscaping surrounding the murals. If you haven't been yet, I would encourage you to take a stroll and learn about some incredible people who were instrumental in building our great City.
Community Benefits First Round Funding
As a member of the Community Benefits committee, I am proud to have supported some of the great projects that have been funded in the first of a 5-year cycle of community benefits. There were many great projects to choose from and I hope many applicants who did not get accepted this round apply again next year. To learn more about the projects, please see the link here: Community Benefits Funding Round 1
Les Amis Duff Baby Lease
Before COVID, Council approved a lease arrangement with the Ontario Heritage Trust (Provincial Body) to allow regular access to the main floor of the Duff-Baby mansion. Thanks to the great advocacy of Les Amis Duff-Baby, and many residents who expressed solid support, we were able to successfully negotiate a formal lease for the first time which will provide stability for the space as we continue telling the Sandwich Town story. More on this here: Duff-Baby Mansion
University Ave. W. and Wyandotte Ave W.
I am pushing for the completion of the University Ave. W. Environmental Assessment to conclude so that we can begin road reconstruction and eventually redevelop the space as a complete street. We were told by administration that the EA will be complete by the end of November, 2020. Following that, I will continue to advocate for more funding for University Ave. W. and a phase of construction to begin as well. For more about this, see here: University Ave W
In addition to the EA, Council passed Community Improvement Plans (CIPs) for both University Ave W. and Wyandotte Ave. W. Both plans will come to Council around the same time as the EA, and will include incentives for development on both main streets. These are very important tools to encourage more residential and commercial development among our corridors. To learn more, see this article here: Main West End Corridors Being Primed for Transformation
Projects in Sandwich Town
Literally weeks before the pandemic, the Windsor Star published an article on a flood of projects earmarked for Sandwich Town. Since COVID, some of these projects have been delayed or set aside until the investors, stakeholders, and City get a better handle on what our future looks like post-COVID. Several other projects, however, have continued, particularly the residential and commercial projects that tapped into the Sandwich CIP. For more on these projects, see here: Flood of Projects Great Sign for Sandwich Town
Since COVID, Adie Knox has been repurposed mostly as a food hub and community resource facility for COVID related needs. The City partnered with the Unemployed Help Centre to provide free food to those in need in our community.
In the meantime, a group has formed since the last debate on Adie Knox back in December, 2019. They are called the "Friends of Adie Knox" group and have an active facebook page. If you are on facebook, I would encourage you to join the group if you love Adie Knox and want to see it grow and develop. Alternatively, if you do not have facebook but want to stay up to date, send me an email and I will connect you with the organizer of the group.
Red Light Cameras and Photo Radar
I've been pushing for more speed calming measures on our roads since being elected. Speeding has become a major issue in our neighbourhoods and the solution to the problem is multi-pronged. One solution is the installation of red light cameras. Council passed the introduction of these cameras and now both RLCs and Photo Radar will be debated at the 2021 budget. Although these cameras alone will not solve all of our speeding problems, they are one tool in the toolbox. I will continue advocating for more speed calming measures and opportunities to encourage safer streets and active transportation (walking, cycling, transit). A quick update on RLCs found here: Red Light Cameras
Since being elected, I've been pushing for more resources and amenities in our alleys to combat the neglect of many of our alleys over the past few decades. Councillors Chris Holt and Rino Bortolin have championed this cause since their election in 2014, and I've joined along since my election to see better standards applied city wide. We will get a report at some point debating alley standards and committing more resources in our alleys. I will continue pushing for more services since alleys are city infrastructure and have the potential to be great spaces in our inner city neighbourhoods. More to come on this in the near future.
Gateway Park is the rail cut between Cameron Ave and Wellington. This park has unlimited potential but for decades it has been owned/managed by our federal counterparts who did not invest in the space. Without divulging much, Councillor Bortolin and I have been pushing for better access to that park so that the City can maintain and control it, and eventually get it up to standard. There will be more information about this park soon, but for now, check out this article back in April, 2019, where a group of volunteers helped clean up the park as they have year over year. https://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/jarvis-an-awesome-awesome-space?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=we%20speak&fbclid=IwAR1OLMhHcCxujKIZGS1KztIBZlzacdZPcGdPkA7ZTsx3KJbN9If7leSzSRM
Substandard Rental Housing
Last but definitely not least is the issue of substandard rental housing in our City. I have been pushing for a Residential Rental License to combat this issue as it appears to be the only solution to the problem. It will not, in and of itself, solve the problem entirely, but it will move the needle on better enforcing building and fire code violations throughout our housing stock in the City. Many landlords are great landlords that "play by the rules", but there are some that don't and put their tenants at risk. We should do all that we can to mitigate against this.
At the Council meeting on October 19th, Council will debate this issue as a response to my earlier Council Question regarding student housing and general housing conditions. I will advocate for better housing standards and I hope my Council colleagues agree.
Almost Two Years Since Election
It has been almost two years since being elected. It has been a true honour and privilege to serve and I will continue working hard every day on your behalf.
Stay in touch!