Ward 10 is challenged in some ways, when it comes to a sense of community. We don't have a business district like other Wards. While we have a library, it's on the border of the Ward. With no arena or community centre, there is no real central place that residents can take ownership of and call their own. Ward 10 is unique and should be considered the heart of Windsor as it touches on 6 other Wards. Part of my plan is to help bring that sense of community to the Ward. If elected I will:
1. Work with other Councillors to establish a Community Coordinator/Facilitator for each Ward to work on a number of issues, through education, collaboration and organization. Building off of the highly successful United Way strategy in Wards 2, 3, 4 and 5, the City needs a focus on its neighbourhoods as the basic building block of the community. Remington Park, in Ward 10 would be the first focus of such a position.
2. In accordance with our Parks and Recreation Master Plan, establish community gardens in Remington Park and Superior Park in collaboration with schools, community groups, service organizations and businesses. In addition I will investigate the cost and design for a gazebo/shade/BBQ area as an upgrade to Remington Park.
3. Although we don't have the alleys and abandoned houses that other wards do, Ward 10 has numerous locations that people use to dump garbage, such as along South Cameron in the ditches; at the bend of Northwood near Virgina Park or areas of undeveloped property like the area around Daytona Avenue. I will bring forward a motion to change our current large item pickup strategy from a fee based service to a free service for the first 5 items and then fee based for other pickups per address. Adding security cameras and having City crews continually pick up garbage is a solution that isn't working.
4. Our current homeless crisis in Windsor has been building for years. This is a complex issue that requires action by all levels of government. On a city-wide basis, we must realize that this problem isn't restricted to just a few wards but is a problem that requires the support and involvement of all Councillors, not just those in the core. We must end the "not in my Ward" mentality to our problems and I will take the lead in that approach. Council itself must take an immediate and proactive leadership role. If elected I will:
- propose a Special Standing Committee of Council on Community Health and Safety to act as a task force to begin immediately creating short and medium term solutions for things within the power of the City to accomplish. (Health will be removed from the Social Development, Health and Culture Standing Committee, Safety will be removed from the Environment, Transportation & Public Safety Standing Committee). This Standing Committee will be comprised of Council and Community representatives along with representatives from all the current City agencies, charities, community groups, shelters and other partners. We must bring the full resources of the City of Windsor along with other associated agencies, non-profits and charities to begin dealing with this grave issue. We have acknowledged that we have a crisis situation in our city revolving around homelessness, mental health and drug abuse. Crisis situations deserve a special crisis response.
- move for the creation of a safe storage facility for homeless to secure their property. Allows them to access the shelter system, the ability to attend job interviews, shop for food, have a shower, go to medical appointments and other daily activities.
- Move to investigate the creation of an Adult Drop in Centre for the homeless or those at risk of homelessness. The Windsor Youth Centre pioneered a highly successful drop in shelter for youth, yet we have nothing similar for adults. Such a space for adults could include a lounge, computer room and other amenities along with access to medical and social services. The hours would be tailored to complement the existing shelter system.
- Instead of $1.2 million for Police Officers, allocate that money for creating 5 more COAST teams ((Community Outreach and Support Team) made up of both Police Officers and Social Workers to allow for greater coverage by COAST services and the implementation of a Mobile Rapid Response team following the highly successful model in Hamilton. Simply adding more law enforcement and security solutions will only exacerbate the current problems, continue to clog our courtrooms and jails while providing little to no long term solutions to the root cause of our community issues.
- Housing with Supports (HOWS) - investigate whether actions such as an increase in per diems provided to the HOWS sector or an increase in subsidized beds can lead to an increase of 50 to 100 immediate beds for those at risk of homelessness or already homeless. HOWS represents one of the best possible short term solutions to house the homeless, who often have complex issues. The possibility also exists that some clients could be stabilized over time and transitioned into regular accommodation with ongoing support.
- Immediately begin using the powers given Municipalities, that came into force in April of this year, to require developers of new buildings to include a percentage of affordable units as part of the development;
- Amend current Community Improvement Plans (CIPs) to include incentives for building affordable units. Solving our affordable housing shortfall requires both the public and private sector working together. Incentives provide a cost effective method to quickly add much needed affordable units across the city.
5. Speeding in residential neighbourhoods is one of the top issues I hear about when canvassing. Some of this occurs in Ward 10 because of long standing issues with traffic in the Dominion corridor. Those issues will be addressed in the Infrastructure platform plank. Overall though, there is a perception ward-wide that speeds have increased in many neighbourhoods and there is considerable concern over this issue in school areas. If elected I will:
- bring forward a motion to study the creation of “Community Safety Zones” and the implementation of Photo Radar to police those zones;
- move to expedite the completion of the current backlog of traffic calming studies awaiting completion across the city and prioritize their implementation.
6. A healthy and vibrant community requires a robust and efficient Transit system. - Industrial areas and some far reaches of the City, where the jobs are, are currently under-served by our transit system. For many residents it’s difficult to get a good job without a car and they can’t afford a car without a good job. In other instances, travelling east to west or west to east in the city can’t be accomplished without travelling all the way downtown and transferring to another route there. For example, to travel from Forest Glade to St. Clair college requires approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes of travel time, through the downtown transit terminal. If elected I will:
- Move to eliminate our current "hub and spoke system" that no longer serves the City effectively, to be replaced by a grid system;
- Move to adjust our parking rates and the cost of monthly transit passes. Windsor is the only city in Ontario where it’s cheaper to obtain a monthly parking pass than it is to purchase a monthly transit pass. If we want to encourage greater mass transit use, parking must be appropriately priced across the entire city. Increased parking revenue will be redirected to transit improvements.