We have a lot to be proud of here in the City of Windsor.
Over the past year, council and administration continued to work hard to make life better for our residents.
As I look back at the initiatives that have helped advance our city, this is how I see Windsor in 2019:
Rising: We invested nearly $140 million in the local economy, with a special focus on building roads, upgrading sewers and improving our parks.
I’m particularly proud of the Dougall Avenue/CN Rail Pedestrian Underpass and Multi-use Trail project. The new signalled intersection on Dougall Avenue at Ouellette Place will dramatically improve traffic safety, while the addition of a tunnel through the CN Rail overpass finally gives pedestrians and cyclists a safe passage through this busy road and expands our growing network of trails.
Our city continues to attract new businesses aiming to capitalize on our growing economy, strategic location and skilled workforce. This year, private businesses committed investments in excess of $27 million in our community. About a dozen established Windsor businesses also confirmed expansion plans totalling $95.5 million in investments, creating hundreds of new opportunities for our residents.
Progressive: Council approved more than $6 million in incentives to help spur residential construction where we need it most: downtown, Ford City, Sandwich Town and over our brownfields. We approved another $1.9 million in community improvement plan grants to help boost the construction of non-residential projects. Our Economic Revitalization CIP alone has been responsible for retaining 2,310 local jobs since it was launched in 2011 and is expected to create 2,227 new jobs over the next 10 years. This year, it helped preserve 935 private sector jobs.
Healthy: Many of our parks were upgraded in our ongoing efforts to encourage residents to rediscover our playgrounds, recreation facilities and open spaces.
– We installed 28 new playground structures at parks across the city as part of our $7.4 million playground improvement program
– Launched our city’s first off-road cycling facilities at Malden Park and Little River Corridor offering 4.8 km of challenging trails for cyclists of all skill levels
– In partnership with ERCA, committed $2.5 million toward protecting the Peche Island shoreline and invested another $1 million toward enhancing the trails, docks and providing residents with access to the island
– Started Phase 1 of the Festival Plaza Improvements by installing a new retaining wall and trail
Green: The proactive steps we have taken to address and mitigate the effects of climate change have earned the City of Windsor top marks and firmly established us as a leader in environmental management. The City cut its corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 8.2 per cent and decreased the corporation’s energy consumption by 5.7 per cent. Our ambitious climate action plan earned Windsor a grade A in CDP Cities report, which surveyed 800 cities around the world. Windsor was one of only 40 municipalities in North America to receive this grade. Council’s unanimous adoption of a Climate Change Emergency Declaration was a natural next step.
Safe: We appointed Pam Mizuno as chief of the Windsor Police Service. Chief Mizuno brings more than 25 years of experience and is the first woman to hold this position in the history of the WPS. We fulfilled our promise to strengthen WPS by adding 24 new police officers to the force. Council has also approved $450,000 in funding to install security cameras in the downtown core.
Sound: I’m proud to say we achieved these milestones, and many more, while practicing fiscal prudence – as we always do. For the past decade, the City has operated on a budget surplus, and this year was no different. Administration is projecting an estimated year-end surplus of $1.63 million. Meanwhile, we cut our gross debt down to $70.6 million (from its peak of $230 million in 2003) and retained our Standard & Poors AA credit rating, which we have proudly held since 2007. In 2019, the City was awarded over $35 million in grant funding, which we actively pursued to help address several capital project needs, including flooding, road reconstruction, studies and replacement of equipment.
As we come to the end of this banner year and head into a new decade, I’m filled with excitement and optimism for the future of Windsor and look forward to moving our city even further ahead in 2020.
– Mayor Drew Dilkens