Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens has relaunched a campaign urging local candidates to support five key issues.
By resurrecting “Platform 4 Windsor”, Dilkens is urging each candidate, regardless of political affiliation, to affirm their support for the issues. He says the website will be updated once the individual candidates confirm their commitment to these local priorities.
“During last year’s Federal election, I launched Platform4Windsor to encourage debate and to ensure that our community’s priorities were front and center during that campaign,” says Dilkens. “All candidates should support these five items that align with our current and long-term local priorities, have significant community support, and will make a big difference in the City of Windsor, and beyond.”
Dilkens says there are several key items that require partnership and cooperation between municipal and provincial government. He adds each of the five issues have been discussed at Windsor City Council, and aligns with the identified needs of residents.
“There’s a universe of probably 100 issues you could bring forward,” Dilkens said. “These are five that I’ve particularly picked because I think they’re important for the City of Windsor.”
“All of them have some element of council support where they’re reports that have gone through city council. Council is aware of the issues and we want to get some traction and support on these particular items because we believe they’re important to the city’s future.”
However, Ward 3 councilor Rino Bortolin doesn’t agree with Dilkens’ approach.
“I didn’t think it was appropriate when he put it out for the federal election,” he said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate now.”
Bortolin said candidates should hear from residents themselves on what they believe top priorities are rather than the mayor.
“Every issue. Yes, we discussed that council but this is just the mayor’s singular his one man’s opinion on what the issues are,” he said. “This wasn’t endorsed by council.”
Platform 4 Windsor’s Five Priorities:
- Health Care Funding: Securing the provincial share of construction costs associated with the building of the new regional acute care hospital is crucial. The Province invested nearly $10-million in 2021 for the planning and design phase, with that work now underway. As we plan for next steps, including construction, we will compete for scarce provincial health care resources. Since 2016, the City has collected over $30-million through a special hospital levy, with the County of Essex also collecting funding from their residents. The new hospital is expected to cost more than $2-billion. By 2023, the planning and design will be complete, and we will need confirmation of the province’s share of capital funding to see shovels in the ground.
- Housing Affordability: Working families are being priced out of the housing market, unable to realize their dream of home ownership. Aggressive action will be required to speed up development approvals, encourage density, and build new affordable housing units. The Provincial Government will need to show leadership and resolve to deploy various tactics that help lower the cost of housing.
- Extending Lauzon Parkway to the 401: The City of Windsor approved an Environmental Assessment Study to determine the design and route of a full extension of Lauzon Parkway, including a connection to the 401. The City will need to fund the municipal construction costs, including the realignment and extension of the approaching road and other municipal services, but the Province of Ontario is responsible for the 400-series highway network and should partner with the City to fund the interchange.
- Ojibway Prairie Complex: The Province of Ontario should integrate their land holdings at Ojibway Prairie Reserve and encourage the completion of the national urban park, including Ojibway Shores and Black Oak Heritage Park to create a single national urban park to be operated by Parks Canada.
- Economic Development & Windsor Works: Windsor City Council unanimously adopted Windsor Works, a strategy and guiding document for economic development and diversification. The City asks the next Provincial Government to dedicate time and resources to further support the implementation of Windsor Works’ LIFT Strategy: Location; infrastructure; Future Economy; and talent.
Bortolin told CTV News Tuesday he believes the list is “short sighted” ahead of the provincial election and suggested it lacks several issues.
“There’s no mention of education, no mention of climate change, no mention of long term care after what happened with COVID. There’s no mention of day care. The five items that were put forward, there won’t be a candidate that will have trouble supporting the five items.”
“I just don’t see extending Lauzon Parkway to the 401 as a priority for most residents in this city,” he said. “And I would be willing to bet money that if you asked 1,000 people, that didn’t even make the top 50.”
Dilkens said there’s many issue that could be added to the list, but he believes those selected are important for the city’s development.
“This could become very distracting if you put 100 items on the list, even if you put a dozen items on the list.” Dilkens said. “We found five core items that I think most people in the community can understand, they can appreciate, they respect that these are important for the development and growth of the City of Windsor and we’re hoping that all candidates get behind this as well and support the Platform for Windsor.”
The provincial election is June 2.
City Hall building in Windsor, Ont. on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. (Chris Campbell/CTV Windsor)