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  #121  
Old Posted May 2, 2006, 5:20 PM
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The state of the city address last night was really good. Francis sure seems to have his head on straight for being so young.
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  #122  
Old Posted May 3, 2006, 2:55 PM
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Link to the Mayor's State of the City address:

http://www.citywindsor.ca/2006StateoftheCityAddress.pdf
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  #123  
Old Posted May 3, 2006, 2:57 PM
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Any word on how the plans for the new city jail are progressing?

I have read that a class action may be filed with respect to the conditions of the old jail. Also at least one person has received extra credit for time served in that facility because of the deplorable conditions.
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  #124  
Old Posted May 3, 2006, 4:00 PM
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Haven't heard anything about the jail. The conditions are pretty bad but hey, they're criminals. Canada's justice system is a joke anyway.

Last edited by Blitz; May 4, 2006 at 4:52 PM.
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  #125  
Old Posted May 4, 2006, 4:21 PM
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Although the benefits may not be seen for another 10 years, the rails to trails initiative could be the qualify of life factor that gives Windsor an incredible shot in the arm. The new trail system would provide Windsorites with a source of pride and something to brag about to people outside the city. An extensive urban trail system would be a wonderful selling point for getting people to move to Windsor. If only the dollar and the US WHTI would cooperate....

More rail discussion from the Windsor Star's Gordo:

Liability to asset

Gord Henderson, Windsor Star
Published: Thursday, May 04, 2006

We call it The Rose City but a more apt title for Windsor would be Bondage Burg, given the 55 kilometres of railway line and 75 rail crossings that tie this city up in knots.

It's a dubious claim to fame, but Windsor boasts the highest concentration of track per capita of any city in Canada and more than 11,000 Windsor homes (a staggering 13 per cent of all dwellings) are located within three football field lengths of a railway line.

The wrong side of the tracks? Hell. We all live on the wrong side of the tracks in Windsor, given their almost universal presence here.

But could this city's worst feature (apart from Zalev) become its greatest asset? That's the argument Mayor Eddie Francis was making during his state-of-the-city address when he invoked the memory of the late Roy Battagello, Windsor's waterfront warrior, in pushing a rails-to-trails plan that would extend the riverfront park system along vacated rail corridors.

"Roy. We hear you," said Francis in vowing to build on the riverfront legacy left by visionaries like Battagello and the late mayor Bert Weeks in making rail corridor transformation Windsor's urban renewal project of the 21st Century.

Nancy Battagello, Roy's widow, told me she's delighted with the initiative. "I think it's wonderful. Way back when Roy had his original vision for the riverfront, he had an idea for greenways running through the city and county. If he was here, he'd be giving Eddie a lot of advice."

But she warned the proposal, like her husband's riverfront vision, is bound to face hostility from a segment of the community that will dismiss it as a costly pipedream and a misuse of tax dollars that could be used to fill potholes.

BATTAGELLO THICK-SKINNED

"It will come up against a lot of criticism," said Battagello. She pointed out that her husband ran into waves of negativity over greening the riverfront "but he was very thick-skinned so he just plodded along." The problem, she said, is that many people live only for the moment and don't see their obligation to make improvements that will primarily benefit future generations.

Fortunately, said Battagello, more and more people are travelling and seeing how things are done elsewhere and they appreciate living in a city that's aesthetically pleasing.

Decades of clamouring and bickering preceded that historic 1999 Riverwalk in which 6,000 residents commemorated the formal opening of this city's pride and joy, its 4.7 kilometre ribbon of green from the Ambassador Bridge to the Hiram Walker distillery.

But the next great leap forward could come faster. "Absolutely it will happen," said Francis, referring to plans for an intermodal transportation facility at Windsor Airport that would enable the railway companies to consolidate their operations here.

The mayor, who recently toured an intermodal terminal in Dallas County, Texas, said Transport Canada, rail companies and the city are working in partnership here and there's a sense of urgency, given the financial imperative of alleviating pressure on seaports and removing freight bottlenecks.

If rationalization takes place after complex negotiations among the involved parties, what happens to those many kilometres of abandoned track? Fortunately, said Francis, much of the homework has been done. Technical studies are complete or nearing completion and it's time to consult the community and begin making plans.

Well bring it on, because I can't think of anything that would do more for Windsor's quality of life, not to mention its self-image, than wiping out dozens of traffic-strangling level crossings and turning its butt-ugly rail corridors into green pathways linking all parts of the city.

Imagine being able to walk or cycle from South Windsor to the riverfront without facing a gauntlet of homicidal drivers. Imagine if the overwhelming success of the Ganatchio Trail, the couch potato's worst nightmare, could be duplicated across this city. Imagine if your neighbourhood, like mine, were close to a tree-lined and flower-strewn recreational trail rather than a grimy train route.

Toronto's great lifestyle advantage is its hidden network of leafy ravines. Windsor's big edge as a place to live could some day be its extensive trail system.

Francis, who has set a two-term limit on himself, said he obviously won't be in office to see this vision of a vastly more inviting Windsor completed "but we've got to get it started."

The sooner the better.

ghenderson@thestar.canwest.com

Last edited by upinottawa; May 4, 2006 at 4:41 PM.
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  #126  
Old Posted May 4, 2006, 5:02 PM
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That would really be something to be proud of and it's a great idea. Just look at how well-used the Ganatchio Trail is...even after the city widened the whole thing, it still gets crowded.
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  #127  
Old Posted May 4, 2006, 5:13 PM
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One of the great things about living in Ottawa is having the Canal -- it is amazing to see all the people using the world's longest skating rink in the winter and the jogging paths in the summer. The adds so much to the quality of life.

The new trail system has the potential to do the same for Windsor. If the entire 55 kms are transformed into trials, I wonder where that would put Windsor with respect to other Canadian cities in a comparison of length/square feet of trails/parks?
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  #128  
Old Posted May 4, 2006, 5:54 PM
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We already have our fair share of trails but most of them are confined to the far east and west ends of town. Over the last few years they've added dozens of kms of bike lanes to city streets as well.
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  #129  
Old Posted May 5, 2006, 1:03 PM
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These guys never give up. From today's Windsor Star:

DRTP pitches greener route
Tunnelling, trail up for debate


Dave Battagello, Windsor Star
Published: Friday, May 05, 2006

Backers of a border traffic proposal are willing to discuss tunnelling and greenway options for its rail corridor, former mayor Mike Hurst told city councillors Thursday.

The Detroit River Tunnel Partnership (DRTP) has been a controversial proposal because of its environmental and financial impact on homeowners in South Windsor and the city's west end.

"We hope to create some pause and reflection, then hopefully some response from the city," said Hurst, the DRTP's chief executive.

"If we can assist in moving trucks through a tunnel it would be a huge win for everybody."

DRTP is a partnership between CP Railway and Borealis Infrastructure, an arms-length entity of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS). They jointly own a 14-kilometre stretch of the CASO rail corridor and the Detroit River rail tunnel.

The border traffic proposal hopes to convert the corridor for truck traffic and build a new rail tunnel.

Timing for renewed consideration of DRTP fits in with the city's latest push to have border truck traffic sent through a tunnel, plus its vision to consolidate the city's railway lines and convert the property into green space, Hurst said.

"We want to bring our thinking out to the public and engage in some discussion," he said.

A binational government team assigned to select the next crossing location has dismissed the DRTP plan.

Among the problems cited was the impact on a handful of South Windsor subdivisions, plus the project's proposed joint Canada-U.S. customs truck plaza in the city's centre inside the Van De Water rail yard, located behind Tecumseh Road West near the Bowlero bowling centre.

Greening of rail corridors and the border crossing debate are two separate issues, said Coun. Fulvio Valentinis, chairman of the city's rail issues committee.

"They are not necessarily married to each other," he said.

Regardless of what happens with the DRTP's rail corridor, the project's two-lane, 96-year-old rail tunnel is not a viable alternative for a new border crossing to handle truck traffic into the next century, Valentinis said.

"There are some real serious challenges there," he said.

But greening of rail tracks is something the whole community can embrace, said Valentinis, noting the ongoing joint city-federal rail consolidation study expected to be completed this fall.

© The Windsor Star 2006
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  #130  
Old Posted May 9, 2006, 2:02 PM
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City vows bridge will open

Roseann Danese, Windsor Star
Published: Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A long-awaited bridge that will take commuters to their homes on the city's far east side will be open by year's end, city officials promise.

Work on the Wyandotte Street extension at Riverdale Avenue will begin in June. The first phase of the work will extend the road to Martinique Drive and eventually to Florence Avenue after the city purchases the land from developer Coco Paving, said Mike Palanacki, acting general manager of public works.

A $4-million bridge that crosses Little River was installed last year. The span is part of an $8.8-million extension of Wyandotte, from Riverdale to -- eventually -- Banwell Road. The bridge features two car lanes plus bike routes, with the potential for expansion to four lanes.

Construction of the project stopped, however, after the bridge's arches were installed late last year. And because it's taken a long time for the work to resume, rumours started to circulate in the neighbourhood about the structural stability of the bridge.

BRIDGE 'OVERDESIGNED'

Palanacki dispelled questions about the bridge's soundness. "This bridge, if anything, is over designed," he said.

The delay was the result of "funding shortfalls" and difficulties acquiring the property. The city has not been able to reach a deal with Coco for the land it needs to expand Wyandotte and may have to initiate expropriation.

The city's long-term goal is to have drivers use Wyandotte instead of Riverside Drive. With the explosion of residential development on the far east side, westbound commuter traffic on Riverside Drive has increased. "It's basically at the saturation point," Palanacki said. "Riverside Drive cannot handle additional traffic volumes."

The multimillion-dollar Wyandotte extension is one of many projects aimed at fixing the city's roads and sewers. In total, almost $60 million will be spent this year on infrastructure projects throughout the city.

"It's almost double what we've spent in the last few years," Palanacki said. "Expect a lot of detours this year."

© The Windsor Star 2006
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  #131  
Old Posted May 9, 2006, 9:41 PM
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That Wyandotte Street extension is definitely needed and the new bridge sure is rather extravagant.
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  #132  
Old Posted May 11, 2006, 2:19 PM
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Looking at the Google map, the area of the city where Wyandotte ends is a bit odd. It appears (from the sat. image) to be part park land and part farm land. I might be wrong.

It appears like there is great development potential in that area. Regardless, moving traffic from Riverside Drive should be a plus. I am of the view that the Drive should be used for "a nice drive" rather than as a commuter road.
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  #133  
Old Posted May 11, 2006, 2:24 PM
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Windsor's Population Explosion, part 1

I will divide this into two posts:

- post 1 will be the relevant portion of John Ibbitson's article in today's Globe and Mail

- post 2 will be the Windsor portion of Deb Matthews' thesis


Canada's future rests with open-door immigration

JOHN IBBITSON

...

But if anyone has any doubt about the fundamental importance of immigration to Canada's future, they should talk to the remarkable Deb Matthews.

Not only is she an Ontario Liberal MPP and parliamentary secretary, she is president of the Ontario Liberal Party, the mother of three grown children, and earlier this year she successfully defended her PhD thesis. And what have you done with your life?

Ms. Matthews's thesis focuses on how demographic forces will reshape Canadian cities. One portion of the dissertation projects the future population for 26 Canadian urban centres, assuming no changes to the current fertility rates, internal migration patterns, or immigration levels.

Under these conditions, over the next 20 years, Greater Toronto will grow from five million to seven million people; Vancouver will grow from two million to 2.8 million; Calgary will swell from one million to 1.6 million, and Ottawa from 830,000 to 1.2 million.

But outside the major cities, there is only stagnation and decline. Sudbury will slump from 160,000 to 110,000. Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke and Saguenay will all lose population, although Montreal will experience modest growth (from 3.5 million to four million).

Saskatoon and Winnipeg will win slight gains, but Regina and Thunder Bay will go downhill. Halifax will gain a few thousand souls, while St. John's and Saint John will shrink.

With these same variables, by mid-century the Golden Horseshoe, Windsor, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Vancouver will still be growing. Every other city in the country will be losing population.
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  #134  
Old Posted May 11, 2006, 2:33 PM
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Windsor's Population Explosion, part 2

Here is the relevant portion of Deb Matthews' thesis. The entire thesis can be found at http://www.debmatthews.onmpp.ca/PhD_Thesis.pdf

4.6.5 Windsor

Windsor is one of the big surprises of this study, since, under the medium immigration scenario, it is the second-fastest growing CMA in Canada, just behind Calgary and ahead of Toronto. It is projected to almost double in size over the next 50 years if current trends continue.

Under the medium immigration projection, Windsor’s population is projected to grow from 316,000 in 2001 to almost 616,000 in 2051. The growth is projected to occur at all ages (Figure 4.11). If immigration levels were reduced to 50,000, Windsor would still grow by 70 percent to 538,000, and if immigration levels were increased to 400,000, Windsor’s population would grow by 115 percent to close to 700,000 people.

The largest source of Windsor’s growth is international migration, which, in the initial year of the projection, adds almost 10 people per thousand to its population. This growth is compounded by strong internal migration of almost seven per thousand and natural increase of close to four per thousand.

Windsor has slightly more than its share of immigrants overall. While Windsor represents just over 1 percent of Canada’s population, it is home to 1.25 percent of Canada’s immigrants, one quarter of whom are from Southern Europe. Other regions with large communities in Windsor are West Central Asia and the Middle East (12.8 percent of immigrants in Windsor), and Eastern Europe (11.2 percent). Windsor holds a disproportionate attraction for people born in West Central Asia and the Middle East, having become home to almost three times the numbers that would be expected given its population. People born in Southern Europe and in the USA are also drawn to Windsor in numbers greater than expected.

Recent immigrants have been attracted to Windsor in even greater numbers than immigrants overall, and represent 3.2 percent of Windsor’s population, compared to 2.0 percent of Canada’s population. About one-fifth of Windsor’s recent immigrants were born in West Central Asia and the Middle East, and another fifth in Southern Asia. Eastern Asia, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe also have significant communities of recent immigrants in Windsor.

Windsor is a particularly strong draw for recent immigrants from specific regions of the world. Almost 5 percent of recent immigrants in Canada from the USA live in Windsor, Southern Europe (over 4 percent), and West Central Asia and the Middle East (over 3 percent). While Windsor attracts immigrants from a wide range of regions, it attracts fewer than its share from the Caribbean and Bermuda, Central and South America, and North and West Europe.

As mentioned above, Windsor attracts a significant number of people from within Canada. Of the 26 CMAs, Windsor ranks number four in its rate of internal migration. Far more of those come from within Ontario (5.1 per thousand) than from other provinces (1.6 per thousand).

Windsor also benefits from natural increase until very close to 2041, when there will be a slight loss of 0.2 per thousand population, making it third in Canada, behind Calgary at 1.9 and Toronto at 0.6 per thousand.

All age groups increase in size over the projection period under all four scenarios, however, the increases are greatest in the older age groups. While the under-25 age group is projected to increase by 60 percent under the medium immigration scenario, the 65 and over age group is projected to come close to tripling between 2001 and 2051, with the largest increases at the highest ages.

As we have seen elsewhere, the age structure of Windsor is little affected by immigration levels. Over the projection period, the under-25 group will decline from 34 percent to 27 percent, the 25-64 age group will be relatively unchanged at about 55 percent, but the 65 and over age group will substantially increase from 12 percent to 18 percent.

The population pyramid for females in Windsor shows projected increases in all ages throughout the 50 years of the projection, with the 30 to 55-year old age bracket remaining the largest age group.

Windsor is one CMA that is well-positioned to have steady growth in the future. It has become an attractive destination for newcomers to Canada and still attracts substantial numbers from within Canada. That combination keeps its population relatively young, and for the next 35 years or so, is expected to benefit from natural increase. Unlike many Canadian cities of its size, Windsor’s greatest challenge may be to manage the growth that is projected.
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  #135  
Old Posted May 11, 2006, 3:34 PM
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Interesting, and not really surprising. The immigrants just keep pouring in...it's speculated that one reason the unemployment rate in Windsor is so high is that the population is growing but the number of jobs isn't.

That article about population would probably spur some discussion as a thread of its own.
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  #136  
Old Posted May 11, 2006, 7:07 PM
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^ Blitz, thanks for the suggestion. I have created a new Ontario thread on the subject.
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  #137  
Old Posted May 16, 2006, 1:07 AM
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‘Funky’ transit depot on tap

By Trevor Wilhelm
The Windsor Star
May 13, 2006

Shovels will go in the ground next month for the new downtown bus terminal after Transit Windsor put the project in gear Thursday night.
The 9,000-square-foot terminal — pegged at about $6 million — will have a domed roof with a skylight, glass and brick facade and indoor palm trees.
“It’s funky,” said Windsor Transit board chairwoman Joyce Zuk, also a city councillor. “We can’t wait to move out of the bus dump and give the city an esthetic, state-of-the art bus terminal.”
The board has given the architect a go-ahead to do final construction drawings, Zuk said.

In order to keep provincial funding, construction at the former site of the downtown Canadian Tire store must be complete by March 31, 2007.
France Isabelle-Tunks, a project administrator for the city, said final construction drawings and a full budget estimate will go to city council by the end of the month.
“We’re still in the working phase,” she said. “The site is quite congested. We’re trying to maximize use of the site.”
Zuk said the province, city and Greyhound Canada will each cover onethird of the costs.
Isabelle-Tunks said the terminal will have a large indoor concourse and the ability to accommodate 12 Transit Windsor and four Greyhound buses.
There will also be a special area for cars to pull up and drop people off.
Zuk said the terminal will also mesh with surrounding architecture, like the art gallery, and hopefully be a gathering place for people who don’t ride the bus.

The terminal will attract people who live in the neighbourhood with features like a history of transit display, and a coffee kiosk.
Isabelle-Tunks said the current Greyhound terminal on University Avenue has become too small.
She said it’s also important, as the city tries to build on increasing ridership, that Transit Windsor has staff in the core to sell tickets and have a presence for customers.
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  #138  
Old Posted May 16, 2006, 9:16 AM
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good to see that we finally are going to get the ball rolling on the Bus Depot!

FYI Casino Windsor has now gotten to ground level on their expansion and I count 11 floors now on the portofino project. The Hiram Walker lofts are also now starting to take shape by filling in those walls. Things are really bustling down here... Photo's soon to come!!!
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  #139  
Old Posted May 16, 2006, 12:12 PM
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Yeah, I was there over the weekend but didn't take any pics.

Last edited by Blitz; Apr 30, 2008 at 2:24 AM.
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  #140  
Old Posted May 16, 2006, 1:42 PM
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With respect to the Bus Depot -- they should define the term "funky". Sometimes being funky is a good thing: "wow that ____ is funky!" Sometimes, being funky is less than good: "wow that smell is funky!" Hopefully, the Depot is more the former than the latter.
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