Windsor - Prosperity or Decline?One message that our new council should take to heart - many in this city are fed up with the platitudes and spin. These voices will only continue to grow and will be heard more often thanks to the internet.
It is time for the city of windsor government to undertake bold and innovative steps to ensure the future propserity of this city. Bike lanes/paths and more parks are the core foundation for cultivating a healthy and active population (meaning the west side parklands should not be trashed for a new border crossing). Windosr's highly skilled workforce is the second component on which to build future economic growth and generate high paying, knowledge-based jobs. The recent flurry of activity by the mayor and city council demonstrates that lack of will is the only missing ingredient when it comes to Windsor's future prosperity.
Unless we want to see the crippling recessions of the past repeated in Windsor, it's time to take the bull by the horns. Windsor must become agressive in it's efforts to expand and diversify the local economy. The Economic Development Commission seems to be everyone's answer to the future of this region's economy. If and when this commission actually becomes functioning, I'm sure it will aid the area's efforts. The problem is - what major cities in Ontario don't have some form of an "Economic development" commission?
Windsor will never advance by simply following the same formula as other regions. We must begin thinking outside of the box - leading and not following.
I'll throw one idea out there.
Roseland Golf Course and the City Marina - sell 'em both. Personally, I've never really considered either one of these to be 'core' services that the city should be providing. It's not as if there are a lack of either golf courses or marinas in this area.
Let's assume the sale nets $5 million. (no idea if this is real or not, just a guess on my part).
Take one half of the proceeds and create a Windsor Arts Endowment. With proper planning, investment and recent changes to the tax code favouring charitable giving, the city should be able to provide stable long term funding to the arts and eventually shift the funding from the tax base to the endowment.
Take the second half of the proceeds and create a research fund. St. Clair College and the University of Windsor are two of the city's greatest assets and we need to leverage their benefits in any way possible. Automotive research is being addressed by the Federal and Provincial governments. Windsor needs to explore other areas. With the expansion of our medical school, this is one avenue to invest in. The school of Engineering is another obvious choice. With alternative energy technologies gaining an ever greater importance worldwide, there probably aren't many other industries with as much growth potential.
I realize that there are many rules, regulations and laws concerning the above, but I present it as just one example of how Windsor must be pro-active instead of reactive. We can no longer sit around and wait for the Provincial or Federal governments to dole out some more of our own tax dollars. By leading the way, Windsor will be better positioned to take advantage of whatever government programs emerge in the future.
If current laws restrict the city taking action as needed, then we need to turn up the heat on our local representatives. Turn it up high and quickly.
Lead, follow or get out of the way - Windsor needs to lead.