With Windsor’s infrastructure crumbling as you read this, it brings to mind the wasted dollars being spent in this city. Without a doubt, the money spent on the largely empty maintenance and repair hanger at the air port ($20 million) and the crazily-named downtown pool ($80 million) was burning a hole in the mayor and council’s pocket. The two buildings will not add a single penny to the city’s coffers by way of property taxes, and in fact will cost tax payers on an on-going basis much like the yearly $600,000 deficit at the WFCU Centre.
That $100 million dollars could have been better spent in so many other ways, Windsor would be looking at a light at the end of the recession tunnel, instead of blindly stumbling from one political decision to another.
To put it in perspective, the five-year capital expenditures (2013-2017) for the city have been budgeted for 31 sewer projects totalling $117.7 million, and 22 roads projects totalling $81.9 million. For just over double the amount spent on just two vanity projects, Windsor is pouring money into badly needed infrastructure upgrades that will improve residents’ well being. We’re not talking about making roads “glass smooth” or gold-plated sewers, either; just basic improvements.
Upgrading and improving roads will allow the better and more efficient flow of goods into and out of the city. A must have for attracting and retaining jobs in the capital of unemployment. Replacing the ancient miles of sewers will also help with basement flooding and alleviate unnecessary, costly expenditures for tax payers who are hard enough hit, as it is, as taxes have gone up almost 20% over the last 10 years.
Don’t forget, though, that the $207 million is to be spent over five years. That comes to just $41 million a year, on average. While it may seem like steps are being taken to improve the roads and sewers, there is a serious lack of effort to push the projects forward when compared to the rush in getting the pool built. A pool that was not a necessity for hosting the International Children’s Games as only track and field events are required of the organizers.
By contrast, the City of Winnipeg has spent over $290 million just in replacing sewers to help prevent basement flooding for home owners and businesses, and to protect the water quality of Manitoba lakes and rivers. It wasn’t too long ago that Windsor’s mayor was lamenting the fact that council opted to get federal infrastructure dollars to build a retention basin so that Windsor effluent would no longer spew into the Detroit River.
Money is not well spent in Windsor.