Twenty Questions For Ward 3

(WINDSOR, ON) – As the 2018 municipal election approaches, The Square is publishing responses from candidates, in every ward, to 20 questions we distributed to each of them. This week will focus on responses from candidates in Ward 3.

There are only three candidates vying to represent Ward 3 and essentially the city’s downtown core. Rising violence, a concentration of the homeless, and the opioid epidemic are all issues which are highlighted downtown, as well as the hollowing out of health care services with the proposed move of the hospital to the rural outskirts.

The issues were rarely dealt with in any effective manner prior to 2014 and have gotten worse under current councilor and candidate Rino Bortolin. The incumbent has spent much of his time on council apologizing for inappropriate remarks or remaining silent on the hospital issue. It is no surprise that he has failed to provide any answers the the 20 questions put to him by The Square.

Prior to becoming a councilor, Bortolin owned and operated three failed restaurants.

Also throwing his hat into the Ward 3 ring is Helmi Charif, a member of the Liberal Party, as is Bortolin. The pair became embroiled in a public spat between them which emanated from a Liberal nomination meeting for provincial parliament. Charif ran for the NDP in the 2011 provincial election and then as an independent candidate in 2014. He lost the Liberal nomination this year to Bortolin.

Charif also didn’t supply any responses to the hot topic questions.

Steve Palenkas is the third candidate in Ward 3. Formerly with WE Tech Alliance, Palenkas has also worked for Europa Marble and Brakes X-Press. He led an informational Jane’s Walk earlier this year through Ward 9.

1. What would you propose to do with Adventure Bay?

(STEVE PALENKAS) – I believe Adventure Bay should continue as a water park.

2. Do you support the city’s current external audit program?


3. What proportion of the budget should be directed toward the operating budget and how much toward the capital budget?

(PALENKAS) – I would need to do further investigation and study into this matter.

4. Do you support the city’s use of alternative voting methods?


5. Do you support the temporary installation of the central library at the new city hall?


6. Do you foresee any city services which could be contracted out as a cost saving measure?

(PALENKAS) – I think it’s a possibility.

7. Do you agree with the city’s movement toward becoming a refugee city?

(PALENKAS) – I support the city’s efforts to help refugees relocate to Canada and our region and to integrate with us.

8. Is the deal to sell the central library good for the city?

(PALENKAS) – I am undecided.  More residents are not in agreement than are; however DTM management and board seem to be all for it.

9. What three things would you do to improve Transit Windsor?

(PALENKAS) – I believe some of the less frequently timed routes should be made more frequent and earlier to later, particularly on Sundays; some of the heavily traveled routes should be doubled-up on buses (which they’re already doing to some extent); any practical initiatives to extend TW to suburbs such as Tecumseh, Amherstburg, Belle River, or to integrate with a system similar to SMART in Michigan would be helpful, but likely?

10. Should Windsor and Essex County explore more regional initiatives and, if so, in what areas?

(PALENKAS) – Possibly. An example would be what I explained in 9, if feasible. I welcome suggestions on what else.

11. Should Windsor Police be pursuing policing in Amherstburg?


12. Should city council consult with the public in all aspects of the new hospital proposal?


13. What is your stand on the mega-hospital and the currently suggested location?

(PALENKAS) – I am not in agreement.

14. Do you believe that transparency at City Hall can be improved or works in its current state?

(PALENKAS) – I believe works in its current state, but welcome suggestions why this might be wrong.

15. Has the city’s response to storm related flooding been either timely and/or sufficient?

(PALENKAS) – I believe so, but welcome reports from residents who have had experiences suggesting not.

16. Has the transference of post-secondary institutions to the downtown from other areas of the city been successful at reinvigorating the downtown?

(PALENKAS) – I believe so.

17. What is your plan to reduce the billion dollar infrastructure deficit in Windsor?

(PALENKAS) – I would need to think about this and do further investigation, but anywhere unnecessary expenses could be cut, or extra revenue obtained, such as fines for offences traffic, civility, and otherwise.

18. Has Windsor reached the point that it should be cooperating with the Ambassador Bridge Company instead of continuing litigation?

(PALENKAS) – I think so.

19. Does there need to be more transparency at the Windsor Police Service and the WPS Board in light of the current investigation into the Board’s actions?

(PALENKAS) – I think so.

20. What are the five most important issues facing the city?


  • Homelessness/housing/shelter/accomodations;
  • employment/unemployment/underemployment;
  • health & wellness of the residents;
  • corporate and political/government responsibility to its citizens;
  • community care, thought & behavior of all (this includes civility, empathy, and also doing the right thing such as the issue of improperly sorting and disposing of garbing, recyclables, yard, hazardous and biomedical wastes, with colour coding, labeling, and keeping the streets, sidewalks, yards and alleys clean, safe, and free of unsightly debris).


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About the Author

Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between. His imagery and freelance contributions have appeared in select publications and for organizations in Canada and the United States. Contact Ian with story ideas.

2 Comments on "Twenty Questions For Ward 3"

  1. Doug Charles | 29 August 2018 at 15:02 |

    Ian your bias is showing. We all know you really target Rino Bortolin, but most of us don’t understand why. Was it because you were campaign manager for his opponent last election? When you say he owned and operated three failed restaurants were you including the successful Rino’s kitchen still in operation. How is his past restaurant business relevant to the work he has done on council so far?

    He remained silent on the hospital issues at times but was quite admirable in his argument at council regarding zoning. Did you miss that? I’m not an unwavering supporter of Rino Bortolin, but give him credit where credit is due.

    • Ian Shalapata Ian Shalapata | 29 August 2018 at 15:44 |

      Doug, we all have bias. The difference between you and I is that I admit mine.

      I don’t “target” Bortolin. I call them as I see them and if that is different than how others see it, then so be it. It’s not a worry for me.

      He has owned and operated three failed businesses. The latest, Rino’s Kitchen, he no longer owns. Before selling it off to his employees, the writing was on the wall when he started to reduce the hours it was open, and then started “butcher” classes during those hours, instead of the usual prepping, etc for service.

      If the restaurant is profitable now, it has nothing to do with Bortolin, and everything to do with those who are now the owners.

      Bortolin hasn’t done any work on council that I can see. Name me an initiative he has successfully brought forward. I mean other than being reprimanded by council, like his fellow Liberal Al Maghnieh, for making inappropriate comments in the Windsor Star.

      If you want to pin your hopes on him for his stance on the hospital, then go ahead. That’s your right. To exercise it in such a narrow fashion is questionable, however.

      I prefer to look at the bigger picture and can see beyond the single issue. That is where you fail. It also speaks volumes that he disassociated himself from you and your group. With friends like that…

      As soon as he does something creditworthy, I will give him credit. I know others in the community who are kicking themselves for giving him credit in previous transactions.

      Until then, I will continue to call a spade a spade and not be persuaded by his ineffective lip service.

      Thank you for providing me with an opportunity to expound on Bortolin’s failures in Ward 3.

Comments are closed.