Weeknotes, Oct 6 – Oct 12 2020

Jeewen Gill is Windsor’s new Ward 7 councillor with a share of 19.7% share of the vote.

Despite my misgivings, I did listen into the virtual Ward 4 & 5 Town Hall meeting last week. It was better than I expected and I did appreciate the ability to be polled about future budget priorities and traffic calming (although I thought the question around the hospital was a classic example of push-polling and shouldn’t count as serious evidence of support).

I don’t know whether it because of the undue influence of Rob Ford or because residents have a consumer-mindset when it comes to representative government, but throughout all the Town Hall, I had the impression that many residents see their councilor as a personal concierge to complaining to about city property or services. One woman from Ward 5 called to complain about cobblestone paving that she felt is difficult to navigate that Ed Sleiman had already personally inspected with her and had already helped arrange some degree of remedy. Ed’s response was, ‘if you see a problem, please call me.’

During the Ward 7 race, I heard a number of candidates who pledged 24 hour, full-time access for residents to call with their issues. Now, I completely understand why someone would rather call their councilor than to submit their issue to the 311 system. And yet, this state of affairs depresses me. I want my city councilor to be able to deal with long-term systematic issues and to hold the city to account when these issues aren’t being properly dealt with. I don’t want to reduce to the job of councillor to customer service rep. I want my councillor to help align the community towards a more participatory government.

When the sidewalk heaves because the city doesn’t require sewer pipes for leaks before they are installed in the ground, I want a systematic response to the problem.

Other news:

On October 4th, Frazier Fathers made this observation:

Maybe this one is just me, but on my computer(s) Google maps has updated to have a green default colour on maps when zoomed out…

To a degree this is almost greenwashing the map face. When you zoom in it does remove the “greenery” to more accurate satellite determine greenspaces at a glance it make things greener than they are.

The next day, the article Springtime Everywhere: In prioritizing clarity and smoothness in its representation, Google Earth supports how we are consuming the planet was published in Real Life and addresses similar issues.

This is your periodic reminder that “Essex County has less than 3% of its land area in forest cover and scrubland. This is the lowest percentage of any county or regional municipality in Ontario. In addition, less than 2.5% of Essex County’s original wetland area still exists (1986).”

When are the municipalities of Essex going to start addressing and redress the lack of natural cover in the county? When are we going to try to move the dial on this matter? We have experts in Freshwater Restoration Ecology at the University of Windsor.

Next Monday (October 19th, 2020) is the next City Council Meeting.

  • The agenda is 472 pages long.
    • There’s a short report on the viability to establish a curling rink in one of the city’s active arenas
    • A company called GDH is set to be awarded an RFP related to food and organic waste collection (“At its meeting of January 15, 2018, Council received a report from the City Engineer regarding an update on the Waste Free Ontario Act as it relates to food and organic waste. The Act will require the City of Windsor to provide curbside collection of source separated food and organic waste to single-family dwellings by 2025.”)
    • “In July, 2020, the City issued an Expression of Interest (EOI#114-20) to determine options that exist for partnerships within the public sector to meet the City’s goal of processing organic waste resulting from future curbside food and organic waste collection. This EOI further requested submissions to consider the processing of biosolids from wastewater treatment operations to explore synergies between existing City operations.” (Biosolids == poop!)
    • There’s a report from the Integrity Commissioner that read as very vague to me
    • There’s a 72 page drainage report about Marentette-Mangin Drain.

Happy Thanksgiving!