Answering The Unthinkable
"When the city does decide it needs to address the situation with EC Row where will the funding come from 10 years from now? The MTO and Transport Canada obviously - but they are unlikely to help after being snubbed and sued by the City of Windsor. Tofflemire was threatening to close portions of EC Row 5 years ago... imagine 10 years from now.
How long will the city deny a Lauzon Parkway extension and connection to the 401 and in the process limit potential development of the Annexed Lands or potential creation of an intermodal facility? This is a question that Mayor Francis needs to answer right now and honestly, so industry knows what future it has locally for expansion.
Has any study been done to estimate the number of potential jobs expected from a fully built out Annexed Lands? If the number is significant, why has the city not moved more quickly to service those lands which includes road infrastructure? The study has been done. Mayor Francis said it himself at the Windsor Chamber of Commerce luncheon in June where he said if a developer came along they would move on servicing the area. Contrast that statement with the mayor of Woodstock, who assembled the land needed for a Toyota plant BEFORE Toyota even came calling. As usual, reactive Eddie, not proactive.
Does the city have a current plan for dealing with the additional expressway traffic that will likely result from the planned improvements to Manning Road and County Road 22 east of Manning? No. Unless you consider a lawsuit a plan.
What is the city's current liability given the existing safety design deficiencies on EC Row, including lack of lighting east of Central, rusted guardrails, narrow shoulders and a Dougall/Howard ramp set-up that is too close to each other for safe operations? This is an unspoken horror in the corridors of city hall. Good thing we don't live in a litigious society. Can the city afford to have the deficiencies documented?
Could EC Row be reconstructed as a below-grade freeway, with dedicated/physically separated truck lanes, having the local roads (Howard, Walker, Dougall, Dominion) going over the freeway instead of under, and thereby improve city aesthetics, not to mention reduce existing noise levels? Yes, clearly.
Would it not make more sense to argue for a 1 km tunnel for dedicated expressway lanes between Dougall and Huron Church rather than a 10+ km tunnel from the 401 to EC Row along Talbot/Huron Church? Clearly.
Could an expansion be done for the most part within the existing right of way? Wouldn't the level of impacts (properties purchased) be significantly less than any DRIC alternative? Yes. Impacts could be almost neglible with proper design.
Could construction be done while maintaining international traffic on the existing corridor? Yes.
Could the potential closure of the Dougall and Dominion interchanges lend itself to plans for the Zalev lands north of the expressway? Yes. Closure of those ramps will have to be mitigated with an improved connection between Howard and Dougall. Why not an expanded Grand Marais Boulevard north of the expressway connecting Howard and Dougall and providing access to a remediated Zalev site, a prime location for commercial development.
Could there be tie-ins with the Rail Rationalization study, such as creating a platform for a east-west regional Light Rail Transit corridor adjacent to the expressway? No-brainer, yes. Use the CASO corridor as a north-south LRT line. You don't have to build such a thing right away, but, in 20 years when population levels are high enough to warrant it, you have the ROW and the corridors set aside for the project. Don't end up like Ottawa or Kitchener-Waterloo, contemplating blowing away hundreds of homes for their LRT projects.
Would the cost of addressing all of the above be around the same cost as the current DRIC below-grade estimates? Even if slightly higher, wouldn't the MTO be willing to spend the money to save from having to come rescue Windsor 10 years from now on the EC Row funding issue? Yes - for $1.5 billion you can build all of this, take a $500 million liability off the city's books and everyone is happy (except the grandstanders at city hall)."
Dennis DesRosiers Speech "Help Me Understand Windsor" a year ago:
"Why, for example, is the City spending millions on Toronto lawyers fighting senior Governments? The Federal and Provincial Governments want to spend hundreds of millions on infrastructure in Windsor yet we snub them and we fight them – Why not work with them? Help me understand this...
Help me understand why investors would come to Windsor where a sign states: ‘no trucks on our expressway’. This is one of most anti-auto things Windsor could possibly do; make no mistake -- it is hurting investment opportunities in this City. Help me understand this. How can you tell Ford that they can use your roads for the Essex engine plant but not those related to Oakville. GM can do the same for their transmission plant but not those related to Oshawa. DCX can do the same for the Pacifica plant but not their plant in Bramalea. How stupid can your politicians be? Help me understand how the MTDM sector can grow with these types of ridiculous by-laws
Help me understand how Windsor can have one of the highest local tax loads in all of Ontario, tax loads that are driving businesses out of Windsor, indeed driving many in Windsor like all of you in this room out of business, tax loads to pay for Toronto lawyers, New York consultants and proposed flights to Japan to get automotive investors to come and build non-existent plants when the auto sector can’t drive their trucks on our expressway -- EC Row. Help me understand this...
Help me understand why City Council has wasted millions of dollars on the Schwartz 8 km ring road to nowhere while your automotive sector has been crumbling around them. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns. Your City council has added years to a viable solution to the border and the automotive sector is the biggest loser. Help me understand why they have done this...
Seventh, get rid of the foolish and selfish ‘no trucks’ bylaw – just for a moment pretend you want automotive investments. The automotive industry across Ontario needs access to EC Row and yes that means trucks on EC Row, get over it – in fact trucks are already using it. They will not invest in Windsor until this happens. This is the first and easiest step.
Eight, build out EC-Row to its full potential and extend Lauzon Parkway. EC Row was designed for 8 lanes. Why do this? Simple, to open up land that can be developed to help attract investment and jobs which the city desperately needs. You have the second highest unemployment rate in Ontario. Why would you eliminate the only land available for investment is a mystery to me.
The Town of Tecumseh wants EC Row expanded. Lakeshore wants it expanded. Industry wants it expanded. Our senior Governments want it expanded and will pay for much if not all of it. Windsor cannot afford the $100m in capital costs. So, why the city wants to protect the grass between the lanes on EC Row but wants to bulldoze the Ojibway nature preserve for a expressway to nowhere remains yet another mystery."