Council greenlights new site for streetcar
Windsor’s oldest streetcar is on the move.
City council approved a recommendation from administration to move Streetcar 351 to Riverside Drive at the foot of Caron Avenue, known as Legacy Park.
Back in September, the city announced the streetcar wouldn’t be built at the Celestial Beacon because it would rise above the crown of Riverside Drive, which went against its own bylaws.
Instead, it was proposed it be moved to Caron Avenue where height would no longer be an issue.
“Mark my words, once this is built this will be on a daily basis the most well used destination along our riverfront,” says mayor Drew Dilkens.
The Legacy Beacon will sit on the site historically as train yards and dock.
“This isn’t about taking a streetcar and just putting a streetcar next to the beacon. This is about place making where the beacon theme is the streetcar 351 theme,” says Dilkens.
Legacy Beacon will not exceed the crown of Riverside Drive, and cost nearly $8.5 million.
“The permeability and the connectivity of these assets into the downtown core is what has changed my mind as far as the location and making this a viable option,” says ward 3 councillor Rino Bortolin.
In addition to streetcar 351, the site will also feature a snack bar and washrooms, and cost around $40,000 annually for maintenance.
“I sure as heck ain’t gonna support it at $8 million and I don’t think it’s a priority right now. I got far too many people in south Windsor whose basements are still flooding,” says ward 1 councillor Fred Francis, who voted against the motion with fellow councillors Jo-Anne Gignac, Kieran McKenzie and Fabio Costante.
“I wanna know once we’re out of this pandemic what our finances look like what our budget looks like to make these decisions especially as we go down the priority ladder,” says Constante.
“If I thought this was going to be an issue for the taxpayers where they’d be disadvantaged or there was some jeopardy financially to the city taxpayers because of this decision, I’d be the first to push the eject button,” says Dilkens.
The project could be completed by fall of next year.
Mike Cardinal, of “Rally for Our Riverfront” doesn’t believe the streetcar is a fit for the legacy site, and would like to have seen it next to the Chimczuk Museum.
“I think there’s something to be done here with a little more thought, more time, certainly more public input with well-meaning people,” he says.
Administration will now report back to council with a business case on the terrace concessions.