Dilkens to scale back $3M holiday lights festival
Published Tuesday, September 5, 2017 10:33PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, September 6, 2017 4:42PM EDT
As Windsor deals with the aftermath of last week’s flooding, Mayor Drew Dilkens is scaling down the $3-million holiday lights festival planned for this winter.
Council approved the lights festival by a close 6-5 vote on the eve of the heaviest rainfall in the city’s history. Streets overflowed with water as more than 5,000 basements across the city took in water.
“I know the timing on this was horrible,” Dilkens says.
In the days that followed, a social media campaign was launched asking council to reconsider, especially in light of the flooding event. An online petition against the project gathered more than 6,000 signatures.
“Some have tried to imply that because we’ve done this project that we’re starving the sewer fund, that we can’t do other sewer projects, that’s complete nonsense,” Dilkens said after Tuesday’s council meeting.
Despite this, he said he would pull back on the original proposal.
“I’ve taken the feedback I’ve listened to folks, I’m happy to do that and we’ll still deliver something I think the community will be proud of,” Dilkens said during Tuesday's Council meeting.
Dilkens tells CTV News he’d like to phase the project in – make it a bit smaller this year -- and spend about half the approved amount, roughly $1.5 million.
“I still want to celebrate our city’s 125th birthday and Canada’s 150th, I'm happy to phase the program in. That's not what city council agreed to do a week ago, but I'm happy to revisit that, phase the program in, do something that may not be spectacular this year, but it's going to be really nice and we'll build on that for future years," he said.
“It’s supposed to be a festival for the community, It’s free, it’s family, it’s fun… I don’t want it to be tainted.”