Downtown developer says 'Safety is number one' for new investment
Published Monday, November 5, 2018 10:12PM EST Last Updated Tuesday, November 6, 2018 11:18AM EST
Peter Valente of the Valente Development Corporation speaks outside Windsor council chambers on Nov. 5, 2018. (Rich Garton / CTV Windsor)
A local developer was before Windsor’s council looking for final approval regarding city incentives for the development of a new condo.
But Peter Valente was looking for a different set of assurances from elected officials.
"Number one thing that comes to mind when people choose a neighbourhood is safety is number one," the head of the Valente Development Corporation said Monday night.
Valente is developing a 32-unit condominium valued at roughly $7 million. He’s actually bought up more land and increased the footprint of the build, which he hopes to kick start in the New Year.
The city – using the downtown enhancement strategy community improvement plans – will provide Valente with more than $700,000 in tax grants to help offset development and building costs.
But he said people may not invest in his catalyst project if public safety concerns aren't addressed.
"If the neighbourhood is not where people would feel secure no one's going to invest money in it,” Valente said after the meeting. “I'm just a resident like everyone else, just small business owner. I can't solve those problems. We need these people to make the right decisions to help everything get better.”
“And I hope that they will," he said, before adding, “I’m confident they will.”
Valente points to recent staffing increases at Windsor police as a good initial reaction to the problem, but he'd also like the city to explore all options to solve the drug, addictions and crime crisis in Windsor.
Ward 3 city councillor Rino Bortolin says the city will continue to advocate for community safety – as he says he’s done for the past four years on council.
“It’s the single biggest issue facing our city today. Not downtown, not my ward, the city,” Bortolin said.
The councillor, who was recently re-elected in the downtown ward, argues one of the best ways to combat crime and unsavory activity is to get more people in the core.
“One of the key components of making downtown more safe is getting more people down there. More people, more eyes on the street,” Bortolin said. “More feet on the street actually helps to deter crime and to deter loitering.”