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Downtown ice rink debate requires mayor to break council vote


Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens was forced to weigh in on the decision to build a $15 million ice rink as part of the Civic Esplanade project.

As previously reported by CTV News, the project is under-funded by $6 million, with only $9 million in pre-approved funding.

Councillors debated for more than two hours about pulling money out of the following funding streams:

  • $ 2,300,000 from the Corporate Inflation Mitigation project
  • $3,209,200 from the Pre-Commitment of Uncommitted 2025 Canada Community Building fund
  • $576,055 from the Pre-Commitment of Uncommitted 2025 Tourism Infrastructure Development and Program fund

Councillors Fred Francis, Angelo Marignani, Fabio Costante, Mark McKenzie, and Joanne Gignac voted against the idea.

They said the project is more of a want and not a need.

Image rendering of the proposed ice rink as it would appear in the winter. (Source: The City of Windsor)

“I’ve always wanted a jaguar convertible. Instead, I have a Dodge Journey,” Gignac said Monday. “I think the project is amazing and I think it’s beautiful. But, the fact of the matter is, we’ve got a lot of things on our horizon.”

Councillors Renaldo Agostino, Kieran McKenzie, Jim Morrison, Gary Kaschak, and Ed Sleiman voted in the favour of moving forward with the project.

While conceding the cost increase is significant, the councillors in favour noted some of the increased cost is the added amenities.

Over various public information sessions, the city says residents asked for an amenity that could be used year-round.

The project now includes a water fountain in the middle so it can transform into an event space in the spring and summer.

Image rendering of the proposed ice rink as it would appear in the summer. (Source: The City of Windsor)

“If we don’t proceed today, there’s no future where an ice rink, whether its at Charles Clark Square or directly in front of City Hall is more affordable than it is today,” Coun. Kieran McKenzie argued.

In breaking the tie and voting in favour of approving the increased cost, Dilkens noted more than $500,000 had already been spent on planning, drawings, and engineering behind the project.

Oscar Construction Ltd, the winning bidder for the project, previously warned administration if they don’t get started there’s a good chance it won’t be done by the winter.

Commissioner of Community Services Ray Mansour told council Monday it will be “very difficult” for the construction to be completed by winter. Top Stories

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