Funding for Paul Martin building ‘not going ahead’
Published Friday, November 9, 2018 12:11PM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 9, 2018 5:15PM EST
The provincial government confirms funding is “not going ahead” for the Paul Martin Building in Windsor.
On May 2, 2018, the previous Liberal government committed $20-million in funding to support the relocation of the University of Windsor law school into the building on Ouellette Avenue.
A statement sent to CTV News by the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities says: “In regards to the Windsor Law School, we promised the people of Ontario to restore accountability and trust in the province’s finances. Our Government is being forced to clean up the irresponsible and reckless financial decisions of the previous Liberal Government. Part of that process means making tough decisions about projects across Ontario. This includes empty promises made in an election year by the Liberals, leading to a $15 billion deficit.”
The statement goes on to say “we are making reasonable and pragmatic decisions on projects as we return to balanced budgets. The government has identified a number of projects that are not aligned with current fiscal priorities at this time, and the relocation of the Windsor law school is not going ahead.”
The University of Windsor was quiet about the decision Friday, noting only that the institution is eager to move on with another plan.
“We're hoping to have some news about the plans for the future of the faculty of laws very soon," says university spokesperson John Coleman.
Windsor councillor Rino Bortolin says he is disappointed with the news.
“It's definitely a setback for downtown Windsor,” admits Bortolin, but he hopes to find another use for the building.
“There's other things on the horizon for downtown Windsor, so hopefully we can turn this into a different positive story."
Windsor West New Democrat MPP Lisa Gretzky tells CTV News the Conservatives initially showed support for the project, and that people were excited for it and counting on it.
“It's not as though the Conservatives weren't aware of the importance of this to the community,” says Gretzky. “So the fact that the premier, without any consultation, has made an announcement that they're pulling the funding is really a slap in the face to the people in our community."
The federal government spent $3.3-million on a newly revovated façade for the historic building, and the city still has $15-million earmarked for the project.
Both Bortolin and Gretzky, who ran against the Conservatives in the provincial election, fear this will be the first of many cuts for the region, and wonder about the funding for the new mega-hospital.
“We're going to see four years of disappointment from this provincial government,” predicts Bortolin.