Windsor council denies another Ambassador Bridge application to demo houses
Published Monday, November 5, 2018 10:36PM EST Last Updated Tuesday, November 6, 2018 6:25PM EST
Windsor city council has denied an application by the Canadian Transit Company to demolish about 25 homes in west Windsor.
A handful of west-end residents spoke before council Monday night, both for and against the demolition of the homes.
Those looking to get the houses levelled say they’re tired of the vermin, the increased potential for crime and squatters and the overall blight in their neighbourhood.
“If these houses continue to remain in our neighbourhood, it’s going to continue to discourage people to establish themselves and invest in Sandwich Town,” says Bloomfield Road resident Phil West.
But despite the eye-sore, some residents adamantly oppose the demolition of the boarded up houses. That’s because they believe it’s part of the Ambassador Bridge Company’s plan to clear the way for a “ring-road” from the newly constructed Herb Gray Parkway, along a set of train tracks and directly connecting to their recently approved new span.
“Let’s not forget the Bridge Company doesn’t play by any rules,” said Caroline Taylor, a west-end resident. “If these homes were to come down tomorrow, the bridge company would instantly start construction on the ring road, even without the proper permits.”
“The Bridge Company is not to be trusted,” she said.
Stan Korosec, the head of government relations for the Canadian Transit Company, says those are just rumours and they aren’t true.
Korosec says the Bridge Company says it will green the space once the homes are demolished and wants community input on future uses.
Let’s consult at least let’s just get them down,” Korosec said of the houses that have fallen into disrepair. “That’s better than what is there now. I don’t know how anyone can argue that keeping them up is better than having then down and some green grass for a bit until we decide what’s going to happen.”
Without any debate Windsor’s council unanimously denied the applications, citing an ongoing legal battle with the property owners.
City solicitor Shelby Askin-Hager says 18 of the properties are currently the subject of Superior Court litigation between the city and the Bridge Company. She says for that reason alone, it wouldn't be appropriate for the city to make a decision on those homes at this time.
Askin-Hager adds appropriate planning documents were also not submitted for the seven other homes the bridge company is trying to demolish.
“And as such, we have to follow provisions of that bylaw, which includes submission of a valid redevelopment plan, which was not done in this case,” Askin-Hager says.
Many residents just want the boarded up homes saga to end.
"We feel like pawns in a big chess game we have no control over,” said West. “I don't really care who's at fault, I'm just here to look for solutions, and it might take for us in the neighbourhood to start working together on this.”
“We want those houses down and I know my neighbours agree with me on that one."