(WINDSOR, ON) – Ken Antaya, mayor of Windsor’s tiny next door neighbour LaSalle, wants his community to be the best residential community possible. To reach that goal, Antaya, who apparently doesn’t get out much, will give up trying to attract new industry. He says it just hasn’t worked, yet offers no guidance as to how success will be measured. Compared to towns half its size, LaSalle has a long way to go and is quite behind the times.
Nuuk, the capital of Greenland and located between Iqaluit and Reykjavik as the Ptarmigan flies, unlike LaSalle, has its own transit system. Nuup Bussii operates 16 regular yellow buses and five smaller vehicles that transport two million people annually around the peninsula that is Nuuk proper.
LaSalle is quite proud of its Vollmer recreational complex which includes a swimming pool and some waterslides. Nuukians can boast of not only a modern pool and slides, but a natatorium as well, something the Vollmer doesn’t have, along with spectacular views of the ocean. Its Malik centre is so unique it has won an international architectural award.
With LaSalle being rather flat, its citizens do not enjoy downhill skiing. Nuuk has its own ski areas with runs for adults and children; however, golfers might do better in LaSalle since Nuuk has only one nine-hole course.
LaSalle’s water comes from the Detroit River. Nuuk’s is from Cirkussoen, a pristine mountain lake. While Uber has arrived in Windsor, when Nuukians need something they simply call the taxi centre and a driver will swing by wherever it is sold, buy it, and bring it to them.
LaSalle residents share a sombre solitude. Visitors see few smiles at the Zehr’s or Freshco. Nuuk, reports Martin, commenting on thefourthcontinent.com’s report on the town, says its people have, “a great sense of humour. When you’re not local you often miss out on it, because it’s extremely understated.”
Possibly those in LaSalle are equally understated, but it is more likely they are fretting about Antaya giving up on their town’s future.
Although it is a bedroom community, Antaya should be smart enough to see the clear and present danger of hitching his wagon to de-industrializing Windsor. Unlike LaSalle, which local media says is attempting to create liveable, amenity filled neighbourhoods, Windsor is on an active onslaught to reduce its citizens’ amenities.
The glum faces of Lasalle’s townsfolk might simply be reflecting an earnest fear his decision to abandon economic development could be the death knell for a place with few natural resources.
Nuuk taxpayers, on the other hand, face a much more prosperous future. Global warming now allows vegetables to be grown in the south of this former Danish territory which is evolving into an independent country. LaSalle once grew many a strawberry, not so much anymore. It also has none of Greenland’s resources.
According to Colin Freeman, writing in the Telegraph on November 3, 2013, Greenland has high quality gold as well as, “iron, silver, rubies and diamonds – plus, offshore, up to 10 percent of the world’s remaining oil and 30 percent of its gas. And then there is the likes of praseodymium, terbium and neodymium, the so-called ‘rare earth elements’ that make up the very DNA of 21st century life.”
Oddly enough, Antaya seems to understand settling for no economic development could be problematic. He admits lacking an industrial base proves to be a challenge to funding amenities.
The quizzical question is why he continues to support and pay his share of the regional economic development office. He seems willing to accept its inability to develop a brighter future for his community. Accepting such mediocrity is not a sign of leadership.
Robert Tuomi can be heard at 8:30 pm every Monday evening and noon every Wednesday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor is broadcast every Monday and Wednesday to the Windsor and Detroit listening area and streamed online at CJAM.