The world, of late, is being overgenerous in showing upstart stars-in-its-eyes Windsor that it is not a world city, at least as evidenced by what is happening in other cities about the same size as Windsor, who are inching closer to being world significant.
Unfortunately, this inching does nothing to convince the local irresponsible council to stop the pretence and get on with the task of making Windsor better. This causes a few to wonder if Windsor is simply doomed to only be a place that puts on airs.
Halifax, a community about the same size as Windsor-Essex, will soon have a full-scale IKEA, complete with its restaurant offering Swedish meatballs. All our region will get is the much smaller equivalent of a drive through IKEA window.
On another front, Halifax will also get a Cabela’s. Windsor will not.
The famed provider of hunting, fishing, and outdoor gear bills itself as the world’s foremost outfitter. In making the announcement, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald reported the province, “… truly embodies the Cabela’s lifestyle,” and, “… thousands of outdoor enthusiasts call the province home and many more visit the area for its world-class outdoor opportunities and adventures.”
The Hilton hotel company has announced Canada’s first Canopy by Hilton will open in Toronto, not Windsor.
Canadian Lodging, in a January 5 news report, described Canopy as, “… between a full-service Hilton and a Conrad, smart casual but upscale.”
Of course, in Windsor, there are no new hotels on the horizon while it has lost its Hilton, along with a number of other high-end and mid-range hotels, and even a motel. No remedial action is planned by the lacklustre council.
Globally significant cities have well-developed public transportation systems. Even Windsor’s arch-rival London is busy working on a plan to have rapid transit. Windsor has no such plans, but offers regular bus service.
Because world cities are typically densely populated, London will intensify its residential density to reduce urban sprawl. A key component, reported the London Free Press, on December 13, is to have, “… three-quarters of that intensification … happen within the land surrounding London’s proposed rapid transit lines.”
Windsor’s council is quite content to continue urban sprawl, and even supports building a new hospital in a distant farmer’s bean field, spending hundreds of millions to service the land; a cost its taxpayers will have to bear.
Major cities offer much to the world. Google’s engineers in Kitchener are developing products used by, reported the Record January 16, “… billions of people around the world.” Some of the internet company’s key products, including Gmail, Chrome, and Google Fibre, were largely developed in Kitchener.
The city will also open a light rail transit system next year.
Windsor’s council has no interest in technology development or, for that matter, economic development. It has been turned over to unaccountable abecedarians while the council recently denied funding to the city’s downtown accelerator, an incubator designed to help young companies, some of them in the high tech arena, get their start.
After council’s vote, on December 24 the local paper quoted Art Barbut saying, because the city is not investing in entrepreneurship and incubation, people are going to Detroit or they are leaving for London or Kitchener-Waterloo.
Mind you, Windsor does have $21 million to finance a minor short FINA swimming competition, which holds the potential to put the city’s ineffective interim mayor on a level playing field with despotic sheiks.
Somehow, the inward council thinks this will put the city on the world map.
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.