Some city hall pundits have taken to calling the city’s flighty mayor Mayor Costly. This, after a February 19 report in the Windsor Star about the city working diligently to build a new city hall, discussed changes for the public esplanade.
Dilkens is quoted as saying, “We know to do the civic esplanade properly, we’re going to need a lot more money than is set aside in the capital budget, recognizing that there’s work to do. But it will look better.”
It just shows how ready he is to spend.
Dilkens is no stranger to overboard spending. He has chalked up nearly $21 million, so far, to host a FINA short swimming competition.
The budget for a new city hall now stands at $43 million; and, continues to grow. That cost, by the way, does not include a multi-million dollar parkade. Esplanade betterment will take the project’s cost even higher, although the city is trying to compartmentalize the costs so it looks less expensive.
Voters need to be aware, it is all one project with different components.
It is all particularly reckless because there is no need for a new hall.
The County of Essex, when faced with problems of a similar nature to those bothering Windsor’s city hall, such as asbestos, energy issues, and more, at its once golden palace, elected to renovate rather than rebuild.
The palace had earned its golden moniker from the colour of the glass cladding that surrounded much of the building and which proved to be problematic. It was all removed, additional floor space added, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning upgraded, and new flooring installed.
The cost was about $6 million.
Although Windsor’s administrators have provided numbers suggesting a renovation of the city’s old doll would cost a considerable amount, with no auditor general no one has really officially checked into these estimates.
In light of what Essex has done, the cost of renovating Windsor’s new hall should be revisited. However it probably won’t.
Suspicious minds think the new place will be called the D Dilkens Civic Centre and will be built just to spite LaSalle. So, it will have to proceed, after all LaSalle is Windsor’s arch enemy; the one councillor Hilary Payne seems to prefer sparring with.
LaSalle recently opened a new, gleaming hall next to a grocery store. Inattentive observers might be convinced it has one-upped Windsor. This has happened before.
When the little municipality built a modern swimming pool with some water slides, it put Windsor’s rather large stuck up nose out of kilter. To rectify this slight from the youngster, Windsor’s then failed mayor, Eddie Francis, ordered his own pool and waterpark, if only, allege some, to put LaSalle in its place.
Things haven’t quite worked out.
The pool Francis built is way too small, even for a mediocre short swimming event. To compensate, Dilkens must erect a pop-up pool in the east end arena. He supervised the spending of some $80 million and ended up with a pool too small and a waterpark too expensive to operate.
LaSalle taxpayers were expected to drool over Windsor’s pool. That didn’t work out well either.
Windsor’s waterpark has serious troubles. Almost 200,000 visited it in its first year, but just over half returned for a repeat visit, putting the place in devastating financial difficulty to the tune of millions of lost revenue.
When Windsor’s extravagant city hall opens it will most likely be another failure. After all, Dilkens is involved.
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.