Some pundits were wringing their hands in an almost secret society way. It is their wont whenever a government issues a budget which seems to exclude the once rosy city. But, then it hit them.
Simultaneously. Like a blast of higher toxic air from Marathon Petroleum’s Detroit refinery.
There is, the pundits concluded, a darn clear and present danger for Windsor being left out of tomorrow’s industry, and it is simply because the city unduly suffers egotistical Drew Dilkens. He prefers running back to Budapest to hang out with despotic sheiks rather than rolling up his sleeves to alert the community to a potential dreadful future.
It could be he does nothing on economic development because he has seen the city’s future and it is as bleak as a night without a full moon.
In its 2016 budget, the Wynne Liberal government talks about a new innovation SuperCorridor. It will stretch from London right up to Ottawa.
This, apparently, is where all the movers and shakers of the future work diligently in groups, playing around with ideas that will re-shape the world.
Windsor’s downtown incubation centre, which also includes some bright lights, had the wind knocked out of its sails by a city council preferring to shell out some $21 million of taxpayer money to cover the costs of the extravagant FINA swimming event rather than help the city’s future.
And, to be honest, rather than help ease the city’s chronic unemployment.
If the city won’t support the people who can change the world why, logically, should the provincial government support Windsor?
By the way it is supporting the FINA event, why should the automotive capital wannabe be so uppity?
Given there is provincial money for FINA why are so many local traditional media types, and their favourite commentators, upset the city is persona non gratia at the SuperCorridor? Did they forget Windsor will become its own once-a-year SportsTourism SuperCorridor?
It will do as well as well as can be expected from a flash-in-the-pan event.
But, that is the problem. Dilkens, never one for economic development, is missing the boat. He should be working long into the night to get Windsor up to speed; and, a one-time swimming event will not do it.
The key irritant in all of this is the Provincial Liberals writing a cheque in the reported amount of $100 million for a so-called consortium of advanced manufacturing technology to bring together the wizards at Western, McMaster, and Waterloo universities. Windsor’s media are whining like stuck pigs about the local university being excluded.
Strangely, Windsor’s arch rival for the crown of automotive capital, Oshawa, did not see its university, the University of Ontario, included either.
Some of the cash the three selected universities will get is destined to be used to further develop additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing of products.
Already a wide range of pieces and parts of things are being printed using this technology. It is a highly flexible, eliminating warehouses of inventory, and does not produce the waste typical of the traditional milling and machining done in Windsor.
Although it is most popular with plastic components, advanced research is moving forward in which metal products can, and will, be produced as quickly and as reliably as plastic ones.
The message is clear.
Dilkens as mayor is costly to Windsor and he has sealed the City’s future with his focus on sports tourism, rather than on industrial advancement.
Windsor is obviously not on the province’s technology map but, to Dilkens and his council, that is probably not as important as getting on the sports map. The sad reality is it is doubtful a one-time event will get the city on any map.
But, it certainly seems to have put it on a sucker list.
Robert Tuomi can be heard at noon every Thursday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. It is also streamed online at CJAM.