More Observations About Windsor

Tuomi-HeaderThe ghost of Thanksgiving dropped off a basket of oddities to this corner of The Square. They were found to be fresh and not leftovers.

On top was an October 14 Chris Vander Doelen column from the Windsor Star. Despite some 4,000 homes being flooded in the area’s recent torrential rainfall, he proudly declared that Windsor’s sewer pumps worked.

While the pumps may have been working (which is not a definite), the real news is thousands of homes were flooded. Vander, as headline writers call him, offered no problem-fixing suggestions. He also called the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system, which remotely runs the city’s sewers, a “SCALA” system, suggesting he really doesn’t know of what he writes.

Posters to CVD’s story were hardly kind.

Commentator Steve Popescu, in a sarcastic way, pointed out the probable reason for the column. He said he’d hate for there to be, “… grounds to sue the city for negligence … Everything is fine with the drainage system, continue upgrading the new arena and city hall.”

A day before, the broadcast media were gushing about Cross Country Trailers expanding. None of the journalists mentioned the company relocated from Windsor to Blenheim, which has lower property taxes.

In defence of the local economic development office not working to stop the relocation of a growing company, at the time, Rakesh Naidu told the media the company didn’t call him.

Now there is new man Stephen MacKenzie waiting by the phone. Some wonder what kind of leader he’ll show. Early results suggest it will be the same old, same old.

MacKenzie just signed a memorandum of understanding with a Korean city, supposedly to bring new companies to the region and help local companies expand to South Korea. This is odd because it seems he might be following the playbook of former mayor Eddie Francis.

Francis travelled to the Asian country in a bid to convince its Niagara Falls-bound tourists to stop in Windsor. So far there has not been an announcement that the trip changed anyone’s mind.

Windsor continues to suffer from a severe lack of economic development. It has not only lost a number of factories, but also competitions to get new ones. This has included not winning bids for everything from a General Electric engine plant to Range Rover and Jaguar auto assembly plants.

Despite all the pretence of how great the city is, MacKenzie needs to convince the city’s council to lower its investment discouraging industrial property taxes.

The situation is serious.

Windsor made number 25, the last place, in this year’s’s Best Places for Business. The publication evaluated, “… the Canadian cities that strike an optimal balance between prosperous markets, reasonable costs and business-friendly taxation and regulation.”

Actually, the business-friendly taxation issue is easy to fix.

But, will MacKenzie have the courage to tell council it isn’t wearing any clothes and needs to reduce the tax burden on jobs creating businesses, or will he prefer signing MOU documents?

About the Author

Robert Tuomi
After initially succeeding as a broadcast journalist and achieving senior level assignments, Robert branched out into marketing communications. As a senior executive, primarily in the high-tech industry, Robert created award-winning and comprehensive, multi-faceted initiatives to enhance sales and expand market awareness for some of the largest companies in their fields. Email Robert Tuomi