Developing A Ghost Town

By Nestor Chyz

Past history has shown us that, in the old west, ghost towns evolved after mines were closed. These reminders of failed enterprise still exist many years later. How is is possible that our mayor and Councilors cannot foresee this inevitable outcome for the City of Windsor if the hospital plan come to fruition?

The Ouellette Avenue corridor in the downtown will be devastated. Empty offices will be the norm. How long will these boarded up buildings exist?

Windsor has issues with Mr Moroun on the west side, but, the city will be creating its own dead zone along our main street. The proposed Mental Health Facility will attract few, if any replacement offices.

Giles Boulevard, Goyeau Street, Tecumseh Road, and Walker Road will also be part of this phenomenon. All of these major arteries will have the most redeeming feature of empty buildings and empty lots.

Empty buildings have little value to a community. Deprived of people, the soul of the city will be destroyed. Property values will decrease in the city.

A viable neighbourhood, south Walkerville, will be negatively impacted when the Metropolitan Campus of Windsor Regional Hospital is demolished. There will be a new brownfield in its place.

The city’s plan to develop residences rings hollow. The prime example is the former Grace Hospital site which has been vacant for years.

After spending on infrastructure for the new hospital, will the city not be concentrating on Sandwich South? How does the city plan to attract 40,000 to Sandwich South?

In effect, Windsor will be in competition with itself by trying to develop Sandwich South and the Met Campus site. Shuffling a deck doesn’t lead to more than 52 cards.

The recent flooding in Riverside has shown the desperate need to upgrade infrastructure. What will be left to spend in the rest of the city after spending an estimated $250 million in Sandwich South? Windsor’s Capital Budget 5-year plan (2015-2019) is $266 million for the whole city.

Resources are scarce and, after the Sandwich South development, they may be severely constrained.

Acceptance of the hospital plan is the beginning of developing a ghost town. A city never feels so empty as when a piece of it goes missing.