On May 12, the streetcars in Detroit started rolling down Woodward Avenue. It is a remarkable accomplishment which reports say has created $7 billion in new economic development along the line.
With its opening, every major city between Toronto and Detroit has, or is planning, a fixed path rapid transit system.
Of course, Windsor is the exception.
Some in Windsor, and they know who they are, would rail against fixed rail transit, saying it is too costly and a system not needed in the once rosy city. However, Windsor has more than enough money in reserves to actually build a line similar to Detroit’s 5 km QLine.
According to the Windsor Star, the cost of outfitting downtown Detroit for fixed rail public transit, “… cost $195 million to build or $247 million including the roadwork that saw Woodward get a new concrete topping.”
Windsor is sitting idle with more than in the bank. At the same time, other communities are awash in federal and provincial money for their fixed path transit lines.
Something doesn’t add up.
Windsor’s cash nears $220 million. Investopedia says large amounts of, “… available money held by a company (are) in anticipation of facilitating future projects.” It is possible the money is not sitting idle but is being stockpiled so it can be used to finance FINA’s 2025 world swimming championships.
This event is an actually real swimming event with some six different competitions running simultaneously and with the world genuinely watching. The competitions will consist of swimming, diving, high diving, open water swimming, synchronized swimming, and water polo.
Windsor will need its cash stash to up its swimming ante with six new facilities; one for each sport.
This is something Budapest, Hungary, is doing. It is hosting this year’s championship and has, as media reports report, spent over $300 million for its new facilities.
Windsor might also look for money from the two senior levels of government to fill any gaps.
A legacy of the championship might be a much grander natatorium to replace the downtown aquatics centre, which is too small for major events. The new one could rival the one Toronto built for the 2015 Pan Am Games.
But, does Ontario need a second swimming facility as big and delightful as the one in Toronto?
Most likely not.
Windsor’s Olympic pool was supposed to become the centre of the province’s swimming world. That didn’t happen. Especially not with Toronto and its central location, and proper aquatics training centre.
And will Windsor need five other new swimming facilities?
Look for City Council to justify it all by pretending it will put Windsor on the world stage. So far the city has failed at that twice.
Will it be third time lucky?