(WINDSOR, ON) – A sense of elation has gripped downtown Windsor merchants. In non-cabal meetings at local coffee shops they are more boisterous than usual. Some are even swinging from the rafters and often have to be told to “calm down” simply out of safety concerns.
Many of downtown’s buildings are old. Who knows when one of the rafters will dislodge itself sending a merchant or two to guaranteed hospital time?
What has turned their usual frowns upside down is the unabridged foresight of the Windsor Council which voted to return the retail space at the city-owned Pelissier parking garage back to parking. By doing so, Council will add 43 spots to the city’s inventory at a small cost of three quarters of a million dollars.
These spots will soon be in high demand. But, will they be enough?
Admittedly, a few skeptical merchants are actually fussing while others are actually fretting. These are the ones able to add two and two and know, in their heart of hearts, tourism Armageddon is just around the corner.
Windsor is about to face a visitor tsunami of proportions never before seen. Eight Business Improvement Areas have pooled their resources and will spend a small fortune of $70,000 to attract tourists from Detroit.
As CTV News reported on July 17, the goal of these enterprising merchants is, “… to attract millions of Detroiters and Michiganders to Windsor and Essex County.”
With so many, about ten times the population of the city, expected to be soon wandering the streets with pockets bulging with standard American currency, the big issue is where will they park?
The reclaimed slots at the Pelissier garage will hardly be enough.
Instead, there will have to be gigantic contingency plans put in place. Most likely Council, during one of its in-camera meetings, is probably already plotting out how the city will respond to an invasion of Americans larger than the 1944 Invasion of Normandy.
The mass of Americans drooling over all the city has to offer will be like the FINA short swimming championship multiplied by a factor of a thousand. Except, these Americans will come by car and not via city-paid buses.
Most likely dealing with so many automobiles, from the world’s automotive capital, will need whole streets cordoned off into temporary parking lots. Parking will be great again as it takes over the city.
As for the merchants, they will find themselves swimming in piles of money. Many will gladly help the Americans carry their purchases to their cars, even if they are parked miles away.
Times will be so good, it will have the merchants demanding statues in roundabouts be created in honour of the City Council members who know a thing or two about parking.