Windsor Got Game

In a letter to the editor of the Windsor Star on February 12, Steve Vorkapich, who says he lives in Windsor, is aghast at what he calls the, “glaring omissions among the inductees to the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame.”

He lists a number of Essex County residents who have, “athletic accomplishments that makes any knowledgeable fan wonder why they were not inducted several years ago.” He concluded by saying perhaps, “this organization should change their name to the Windsor Sports Hall of Fame.”

Of course Vorkapich is right.

Windsor should have its own Sports Hall of Fame to honour the people who have put the city on the sports map. For some reason the city had to continually kowtow to the county, which seems to have aspirations well above its stature.

In fact, the county is slowly taking over the region; a sure case of the tail wagging the dog.

Already, the ambulance service is called Essex-Windsor EMS. A new hospital is planned for a farmer’s field in what was once part of the county.

Essex County, a second tier government, seems to think it is bigger than Windsor based on the growing populations of the seven composite towns, which are spread out over a very large area. But, the reality remains, Windsor is the giant in the region and needs to accept and build on that position.

The way it is now, Windsor has seven competitors trying their best to steal away finite economic development and, in most cases, these towns are scheming to replace farmland with industrial land, which does nothing for the environment and extends urban sprawl by removing prized farmland from production.

What is wrong with having small towns in the region where residents can live the small town life, if they so want?

If Windsor was on its game, it would demand that the bedroom communities surrounding its borders, LaSalle, Tecumseh, and the built up part of Lakeshore, be amalgamated to create a major southern Ontario city with a population approaching 300,000.

Proof of LaSalle and Tecumseh being solely bedroom communities is the fact that neither has a downtown. Both are trying to create one, with Tecumseh the most ambitious with plans to bring café society to Tecumseh Road.

Good luck with that.

Without Windsor the region would be a shadow of itself. Windsor, by incorporating the bedroom communities, would give the region a significant population centre. The region would also have five charming towns absent any ambitions of being major urban centres.

The area’s five towns would be Amherstburg, Kingsville, Leamington, Harrow, and Essex, with the opportunity for Harrow and Essex to be unto themselves again.

Urban problems need urban solutions and only a large city can best deal with issues like transit, co-ordinated land use planning, getting the attention of Queen’s Park and Ottawa because of its size, and reducing bureaucratic duplication.

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

5 Comments on "Windsor Got Game"

  1. Chris Schnurr | 22 February 2018 at 19:16 |

    I completely agree, Mayor Patterson. Though, you may wish to explain, with respect two-tier versus single tier given what the county website reads: https://www.countyofessex.on.ca/en/government.asp “The County of Essex is governed by Essex County Council. The type of municipal government found in Essex County is called a two- tier system, which means that the 7 lower tier municipalities within the County of Essex are governed by elected Councils, as well as the upper tier county government being in place. Each level of municipal government in a county two- tier system is responsible for providing different programs and services.”

  2. R.J. Potomski | 22 February 2018 at 14:00 |

    It seems that there is a chance the neither the county folk nor the city folk are not comfortable in the joint titles that seem to follow directions from what the Toronto bureaucrats use on agencies under their authority.
    Maybe it’s time for the city folk and county folk use “Canada South” rather than Windsor-Essex or Essex-Windsor.
    A long time ago our area was known for innovative thinking. Maybe using “Canada South”, will restart the innovative thinking.
    Just a though.

  3. Mayor John Paterson | 21 February 2018 at 21:30 |

    My bad Robert. At County Council this evening I was reminded that the solid waste authority is actually called the Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority. So the County has “two” title wins!!!
    Mayor Paterson, Leamington.

  4. Mayor John Paterson | 20 February 2018 at 16:39 |

    LOL Robert. I enjoyed your point of view on this subject. But, if I may, I would like to correct a few things, and please forgive me for having a little bit of fun with your story at the same time.

    Essex County is actually a “Tier One” municipality, the same as the City of Windsor. And in all my years of life I have yet to see the City “kowtow” to the County. That comment of yours was particularly entertaining!!!

    It is my understanding that EMS is called Essex-Windsor because that is what the “Province” mandated when they forced the amalgamation of our ambulance services. Roughly 80% of the EMS services are performed in the City of Windsor, yet the funding for that service is split roughly 50/50 between City and County based on a Provincial formula.

    Let me turn your comment around. Why is it called the Windsor-Essex Solid Waste Authority when the garbage dump is located in the middle of Essex County and it was Essex County farmers that sacrificed all that farmland so the City could get rid of its garbage? Or why is it called the Windsor Essex Economic Development Commission or Tourism Windsor Essex Corporation when in reality, both are funded at a near 50/50 basis? Windsor Essex Health Unit? Surely you could allow the County one title win!!!

    The proposed hospital location was chosen by Windsorites without input from the County, yet the County is willing to pay and is responsible for 50% of the regional contribution or $ 100 million. And before you say we don’t have to pay the roads and services, that’s a given. It is located IN the City and thus the assets will belong to the City.

    The County is busily spending millions upon millions without financial help from the City, on improving the County roads that will be used to transport patients from the County to the hospital, at least in Tecumseh and Lakeshore…… not so much south of Hwy 3, but that’s another topic of discussion on another day. And that land may have been in the County in the not too distant past, but it is very much in the City now. They wanted it!

    And maybe as County residents we do have “aspirations above our stature”. What’s wrong with that? We could easily argue that without the County, the City would be a shadow of itself. One only needs to take a look at the burgeoning tool & die industry located in Tecumseh and Lakeshore. Or the ever expanding award winning Wine and Spirits Industry located in Amherstburg, Essex and Kingsville. Did you know Canada’s leading growth industry is located in Leamington. Yes, the greenhouse industry. According to our Federal Government, the greenhouse industry concentrated in Leamington, is outperforming all other industries in GDP and employment growth.

    Talking about stealing away finite economic development, the greenhouse industry is one that the City and its Chamber have tried in vain to “re-locate” from the Leamington/Kingsville epicentre over the past few years. That’s the cool thing about small towns, we talk to each other so when someone tries to convince our local business people to move, we hear about it.

    I like the City and visit whenever time allows. It has a beautiful waterfront, great restaurants and clubs, I enjoy the different ethnically developed areas, its downtown has huge potential, and it has a pretty nice Casino with a great concert venue. Which raises the question, as the host “region” of the Casino, shouldn’t the County be sharing in the proceeds paid by the Casino to the City?

    Ambitions aside, Leamington already “is” a major urban centre!!! We have everything a City typically has ….. we even have a Starbucks opening soon!!! 🙂 But I keep getting told by my taxpayers that we do fall short of the City designation….. because we don’t have a Taco Bell!!! Go figure.

    But we do have a beautiful waterfront, a brand new Amphitheatre concert venue on the beach, a top notch marina, public transit bus services, a Hospital and medical centre, Social Services, Long Term Care facilities, Art Gallery, Performing Arts Centre, parks, ball diamonds, a huge soccer complex, twin ice pads with seating for 3,000, a 25 meter competition level indoor pool, two business shopping districts …. a Downtown AND an Uptown, name brand hotel accommodations, and a “National Park”.

    Leamington may be a “small” city in comparison to Windsor, but we have shown time and time again that we are quite capable of handling transit, land use planning, and getting the attention of the Provincial and Federal Governments. Could our County level do better? Yes.

    Steve Vorkapich is right. There are some things that should be “Windsor” and some things that should be “Essex County” or even one of the seven municipalities that make the County exist. Again, what is wrong with having civic pride in what your own residents have been able to accomplish?

    Windsorites are considerably different than the residents of the County. Our local County officials wouldn’t understand the needs and wants of city-folk anymore than City officials would understand the needs and wants of County residents. Windsor has more in common with the City of Detroit than it does with Essex County.

    Fortunately, the Province is heading into an election and there is no appetite for further amalgamation. It hasn’t worked very well anywhere in the Province and they know it. So we can all rest assured that the County will remain the County and the City will remain the City. Now all we have to do is find a way to work together in a fair and equitable manner.

    Fun article Robert. Hope you enjoy mine as much and the humour contained therein.

    Sincerely,
    Mayor John Paterson
    Municipality of Leamington

  5. R.J. Potomski | 19 February 2018 at 22:03 |

    On reading your article i understood and agree with the Windsor-Essex title on things “Windsor” don’t make sense.
    I am left a bit perplexed on your implication that Windsor, unlike Tecumseh and Lasalle has a downtown.
    In B.C. (Before Casino) Windsor did have a Downtown with life insurance offices, Ford Motor Company Windsor Export Supply Offices, a bus depot with a coffee shop, two hospitals in the downtown area with emergency rooms, on street parking, Employment Insurance Office, full service Canada Revenue offices and a population that was considered as having the highest per capita income in Canada.
    Now we have an area that should be called “Formerly Downtown ” . City hall wants to convert Formerly Downtown into a residential area with apartment living. It is taking a hard stand on businesses that want to open in the area. I like the municipalities across the river city hall bureaucrats do not want to work with businesses on there high taxes. They preference to repossess and take over the businesses. Has anyone noticed that subcontracting is going to out of town firms.
    When was the last time anyone spent a day downtown shopping for clothes.
    Even the last hospital is moving out.

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