Collier | MoneySense ranking should concern council, staff
Windsor ranked 162nd out of 201 total cities and 44th out of 46 similarly sized municipalities
City of Windsor staff and council had better fix the city's ranking in MoneySense's annual Canada’s Best Places to Live, says CBC Windsor's municipal affairs expert.
Cheryl Collier says not only does the city rank low — 162nd out of 201 — it also fell more than 80 spots from the year before.
"This is a fair ranking and it’s something we should probably pay attention to," Collier said. "You could probably quibble with some of the things on it ... but it’s important to look at what they’re measuring."
The list measures medical care, crime rates, housing affordability and employment rate, among other things.
The list also ranks cities against those of similar size. Windsor finishes 44th out of 46 in cities with populations between 100,000 and 400,000.
"One of the things the city likes to do is compare us to comparable cities. In this area, we’re not doing that well," Collier said.
Collier said politicians can't control things like weather, but they do have a say in taxes and doctor recruitment.
Mayor Eddie Francis and council haven`t approved a property tax increase in six consecutive years.
"Obviously, we’ve seen improvement on the tax levels. Even though it’s in that area they focus on for livability, it’s not the only thing," Collier said.
Francis and council also quit funding the doctor recruitment office.
"We do well on some medical stats, but on the number of doctors [per 1,000] we’re still lower than a lot of other cities.
That might be something we put energy into," Collier said.
Collier said the city has also struggled to be a retirement destination and that a regional transit system could enhance the city's ranking.
"Transit use, we haven’t seen a big transit plan here. We’re looking at, potentially, a regional transit plan," Collier said.
Coun. Bill Marra, who chairs the Transit Windsor board of directors, previously told CBC he believes the timing is right for a round table discussion on regional transit.
Collier said some of the areas in which Windsor scored poorly could be made election issues come fall.
Cheryl Collier is a professor of political science at the University of Windsor. She can be be heard on Windsor Morning with Tony Doucette at 8:14 a.m. on Mondays. Tune in to 97.5 FM or listen live online at www.cbc.ca/windsor.
To hear Monday's piece, click on the audio box above.