Windsorites pitch riverfront ideas at CBC town hall
Windsorites have plenty ideas other than a $16-million marina for their waterfront.
People waited in a line, sometimes five deep, to have their say Wednesday night at a CBC Windsor town hall examining development of the city's riverfront.
More people participated in a live online chat.
And a panel of four debated the issues and ideas.
Elaine Weeks, whose father, former mayor Bert Weeks, fought hard for the city to acquire the land along the waterfront was a panelist.
Here are some suggestions made at the town hall:
Ice Cream Shop
She was joined by urban planner Dara O'Byrne; businessperson Brian Yeomans; and Stacy Adam of the Windsor Essex County Canoe Club.
"The ideas [Wednesday] were fantastic," Weeks said. "I really, really hope Windsor continues to improve on what we have here."
Ideas were wide-ranging. From Ferris wheels to monorails to bike rentals and food trucks, there was no shortage of ideas.
But what many said was "no" to a marina and "no" to larger structures.
Adam said she would like a marina - she said there is a safety concern for boaters on the Detroit River. There is nowhere to get off the water during times of trouble. But even she understood why one wouldn't be built.
"If a marina is built, I will use it. If it's not, I'll still use the river," Adam said.
Yeomans said he's not against a marina, or an aquarium or aviaries, for that matter. He's just against spending tax money on them.
"I'm all for development, to a point; not messing with our beautiful waterfront," he said.
O'Byrne, an urban planner from Detroit, said the trend along waterfronts in North America right now is to naturalize them.
She called Windsor's riverfront "unique" and said other cities are "envious" of what Windsor already has.
"Coming from Detroit, we've looked at Windsor's waterfront as something to strive for," O'Byrne said.
She said finding common ground is easier than it may appear.
"Each community I've every worked in has a different solution, so it really is having conversations with people and trying to figure that out. I think everybody here has brought up really great points, and I don't think that they're as far apart as maybe people would like to make it seem," O'Byrne said. "I haven't heard anybody say, 'absolutely no marina.' I think you're hearing cost issues and things like that. I think really trying to figure out exactly what people's key concerns are."
Coun. Fulvio Valentinis, who represents the downtown ward, was on hand taking notes.
To hear more ideas and issues discussed at the town hall, tune into Windsor Morning with Tony Doucette at 6 a.m. Thursday on 97.5 FM; The Bridge, with host Bob Steele at 4 p.m. Thursday; Windsor at 5:30 with Asha Tomlinson at 5:30 p.m. on channel 9, cable 10 and Bell 587.