20-year vision for Windsor: More jobs, a better image and more growth

A draft report looking at how Windsor can improve its fortunes over the next two decades has identified three key challenges facing the city.
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens is seen speaking with reporters after a recent city council meeting. (CBC)

A draft report looking at how Windsor can improve its fortunes over the next two decades has identified three key challenges facing the city.

Windsor must create jobs to employ the people that live here, improve its public image and work to increase the growth of its population.

The route to the report began when Mayor Drew Dilkens announced in December that he and his fellow councillors would work to map out a 20-year plan.

The city then reached out to Strategy Corp, a consulting firm, to help it develop a long-term vision.

John Matheson, a principal at Strategy Corp, was on hand to talk to council about the draft report on the vision, which was built through consultations with councillors.

"For a 20-year plan, the most important thing is you're trying to remember what you were doing 20 years ago and how much of it is still relevant to you today," he told reporters at city hall. "In the same way, if you're going to try and do a 20-year plan like this, you're really looking for the huge, really significant elements that council should be working on."

John Matheson of Strategy Corp was in council chambers on Monday night to speak to Windsor councillors about the 20-year plan. (CBC)

Matheson said the councillors had zeroed in on the key issues for the city today and into the near future.

Coun. Paul Borrelli said he felt the draft presented to council had some good ideas, but it was fuzzy on the details.

"It actually gives some really good ideas on some of the objectives that we have to meet...I'm still at a loss as to exactly what our true strategic plan or vision really is. I'm still trying to grapple with that idea," he said outside council.

Dilkens said council must now work at refining its vision, before the cost will be estimated and the plan then possibly revised and then brought to the public for consultation.

"That is an essential part of this process for such a long-term plan, making sure that the public buys into this vision, the public buys into this strategy," he said after council wrapped on Monday night.

"We're going to do that and as you heard councillors say today, they want to talk about expanding that public consultation, which I wholeheartedly support."

Helga Reidel, the city's chief administrative officer, said the cost of developing this initial phase of the plan was in the neighbourhood of $40,000.

Asked if Strategy Corp will be a part of the next part of developing the vision, Dilkens told reporters that is unclear.

"They haven't been engaged [for that]," said Dilkens. "They have been engaged to provide the service up to today, so if we feel that we need it — and we may…I have no problems calling them back. They were great to work with and if we need to engage them further, we'll do that."

Dilkens said that his preference would be for Strategy Corp to come back after the city has had a chance to consult with the public about this plan and "wrap up that document in a way that they're good at."

With files from the CBC's Joana Draghici


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