Observation platform, cycling tour included in community benefits plan for Gordie Howe Bridge project
Public information sessions about the plan will be held in Windsor June 25 and in Detroit, Mich. June 26
A focus on small businesses and local applicants for jobs were highlights of the Community Benefits Plan for the Gordie Howe International Bridge Project, unveiled Friday in Windsor.
Representatives from the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, Bridging North America, the state of Michigan and the federal Canadian government announced the plan, which involves more than 30 agencies and organizations.
A plan in two parts
The first part of the plan, Workforce Development and Participation Strategy, aims to engage businesses and provide employment opportunities:
- A Regional Small Business Purchase Protocol hopes to foster growth of small companies in the area.
- Partnerships with local workforce development agencies will encourage local applicants for jobs and skill development opportunities.
- Support for pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs and opportunities for Indigenous people.
The Neighbourhood Infrastructure Strategy is a $20-million project on both sides of the border.
- $8.1M for aesthetics and landscaping.
- $3.5M for community safety and connections.
- $2.2M for community partnerships.
- $1.1M for economic benefits.
Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Rakesh Naidu said the chamber was delighted to be one of the partners on board.
"The plan will bring positive outcomes to our members and the region as a whole," said Naidu. The chamber will support the planning of information sessions for vendors and a vendor summit, and has committed to sharing procurement opportunity information for the bridge project.
An annual $50,000 investment has been promised for five years for community organizations in the Olde Sandwich neighbourhood.
By 2023, a Windsor-Detroit Cross River cycling and walking tour will feature the history of the Sandwich community. An eco-passage between Black Oak Heritage Park and Ojibway Nature Centre will be constructed if the City of Windsor secures their end of the funding and the necessary permits.
A construction observation platform at Malden Park will be completed in 2020, to allow students and residents to view ongoing construction of the bridge.
According to Bryce Phillips, CEO of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, the community benefits plan is a result of "significant community consultation" held over a four-year period. More than 70 meetings were attended by more than 1,000 stakeholders.
Public information sessions about the plan will be held in Windsor June 25 and in Detroit, Mich. June 26.