Windsor

Petition against 'ridiculous' $3M light display at Jackson Park supported by hundreds

Brett Henderson said the $3 million would be better spent helping Windsor's homeless, paying for better infrastructure or helping homeowners repair their basements after widespread flooding that followed heavy rain Tuesday.

More than 2,300 people have signed

(David Horemans/CBC)

Thousands of residents in Windsor have taken a dim view of council's plan to spend $3 million on a holiday light display in Jackson Park.

Brett Henderson, 21, created a petition opposing the decision Tuesday night. When he woke up Wednesday morning he found it had already garnered more than 2,300 signatures.

"It was crazy," he said. "It was really encouraging just to know there are that many people who care."

On Monday, Mayor Drew Dilkens cast the deciding vote in favour of his motion, which would bring brightly lit trees, sleigh rides and food trucks to Jackson Park during the winter months.

Councillors John Elliott, Ed Sleiman, Jo-Anne Gignac, Paul Borrelli and Fred Francis voted in favor of the motion.  

Councillors Hilary Payne, Bill Marra, Irek Kusmierczyk, Chris Holt and Rino Bortolin voted against the proposal.

Delegations spoke out against the proposal before the vote and reactions on social media have been overwhelmingly negative. 

Henderson said the $3 million would be better spent helping Windsor's homeless, paying for better infrastructure or helping homeowners repair their basements after widespread flooding that followed heavy rain Tuesday.

"I get the timing on this is horrible," said Dilkens, who added the report on the lights proposal came out 10 days before the flood. "The two incidents are completely unrelated," he added.

Henderson said he's personally contacted every councillor who voted in favour of the mayor's motion and called on community members to do the same.

"It's a ridiculous decision I don't think was fairly talked about or presented to the public."

Councillor signs on

Ward 8 councillor Bill Marra said he heard Henderson's call, and signed the petition.

"I wanted to validate the concerns of these citizens have expressed as well," he said. Our citzens are our bosses and it's our job and commitment to listen."

In order for the motion to be called back, one of the councillors must make a request, something Marra said has happened in the past and could happen in this case.

Coun. Bill Marra speaks during a council meeting in April 2016. (Alex Brockman/CBC)

When it comes to future votes, he suggested community members can sway council's view by launching petitions ahead of votes and using email or social media to contact councillors.

If that doesn't work, he said the best thing to do is sign up to address council as a delegate.

"Ultimatel if you can come to chambers and present your views that's very powerful and people like me do listen."

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