From taxes to congested Dominion Boulevard, Ward 10 candidates debate

Ward 10 candidates discussed the top priorities in their ward Thursday night in a forum.

CBC Windsor livestreamed the debate on our website, Facebook and Twitter

Six candidates sit on stage to discuss issues facing Ward 10 in Windsor. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Ward 10 candidates discussed the top issues concerning their ward at a forum Thursday night — from traffic problems on Dominion Boulevard to whether they would support a tax increase.

Six of eight candidates participated. Paul Borrelli, the incumbent, and challengers Mohamed Chams, Mark Masanovich, Jim Morrison, Michael Patterson and Sadiq Pirani were present. It's not clear why Olivia Ashak and Wally Chafchak did not attend.

Flooding mitigation

The general consensus Thursday night was that Ward 10 is lacking in flood-mitigation infrastructure. The candidates complimented the city's flood subsidy program, but some criticized the long-term stormwater sewer master plan.

"They have committed $89 million to Riverside and that means south Windsor will not see any money in our lifetime," said Morrison.

Borrelli told the audience that consultants have been hired for the master plan and they can know more from the report once it's delivered by the expected June 2019 deadline.

The City of Windsor is looking for public feedback on possible traffic solution on the 'central box' area of the city. (Google)

Dominion Boulevard

Congestion and unfilled ditches made Dominion Boulevard a talker.

The promises to fill the ditches along Dominion Boulevard "were promised and it was not delivered," said Patterson. "The central box issue needs to be progressed."

In 2015, the City of Windsor identified the "central box," an area bound by Eugenie Street, Howard Avenue, West Grand/South Cameron Boulevard and Dominion Boulevard, where congestion has long been an issue.

Priani said he knows the study has been complete in that area, but questions why the recommendations don't talk about alternative modes of transportation like public transit or having bike lanes.

While Borrelli said he's actively working on relieving the congestion and taking the ditches out, Chams questioned the validity of the incumbent's promise.

"There's absolutely no plans, zero, not in the budget," said Chams. "Those ditches will not be filled."

Raising taxes

A majority of the six candidates were in favour of raising taxes if it meant better services for Ward 10.

However, Borrelli said they still need to hold the line.

"Everybody complains about taxes. So I think we have to be very careful," he said.

Masanovich was also against raising taxes because of the rising property values in Ward 10, which would increase people's bills.

"I'm in favour of better value for my taxes though," said Masanovich. "I haven't seen a lot of change in Ward 10 in the last 16 years."

Private retail marijuana

With less than a week away before recreational marijuana is legal, Ontario municipalities have to consider whether they want to permit private retail licenses.

All candidates at the forum, except for Pirani, said they would opt into having retail stores outside of the provincially-operated stores. Many cited that it would be a missed opportunity if the city opted out.

However, Pirani said once you say yes initially, you can't get out of that decision.

"I say opt out right now, and see how it goes in other places," said Pirani.

The candidates also talked about supervised injection sites, bike lanes and public transit. You can watch the full debate by tapping the player below.