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  #221  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2006, 9:36 PM
upinottawa upinottawa is offline
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^Ouch.

With respect to the highway from the county, you are surely speaking of Highway 3. Having commuted from Essex to the university area for a summer job in 2003, I can attest to how congested and slow moving Highway 3 is prior to entering Windsor. Having said that, a significant contributor to the slow pace of travel are large trucks and the ever increasing number of stop lights. Although there are not a lot of trucks on this highway (viz-à-viz Huron Church), the frequent traffic lights cause the two lane highway to bog down.

As for smog, I am not a scientist. However, I understand that smog afflicts most cities in Southern Ontario. That being said, standing in one spot and sweating may be a function of heat and humidity rather than smog. As far as heat is concerned, Windsor is Canada's southern-most city: on average it is going to be warmer than other cities in the area.

Are far as Windsor being too close to Detroit politically, most Windsorites (IMHO) would argue that the city gets ignored by the provincial government. This is especially true when there is a Progressive Conservative government at Queen's Park and less so when there is a Liberal or NDP government in Toronto. Windsor elects Liberal or NDP MPPs, so the PC party (and even the Liberals or NDP) has little reason to bribe local voters the way a city like London would. Windsor is geographically close to Detroit, but is certainly more of an Ontario city than a Michigan city.

As far as being flat, short of breast augmentation, I am not sure what the city can do. The city is on the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair and has easy access to Lake Erie. There are a ton of wineries in the county. And, of course, there is a major American metropolis on the city's doorstep. There are certainly things to do on both sides of the River.

As far as being far away from the GTA, well I can't really argue with that. However, Windsor is just as far from Chicago as it is from Toronto. Not only that but one can get crazy deals to other American cities flying Southwest from Metro Airport.

Certainly Windsor does not a great natural wonder like the Falls, but the city also does not have a Denny's....
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  #222  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2006, 10:15 PM
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Why would you say ^ouch^, I never once said anything untrue about Windsor. I love Windsor, but I really didn't want to live there anymore!

Having lived in Windsor and area for 12 years and visting the area my entire life. I think I understand the whole most southern region in Canada scenerio. I also know backwards and forward exactly who, what, where, when, and how #3 hwy becomes congested. As far as the city being flat I don't recall suggesting they should find a way to overcome this. It is by no means a problem for local residents, for me however I was born in Owen Sound and area and prefer trees and hills to flat farm land. It is afterall my perogative to live where I feel benefits my family. Speaking of family, if there is so much to do there, then why is it every single person I know leaves town on weekends too have family fun. Maybe for those who are attending University it would be a very exciting area to be in, the bar scene is unreal. For a young family Colasanti's and Wheel's Inn just isn't enough to call fun every single weekend. One last thing, I think I mentioned the "humidity" maybe I am too Canadian but I don't want to sweat just standing in one spot. I think enough people over the years saying the humidity sucks here, would clue me into this fact.

Here is a website stating the most humid city in Canada is Windsor, when you live in a certain area and move to another, believe me you notice a difference in temperatures.

CLICK ON Windsor:
CANADIAN WEATHER WINNERS

Last edited by FALLSVIEW; Sep 26, 2006 at 2:40 PM.
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  #223  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2006, 1:13 AM
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Highway 3 is supposed to be expanded to 4 lanes within the next 5 years. Highway 401 is being expanded to 6 lanes as we speak through Essex County. There are infrastructure issues that are partly related to a lack of regional government and partly to the population boom of the '90s.

I don't think the flat land is a big deal, it's not like the small hills around London or Kitchener are anything to get excited about. Windsor has its own type of beautiful scenery and that includes the waterfront and the Detroit skyline.

Yeah, humidity and smog are problems but it's the same deal throughout southwestern Ontario. If we could do something about it, I'm sure we would.
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  #224  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2006, 1:14 AM
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Long-debated hole could be filled soon

The Windsor Star
Sep. 22, 2006
By Gary Rennie
Star Staff Reporter


As yet another deadline passes today, developer Bill Docherty says he’s got a new plan for the Riverside Drive and Church Street pit that was supposed to have a high-rise hotel, condominium or apartment tower more than a decade ago.
But he’s not divulging details.
City lawyer Mark Nazarewich has a plan too. He’ll be asking city council Monday to decide whether it wants to proceed with hiring a contractor to fill in the 10-metre deep hole adjacent to the Radisson Hotel, and charging the cost to Docherty.
After agreeing the developer was in violation of city property bylaws, Ontario Superior Court Judge Terrence Patterson ordered Docherty in March to fill in the hole and gave him six months to do it.
Time is up today.

All that’s happened since then is that the weeds in the bottom of the almost one-acre hole are over a metre high, and a couple of young trees are reaching closer to street level.
Nazarewich said he hasn’t received any response to recent letters to Docherty’s lawyer, Art Barat, requesting action on Patterson’s order.
“I can’t comment,” Docherty told The Star, other than to say vaguely: “I’m working on something.”
Nazarewich said it’s open to Docherty to propose a new site plan and see if council will approve it. There are some new financial incentives for downtown developments, he noted.
However, Nazarewich pointed out Docherty failed to proceed on the last site plan he negotiated with the city about four years ago, and let its construction deadline lapse.
Deadline extension offered
The city offered to extend the deadline if Docherty would put up some security to guarantee that construction would proceed or the excavation would be filled in, the lawyer added.

But Docherty wouldn’t agree to the terms for the extension and so the site plan lapsed, Nazarewich said. That sparked the court case the city had hoped would finally bring its downtown development deal with Docherty to a close.
Docherty’s agreements with the city in the downtown date back almost three decades and brought about construction of the Hilton Hotel in 1984, and later the Radisson Hotel in 1989 (although initially it was a Compri) along with a connected two-storey office complex and parking garbage. The city’s goal from the outset was to boost tourist and convention traffic with the entire complex linked to its Cleary International convention centre.
Interest-free mortgage
The city expropriated the downtown properties needed and Docherty got the land at cost with other incentives, including interest-free mortgages.
Nazarewich doubted the old agreements give the city any leverage in its current dealings with Docherty. The agreements were amended 14 times over the years, deadlines were often extended and earlier opportunities to reclaim some of the unused land weren’t pursued by the city, Nazarewich said.
Nazarewich said filling in the hole to improve the appearance of the hotel-convention complex won’t be a simple matter of just bringing in a fleet of trucks with dirt. Experts would have to assess how to protect the offices close by from any impacts, he said.
City staff estimated the cost of filling in the excavation at $75,000 to $145,000, but that’s only a guess until an engineer goes in for an appraisal of the task, Nazarewich said.
Another option for Docherty is to complete the excavation himself by pouring walls to finish the basement of whatever might be built in future, Nazarewich said.
One way or another, the city wants the hole filled in, he said.
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  #225  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2006, 1:49 PM
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Cleary deal will spur investors, mayor says

Council to review final pact tonight

Doug Schmidt, Windsor Star
Published: Monday, September 25, 2006


Investors are "waiting in the wings" with new plans for the downtown as city council and St. Clair College are set to consummate the transfer of the Cleary International Centre to the school, according to Mayor Eddie Francis.

City council will review the final agreement at its regular public meeting tonight while the college's board of governors meets behind closed doors to do the same. Both parties are expected to seal the deal, with the college creating a new urban campus for up to 1,000 students and the city unloading a notorious money-loser expected to end fiscal 2006 with a year-end operating deficit of almost $1.3 million.

Asked how he felt about ridding the city of one of its biggest money pits, Francis responded: "I don't know if I'd call it a sigh of relief -- there's a sense of excitement. We're introducing a new dimension to the downtown."

While unable to divulge specifics, Francis said "a number of investors" have told him the new urban campus with its influx of students into the core helps make the case for new developments in the downtown.

The mayor said an announcement is imminent on a new tenant at the DaimlerChrysler building with business links to the college.

St. Clair president John Strasser shares the mayor's excitement.

"I think it's a great deal for both sides," he said, adding it will not only "energize the downtown core" but provide a learning environment that will bring his college's hospitality and tourism offerings "to a new level."

While the major points of the deal are already known, tonight will be the first time the public gets a formal glimpse at the details.

According to a new report by administration, the city has agreed to pay $2.3 million over two years to cover approximately half the salary and benefit costs of transferring 18 full-time, 99 part-time and three contract employees from the city to the college payroll.

The city will also pay $423,250 both this year and in 2009 toward renovations and capital improvements. Just over $300,000 of the 2006 contribution will come from the closing of an existing Cleary development reserve fund.

For five years, the city will waive a $75 per student payment in lieu of taxes mandated by the province for college-hosting municipalities. Based on an estimated 1,000 students enrolled downtown, that means foregoing $75,000 annually.

The city has also agreed to a five-year lease -- with four renewal options -- for 241 parking spaces at the Caron Avenue lot at an annual rate of $5,750. The lease can be terminated on 12 months' notice but the city must provide "comparable alternate parking."

The city will receive seven "rent-free days" per year of Cleary use for five years, and city employees enrolled at the college for work-related credit courses over the next 10 years will receive a 70 per cent reduction on course fees.

The administration report to be discussed tonight forecasts no savings to the city in the first three years but in 2009 council will have more than $220,000 available "to reallocate to other corporate initiatives." That figure is estimated to reach $718,894 annually in 2011.

Strasser said full-time classes are expected to begin next September but St. Clair will host its first event there in just two weeks -- the Canadian Manufacturing Hall of Fame Dinner Oct. 12, when some of Canada's business titans are expected to attend and become the new hall's first inductees.

© The Windsor Star 2006
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  #226  
Old Posted Sep 27, 2006, 2:58 PM
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St. Clair ready to move downtown
Students expect easy transition next fall when some classes begin at Cleary

Roseann Danese, Windsor Star
Published: Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The cost to park downtown was the only aspect that worried St. Clair College students about what they said was an otherwise positive move into the Cleary International Centre.

Students in the music theatre performance program, journalism, tourism and hospitality said Tuesday they were thrilled to be able to study their art in the real world.

"It will give us an opportunity to work in a theatre environment rather than a classroom," said first-year music theatre performance student Aaron Bergeron, 21. "I think that's what we're all really looking for, is to get out there and get that experience so when we get into the world, it's a little bit easier."

Students pay about $50 per semester for parking, but downtown rates -- even in cheaper municipal lots and garages -- run about $450 a year. "They'll have to do something," said Andrea Murray, a third-year music theatre student. "We'll have to pay the college rate because we're college students and it's a college-owned facility."

The deal with the city includes parking at the Caron Avenue municipal lot -- at Caron Avenue and Pitt Street -- which has room for 241 cars. The college will pay the city $5,750 a year -- or about $24 a year for each spot.

Culinary studies students won't be making the move downtown, despite earlier reports they were to be included in the mix. Students in the culinary program will stay at the college for classes, but once they're trained, they will work under the direction of Cleary chefs during the preparation of major banquets or shows, according to college president John Strasser.

"The actual teaching one-on-one will stay here," he said Tuesday. "We have very good individual teaching stations. It wouldn't make sense to transfer them from one location to another."

Aspiring chef Iain Drennan, 23, said culinary students are disappointed they won't be in the Cleary on a full-time basis, working in a professional environment and serving real customers.

"This would give us more experience about timing and preparation.... You get a little bit more satisfaction in it, you put a little bit more effort into it, rather than if you're just cooking it for yourself."

Music theatre performance students who are preparing to stage a Christmas revue in December and a major production in April will be among the first batch of students to move downtown.

Journalism students are also expecting to come downtown, where they'll be exposed to events and news outside of college life.

"I think it's an interesting idea because we're going to be on ground level and be able to get out in the city and report on stuff and not have to go through the school for stories," said 20-year-old journalism student Matt Skrzypek.

rdanese@thestar.canwest.com

© The Windsor Star 2006
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  #227  
Old Posted Sep 27, 2006, 4:06 PM
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New retailers may be interested in downtown

Shopping centre convention sparks interest

By Dave Hall
The Windsor Star
September 27, 2006

Participation by downtown business representatives at the International Council of Shopping Centers Canadian convention in Toronto recently may result in two or three new retailers locating in the city core in time for the holiday season, said the chairman of the downtown business improvement association. Mark Boscariol, who owns a number of businesses in the core, said “we came away with a number of leads and the atmosphere was very positive. I think there was some real potential developed in terms of attracting some retail.” Boscariol said Casino Windsor’s expansion, plans for an urban village and the addition of a new St. Clair College campus downtown by this time next year piqued the interest of a number of retailers. Attending with Boscariol were fellow board members Shelley Sechopoulos and Larry Horwitz along with DWBIA executive director Judith Veresuk. Boscariol said that a number of Windsor developers also attended the show, which is the largest of its kind in Canada, all seeking opportunities for development in cities across Canada. Boscariol said that a lot of the focus was on suburban development “but I think there are opportunities for downtown retail as well especially for independent retailers who are seeking a different market.” Boscariol said the next step is for the DWBIA office to follow up on the leads generated at the show and then to establish a task force to meet with prospective retailers.
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  #228  
Old Posted Sep 28, 2006, 12:05 AM
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i pinched this off of the windsor star website and thought i'd post it to stir up some conversation...


Expert says formality lacking
Urban planner James Kunstler's take on Windsor's waterfront

Craig Pearson
Windsor Star


Wednesday, September 27, 2006



CREDIT: Star photo/Rob Gurdebeke
Author and urban planner James Kunstler thinks more could have been done with Windsor’s prized riverfront. Parks in Paris, he said, were designed right.

The outspoken urban-planning author who once called Windsor "bland and boring" has returned with more choice commentary, this time on Windsorites' pride and joy -- the riverfront.

"Here we have the idea that we're just sort of putting up a cartoon of the Canadian wilderness," James Kunstler said Tuesday, motioning from the Hilton Hotel to Windsor's stretch of precious parkland on the Detroit River.

"Urban parks need more formality. We need parts of them to behave like public rooms."

Kunstler, who spoke Tuesday night at the University of Windsor about the pending oil crisis he outlines in his new book "The Long Emergency," feels city parks need to provide a sense of order and safety to attract people.

He says Parisian parks, for instance, succeed partly because they offer neat rows of trees and spaces delineated by evenly placed public fountains and sculptures.

"Between here and the river is a little green strip, but it doesn't really compensate for the brutality of the boulevard," Kunstler said, referring to Riverside Drive.

"The waterfront boulevard is designed to be little more than an expressway, allowing cars to pretty much go at the fastest speed they can."

For a city core to thrive, Kunstler said, it must give people reason to walk around -- not drive around. That's why he thinks allowing parking and creating medians on Riverside Drive would help create a welcoming environment where people don't feel worried about crossing the street.

Kunstler, who labelled Windsor dull in his earlier book "The Geography of Nowhere," said he does not mean to disrespect anybody. But he feels the city has not lived up to its potential, particularly with architecture.

"You make almost no conscious effort to make things beautiful at the level of the person on the street," the New York-born author said about a trend he sees in North America. "With all due respect, the Canadian people have a special genius for ugly architecture."

Even the Art Gallery of Windsor, touted locally as an artistic gem, leaves him with a sour taste since so much of it offers blank walls. Same goes for some Riverside highrises.

Kunstler also suggests that Windsor, an auto town, should prepare for a near future with fewer cars, due to the depletion of global oil. He says all communities will have to make urban spaces smaller again, increasing population density and avoiding buildings over six or seven stories high.

Kunstler, meanwhile, is complimentary about parts of Windsor's past, as well as its future.

"Some of the neighbourhoods are wonderful: Sandwich Town, Walkerville," said the 58-year-old novelist and former Rolling Stone writer. "Walkerville is certainly a great example of exactly the kind of turn-of-the-century urban design we did when we were at our best on this continent."

Kunstler is particularly enthusiastic about a pet project of Mayor Eddie Francis, with whom he met for a half hour Tuesday: the residential-retail urban village envisioned for the underused area around the art gallery.

"It is terribly important to get live bodies inhabiting the city because sooner or later they come out of these buildings and they need some toothpaste or a bagel," said Kunstler, who was brought to town by the Windsor-Essex County Environment Committee. "Streets that provide retail on the ground floor so there's actually something for the human brain attract more people. If you provide these things, sooner or later you end up with an urban quarter that is rewarding to live in and walk in."

Francis said he discussed urban sprawl, bringing 1,000 St. Clair students downtown, and the need for pedestrian-friendly spaces with Kunstler.

© The Windsor Star 2006
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  #229  
Old Posted Sep 28, 2006, 12:59 AM
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He comes across as a crotchety old coot to me, he basically creates controversy around the country by bashing every city he visits. I think the waterfront works for Windsor's needs, it's not perfect but it's not finished yet either.
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  #230  
Old Posted Sep 28, 2006, 1:54 AM
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As you can see by my signature I know who this man is, and despite my earlier remarks which were not intended for the purpose of insulting the city, it was just my personal opinion. I however disagree with his comments about Windsors Waterfont, it is the true gem of the city. When I first met my wife we lived in a little apartment on Wyandotte with a view of the Ren Centre, and would walk down too the parkway every night. The part I find disturbing about his remarks are that he is critisizing the art gallery and the highrises along riverside drive saying that the gallery leaves a sour taste in his mouth which offers blank walls. So If I am correct he is saying that not enough effort was put into these buildings, which in turn would produce more manpower with more supply and demand probably using more heavy equipment which in turn would use more oil further depleting our allready low oil supply! If you are going to stand up for something don't lean on a chair, stand up and make sense!
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  #231  
Old Posted Sep 28, 2006, 1:56 AM
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Speaking of the waterfront, they're about to start work on the first of those so called "beacons"

http://www.citywindsor.ca/000810.asp?id=2273

Quote:
Chain link fencing will be installed on the riverfront parkland starting Wednesday, September 27, when Parks and Recreation begins construction on the newest park amenity, the Peace Beacon.

On Monday, October 2, the Dieppe parking lot west of Ouellette Avenue at Riverside Drive will be closed for approximately eight months. Visitors are requested to use the parking area east of Ouellette Avenue near the Spirit of Windsor Train.

The Peace Beacon is a café/information centre with panoramic views of the Detroit River. It will be constructed in Dieppe Park as part of the ongoing development of Windsor’s riverfront parkland and will be ready for use in the spring 2007.

Designed to compliment the landscape and protect the pedestrian views from Riverside Drive, the newest park amenity will feature a roof top patio with a green roof, a sit-down restaurant, public washrooms and parks maintenance storerooms.

PACE Architects has designed the 300 square metre building with large windows facing north to the Detroit River and has included a self-standing limestone-and-stainless steel tower. The 15-metre tower connects an outdoor patio with the café and provides a visual link for visitors to orient them in the park. Accessible walkways and stairs will provide public access from Riverside Drive into the trellised garden.
More info on the beacons with concept pictures here: http://www.citywindsor.ca/001920.asp
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  #232  
Old Posted Sep 28, 2006, 4:00 PM
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Quote:
Designed to compliment the landscape and protect the pedestrian views from Riverside Drive....
"Pedestrian views" or the views of drivers cruising down Riverside Drive? I know, I'm cynical....
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  #233  
Old Posted Sep 28, 2006, 8:24 PM
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hey... those beacons are pretty sweet. i guess i haven't really taken the time to look them over before now, but i'm fairly impressed. that peace beacon/cafe will really liven things up down at the foot of ouellette. nice.
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  #234  
Old Posted Sep 28, 2006, 10:43 PM
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those beacons and the segments of the waterfront proposal ARE pretty damn impressive! i specifically like the proposals for the eastern/walkerville area: wind generators, a marina, use for the Dominion Bank Building, stoplight at Devonshire/Riverside and a possible viewing area atop the old Canadian Club grain silos.

wow.... of course it'll probably take 20 years to fully implement, but its nice that they're considering such extensive improvements, and especially in the wake of criticism by that man (featured in The Star on Weds) who designed parks in Paris.
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  #235  
Old Posted Sep 29, 2006, 3:05 PM
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Rails to trails one step closer

Sonja Puzic, Windsor Star
Published: Friday, September 29, 2006

City council took its first step toward committing to a rails-to-trails plan that would extend the riverfront park system along vacated rail corridors.

Director of the Ontario Trails Council, Patrick Connor, made a presentation to council in a special meeting Thursday, outlining the organization's vision for the Windsor and Essex region.

"I look at what you have now and I see a trail with rails on it," Connor said. "You've already got the greenery around (the rails) and it seems like all you need to do is take the next step."

Council agreed, passing a motion to begin looking into converting abandoned railways into trails that will eventually become part of the larger provincial trail system -- the Trillium Trails Network.

The city will begin looking into how much funding and manpower is needed, as well the logistics of taking over former CP Rail lands.

Windsor boasts the highest concentration of track per capita of any city in Canada, with 55 kilometres of railway line and 75 rail crossings.

"It's a great first step forward," Mayor Eddie Francis said after the meeting. "It's a long-term project -- it won't happen overnight. But we are looking forward to this partnership."

Connor said recreational trails would likely boost the region's tourism industry, especially if they connect to those in northern Michigan.

"In order for trails to work, we need to have as open of a border as possible," he said.

"Trails are important to gateway communities like Windsor."

Connor said the region's existing bicycle lanes would not be "swallowed up" by recreational trails, but would be "enhancing" them. "It's both a lifestyle and a transportation initiative," he said.

Currently, there are 64,000 kilometres of multi-use trails in Ontario and more than 80,000 kilometres of municipal park trails.

The OTC is the only organization in Ontario that represents all trail users.

© The Windsor Star 2006
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  #236  
Old Posted Sep 29, 2006, 3:36 PM
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Some big news in the ongoing arena debate.

The so called "Ice Track" proposal says they have reached a deal with the town of Tecumseh and are going to move the entire deal, including the racetrack, to the corner of Manning Road and the 401.

So far just a short blurb about it on the am800 website...

ARENA AND SLOTS IN TECUMSEH 2006-09-29 11:07:52

Project Ice Track, the Windsor Slots and Windsor Raceway are moving to Tecumseh. They'll be located at the corner of Manning and the 401. Tune in to AM 800 News or listen to AM 800 News on-line for all the details.
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  #237  
Old Posted Sep 29, 2006, 3:46 PM
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^ this seems crazy. Built an entirely new racetrack in Tecumseh?

Would the city of Windsor want the Spits playing in Tecumseh (although the current racetrack is essentially in La Salle...)?
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  #238  
Old Posted Sep 29, 2006, 3:59 PM
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I'm not sure on the city's stand on where the Spitfires play but I do know that the Spitfires organization has already thrown support behind a counter proposal by the Collavino's in east Windsor. That proposal calls for a large main bowl, with 3 extra ice pads and a recreation centre, in an east Windsor location TBD. Their reasoning is that the Spitfires want a totally family oriented venue and do not want to be associated with any gambling.

Also, the arena report ordered by city hall came back last Friday and said that the greatest benefit to the city would come from backing the Collavino project.

No doubt these two events made the people behind the Ice Track proposal decide to find another route to build their project.

And I don't know if you've been in Windsor at all recently but the Ice Track folks must've been lobbying hard before this because in some parts of Windsor you'd find "I Support Project Ice Track" lawn signs all over.
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  #239  
Old Posted Sep 29, 2006, 4:05 PM
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given the not-so-friendly nature of the relationship between windsor and its burbs, i definatley think that that it would be improper for the windsor spitfires to have their home ice in Tecumseh. i could care less where the racetrack goes since by its very nature it needs such a huge parcel of land... but IMO (which counts for very little in these matters) the rink should absolutley fall within windsor's own borders.

can't they find room down near the university for something like this?
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  #240  
Old Posted Sep 29, 2006, 4:33 PM
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As far as I know, the east side is preferred since the city already owns large tracts of vacant land there. Also, part of the project calls for the replacement of ice pads housed at some old arenas already in east Windsor.

The share of money that Windsor got from the raceway slots will be a painful loss, but a HUGE gain for Tecumseh.

According to the latest am800 news, this move to Tecumseh has been in secret negotiations since July.
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