Windsor mayor presses provincial candidates to support key city issues

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In a similar move to last September’s federal election, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens is now pressing local candidates to support five key city issues as the provincial election kicks off.

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In relaunching what he called Platform 4 Windsor — a version of which he released for the 2021 federal election — Dilkens on Tuesday said he wants to ensure all provincial candidates support his top items that align with Windsor’s long-term priorities.

“If we get traction on these Top 5 issues, it will move the needle significantly on our objectives here at the city in a number of different areas,” Dilkens told the Star.

Those areas are affordable housing; Windsor Works and economic development; funding for a new regional acute care hospital; provincial contribution to a national urban park; and connecting Lauzon Parkway to Highway 401.

During last year’s federal election, “every serious candidate” signed on to support Platform 4 Windsor issues, he said. Since platform issues are tailored “based on the level of government we’re speaking to,” a few of last year’s items targeting the federal level have been replaced by issues pertinent to provincial affairs.

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Health care is at the top of the list — specifically, construction costs associated with the new regional acute care hospital, he said. The province invested nearly $10 million in 2021 for the planning and design phase, with that work now underway. By 2023, the region will need confirmation that “whoever is elected down here is going to fight to get this project over the finish line.”

When it comes to housing affordability, “every community across Ontario is feeling the pinch with the rising price of real estate that is making homeownership (and rent) unaffordable to many people,” Dilkens said. “We need to have some reforms put in place that will ultimately lower the cost of housing.”

The City of Windsor approved an environmental assessment study to determine the design and route of a full extension of Lauzon Parkway, including an interchange connection to Highway 401.

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While the city will need to fund the municipal construction costs, including the realignment and extension of the road approach and other municipal services, the province is responsible for the 400-series highway network and should partner with the city to fund the interchange “that will provide access to” land south of County Road 42 eyed for development, Dilkens said.

Although creating a national urban park in Windsor at the Ojibway Prairie Complex is a federal issue, “it relates to provincial land that forms part of that general area,” he said. Getting the province to commit to including that portion of land — located at the Ojibway Prairie Reserve — into such a park “seems like a no-brainer, but someone has to put their hand up and say, yes, we’re willing to transfer the land for that purpose.”

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As for economic development, city council unanimously adopted Windsor Works, a strategy and guiding document for economic development and diversification. Dilkens asks that the next provincial government dedicate time and resources to further support the implementation of the Windsor Works LIFT (Location, Infrastructure, Future Economy, and Talent) strategy.

The provincial election campaign is set to officially start on Wednesday, with voters heading to the polls on June 2.

Residents can find out whether candidates are on board with the mayor’s platform by visiting a bare-bones website ( that names each candidate in the local ridings of Windsor West and Windsor-Tecumseh and indicates whether they support it. As of Tuesday afternoon, the site showed “response pending” next to each candidate’s name.

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