Fabio Costante Windsor

Our West End is a blog dedicated for residents to share information regarding neighbourhood issues and developments with the primary intention of making West Windsor a better place to live, work and play. If you would like to post or share anything related to the west-end, please email Fabio Costante at fabiocostante@gmail.com.

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Please note that any opinions expressed are those of the author/resident and not of any organization, unless expressly stated.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas everyone!  

For those who may be interested, I received an email regarding mass schedules at Assumption Church: 

Our Lady of Assumption Catholic church
350 Huron Church Rd., W.,
is celebrating Christmas Eve     Christmas Family Mass   5 P.M.
                                                  Christmas Vigil Mass      7 P.M.
                                                  Service of Carols    11:30 P.M.. followed by Solemn Mass
 
Christmas Day      Masses at 9 A.M.    and 11 A.M.   
 
New Year's Eve            Vigil Mass      5 P.M.
                                  
New Year's Day             Masses at 9 A.M. and 11 A.M. 

Source: West-end Resident 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 Year in Review for the West-End


When I think of the past year, I think about how much we have been able to accomplish, but also how much more we have to do going forward.  From the good work in crime prevention and reduction, to the closure of Forster High School, we have had our share of ups and downs throughout the year. 

Let us take a look at some of the key areas where progress has been made, where challenges lay ahead and where we are going, together, as a community. 

Crime Prevention and Reduction

The Bridgeview Neighbourhood Watch team is operating in full speed.  According to the group, they have contributed, either directly or indirectly, to nine arrests in the west-end.  In addition, they have provided Windsor Police with useful tips and information throughout the year.  In sum, they are doing great work.  I hope they receive more help in the new year so they can expand their information sharing and further assist Windsor Police.  Moreover, earlier in the year, the City installed a light (Willy's Light) in North Merritt Park which alone has decreased the amount of illegal activity in that park.  

The same neighbourhood watch group is reaching out to youth in the area.  See what else they are up to here: Bridgeview Community Outreach.

We hosted a town hall with the help of residents on December 5th for the neighbourhoods close to the Church of the Ascension in hopes of establishing neighbourhood watches in that part of the west-end.  I will follow up with the Children’s Safety Village in the new year to see how progress is coming along there. 

Following our town hall, several residents have asked about forming a neighbourhood watch in their area of the west-end.  I received calls and emails from neighbours who live close to Mic Mac Park and Windsor Regional Hospital just off of Prince Rd.  I will work with Children’s Safety Village and Windsor Police to organize a few more town halls in the new year so that residents can get organized and form their own neighbourhood watch groups.

A few months back, CBC Windsor and Windsor Police hosted a community town hall where residents asked Police Chief Al Frederick any questions or concerns they had related to crime in our city.  I was featured on CBC as part of this initiative representing the west-end.  I asked the Police Chief if there is a specific strategy employed for the west-end regarding crime.  We face a higher crime on person and on property than the city average so it would make sense that we should have a unique strategy to deal with our peculiar situation.  I will keep pressing this issue forward as I believe it is an important one not just for the residents in the west-end, but for crime reduction in general.

A Strategy for the West-End

I proposed a strategy for the west-end several months ago.  You can read my article about it here: West End Strategy.

Since that time, I have met with out city councilor, administrators at city hall and several stakeholders in the area.  I have been able to gather and analyze important data and statistics on the area and just recently, myself, a local non-profit and other partners submitted an application to receive funding for this initiative.  We will hear sometime over the next few months if we were successful (fingers crossed) and if so, we will be able to aggressively move forward on this very important initiative. 

Some pieces of the strategy may be ripe to roll out sometime next year such as an important development regarding the university area that I will propose in the spring of 2013.  

Forster High School

Dr. Hanaka said it best in his opinion column to the Windsor Star: “When the cause is right, we will fight.”  And that is exactly what we did: West End Residents Fight for Forster High School.  We fought long and hard to prevent the closure of Forster.  The Board of Trustees voted in November to close Forster high school and amalgamate it with Century just east of Huron Church on California Ave. 

I was asked to sit on a committee to fight the closure.  That same committee intends to reconvene in the new year to discuss the options before us now that the board voted to close Forster.  Whatever the committee asks of me I will do and let me be clear, the fight to have a high school west of the bridge is not over. 

Awareness Surrounding the West End

The ourwestend.com blog now has over 300 subscribers from the area.  Folks are sharing information and working together in ways not seen before.  I receive emails nearly every day from residents regarding issues in the area.  I see nothing but more of this continuing in 2013.  Let’s keep up the good work of sharing information and working together for the common good.

Community Parks

Over the next several years, City Council will be looking at closing community parks all throughout the city.  Five of the parks on the chopping block are located in the bridgeview neighbourhood in the west-end.  Many residents in that neighbourhood (myself included) are opposed to the park closure, but we must not just oppose the idea, we must also come up with solutions to make these parks viable.  I touched a bit on this in my article earlier this year: Community Parks in the West End.

I encourage all of the residents interested in preserving our parks to really think outside of the box about how these parks could be repurposed to better reflect the needs of residents in the area.  I know personally there are families that have decided to move in an area where there is a close-by park.  We want to attract more families to the west-end.  We must preserve our parks.

Other News

Many were glad to see that finally something was being done to Grace Hospital.  The eyesore will be no more by summer of 2013.  What will be developed in its place?  We do not know, yet, but hopefully something that complements the area and makes it more attractive, especially to the residents who live in the surrounding neighbourhoods, they deserve it. 

I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that good things come out of the talks between the Mayor and the Ambassador Bridge.  The status quo is no longer an option for residents in the west-end: Status Quo Not an Option.  Here’s to hoping there will be a resolution that will see something being done to the boarded-up homes in 2013. 

Myself and a few volunteers dropped flyers in some of the neighbourhoods close to the College Avenue Community Centre around the time when we were told that the Sandwich Community Health Centre would not be moving there.  According to good sources, there is good reason to believe (fingers crossed again) that the deal may be revived.  I heard overwhelmingly from residents that they wanted to preserve the centre.  Let’s hope that good news flows from the second go around at saving the CACC.  

Lastly, there have been a lot of smaller developments that occurred throughout the year bringing positive news for the area.  Some of these positive developments include: The repurposing of Blessed Sacrament Church, residents coming together to eradicate graffiti in their neighbourhood and community churches coming together to clean up local parks.  I have been fortunate to lecture to students at Forster and Assumption on civic engagement and jobs.  Check out some of the great things these students are doing: Forster Youth Win Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Moving Forward

We have made a lot of progress but there is still much more to do.  As we move forward, I intend to work closely with our city councilor, our elected representatives, local businesses, community stakeholders and residents in making the west-end a better place to live, work and play.  It has been a tremendous year and I look forward to everything that 2013 will bring.

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and a relaxing holiday with family and friends. 

My Warmest Regards,

Fabio Costante 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

St. Mark's Church Christas Eve Service

St. Mark's Church will be hosting a Christmas Eve Service at 10:30pm on December 24th.  They are located at 1636 Tecumseh Rd. W.  All are welcome.

Source:  Rev. Sue Paulton


The West-End Crawlers

Friends,

Two residents in the west-end are starting a social initiative entitled "The West-End Crawlers".  Last week, the group attended 8 bars/pubs in the west-end in one night, while simultaneously collecting canned goods for those in need.  The idea is to host social initiatives throughout the upcoming year with the hope of meeting new residents in the west-end and giving back to the community.  Below is an email I received from the co-founders of the initiative with a few pictures:


WE, RITA HIGGINS AND CHRIS DIETT, DECIDED IN OCTOBER OF 2012 TO HOLD A HALLOWEEN CRAWL. UNFORTUNATELY, WE DIDN’T COME UP WITH THE IDEA IN ENOUGH TIME TO GET THE WORD OUT TO A LOT OF PEOPLE, OR DESIGNATE AN ORGANIZATION THAT COULD HAVE BENEFITTED FROM IT.  HOWEVER, IT WAS SUCCESSFUL NONETHELESS, AND A GREAT TIME WAS HAD!  “A TEST RUN” IF YOU WILL! 
THEN WE NAMED OURSELVES. AND ANYONE WHO WANTS TO CRAWL WITH US:  "THE WEST END CRAWLERS"
 FOR DECEMBER 15, 2012, WE ORGANIZED, (MUCH BETTER), A CAN DRIVE/CHRISTMAS CRAWL.  WE WERE ABLE TO COLLECT JUST ABOUT 250 CANS OF FOOD FOR THE WINDSOR DOWNTOWN MISSION!  THANKS GREATLY IN PART TO KYLEAN MCCOLL OF FACES ROADHOUSE, WITH HER AWESOME PERSONALITY AND ART DISPLAY!  IN OUR OPINION, EVEN THOUGH TURNOUT WAS LOW, IT WAS A COMPLETE SUCCESS! OTHER FACTORS FOR THE LOW TURNOUT, WERE COMPANY CHRISTMAS PARTIES AND UNIVERSITY EXAMS SCHEDULED AROUND THE SAME TIME. 
ALL IN ALL, WHAT COUNTED WAS THE DOWNTOWN MISSION, AND OUR GOAL WAS WELL MET!   WE HAVE DECIDED NEXT YEAR’S DATE WILL BE MOVED BACK AND MAY BE COMBINED WITH “MOVEMBER SHAVE-OFF” PARTICIPATION. 
 IT IS OUR HOPE THAT FABIO WILL POST A LINK TO OUR "WEST END CRAWLERS" FACEBOOK PAGE, WHEN IT IS PUBLISHED.  IN FUTURE, WE’RE PLANNING SEVERAL CRAWLS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, EACH FOR A DIFFERENT CAUSE.  WE HOPE YOU’LL JOIN US IN THIS ADVENTURE, AND HAVE A GREAT TIME TOO!
THANK YOU WEST~ENDERS!
~RITA HIGGINS / CHRIS DIETT




Long Time Business Closing in the West-End

Friends, I received an email from a west-end resident who wrote the following: 

"Hi Fabio:  Just heard that the West End is losing another Business.  Kim Jackson, owner of Best Lil' Hair House in Windsor, 1537 University W., has decided to  close.  It's on the South side of University, between Curry & McKay.  She has been trying to hire another stylist & been unsuccessful, says it's too hard to continue, so is going to work for a salon @ Howard & Eugenie.  Both my husband & I have been going there for a # of years, so hate to see her leave, not just for our convenience, but that the West End is losing another business."

Source: West-end resident

Online Petition for Barricade at the end of 1100 Block of Josephine

Friends,

I am assisting a resident in getting a petition signed for a barricade that he would like installed at the end of the 1100 block of Josephine Ave.  The land in question abuts the Taylor School yard and as it is, cars are free to enter and exit Josephine to Campbell and vice versa, putting young children who attend Taylor at risk; particularly those who walk down Josephine to get to and from their school.

You can sign the petition online by clicking on the link below and following the instructions therein.  I also pasted the petition below the link.  If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Regards,
Fabio

https://www.change.org/petitions/the-city-of-windsor-on-install-barricade-at-the-end-of-the-1100-block-of-josephine-avenue


The block in question is Josephine Ave., just south of Grove Ave. and north of Taylor Public School, at approximately the 1100 block.  Josephine comes to an end just before it meets the school property; however, there is an alley strip that connects Campbell Ave. to Josephine. 
Due to several dangerous incidents where drivers were speeding down the alley, either to connect to Josephine going west or to connect to Campbell going east, the residents of the area are asking that a barricade (or cul-de-sac) be placed at the end of Josephine (1100 block) to prohibit cars from using the said alley and thereby alleviating risk to the children in the area.  Many students go to and from school crossing the alley and these same children are oftentimes not seen by drivers coming west from Campbell.
Several years ago, the residents allege that a barricade did in fact exist at the end of Josephine, but after road and sewer repairs, it was taken down and never replaced.  
Petition
We, the undersigned, call on the City of Windsor to install a barricade or cul-de-sac at the end of the 1100 block of Josephine Ave. and help protect the young children in the neighbourhood. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Town Hall a Success - Thank You

Friends,

The town hall was a great success.  We had approximately 25 residents from the designated neighbourhood (Campbell, McEwan, Curry, McKay and Cameron, north of University Dr. W. and south of Riverside Dr. W.) along with Children's Safety Village and Windsor Police.

Many residents signed up and many were excited and energized to revitalize their neighbourhood watch.

As I mentioned to the residents in attendance, the fact that we are coming together as a community to establish neighbourhood watches, among other positive developments, is a clear signal to the region that the west-end is a place where neighbours look out for each other.  We want to attract families back to the west-end and our efforts in establishing neighbourhood watches and looking out for each other is a positive step in that direction.

I want to thank Children's Safety Village and Constable McEachrane from Windsor Police who did a fine job presenting and responding to questions from residents.  I also want to acknowledge Larry Moore, Kathleen Buck (both live on McEwan), Mary Fox (Campbell), John Guiry (McKay) and Tony and Dawn Girimonte (Cameron) who volunteered and helped out, whether it was delivering flyers or getting the church room set up, they all pitched in and helped make it happen.

Below are some media/news links and a picture of the town hall.

Best Regards,
Fabio Costante

CTV News Interview

CBC Windsor News Interview

Windsor Star Article


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Neighbourhood Watch Town Hall

Friends,

This Wednesday, December 5 at 6pm, myself and a few others are hosting a neighbourhood watch town hall at the Church of Ascension.  Children's Safety Village and Windsor Police will be present to discuss how to formally start a neighbourhood watch, in addition to answering any questions or concerns that residents may have.

The meeting is geared for residents who live on Campbell, McEwan, Curry, McKay, and Cameron, between Riverside Dr. W. and University Ave. W.  However, even if you do not live within these boundaries but are still interested in learning about neighbourhood watch and crime in the west-end, do not hesitate to join us.

As you may already know, there has been some unfortunate activity in the area as of late so this comes at a good time.  See the two links below:

Student Chased Down

Crime Spree in City's West-End

Regards,

Fabio Costante