September 28, 2022 11:15am
Windsor mayoral candidate Chris Holt is planning to build upwards of 10,000 homes if he’s elected as the City’s new mayor next month.
While making an appearance at Dorwin Plaza late Wednesday morning, Holt presented plans of how the parking lot could be used to create more housing in Windsor. He also announced his intention to work with private developers to build 10,000 homes over the next five years and to expand that number to 25,000 units over the next decade.
“All levels of government recognize that we’re in the midst of a housing crisis,” said Holt.
According to the City of Windsor’s website, there are approximately 7,300 social housing units and 34 social housing providers in Windsor and Essex County. Due to the increasing demand for affordable housing, those on the waitlist may be waiting months to several years before a unit becomes available.
“That is simply not good enough. We are on the brink of unprecedented growth with the new LG investment along with the Gordie Howe Bridge,” Holt said. “We know we need housing of all categories and [to] cut the time it takes to get shovels in the ground.”
Holt discussed three commitments he intends to follow to achieve these infrastructure projects, which include hiring up to 12 new staff in the City’s planning and building department and creating a “Community Planning Permitting System (CPPS)”, which Holt said will cut project timelines down by months.
Additionally, Holt said he plans to review the city’s official plan to include as-of-right zoning parameters along major transit routes, rezoning or designating mixed commercial and residential developments along transit corridors, reduction or elimination of parking minimums, and specific as-of-right zoning categories.
Holt added that he also wants to create a municipal development corporation that will work with private and non-profit sectors to create housing growth in underutilized spaces in Windsor, such as parking lots and some plots of land east of Caesars Windsor and Windsor Arena.
“By entering into mutually beneficial development agreements with private developers and landowners, we not only get the new housing units, but we get them built in the way that makes the most sense for the community,” Holt said.
The current Ward 4 councillor said through the development corporation, the City will use the proposed CPPS to obtain community feedback through a design charrette.
“I am making a bold pledge that will deliver up to 25,000 new units over ten years, but I want to go further than that,” Holt said. “I also pledge that we’ll achieve this in ways that complement our environmental and financial goals as a community. It’s time.”
On Monday, the Windsor and District Labour Council (WDLC) confirmed its endorsement of Holt for mayor. The council’s interim president Mario Spagnuolo said the board is backing him for the position based on his responses to a survey put out by the WDLC last month.
“[Holt’s] platform resonated with our affiliate members, including his focus on clean and safe neighbourhoods; safe, efficient and affordable public and active transportation options; and high-quality public services,” Spagnuolo said in a statement to Windsor News Today.
In addition to its recommendation of Holt, the WDLC also released a list of endorsed mayoral, town councillor and Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) trustee candidates for other municipalities in Essex County. The list includes mayoral endorsements of Michael Prue in Amherstburg, Kimberly DeYong in Kingsville and Tracy Bailey in Lakeshore.
The labour council added that if no candidate is listed for a specific ward or position, it means that no candidate sought endorsement from the WDLC, the candidate has been acclaimed, or there was no candidate that the council was prepared to endorse.
Along with Holt, candidates vying for the role of Windsor’s mayor include current mayor Drew Dilkens, Benjamin Danyluk, Aaron Day, Matthew Giancola, Ernie Lamont, and Louis Vaupotic.