Mayor Drew Dilkens is joined by Essex County Warden, Gary McNamara, as well as members of the community who are in favour of the hospital being built on County Rd. 42, for a press conference at City Hall, Friday, May 17, 2019 to show the community support for the proposed location of the new mega-hospital on County Road 42..
Dax Melmer / Windsor Star
Three business improvement associations criticized by Mayor Drew Dilkens for donating money to help the fight against the proposed mega-hospital location, now have a chance to hear from the City of Windsor’s legal team.Two hours into Monday night’s city council meeting, councillors deferred approving the nine BIA budgets until next week to give the city lawyers time to meet with the three BIAs accused of illegal spending.“I want those BIA heads to at least have the information that we have so they have an opportunity to understand where we’re coming from and then gain compliance,” Dilkens said following the meeting.Ten days prior, he held a news conference warning action against the BIAs that contributed to a GoFundMe campaign launched by Citizens for an Accountable Megahospital Planning Process (CAMPP). The money raised will help pay for hefty legal costs associated with its Ontario Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) appeal of the proposed County Road 42 location for a new regional hospital. Dilkens said those donations were outside the scope of what a BIA is allowed to donate to, as outlined in the Municipal Act.“To see a deferral at the eleventh hour was kind of a surprise—we’re taken aback by this,” said Brian Yeomans, chair of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association following the meeting. His group donated $5,000 to CAMPP’s campaign in March.
Brian Yeomans, chair of the Downtown Windsor BIA, said he was taken aback by a city council deferral of BIA budgets on Monday night.
Nick Brancaccio /
Wade Griffith, chair of the Wyandotte Town Centre BIA, said he was glad the mayor responded to requests from the BIAs to communicate. In April, his group pledged $1,000 to the campaign, but has yet to sign a cheque.“I think that the entire matter could have been simply resolved by sitting down with all the BIAs from the beginning. Now everybody’s lawyering up—this becomes a political show that didn’t need to happen in the first place,” Griffith said.Vice-chair of the Via Italia BIA Petro DiPonio said he felt the city’s lawyers should have met with the BIAs “some time ago,” adding he thinks the discussion is “overdue.” His organization in April contributed $2,500.Related
Council could decide to reduce the BIAs budgets by the amounts they’ve donated to CAMPP, Dilkens said earlier in the month. City administrators noted in Monday night’s agenda that council might approve a higher budget for the Wyandotte Street Centre BIA budget on the “condition that the amount pledged not be paid.”“We’re disappointed with the deferral, but if there’s a good result, then the BIAs will be very happy,” said Richard Pollock, lawyer for the three involved BIAs. The BIAs have exercised their Charter right to freedom of expression by donating a “very small but important amount to express their opinion on development in the City of Windsor and planning,” he said. His reading of the Municipal Act “provides for BIAs to promote their business district,” which he said they had done through their pledge and firstname.lastname@example.org/wstarcampbell