City Council Agrees To Scale Back Jackson Park Light Display

A change of plans for the Jackson Park holiday light festival.

In a 6-5 vote last Monday, City Council moved to spend $3-million on the display, just hours before basements began flooding throughout the city due to heavy downpours.

Mayor Drew Dilkens says the decision left a sour taste in mouth of many residents who would have liked to see the money spend elsewhere.

Dilkens says council has agreed to scale back the project while phasing in the cost over the next couple of years.

He says council's debate on the lighting came at the worst possible time.

"The reality was, this report had been issued publicly 11 days before the flood and City Council made a decision and the next day we have the worst flooding situation we've seen in the City of Windsor. I've taken the feedback, I've listened to folks and we'll still deliver something that I think the community will be proud of."

Dilkens says he doesn't want any negativity connected to the event.

"Some have tried to imply that because we've done this project that we're starving the sewer fund, that we can't do other sewer projects. It's complete nonsense, but I understand it has penetrated to some folks who now believe that. I don't want this festival to be tainted. It's supposed to be a festival for the community."

Dilkens adds, it's still going to be a great event for the entire community.

"I'm happy to phase the program in. That's not what City Council decided to do a week ago, but I'm happy to revisit that, phase the program in, do something that's not going to be spectacular this year, but it's going to be really nice and we'll build on that for future years."

While the finer details are yet to be worked out, Dilkens says the $3-million cost of the display will likely be cut in half for this coming holiday season.

The festival will see lights set up in Jackson Park during December and January.

Dilkens calls the event a "legacy project" to help commemorate the City's 125th birthday and Canada's 150th birthday.