City Extends Vacant Building Initiative

AM800-NEWS-Windsor-councillor-Fabio-Costante-May-6-2019

Windsor's Vacant Building Initiative has been given another year to clean up blight.

Council has agreed to extend the program to July 2020.

Since it's launch in August 2018, roughly 750 vacant buildings have been identified leading to dozens of bylaw charges and 26 demolitions.

Ward 2 councillor Fabio Costante says the initiative also includes increased enforcement.

"I'd like to see this council take the most extreme steps that we can within the law to enforce property standards whether it's increasing fines at the limit that we can, whether it's expediting timelines as short as we can," says Costante. "Whatever we can do within the law, I'd like to see that happen."

Costante adds he'd like to see a formal vacant building registry created.

"My argument is simply this, let's put it all on the table and let's see what the best option is or a combination of options to move forward," states Costante. "These are important things that I think council needs to debate. For me, it's about reoccupying these properties, getting businesses and families back in these properties. So how do we most effectively do that? We've got to look at all the options."

AM800-NEWS-458-marentette-windsor-fire

Scene of vacant house fire at 458 Marentette Ave near Brant St. Friday Aug. 4. (Photo by AM800's Gord Bacon)

Costante tells AM800 News vacant homes are a problem in his ward and many others.

"Property standards, in general, is the biggest issue in my ward and in causes a ripple effect on their local environment whether it's property values, whether it's blight, whether it's rodents and crime and opportunities for crime and the list goes on," says Costante. "So it's time that we do the most that we absolutely could."

The plan will cost the city $230,000 over the next year with a portion of the cost recovered through bylaw fines.