Decision to Extend Windsor's Vacant Building Initiative Comes to Council

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Windsor City Council will decide whether or not to extend the city's Vacant Building Initiative Monday night.

The proactive enforcement program was launched in August of 2018 as an alternative to a vacant home registry.

Now administration is asking council to extend the program until July of 2020.

Roughly 750 vacant buildings were identified when the program launched — since then — 417 investigations were launched, 166 vacant buildings were confirmed, 26 of which were demolished through enforcement.

A staggering 140 of those homes can be found in Wards 2 through 5. 

Ward 3 Councillor Rino Bortolin says, in a perfect world, absent landlords would be forced to restore derelict properties, but removing the blight has to happen either way.

He says the initiative is working, but there's still a mile of red tape to work through before an abandoned property can be demolished.

"The councillors that deal with those issues the most will probably have a lot of questions, including myself. What can we change to make the process faster," he says. "Unfortunately, a lot of that is part of the legislative process and the municipal act."

He is fairly certain city council will extend the initiative, but there are still more questions to be answered.

"I might be asking for more information back, so we can approach the legislative side to it, but as far as enforcement on the ground and being able to attack the issue of the homes and recognizing where those homes are and dealing with them. This initiative is doing that," he added.

The proactive enforcement plan will cost $230,000 over the next year, but some of that cost would be recovered through fines.