Detroit Inspiration For Local Chamber's Revitalization Plan

Officials from the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce are returning home with a smile.

A delegation from Windsor recently attended an Annual General Meeting for all chambers across Ontario and was successful in getting several key resolutions passed.

Chamber president Matt Marchand says the most impactful for Windsor-Essex is an initiative calling for reinvestment in neighbourhoods and communities using the revitalization of Detroit as a template.

Marchand says the adopted resolution takes best-practices from across the river and looks to have them implemented right here at home.

"That was very innovative to help deal with things like blight, like abandoned buildings, like an opportunity to get the private sector engaged. We've seen what's going on in Detroit; great revitalization of older buildings, dilapidated buildings, buildings that have no functionally use, so we think that's a great opportunity to get our private sector engaged with the government."

Other local resolutions supported called for better customs staffing at the border and a push for improved provincial programming to address the skilled labour shortage.

Marchand says preventing the slow crawl of trucks across the border is a must.

"Our chamber colleagues of course want to make sure that traffic is moving here in Windsor-Detroit. We can't on the one hand say we want to be involved in all these trade deals and on the second time don't have enough customs staffing at the border."

He hopes the resolution targeting workforce competitiveness will address the skills gap in Windsor-Essex.

"It's another opportunity for us to engage a segment of our community to get involved. I've said before, we're leaving about $600-million to $700-million on the table and this is an opportunity to see if we can grab some of that money."

The Ontario Chamber AGM was held April 26 to 28.

— with files from AM800's Peter Langille & Ricardo Veneza