Mayor Dilkens Wants Chamber Of Commerce To Stop Interfering In Border Talks

Windsor's mayor is disagreeing with the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce regarding extra customs booths at the Ambassador Bridge.

On March 23, 2018, Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce wrote to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, requesting a meeting to discuss the matter and it requested the extra six lanes open.

The extra booths built in 2007, which are not in use,  are located west of the existing customs plaza.

In response, Mayor Drew Dilkens wrote to the minister on March 28th emphasizing the city and Canadian Transit Company (CTC) are already in negotiations to deal with the issues surrounding the proposed twin span of the Ambassador Bridge.

In the letter, Dilkens says 'in his opinion, it would appear the Chamber of Commerce is allowing itself to be used by the CTC (Canadian Transit Company) for the purpose of attempting to circumvent the process'.

Speaking on AM800's the Afternoon News, Dilkens says even the Canada Border Services Agency isn't in favour of opening those extra booths. "CBSA has been very clear, all the way back to 2008, with respect to the operation and the opening of the booths that the Ambassador Bridge built without CBSA approval, that they are not prepared to open those booths because a city street dissects the operational port of entry."

"The extra booths aren't the answer," according to Dilkens.

"For the chamber or any organization in the community to try and suggest that the booths at the Ambassador Bridge just be staffed and opened with no regard whatsoever for what that impact would have on the Order in Council, the provisional permit process is just wrong," says Dilkens.

In the letter to the minister, Mayor Dilkens says while the city respects the mission of the chamber to advance the business interests of its members, the city must consider the broader picture to protect the public interest.

--With files from AM800's Peter Langille