UPDATE: Winter Light Festival Approved By City Council
A new winter lights festival is set for Jackson Park in Windsor.
In a 6-5 vote on Monday night, council approved the display.
Councillor Joanne Gignac supported the project and says she has seen a number of lighting events in other regions. "I think we have an opportunity here in Windsor to really do something quite remarkable. I think it's incumbent on us to make sure that we can provide opportunities for families to get out and enjoy activities in our community."
Councillor Bill Marra voted against the project. He's not against the project but Marra questions the timing of it. "I'm not in anyway criticizing the merit of this, it's the timing of it. We're in August. We're three, four months away from budget deliberations."
Downtown Windsor business owner Mark Boscariol addressed council as he spoke out against the idea. Boscariol says the idea was never identified in the city's 20-year plan. "People might think this is a war on Christmas or something against Christmas, which I celebrate with my family every year, but it's not. To me it's a war for our neighbourhoods and this is a fight to be able to have that money to be able to help with our neighbourhoods."
The proposal was introduced by Windsor's mayor.
Drew Dilkens says the $3-million proposed cost would be covered by sources in the budget that aren't being used, such as the $400,000 for the IIHF World Junior Tournament bid that isn't going forward and additional funding coming from the casino.
Dilkens says the idea is about leaving an affordable legacy as the city celebrates its 125th birthday.
"I wanted to have a legacy project that is meaningful and address something that we could do better," says Dilkens. "When I look at our winter schedule, we really don't have a lot for families to do in the winter."
Dilkens says he wants residents to be impressed and proud of the display.
"I don't want you to say that was kinda nice, I want people to go down there and say Wow, that was amazing," says Dilkens. "That is what we are trying to create with the $3-million display and of course in the first year you are going to have the higher costs when you are buying all of the materials and you have all the high costs."
Councillors Irek Kusmiercyzk, Bill Marra, Chris Holt, Hilary Payne and Rino Bortolin voted against the proposed plan.
— LISTEN: local politico and downtown businessman Jon Liedtke reacts to Windsor City Council's decision during his weekly editorial segment on The Afternoon News with AM800's Patty Handysides —