Councillor wants benches removed from outside of vacant downtown storefronts


City administration is being asked to remove or relocate benches in front of vacant or abandoned buildings in downtown Windsor as a way to prevent people from loitering at those locations.

The request was made by Ward 3 councillor Renaldo Agostino during Monday's city council meeting.

Agostino pointed to a pair of areas he receives the most complaints about in the downtown core, one in the area of Ouellette Avenue and Tuscarora Street and another in the area of Ouellette Avenue and University Avenue.

He says some people, who are not homeless, spend hours on city benches in those areas, which sit in front of vacant buildings.

Agostino says in some cases, people are drinking and using drugs, and causing issues for residents and nearby business owners.

"They're using the sidewalks and vacant storefronts, the little alcoves in there, they're using them as bathrooms," he says. "Then after you've had a couple of drinks, a couple more, you start harassing people. That's been happening there too."

Agostino says nobody wants to walk by a street corner that smells like urine.

"Nobody wants to pass by a group of people that are whistling and yelling at them. Nobody wants to see people drinking in the middle of the street, in some cases, as early at 8 o'clock in the morning," he says.

Agostino says this has to stop.

"I don't want to have to keep putting pressure on a police force that's already taxed, on bylaw department that's short staffed and overwhelmed, when there's something we could do, at least try to do, to navigate this situation in the right direction," he says.

Whenever the storefronts have tenants, he hopes the benches could be returned.

Administration is expected to bring a report on the question to a future meeting of city council.