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Monday January 27th, 2014

Posted at 11:01pm

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A new city hall building was given the go ahead by Windsor City Council, Monday evening.

After nearly two hours of debate inside an overcrowded council chamber, council decided to proceed with construction of a new City Hall building by a 10-1 vote. The plan will move forward without the previously proposed tenant Public Works and Government Services after their decision to back out of the project. The proposed budget for the building is set at $34.75 million.

“Look at the council chambers, look around you,” said Mayor Francis motioning to the crowd. “We can’t even accommodate, let alone with accessibility, public gatherings.”

The approved plan will see the erection of a 105,000 square foot building next to the current building at 350 City Hall Square. Some services such as city planning and the administration library will be relocated from the 400 City Hall Square building across the street into the new building making it more accessible for municipal services and planning.

There was some concern aired over the historic significance of the current building but it was not enough to delay the decision-making process.

Councillor Irek Kusmierczyk was the only councillor to vote against the plan although he said he agreed with the proposal in spirit and agreed the new building was necessary. The councillor asked for a delay for further information on thermal heating options and until after the City of Windsor has met with Chrysler Canada in the next few months and council can be certain of Windsor’s economic future.

“In a few months we are going to be facing a historic decision for the city which is a decision by Chryslers whether to invest in to the city $2 billion dollars or not and I am just wondering whether making this purchase right now at $35 million dollars?” Kusmierczyk asked. “Is this going to hamper or affect in any way our ability to come to the table with resources to guarantee the viability of Chryslers in the City.”

Mayor Francis assured the councillor the building project will in no way affect Windsor’s future with Chrysler Canada because of the way the funds for the budget had been allotted.

After the long debate under serendipitous flickering lights, councillors and Mayor Francis decided a new City Hall is in Windsor’s future.

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