Posted by: Alan Halberstadt | July 4, 2014

Q & A With Councillor Halberstadt

Reproduced with permission from Chris Schnurr, The Windsor Square.  

 

Q:  So you have announced you will not be seeking re-election.  What made you come to this decision?

A:  Seventeen years is a long time and the job is getting tougher not easier. The job is very demanding and tends to consume you. Not getting any younger obviously. I need to spend more quality time with my wife Susan and hopefully do some travelling in the near term.

Q:  You, I think it’s fair to say, have been regularly targeted by Mayor Francis and some of your colleagues on council.   In fact, a few years ago, you made headlines with “Your arrogance knows no bounds”  when you learned the Mayor submitted the canal proposal to the Federal government before going to council.   What impact, if any, has this had your decision?

A:  Certainly being isolated and ostracized within any group is not easy to take, but I have been sustained by the unsolicited support and encouragement I receive from taxpayers on line or just going about my business in the community.

No doubt the Arrogance Knows No Bounds quote will be remembered and attached to Eddie and I for years to come.

Q:  What are some of your  key contributions you have made as councillor after 6 terms?

A:  It’s five terms. It would have been six if I ran again and won. Transparency – my resolution to post Councillors attendance on line, my motion to keep track of the time spent in camera and compare it to the time spent in public.

My criticism of Fortress EnWin, which finally led to open EnWin Utility meetings earlier this year.

Going through FOI to make public Windsor’s sewer surcharge rates compared to peer Ontario cities.

Another FOI request allowed me to make public the leasing rates the city charges Premier Aviation for their airport MRO hanger.

My work with the Windsor Essex Environment Committee resulting in key anti-idling and pesticide ban bylaws.

Also instrumental in making public the plans of the Port Authority to bulldoze Ojibway Shores natural area, leading to a mass rally that stopped he project.

Founder of the Clean City Committee and Wipe Out Graffiti movements, as well as iconic cycling events Bike To Work, Bike The Bridge and Bike To The Fireworks.

Brought forward the initiative to apply for Bike Friendly Ontario designation for Windsor.

Conversion of empty lot on Assumption Ave. into Rivertown Community Garden in the midst of a sensitive neighbourhood.

Founder of the Smooth Our Roads campaign, that is ongoing and has led to more funding flowing to rehabilitate crumbling local roads.

Instrumental in saving Lanspeary outdoor hockey rink by re-establishing sponsorship by the Lions Club and raising money to install a roof to lengthen the season.

Q:  Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

A:  Not a lot would I have done differently, except I believe I spent too much time posting negative blogs in my second last term of Council, which infuriated Mayor Francis and led to periods of isolation on Council.

Q:  What do you hope to see in the future for Ward 4?

A:  I believe the future of Ward 4 is bright, especially for the four business districts which have been or will be refreshed and modernized by major infrastructure projects – Erie Street, Ottawa Street, Walkerville and Wyandotte Towne Centre.

I am proud to be the Ward Councillor driving, aiding and abetting these projects. I am currently working with a neighbourhood partnership involving the University of Windsor school of social work to revitalize the Glengarry-Marentette area.

Perhaps my greatest disappointment is the closing of Water World, which stands as a symbol of neglect from the city.

A new library branch attached to the Optimist Community Centre in South Walkerville.

Keep fixing the roads in the core.

An effective financial incentive plan for developers and home builders in Glengarry-Marentette, and for the Wyandotte Town Centre business district.

Refurbishing of Bert Weeks Garden.

Q:  What advice do you have for future councillors and the new Mayor?

A:  For Councillors, promise to go the extra mile for constituents and be diligent in carrying out that promise. Be prepared to work harder than you can imagine.

To the new Mayor, dedicate yourself to be inclusive of all Councillors and don’t be afraid to introduce a dedicated tax levy to fix the roads.

Spread around the leadership of the major boards and commissions.

Q:  What are some of your best memories on council?

A:   One of my best and funniest memories is when Councillor Ken Lewenza Jr. made a motion at Council to remove me as chair of the Library Board and I seconded the motion. Council voted it down.

Q:  What plans do you have now that you’ve decided not to seek re-election?

A:  Spend more quality time at home with my wife Susan. Travel a bit. I’m going to Germany and Switzerland later this month with my son Andrew. I am considering running for the public school board. I will continue to write and hopefully to fulfil my long-time dream of authoring a book or two.

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