Representatives from Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) and Bridging North America, as well as the State of Michigan and Government of Canada, joined together on June 14, 2019, to present the first look at the Gordie Howe International Bridge Community Benefits Plan to stakeholders, elected officials, and the media at an announcement in Windsor.
The Plan includes more than 80 initiatives to ensure Windsor and Detroit residents and businesses and Canadian Indigenous Peoples and their businesses have opportunities to work on or supply goods and services to the project.
Several signature initiatives were also highlighted from the $20 million (CDN) Neighbourhood Infrastructure Strategy, including new pedestrian and cycling connections in the area of the Canadian Port of Entry and a home repair program for residences adjacent to the US Port of Entry. Both initiatives were identified as high priorities amongst the communities.
Approximately 40 agencies and organizations will serve as delivery partners during the implementation of the Workforce Development and Participation Strategy component of the Community Benefits Plan and another 24 agencies and organizations will serve as delivery partners for the Neighbourhood Infrastructure Strategy component.
“From a tourism innovation perspective, the Gordie Howe International Bridge and Community Benefits Plan will enable local businesses and non-profits to develop new products, experiences and partnerships that will enhance our tourism offerings, create new opportunities for the industry, raise our destination profile, and ultimately attract more visitors to our region," said Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead for Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab.
The input and suggestions provided by the communities of Windsor and Detroit during a multi-year consultation period resulted in a plan that is community-driven and reflective of the unique needs and priorities of the Sandwich-Windsor and Delray-Detroit communities. Ongoing engagement with the communities will continue to play an important role as the Community Benefits Plan is delivered over the next five years.
Delray House, a community centre operated by People’s Community Services (PCS), will receive an investment through the Community Benefits Plan to provide programming for area youth.
“The Board of Directors, the people we serve, PCS staff and I would like to express our sincere gratitude to WDBA and Bridging North America for their contributions to improve the human condition and invest in future generations that will someday become leaders and prosperous citizens of our nations,” said Dr. Cassandra Montgomery, Executive Director, PCS. WDBA will host open houses in Windsor on June 25 and Detroit on June 26 to provide an opportunity for the public to ask questions and find out more about the Community Benefits Plan.