A key project feature is the inclusion of a Community Benefits Plan. On the Gordie Howe International Bridge project, community benefits are identified opportunities that can advance economic, social or environmental conditions for the local communities. In developing the Community Benefits Plan, it was important to the project team that the initiatives selected for implementation would provide positive outcomes for the Windsor-Detroit region and specifically focus on enhancing the communities of Sandwich and Delray, the neighbourhoods closest to the project area.
The Community Benefits Plan reflects community priorities and is comprised of two components:
The Workforce Development and Participation Strategy is geared toward engaging businesses and focuses on supporting workforce, training and pre-apprenticeship/apprenticeship opportunities.
The Neighbourhood Infrastructure Strategy focuses on collaborating with stakeholders and community members through consultation to develop a community investment strategy based on identified priorities.
The second component of the Community Benefits Plan is the Neighbourhood Infrastructure Strategy, a $20 million community investment focused on priorities identified through the two-phase consultation that occurred between 2015-2019 with communities, businesses, First Nations and other stakeholders in Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan. The Neighbourhood Infrastructure Strategy is comprised of initiatives that are consistent with the Crossing Agreement and the key regional priorities identified through consultation including: community partnerships, community safety and connections, economic benefits and aesthetics and landscaping. The initiatives target the Sandwich/west Windsor area and the Delray/Southwest Detroit area ensuring that the communities adjacent to the project are the ones benefitting most from the Neighbourhood Infrastructure Strategy.
Collectively, 29 community investment initiatives have been identified and will be implemented collaboratively with local delivery partners during the design and construction period of the Gordie Howe International Bridge project. A detailed list of initiatives is available in the Community Benefits Plan. Here are a few highlights:
Canadian Initiatives for Delivery:
Aesthetics and Landscaping Investments - $2.75 million
Community Safety and Connections - $2.13 million
- Expand adjacent trails to the Gordie Howe International Bridge
- Construction observation platform
- Bike Rack Design Contest
Economic Benefits - $850,000
- Sandwich Business Development Program
- Windsor-Detroit Cross River Tour – Canadian Features
- Culinary Student Training Experience
US Initiatives for Delivery:
Aesthetics and Landscaping Investments - $5.34 million
Community Safety and Connections - $1.33 million
- Expand Adjacent Trails to Connect to Gordie Howe International Bridge
- Construction Observation Platform
- Bike Rack Design Contest
- Transportation Improvements
Economic Benefits - $285,000
- Windsor-Detroit Cross-River Tour – US Features
- Southwest Detroit Business Development Program
Initiative Expansion Allocation
The allocations for initiatives currently do not total $10 million for each side. Bridging North America is committed to expending the full amount. In Canada, the $2.8 million remains unallocated and in the US $2.35 million remains unallocated. These monies are identified as the Initiative Expansion Allocation.
The Initiative Expansion Allocation will provide additional funding to initiatives noted in the Community Benefits Plan Neighbourhood Infrastructure Strategy in the event that final costs for an initiative are higher than originally planned. The funds may also be used for new initiatives not included at the time of the plan finalization.