One of Canada’s most celebrated urban thinkers returned home Thursday to talk about Windsor and its urban planning.
Shawn Micallef, an author, newspaper columnist and university teacher who grew up in Windsor-Essex, joined Ward 3 Coun. Rino Bortolin for a discussion at the Windsor Public Library.
But before that, he sat down with Windsor Morning host Tony Doucette, to share his insight on what the future could hold for the city and where it should build its new hospital.
What do you make of the city our politicians and bureaucrats are trying to build?
I think Windsor is very typical of what happens to many cities in Canada. It gets bogged down in what sometimes seems like petty arguments. That includes Toronto.
In Toronto our petty arguments cost $3.5 billion dollars sometimes. It’s a sort of depressing thing when you see it happening in city after city.
What do you make of the fight going on here in Windsor over the new regional mega-hospital?
There are two parts to that I think. Essex County has some of the best farmland in Canada and it’s one of our non-renewable resources once you pave over it.
The second part of it is we’ve invested an incredible amount of money, time, sweat and effort into building Windsor over the decades. Something like a mega-hospital could reinvest in all the work and all that toil. Then to build something shiny and new on the edge of town … it’s a little confounding.
What about the county, they’re paying for it, too. How do you respond to that argument?
It’s an argument that needs to be listened to, but as someone who grew up in this … half urban, half countryside landscape, I think there’s a cost to living out in the country. It costs a lot to service people when they’re really spread out.
The reason you live in the city and deal with traffic and some of the headaches of city living, is that it’s more convenient. By getting rid of the hospital in the core of the city, it doesn’t make good on the…