Windsor, Ontario is a Canadian border city across the Detroit River from Detroit, Michigan. The city centre suffers from an over abundance of bars and clubs that heavily cater to young Americans taking advantage of a lower Ontario drinking age than in Michigan.
Bars seem to have preferential treatment when zoning issues come up and like thousands of other cities in Canada, downtown cores have been hollowed out because of suburbanization and subsequent big box developments on the fringes of suburbia.
The main theme of the broadcast was: ‘whose downtown is it?’, and a selection of voices, from a coffee shop owner, a condo resident, a renter, panhandlers and other low income people can be heard.
The broadcast was inspired by a conversation I had some months ago with Ron Balla, owner of The Coffee Exchange, on how difficult it is to make a go of it as an independent business owner in the downtown, given the predominance of bars and clubs and a Starbucks and Tim Horton’s nearby.
The consensus was that independent businesses meeting the needs of Windsorites while providing a living wage and decent working conditions for workers will ensure a thriving downtown that others outside the city would want to visit. To get there means working on a vision beyond the short range thinking of bar owners and city planners cashing in on state and provincial regulations on the drinking age.
The 1 hour version was broadcast Sept 18th on CJAM 99.1 and was co-hosted and conceived by Paul Chislett, Host of The ShakeUp which airs Fridays at 4PM, and All in a Day’s Work co-host Andrew Nellis (airs Thursdays at 8PM.: