Councillor pushing to acquire former Abars property
A prime waterfront area in east Windsor could become city property, if council decides to buy or expropriate the lots.
The property on Riverside Drive at the foot of Lauzon Road is currently vacant.
In September, Coun. Jo-Anne Gignac asked administration to provide a report as soon as possible on how "to move forward" with acquiring the property.
"We're always looking to acquire parkland which will allow access to the river," said Gignac.
The property is comprised of four different lots, three of which are owned by Central McKinlay International Ltd. and one of which is owned by a numbered company. According to Gignac, both have ties to the company that owns the Ambassador Bridge. Former bridge owner Matty Moroun bought the property in the early part of the century once the area was identified as a possible location for what is now the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
It includes the land where the Prohibition-era bar Abars stood until 2016.
The report from administration says that the city has two options when it comes to buying properties — negotiation or, if that fails, expropriation.
The land is currently not for sale but Gignac said she has the support of people in her Ward 6 for acquiring it..
"My residents have been very clear with me they would love to have that available to them and for access," said Gignac.
Polin Potress, the manager of a Bulls Eye Pizza place across the street from the property would like to see a park "for kids" there.
"People will come down here with their kids and obviously we sell slices too so that would be very nice for us too," said Potress.
"Obviously, negotiated agreement is preferred, but failing that, the municipality is able to expropriate the land through a litigation process in order to provide parkland for the city," the report contained in Monday's council agenda states.
The city's real estate department has arrived on a value for the property but that memo was not disclosed to the public. It was, however, distributed to councillors.
The report noted that if councillors wanted to move forward with the purchase, they would have to find a way to pay for it and there are limited resources available in the city's 10-year capital plan.
Gignac hopes upper levels of government could help with funding the purchase of the property.
CBC News has reached out to a representative of the Canadian Transit Company that owns the Ambassador Bridge for comment.