Mayor Bondy connects with Maplewood Apartment residents over coffee

In her role as Mayor of Essex, and a new Board Member of the Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation (WECHC), Sherry Bondy hosted a coffee connection event with the residents at Maplewood Apartments last week.

One of the things she aims to do in her roles is to connect with residents, when time permits, to get feedback, learn what is working and what is not, and see what can be done through the Town or at the board-level to help mitigate issues.

For instance, the Town has received complaints about potholes on the shoulder of the road and in the area. She has been talking to Town staff about fixing those problem areas when the nicer weather hits.

“I want to further advocate for residents in our community,” Bondy said, adding she was newly appointed to the Resident Advisory Board at Maplewood. “I want to make sure I am doing my homework in representing residents in our community to the best of our ability.

“I do get a lot of calls about quality-of-life issues in the apartments. I needed to go there and take notes. Then I am going to bring them to management,” Bondy said. “There are some common themes.”

That includes complaints of disruptive neighbours, which prompted Bondy to investigate what can be done to ensure residents are being good neighbours.

In addition, she wants to look into the condition of WECHC buildings.

A popular theme she heard the event was the desire for an interior facelift.

“Just because you live in geared-to-income doesn’t mean you don’t want to take pride in your home. These are people’s homes,” she said. “When we as landlords show pride in a building, then – in turn – tenants can show more pride, too.”

It was good to connect with residents, Bondy said. Two sessions were held, with around 15 residents stopping in to connect with the Mayor.

Now, Bondy will liaison with the OPP, as the Chairperson of the Essex Police Services Board, and see exactly what officers need from residents when they try to make complaints, and the best way to resolve some quality-of-life issues for residents there.

She would also like to investigate how issues can be tracked.

“It is all about finding solutions,” she said. “If you have problem neighbours, then it is really hard to live in peace.”

Earlier this week, Bondy noted the WECHC was to host a strategic planning session. Connecting with those residents ahead of time will allow Bondy to have the concerns she heard top of mind as they head into that strategic planning session. That could include ensuring maintenance is being kept up with.

She noted the WECHC has a new Board and management.

“There are new people in place with fresh ideas, where we really want to make a positive difference” she said. To do that, “I need to make sure I am listening to residents before I advocate for them at the Board.”

The event was about opening the channels of communication, ensuring people know she has an open-door policy and wants to work towards “making it a place where people want to live.”

In the Municipality of Essex, WECHC oversees Maplewood Apartments in Essex Centre and Ell-Roy Manor in Harrow. She hopes to host a connection event with the Ell-Roy Manor residents in the future.

Sylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Essex Free Press