WINDSOR STAR: Windsor transit ‘barrier to jobs’ – W9 candidate Kieran McKenzie

Ward 9 candidate Kieran McKenzie is pictured outside of Windsor City Hall on Friday, July 25, 2014. (DOUG SCHMIDT/The Windsor Star) Ward 9 candidate Kieran McKenzie is pictured outside of Windsor City Hall on Friday, July 25, 2014. (DOUG SCHMIDT/The Windsor Star)

Doug Schmidt  •  Windsor Star
Jul 25, 2014  •  July 25, 2014

Windsor’s public transit service level has “become a significant barrier to job creation,” said Kieran McKenzie, a self-described political junkie and the latest candidate to enter the municipal election race for Ward 9.

A better bus service, including linkages with Windsor’s neighbouring municipalities, could serve as a powerful tool in attracting new economic development by lowering costs for employers, as well as prospective employees needing to get to those jobs, he said.

McKenzie said accessibility issues will figure prominently in his campaign. Making his candidacy announcement Friday at Roseland Park, which he visits daily with his 18-month-old daughter, he pointed to the lack of sidewalks around the park or in the neighbourhood, the absence of pathways for those in wheelchairs or with walkers and the “crumbling” state of some of its amenities.

With a number of incumbents retiring from council, as well as a new mayor on the way, McKenzie said this year will see a “transformative election” that will provide an “opportunity for the city to refocus on building its neighbourhoods … our neighbourhoods need attention.”

Ward 9, in particular, he said, is not friendly to those without a vehicle to get things done. “You can’t get anywhere in this ward without a car,” he said.

A constituency and legislative assistant for Windsor-West NDP MP Brian Masse for the past 10 years, McKenzie said he understands what it takes to gauge constituents on issues of concern to them and how to assist them. Masse attended Friday’s announcement, as did local NDP MPPs Taras Natyshak and Lisa Gretzky.

“Municipal politics and party politics are two different things — I’m not here to parrot the party line,” McKenzie responded when asked by reporters whether NDP partisanship might travel with him to city council if he wins.

“I’m not here to raise anyone’s taxes,” he said. Asked whether his initiatives would be tacked on to existing spending, McKenzie said: “There’s going to be a new council, and they’re going to come with new priorities.” Existing money can be moved around, he said.

McKenzie, 41, said he’s been involved in electoral politics “since the age of four,” including helping in campaigns that got local candidates elected municipally, provincially and federally.

The co-host of CJAM radio’s Rose City Politics and a contributing columnist to local publications, McKenzie promises “greater access to information,” including easier public access to city reports and the voting records of council. He said he’ll “continue to fight to bring back an independent auditor for the city.”

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Ward 9 Coun. Hilary Payne was the first incumbent to register for this fall’s vote. The other candidates so far in Ward 9 are Janette Calandra, Doug Peddle, Socrates Alexander Shinas and Hank Van Aspert. or on Twitter @schmidtcity

Read the original article on The Windsor Star HERE