Students benefit from bridge company’s blockbusting
While some residents of the deteriorating Olde Sandwich Towne area are not happy about the Ambassador Bridge Company’s blockbusting of the area, students say it allows them to pay lower rent.
The bridge company has shown no intentions of backing down on their plans to destroy houses on Indian Road and purchasing more properties in the Sandwich area for demolition. This is what many residents of Sandwich Towne are calling “blockbusting”. Despite class-action lawsuits from residents and complaints from businesses, the company insists it needs the area to make arrangements for bridge reparations and the construction of its twin span.
According to University of Windsor student and Sandwich resident Tiffany Gyimah, the deterioration of the area because of the bridge company’s actions has resulted in lower rent prices, allowing students to save money on housing.
“The prices in this area are so cheap, I know that most students like to find a place here because not only is it closer to the university, it has dirt cheap rent compared to the rest of Windsor,” said Gyimah.
Gyimah claims Sandwich Towne has become an unappealing area to live in.
“Unfortunately, the closing of the houses has made the area less desirable to live in, so landlords are forced to offer lower rent prices,” said Gyimah. “No one is going to pay a lot to live next to garbage and rotten, abandoned houses.”
While Gyimah and her peers are enjoying cheaper rent in the area, chair of the Olde Sandwich Towne Business Association Mary Ann Cuderman said the area will never go back to the way it was.
“This area was prosperous – lawyers lived here, doctors lived here. It was beautiful,” said Cuderman. “I don’t think Sandwich will ever be a family town again.”
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens has confirmed to the Windsor Star that the bridge is owned by a private company, meaning they still have to submit an application to the City of Windsor to demolish the Indian Rd. homes.
However, president of the bridge company Dan Stamper testified in court his company has applied for and been denied the right to demolish homes due to “financial conflicts of interest” on behalf of the city.
Cuderman disagrees, saying that if the company had gone through the correct process, the probability of being granted the right to demolition would rise, and that she does not believe the city is intentionally blocking their requests.
“I wish they had been more honest and upfront when they started buying houses in the area in the 90s,” said Cuderman. “They did not go about things correctly. They didn’t even come to city council with a proper proposal of what their intentions with the area were.”
Long-term residents and the students living in the area don’t seem like they will be agreeing about the cons of the bridge company’s blockbusting.
Students like Gyimah believe they benefit from the lower property value the bridge company has induced in the Sandwich area. However, Cuderman said she and other residents of the area want to see Olde Sandwich Towne, which has seen the likes of Chief Tecumseh, General Isaac Brock of the British Army and former prime minister Alexander Mackenzie, prosper once again.