Scaffolding being taken down around the Paul Martin building in downtown Windsor, January 30, 2017. (Photo by Mike Vlasveld)

Province pulls funding for Downtown Windsor law school

Efforts to bring the University of Windsor’s law school to downtown are in trouble.

The Ford government has pulled back $20-million pledged by the previous Liberal government just before last spring’s election.

“We promised the people of Ontario to restore accountability and trust in the province’s finances. Our government is being forced to clean up the irresponsible and reckless financial decisions of the previous Liberal government,” read a statement from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities sent to BlackburnNews.com. “Part of that process means making tough decisions about projects across Ontario.”

The statement continued to call the funding pledge an “empty promise made in an election year by the Liberals, leading to a $15-billion deficit.”

Back in May when the Wynne government promised the money, Mayor Drew Dilkens said $15-million in city cash was on the table to help with the move. At the time, he was assured the funding was a sure bet.

“I’m told that the money was approved in the budget and it’s irrespective of who actually wins the election,” he told BlackburnNews.

The relocation was touted as another development in the city’s bid to revitalize downtown by moving more students to the core, and in turn, attracting more businesses. It was hoped another 600 students would be added to the current population.

The City of Windsor bought the Paul Martin Building from the federal government for $1. The plan was to transfer the building to the University of Windsor. Although Ottawa never pledged to fund the relocation, it did pay about $6-million for facade repairs.

A spokeswoman for the mayor, Norma Coleman said, “We were exploring possible avenues to access federal funding, but nothing had been committed.”

BlackburnNews.com has reached out to Dilkens for comment. He is currently vacationing with family.

Meanwhile, Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky is speaking out against the majority PC-government’s pullout plan. In a statement, she called Premier Doug Ford’s decision “callous”, and that Windsor families should not be forced to fight Queen’s Park to get projects needed to better themselves.