Wow...did the people from Beztak get hammered by Councillor questioning. Every aspect of their project was examined in great detail. Interestingly, we did not see this type of inquisition of the Jebb/Raceway project at Council. I wonder why not.
I decided to make this comment an "OPEN LETTER TO COUNCILLORS JONES, POSTMA (AND WILSON)" since they were the Councillors with the most sense as far as I was concerned on the Beztak/Raceway arena issue (or was it a lack of sense since they broke ranks with their colleagues).
Councillors Jones and Postma… that’ll show ya! [And you too Councillor Wilson even though you are not running again for Council]
You broke ranks and tried to pierce the veil of secrecy and in camera decision making in the new regime. You cannot win even if a new arena downtown "at no cost" to taxpayers and an urban village which meets previous Council's objectives are offered by a sophisticated developer. It was a 7-3 vote against you and a quick vote to go back to the "exclusive" deal with the Company that pulled out in the face of the Beztak competition.
You had the nerve to complain publicly about the surprise move of the arena from Downtown to the Raceway and the possible 6 months "exclusivity" deal with the Raceway. You had the silly belief that talk about an "urban village" meant development to be located in Ward 2 to help revitalize a part of the City that has been neglected for so long. You remember, that was something that the Mayor's opponent, Bill Marra, wanted to do when he was on Council.
Didn’t you understand? If the new arena is located near LaSalle, the Casino has no competition downtown. We’ve already stifled any changes in the downtown with interim control by-laws and studies and the fact that the Cleary will not be a competitor.
Didn’t you realize that the desire to turn the existing downtown into a teenie bar area for outsiders will discourage any significant retail operations in that area. Which retailer would go into Bartown?
Do you now understand, after the Star story today about the new 29 story hotel, 3-story parking garage, convention centre and 5,000 seat entertainment centre at the Casino, that Windsor’s downtown has shifted?
Do you now understand that the new, exciting "urban village" has moved to a new location near the Casino in a different Ward in the City?
Come on Councillors, get with the program. It's first come, first served. The Raceway was in first so they get the deal. Why are you trying to change things? The $15 million has already been "set aside" so those potholes were never going to get fixed anyway. After all, it's only $75 per household for the next few years. (Heck, that's peanuts compared with the $68 million of extra costs after MFP that we have to fund and the money that we were to spend on the Schwartz billion dollar "Fast Track" changes!).
You should have listened to the math calculations of your colleagues who know so much more than the guys who risk real dollars every day in real projects in the real world.
It's OK to change your minds, by the way. You can vote one minute to oppose building the arena downtown with a developer who wants no taxpayer money and then flipflop to another one who wants up to $15 million of taxpayer money for a raceway project the next as long as you are "respecting" your colleagues. Some of your Councillor buddies had no hesitation in doing so.
Perhaps you should ask the Jebb people, who think they might actually get an arena built this time, to contact the Mayor and ask how much time and money they should put into their effort. Three Councillors are already against an arena anywhere other than in the Downtown and at least three are opposed to building an arena using taxpayer money. So why are we going through this exercise?
So Councillors, you better learn to keep quiet. After all, doesn't the new border crossing go through your Ward!