Did CRASH Crash
CRASH (City Residents Against Super Highway), and Choosetunneling sponsored a rally last week to protest "against the above ground DRIC Talbot/Huron Church corridor superhighway proposal." Of course it is merely a proposal so far but I assume the groups are rallying proactively so that this solution will not be chosen.
According to their press release, "Hundreds of flyers and thousands of e-mails have been delivered in co-ordination by the organizers within the past three weeks." If the numbers of people who came out are an indication, then one may question whether "There has been strong positive feedback and a high level of participation interest from neighbouring concerned residents."
If so, then the City Hall strategy of trying to shift voter attention away from the DRIC road to something elese, anything else, to preserve incumbent electability may also have failed miserably. The Schwartz Report did not work and now this brainstorm may not have captured the support of Windsorites as expected. Wards 1 and 2 Councillors may have a much more difficult time against their opponents when they try to explain exactly what they have accomplished over 3 years on the border file.
Here are some comments from an observer of the rally that was sent to me:
- To those who didn't know what it was all about, the rally would remain a mystery.
- Residents were at four different corners and I counted perhaps a total of about 70 people combined.
- Most had signs with "Stop DRIC", and "CRASH" and some others handwritten and hard to read.
- There was some horn honking but certainly not the response that I think the organizers wanted.
- Curiously, at the corner by the outlet mall there were a small group of people proposing ChooseTunneling/DRTP
- Leave the kids at home. Sure animals and kids make for good TV but not appropriate at a rally. Or if you do bring them, watch them!
The reality that we learned at STOPDRTP early on in our struggle was that "quality of life" arguments do not work. No one in power cares frankly. How can one make a reasoned environmental argument against expressways when Highway 401 has a gazillion lanes as it goes through Toronto and people live beside it as they do with the Interstate expressways in Detroit. Even Ottawa has Highway 417.
What is needed are "economic" arguments to justify one solution over another. That is why in the end DRTP could never make it because it made no sense from an economic perspective and a new bridge is also doubtful economically. No government is going to spend billions in Windsor and set a precedent by putting a new road underground. No Government can afford another Big Dig either. When trucks are going to have devices that reduce hazardous emissions to virtually zero and with new fuels coming out, the argument for spending billions on a tunnel are hard to make.
As for economic arguments, Choosetunneling has not yet provided a convincing argument that there is an economic advantage to building a tunnel. In fact, it seems to be a breakeven proposition using their numbers. They claim "2.5 BILLION DOLLARS of calculated negative impact damage on Windsor and its residents (over 50 years), if an above grade route is built instead of tunneling." A tunnel would probably cost that much or more by the time it is built!
Notwithstanding Council's scare-mongering campaign, the Mayor's Eddie-come-lately conversion to tunnels and the big turnout at the Tecumseh Council meeting, the groups have NOT been able to capture so far the hearts and minds of even their own community in my opinion.
I expect that the reason for that is easy to explain. The people along the corridor and the neighbouring subdivisions chose to buy a house there. They have lived with the trucks for years already. They just do not believe that their lives will be that much worse if the truck expressway is built and in fact their quality of life may well be improved.
All that most people wanted to know was whether their house was going to be expropriated. When they found out they were OK, they went back to their normal life. The border no longer was a concern to them.
As for Choosetunneling's head, one wonders if success similar to that of Councillor Brister's success, in being elected after getting all of the high-profile publicity as Chair of STOPDRTP, will rub off on him. Ironically he is campaigning for election in Ward 1 against Councillor Brister.