Eddie's Border War Plan
To be serious, and, notwithstanding all of the hopes and the hype, Windsor is NOT getting a multi-billion dollar tunnel to the border. It is too absurd to think about it. Perhaps Mike is working so that someone will buy the corridor but who wants it and for what purpose.
All those poor candidates buying into the glitzy DRTP Powerpoint. Candidate Greg Baggio in Ward 1 even points out the way to it as he says "I SUPPORT "DRTP" even if tunnelled. And he thinks he will get support in South Windsor for this position!
One may have to re-think one's choice of Councillor depending on border platform.
I have a big question. What I was wondering about is why is DRTP spending so much money on presentations, flyers, radio and newspaper ads. There has to be a real reason. Of course, the decision makers are in the Board rooms of CP and OMERS and Mike is merely carrying out their orders.
Why don’t we have some fun and try and figure out what is really going on.
I read 3 stories recently that might help us figure it out:
- 1) McGuinty a 'three-P' convert
Premier lauds public-private partnerships at Royal Ottawa opening
Three-Ps are public-private partnerships, by which a government gets a consortium of private companies to finance, build and maintain buildings for a set amount of money…
When they won the election, the Liberals made some minor changes that emphasized the public control of the building complex, renamed it "alternative financing and procurement," and gave the go-ahead…
What's driving the movement to private financing and development of big public projects is simple: The government has lots of old, outdated public buildings to replace and a limited pool of capital with which to build new ones. The province has $30 billion of buildings and roads it wants to build over five years.
In the case of the Royal Ottawa, a private consortium -- The Healthcare Infrastructure Company of Canada -- assembled the financing to build a $132-million, 400,000-square-foot building, backed by a 20-year lease deal with the hospital. The building replaces a decrepit collection of old asylum buildings that are connected by tunnels.
The government hasn't paid a cent yet for the building but the hospital will begin paying monthly payments of about $800,000 on Nov. 1, a blended payment that covers both the capital cost of construction and maintaining the building complex. The centre includes a tower for teaching, research and administration, several outpatient clinics, as well as secure and non-secure wards for patients.
"They put pressure on us. This project had a deadline. If we weren't finished by Dec. 17, we had a penalty. Every month that we were late, one month of revenue was gone," said Michael Rolland, senior vice-president of Borealis Infrastructure, one of the companies in the consortium…
- 2) …Duncan Hawthorne was popping his $20-billion question to the residents of Kincardine, Ont., …[He ] is president and CEO of Bruce Power Ltd., operator of a massive, government-owned, nuclear power plant a few kilometres north of town... Hawthorne, to the delight of the three dozen or so local officials and business leaders on hand, had just asked the community to support one of the largest infrastructure projects in Canadian history. Hawthorne had just proposed that Kincardine — a breezy little town on Lake Huron best known for its stunning beach, its Saturday night bagpiper parades and its Scottish festival — help host an expansion at what is already the world's largest nuclear station and radioactive-waste facility. But not a single objection was raised.
In Kincardine, many who directly or indirectly depended on the survival of the plant worried that the newcomers would wring out the last of its profits before shutting it down. (Troubles in the U.K. forced British Energy into bankruptcy and the Bruce lease was optioned to a consortium consisting of TransCanada Pipelines, Cameco, the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System pension fund, or OMERS, the Society of Energy Professionals and the Power Workers' Union.)
Another such long-term contract to backstop the refurbishment of the rest of the station's eight reactors once they begin wearing out within a decade — Hawthorne suggests this might cost a further $7 billion — would help capitalize the construction of four new reactors costing $8 billion. It doesn't hurt, of course, that OMERS, with $40 billion under management, has a 31% stake in Bruce Power. "I'm pretty sure we can put the cash together," said Hawthorne, assuredly.
- 3) Canada's OMERS Fund Aims to Invest C$12 Billion in Public Works
June 30 (Bloomberg) -- OMERS, the Canadian pension fund manager that is a bidder for Associated British Ports Holdings PLC, is considering C$12 billion ($10.8 billion) of investments in public works projects.
The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, Canada's fourth-largest pension-fund manager and best-known as OMERS, is seeking infrastructure assets such as gas networks and water plants because they provide stable returns and low volatility, said board member Frederick Biro in an interview yesterday in London.
``Some will come to fruition,'' he said. ``We've already bought a number of assets in Germany, and Western Europe is our primary focus right now,' said Biro, whose pension plan manages about C$41.1 billion.
OMERS is part of a bidding group that has offered 2.8 billion pounds ($4.4 billion) for Associated British Ports. The pension fund is bidding with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. [Goldman Sachs was consulting for City of Detroit on the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel] and the GIC Special Investments private-equity unit of Singapore Government Investment Corp. ..
The fund invests in utility assets through its Borealis Infrastructure fund. It has investments in the Detroit River Rail Tunnel [Note: NOT DRTP any more] in the U.S., the Scotia Gas Networks in the U.K. and the Bruce Power nuclear facility in Canada, according to its Web site.
So do you get it now? DRTP above or below ground is no longer a real issue. It’s dead. The exercise re the Green Solution and a tunnel is nothing more than a PR exercise to change the image of Borealis/OMERS/DRTP. They are re-inventing themselves, wiping away their past history. They are dropping their negative baggage and fixing up a refurbished kindler, gentler image. Why they may even offer to fund the East End arena too as they did in Toronto with the Ricoh Centre.
OMERS needs to invest its money---they and CP have probably already over $100M in the failed DRTP project and they need to get that money back in some way. At the same time, the Province needs to find money to invest in infrastructure to reach its objectives: “Investments in border crossing infrastructure and associated highways will assist with the efficient movement of goods and people across the border.”
The Province has a program ReNew Ontario and its 2005-2010 Strategic Highlights include:
- “The infrastructure challenge is formidable. The government requires more innovative and more flexible investment and project management strategies to meet the test — and to ensure on-time, on-budget project delivery.
While the provincial government will continue to take the leading role in funding public infrastructure, we will broaden our infrastructure strategy to include partnerships with the broader public-sector, including Ontario public pension funds and the private sector where and when it makes sense.”
The hospital in Ottawa and the Bruce Plant an expansion are just two such projects and both using OMERS pension fund money. [Do you remember how long ago the Government FSCO investigation on OMERS started! Around 2 years ago]! They are the precursor to similar investments in Windsor the Province wants to make with the border in Windsor.
Now this is not Eddie's concept since he had no real interest in the border before he was elected Mayor but he adopted it quickly. We just need to figure out who gave him the brain-wave!
I can just see Mike financing with Borealis money the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and a new bridge border crossing both of which would be run by an experienced border operator like Remo Mancini (perhaps including Sarnia and Fort Erie too under a Public authority as Schwartz suggested) all under the auspices of the Province of Ontario and the Mayor of Windsor after they have beat up on the Federal Government….after all aren’t Eddie and the Province, sort of “friends” today?
In other words, the Province wants to own the crossings financed by OMERS in association with Eddie. [Isn't that what Steve Salmons really leaked foolishly!] They will let the Feds have Bill C-3 to deal with governance but the other levels of Government will be the players!
I would even guess that there have been preliminary discussions about it in Ottawa and Toronto. The Tunnel Improvment Plan is just part of the process leading up to it as was Schwartz, except Sam's Report was a mere time waster and diversion until Eddie was ready.
Maybe that is why Mr. Estrin has been hired in what Councillor Halberstadt described as:
- “Council has authorized a sizeable amount of money to be spent on legal fees in this latest response to the enemies.”
Councilor Valentinis gave it away:
- “And the border file? "We're being challenged and you can't compromise your case," said Valentinis, explaining that the city is in a battle for its future with four powerful, tightlipped competitors who have mega-millions at stake -- the Ambassador Bridge company, the DRTP and the two senior governments.”
We are in a war, not against sewer backups or to fix our roads (which Dev Tyagi said would cost hundreds of millions of dollars although we have the money for an arena) but against THEM, our enemies. We are fighting to be a border crossing operator, which somehow has been turned into a core operation of City Government.
And if I know Eddie, he has decided that he has had enough of the Province. They have served their purpose and are no longer needed. Why share in the proceeds now. Eddie does not need a partner---ergo the attacks on Sandra and Dwight and the Liberals via Gord Henderson.
All this to be completed in Eddie’s last term too.
There is only one fly in the ointment: The Bridge Co. and Eddie has declared war on them as well with David Estrin as his general. I sure hope Windsor can afford it in the end when the dust settles. It will be ugly.