If this keeps up, then Transport Minister Cannon and provincial counterpart, Ontario Minister Cansfield, may have to go on bended knee and beg the Bridge Co. to build a new bridge at their site. Similarly Mayor Francis, if the Detroit Windsor Tunnel continues the bleeding of traffic volume and revenue, may have to swallow his pride and beg the Bridge Co. to manage the Tunnel for him after all.
When I was away, the Star carried a story about the GreenField Ethanol plant being abandoned. The plant that was going to be built in Windsor was now going to Johnstown, Ontario near Cornwall. It was a $120M plant with 50 full-time people and 200 spin-off jobs so it was a big deal.
The reason for the abandonment: "engineeering difficulties [that] centred around the stability of the Ojibway Industrial Park land, which has been called into question in past environmental assessment reports. The bedrock technically can settle....we have seen engineering studies that have shown us it is possible."
I probably should not have been so surprised. Back in September, the Company announced "The project itself has slid down our priority list." At the time, it was said "The concern is that the soil conditions and bedrock on the Ojibway land won't be able to support the planned plant, which was supposed to become the country's largest ethanol-producing factory."
Interestingly, VistaPrint had the same problem so it abandoned its plans and went to Lakeshore in 2004. "The international graphic design and printing company had been interested in building a 64,000-square-foot plant in Ojibway Industrial Park." However "Ojibway was ruled out because it was found that soil conditions couldn't support a printing plant." Windsor lost "Nearly 200 new, permanent, full-time, high quality/high skill jobs with good wages and benefits" although they at least stayed in the region in Lakeshore.
Roman Dzus, the acting director of the
Windsor-Essex County Development Commission, back in 2005 had said that the "the majority of the Ojibway land cannot accommodate heavy industry because of soil conditions. Such conditions eliminated the area as a location for VistaPrint's new printing plant."
So please give me your thoughts on this: if we cannot build a printing plant or an ethanol plant at Ojibway because the soil will not support it and if we know that the area has major problems, how can DRIC suggest that we build a bridge or a customs plaza or even roads in that area. Sure they are spending millions of both sides of the river to prove it can be done but...who is going to be the one to guarantee it. And I hope whoever does it has the insurance to back it up if there is a problem down the road!
Can someone please explain to me why we need to take such a chance when a mile down the road we know that there is a spot where there are no problems whatsoever ie the Bridge Co. lands.
Oh, oh...I just answered my question. Anywhere but there must be the reply. We will spend whatever it takes, build a bridge longer than required whether diagonally or in an S-shape and take the risk just so the Ambassador Bridge lands will not be used. It can cost hundreds of millions extra but what's a few taxpayer dollars amongst friends.
When someone in Ottawa or Toronto does wake up and identify the risk, guess who will have to be called and asked if a bridge can be built on his property. Just as Eddie will have to do as the Tunnel goes deeper into its own financial "sink-hole." Nothing like bargaining from a postion of weakness.
PS. I found the timing of the Star story interesting. It came out right after Christmas I believe when not too many people read the paper. That day's edition of the Star never made it into the Star archives so try and find the story at all. Could it be that the Star did not want to ruin everyone's Christmas by telling us that hundreds of well-paying jobs were leaving the region. I know we have all of those high-tech call centre jobs coming to replace them...
But here's the really strange part of all of this, the Star's sister publication, the Ottawa Citizen reported on December 9 that the GreenField plant was moving to Johnstown. In fact, a Press Release was sent out by the Company about it on December 4. In other words, the Star knew about this, or should have, weeks before but did not report it.
I understand though. How could the Star report the bad news when Eddie was giving his Inaugural speech a few days later on December 6 where he said that Windsor had to be a
"A place whose strong economy and well-paying jobs create a high standard of living. A place of prosperity – with families earning good money, and young people choosing to stay in Windsor or return here for high-paying, skilled jobs."