Riding The Schwartz Rollercoaster
Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.
Try to fool me for a third time, it does not charm.
Will it be like the first time time around? Our hopes brought to the summit and then come crashing down as reality sinks in and the flaws are exposed within days of the presentation.
Isn't this Sam's third attempt to get it right? One should ask why he did not do this years ago if he supports tunnels so much and had the Central Park and Hudson River Park Trust experience.
Let me give you a few more thoughts about Sam and his Presentation and how it impacts Eddie after having a cup of coffee this morning. It does not look so pretty now once you start looking at the details more closely.
- One of my readers called the Schwartz proposal: Windsor's Improved Municipal Plan or WIMP for short.
- Imagine the chutzpah. The audacity of it all.
For how long now was tunneling the only solution for Windsor? No compromise allowed and if you dared suggest it....(ooops there is that "C" word). The Mayor and Council were elected on that basis. We wasted how much time and how much effort, never mind money, hiring consultants to prove that this was the best solution for Windsor. Council passed a solemn Resolution supporting tunnels.
And pooooof, it was dismissed out of hand. No apologies given. How can one believe anything that this Mayor and Council say.
Here is what the Star asked:
"Q. Why is a full six-kilometre tunnel from Howard Avenue to E.C. Row Expressway no longer being demanded by the city?
A. The Schwartz team and Francis agreed a legacy project focused on beautification and community connectivity would be a better use of resources, time and money than a very expensive (nearly $4 billion) full tunnel that leaves the landscape above looking much the same as it does today."
Aren't you glad THEY agreed!
- Is this merely another "starting point?" Sure sounds like it to me since Eddie never gives out his final position at the start of negotiations. Heck, it is only 11:59 PM. We have a whole extra minute left.
- $500,000 consultants' bill for this!!! Why they have not even started the roadshow yet to sell Sam's newest proposal. Who is being paid how much for Eddie's 2 month ad blitz campaign? If you wanted to win, shouldn't the campiagn have come before the Provincial election and not after? That was my experience with STOPDRTP.
- I wonder why there were no endorsers for Sam's proposal as there was the first time around
- Oh I like how people play with numbers.
Gee we're told that the cost of Sam's proposal is virtually identical with that of DRIC. A tunnelled solution is the same for a below grade one???? Mind-blowing
There is a small, little problem about that.
DRIC's number was for the entire roadway, right to the border. I'm not quite sure how far the Schwartz Road goes but it seems to be much shorter ie not to the border but only to somewhere on EC Row and Huron Church.
What is included and what is not? It is also not clear at all how their amount was calculated. Does it include as an example the twin deck road that goes west of Huron Church over top of the E C Row expressway?
Oh well, we will have to wait until Cansult is hired again.
- You see Eddie really wants to be like Toronto. We are now going to have our own Gardiner Expressway along with a financial mess like them too. After the watermain and sewer costs, our biggest municipal expense will be for grass-cutting the 300 acres and for keep the ice skating rinks, bicycle paths and rollerblade areas in tip-top condition.
- Sam was obviously trying to make amends with the pesky environmentalists by showing how much of the nature reserve his newest proposal was saving. Now Eddie wants them on his side, not against him. He at least learned from the first go around.
- Did you notice the friction between the Mayor and Councillor Halberstadt? As usual, Alan was asking a number of questions and Eddie made the snide remark about him entering the Council Chamber late. I thought I saw Councillor Lewenza pass Alan a note after a number of questions were asked. I wonder what that note said
- It was amazing. Schwartz's plan was so magnificent and so all-encompassing that Councillors hardly asked any questions. You see I was right. Eddie did all the thinking for them. Nawwww they didn't do anything in camera. The secrecy of this Council means that we will never learn if there were any real issues with respect to this proposal that a Councillor or someone from Administration brought up. You hardly have been well served by our municipal politicians. What a disgraceful bunch.
- Think of what we have lost in Windsor over the last five years by the City's actions. Effectively, let's admit it, the Bridge Company was right on how the road to the border should be built. How long will it take before we have to admit something else. The Bridge Co. is right on building their Enhancement Project. Actually we don't have to admit anything because the Bridge Company is just going to build their project once they get their approvals.
- So much for the need for the Bridge Company to do air quality reports. Now both DRIC and Sam have acknowledged that there are no significant air quality issues.
- Why won't Councillor Brister ever speak to John Fairley on TV? I guess the Councillor prefers to see his photograph in the Windsor Star. Now who said he was not going to run for mayor?
- Big packages of material were handed out to the media just after Sam started speaking. I wonder when the Windsor Star got theirs so that by around 9:30 p.m., about an hour or so after the Council meeting finished, they were able to post a story and images on their website.
- Eddie is one rough, tough politician. He made the road to the border an election issue after all. Yes sir, he made it an issue the night before the election.
- David Battagello is never going to write a BLOG again on the Windsor Star website. Check out some of the embarrassing questions he asks in the story "Highlights of Sam's design."
- How will all of this play out if there is a federal election in the next few months? The big winner in all of us will probably be Susan Whelan. Remember how she was pilloried by everyone with respect to the road to the border. I think you can say that she was right now even though it only took five years for people to understand that. What will Jeff Watson do if the Conservatives do not put in a ton of money into Windsor? Will Eddie Francis use this as an excuse to run against Brian Masse so that he can stand up for Windsor as our new Liberal cabinet minister in Ottawa?
- I am sure that the Councillor formerly known as Councillor Budget will have an even more important role to play when discussing the 300 acres of land since he will be considered the Council expert on this. After all, doesn't he run a small landscaping business?
- I happened to ride down in the elevator after the Council meeting with the Parks Department's, Don Sadler. I congratulated him on having so much new parkland that he might have to look after. We can't look after the existing parkland today and we won't be able to look after the 300 acres in addition tomorrow.
- Who is going to maintain all of us... don't worry, we'll have some developments there that will pay the cost. Here is what Sam did not tell us as I have written before
"The Hudson River Park Trust is responsible for creating a unique waterfront esplanade that will stretch five miles from Chambers Street to West 59th Street, with winding car-free paths where New Yorkers can run, bike or Rollerblade and public piers or lush lawns where they can enjoy sunsets over the water.
But nine years after its inception, the trust is facing a crisis. The city and state, which finance the trust and jointly appoint its board of directors, have awarded it just $10 million this year--the smallest amount in its history. Short on cash, the trust lacks the financing to complete construction of the TriBeCa segment of the park. In addition, one of its most critical projects, the creation of an income-producing development at Pier 40, is in limbo."
If there is this much trouble in New York City how can we possibly be serious in Windsor where we chase away people who want to build a garage in Sandwich.
- Do you really believe that the Federal Government will pay for all this nonsense or that the Provincial Government will when they have a Toronto subway to build? The simple out is to call the green space "an enhancement" and not "a mitigation."
Isn't that the real reason that Sam broke up the tunnel into pieces. First he would need huge ventilation buildings and/or exhaust stacks that look ugly, cost a fortune and are useless because there is no scrubbing technology around. There was no way that the Feds would pay for that. So break them into chunks and call the parkland mitigation techniques. Sam is clever, I'll give him that.
- Even some of the few people in the crowd at the Council Chamber were getting tired of listening to Sam waxing eloquent about all of the fun and games that would take place in the new parkland.
- If Sam was so smart in 2005 as he claimed during his presentation about tunnels, why didn't he emphasize tunnelling then?
I saw his reference to "Cantilevered roadways and/or tunnels in residential areas" and "parkettes" but why did he emphasize the cantilevered roads then?
I remember him saying that property values increased along those roads so don't worry. Now it is the property values of homes around the tunnel that will increase.
- Don't feel so sorry for him. Mark Galvin got to travel after all. It was not Japan however. I wish he had showed us a few pictures of his Seattle trip so we could know what we paid for.
- If the road is to be be re-aligned under Sam's plan, I wonder who will be the big winners and the big losers with the expropriations. Sam did not seem to know what the impact would be on which landowners.