The Snake In The Garden Of Eden
According to the Star, Sam is giving us the Garden of Eden this time around. Oh heavens, is that ever wonderful. You cannot go any higher than that!
That Star headline in itself should put the warning lights on already. Why the need for such hyperbole? Is it Sam's first presentation all over again? It looks good at first but under study, it all falls apart. However, it allows Eddie his 6 month stall time as he tries to sell this. And it allows Eddie and the Province to put the screws to the Feds.
I attended the Council meeting last night. I notice that Eddie left the Chair just after Sam's presentation began and he returned only a few moments before the presentation ended. He looked very tense and nervous last night especially when he was speaking.
I can well understand why it was so. He's committing his political career on getting the people of Windsor to support whatever it is that he is doing on the border crossing. If so, I think he's in serious trouble. I'm not sure anybody will turn up at the Ward meetings if last night's crowd, or lack thereof, is an indication.
You read the praise in the Star from a couple of people who showed up at the sessions but here is what you did NOT read.
If you watched the presentation on Cogeco last night, you will have noticed the number of empty seats in the audience. We might have been able to hold the meeting in a Tunnel tollbooth after all. If you deduct the number of City Hall officials, consultants and other hangers on sitting in the peanut gallery, I would reckon that not more than a dozen people were in attendance.
After Sam's presentation, there was only a smattering of applause. It was nothing like the crowd or standing ovation that Sam received when he did his first report. Even Sam seemed pretty flat, as if he was reading the presentation for the first time. To be quite direct about it, it seemed to be a caricature of his previous presentations.
If it is, as Eddie claims, that DRIC is counting numbers, then he has a major problem with so few people attending. No wonder he was upset. What it says to me is that he is totally misjudged the population. People are bored with the subject already and don't believe what he has to say any longer.
Oh I forgot...the spin....People watched it on Cogeco instead. They were afraid of being trampled by the hordes of people they thought would attend.
Battagello made it appear that Dan Stamper supported Schwartz in his story. I have my doubts about that. The Ambassador Bridge people must be both furious and quite pleased at the same time. All that Sam was doing last night was confirming that, what the Ambassador Bridge Company proposed to do five years ago, made sense. The City, as you will recall, opposed everything that they were suggesting about their concept of the road to the border and now the Mayor and Council are embracing their idea. Strange world isn't it. And the Bridge people do not even get credit for that either.
I wonder if this now means they can tear down their Indian Road homes for "greening."
Moreover, if Eddie's concept of what the road should be actually moves forward, then wouldn't the environmental process have to be redone, because this is a whole new approach? That would mean at least a year or more of additional study. That means the Ambassador Bridge can move forward more quickly on their Enhancement Project. What irony!
I noticed that Councillor Marra was not at the meeting. And Eddie really did not explain why he was not in attendance. However if he were, wouldn't he have to stand up and say that Sam's presentation was in violation of the City's position on the border road? I thought the City wanted a 6 km tunnel not a bunch of Schwunnels. Isn't this a "Reconsideration" under the City's Procedural Bylaw? Why wasn't this matter raised by the City Clerk? Or the City Solicitor? If this was a violation of the previous Motion, then Sam's presentation should not have been heard at all.
There is no point in me giving you a detailed explanation about what Sam proposed. You'll see it ad nauseum in the Windsor Star. The one point that I will raise with the 300 acres of the new parkland that we are supposed to get is who is going to maintain it. If you remember my photograph of the area in front of my house that I posted earlier this spring, the City didn't have enough people to cut the grass at that time. Wasn't the Parks Department's budget cut too? That would be a healthy sum of money that will have to be paid each and every year, assuming that we can convince the Senior Levels to pay for the parkland in the first place as mitigation rather than as an enhancement. If it is the latter, then the City and/or the Province are stuck paying for it since I doubt if the Feds will put any money in it.
I must admit that I have problems with the numbers being quoted by the Big Dig experts. I just don't see how they can match the DRIC numbers. This reminds me of the Megaproject BLOGs I had written previously where in the end the final financial figure bore no relationship to the number quoted in the beginning of the project. Didn't the Boston tunnel project triple in cost by the time it was done to around $12 billion.
Now I don't want to make fun of Sam. But he does say the strangest things. Such as
- "People will come here to study what should be done in their own cities. (Windsor) will become a tourist destination because of its beauty and all it has to offer."
I'm surprised that Council did not pass a Motion approving what Sam proposed. They did that after his presentation at the Special Meeting in Tecumseh. But that really would be pushing everybody's face into it after the shenanigans of the Windsor Utilities Commission procedure.
It'll be interesting to see what our local MPPs have to say about this. It won't surprise me if they're very gushing about it all. After all, they have to live up to their deal don't they.
After reading this BLOG, do you think that makes me a "doubter?" Please say yes, since then I might even get a chance to talk to Eddie Francis again because he said that he would meet with people like me.
Better a to be called a doubter than a snake in the grass!