Please Tell Me The Answer...
WHY DO WE NEED A DOUBLESTACK RAIL TUNNEL
According to Councillor Halberstadt's BLOG,
- "The early results are finally in on the $289,800 Community-Based Strategic Rail Study, and the rails-to-trails dream of Mayor Eddie Francis is in jeopardy of being shattered.
The study, two years in the making, examined the feasibility of reducing the number of main rail lines coming through Windsor from three to one, moving the VIA Rail station from its present Walker Road location, and creating a multi-modal transportation hub on Windsor Airport lands.
To summarize the findings of the consultants, McCormick Rankin Corporation, the potential is great to transform Windsor into a far more liveable city, including those green trails the mayor covets.
Unfortunately, the challenges are many to rationalize 55 kilometers of tracks, 75 rail crossings and several hundred acres of rail yards, dating back 100 years or more, to clear the way for these amenities.
The task of transforming Airport lands into a multi-modal facility, another Francis platform, is even more daunting.
It comes down to money. The consultants estimate it would take a minimum of $275 million to accomplish the alternatives listed above. There is no business case for the rail freight companies involved in the study, to spend that kind of money."
And VIA Rail, already subsidized to the tune of $176-million annually by the federal government, has no money."
On the one hand, based on the above, I do not understand the pressure to pass a Council Resolution in support of the DRTP's rail tunnel. Is the rail tunnel nothing more than a Trojan horse for a new truck Expressway? On the other hand, it may be absolutely essential for the Resolution to pass followed by real conversation with the Bridge Company to signal to outsiders that the City's attitude has changed and that we are really open for business and welcome investors.
Wasn't that part of the DesRosiers message that the Mayor dismissed? Perhaps Councillors were listening even if the Mayor was not.
IS THE REAL ISSUE TIMING
It seems to me that the objections Eddie has with respect to the Manning Road construction is not about whether it should be done or not but when.
As he said in the Star article on Saturday:
- "The concern we have is any discussion on steps to expand ECR ahead of Greenlink could by default lead to international trucks on the expressway and we want to avoid that."
As a sub question, what is the condition of E C Row and why were certain overpasses covered with asphalt recently?
The Mayor admitted as well that
- "I can't emphasize it enough. We strongly believe E.C. Row is at capacity today and should remain a local and regional roadway,"
That argument unfortunately for Eddie just fits into Mayor McNamara's comment:
- "We have to start thinking more outside of the box," he said. "This is a chance to improve roadbeds that are antiquated and overcapacity."
Let's see what action the Mayor will take using the environmental assessment process to stall off the improvement of the Expressway. He's done a very good job so far on the Huron Church Road corridor.
Is the real issue not trucks but
- "A secondary issue regarding the project, is a tug of war over industrial investment in the region and lucrative tax income. Tecumseh and Lakeshore want to develop land near Manning Road while the city wants to attract industry to land near Windsor Airport."
WILL THEY SPEND MORE THAN FIVE MINUTES IN CAMERA
Wait a minute here, there supposed to be a special meeting of the Council within the next few weeks about a "lengthy list of border-related issues the city is tackling." I assume the meeting will be in camera rather than public. I wonder if there is a Councillor with guts to demand that it be open to the public.
I don't get it. Why does the Mayor want Council's input? He didn't seem to wanted over the last quarter. They only spent five minutes in camera with the border issue. Why does he want it now?
Oh I get it. Something might turn out wrong. Someone might be criticized. The City might not get what they Mayor wants. We have major problems and that is why that Mayor
- "will be seeking more direction from council."
So much for being the Voice of Council and being the Leader. When the going gets tough...
IS COUNCILLOR HATFIELD A JOCK
He has to be or else he should be replacing Jay Leno's staff by writing jokes while the Writers' Strike is on.
Can you believe this absurdity that came out of his mouth in today's Star about the Armouries becoming a Concert Hall:
- "Ward 5 Coun. Percy Hatfield thinks it's a "fabulous idea," but not at a cost to city taxpayers.
"I'm sure the study will confirm it will be a wonderful concert hall," he said. "But it will probably cost $50 or $60 million to convert. I don't think there is an appetite from Windsor taxpayers to pay for a concert hall.... I can't support throwing tens of millions of dollars into a concert hall."
Hatfield said the project would require provincial and federal arts funding, something for which he believes Windsor gets overlooked."
Oh Percy! That has to be the most ridiculous comment of the year! What did he support throwing millions at in the East End?
SHOULD MAESTROS BE SEEN AND NOT HEARD
It will be difficult enough trying to convince anyone to support the reconstruction of the Armouries into a "world class concert hall" in these times of economic distress.
I guess one way that someone thought it might work would be to use the word "green" in the context of making the building environmentally positive by using "cutting-edge environmental technologies and engineering that will significantly reduce its carbon footprint." OOOOO that is THINKING BIG using terrific jargon.
Yes green is important in answer to the question that the Maestro posed but in a different way:
"But who's gonna pay for it."
John Morris Russell music director of the WSO should learn to stick to the music business and stay away from injecting politics into the issue, especially border politics, if he wants to be successful. Making the border into part of his justification for new concert hall, including the DRIC bridge, "tunnels, highways, and green space" was a foolish move in my opinion since his dream may become mired in the border farce and become politicized.
My suggestion is that he talk instead to Chuck Mady who I believe owns the adjoining property and try to put together a massive redevelopment that might be a "signature" development for the downtown that will turn the Armouries into another cultural "gem" for Windsor. At least, the Maestro did not use those standard Windsor clichés but did throw in "a centrepiece of culture in downtown Windsor" to make us all feel good.
WILL THEY EVER PRODUCE A SINGLE JOB FOR WINDSOR
Another classic saying by the Gazelle Feeders. After setting up more committees "who will devise strategies aimed at helping the area weather the economic downturn and spur future growth," should one expect something to happen finally and if so when? According to the Chair,
- "We can't prejudge when it will begin to pay off," said Remo Mancini, chairman of the WECDC board of directors. "Hopefully, right around the corner. You never know."
Gee, I think there may be a bunch of people who are unemployed who would like to know!
I assume that this makes the Mayor's recent announcement about the meeting he wants to set up with leaders in the City irrelevant. Yeah, right.
WHO WILL SQUEEZE THE CHARMIN
I have it on good authority from a usually reliable source deep within the bowels of City Hall that the Council meeting that is to take place on the border will put forward a plan to get almost every citizen in Windsor and the County in favour of Greenlink.
Apparently, the Eminence Greasie has borrowed a technique that was used in a South American country as a means of getting this support. Here is the idea:
- "Venezuelan businesses spent years conspiring against President Hugo Chavez, but the government now says they have found a new way to play dirty -- hiding toilet paper to sway Sunday's vote on expanding Chavez's powers.
Venezuelans have been buying large amounts of toilet paper on rumours it could be the next hard-to-find thing amid shortages of products...
"We know there are sectors that are hiding toilet paper," Finance Minister Rodrigo Cabezas told state television on Friday. "A group of business leaders are playing mean, playing dirty ... of course trying to create the sensation of product shortage during the elections."
Stock up now. You have been warned.