What Is Really Behind Greenlink
I still could not understand this fascination with a project that is not going to happen at a cost of at least $1 billion more than the DRIC road which probably also won’t happen either. To be honest, the DRIC road doesn’t look all that bad in the scheme of things but the likelihood is that we’re going to get exactly what the Joint Management Committee wanted almost 5 ½ years ago.
I found this fixation on Greenlink even more perplexing considering that the numbers of postcards received were significantly less than the Mayor expected in spite of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on expensive advertising. It appeared to me as if the Mayor did not get the support that he wanted such that the Province can ignore anything that he has to say.
Moreover, the buzz around City Hall that I have heard for quite some time is that it is known that there is no expectation that the Province will consider Greenlink.
So why are we spending money on ads, why is the Greenlink banner still the front of the Council Chambers, why is the Mayor is still pushing for it?
In my opinion, the recent comments on CKLW by Patty Handysides and then the quotes by the Mayor on the radio followed by the Star Editorial gave it all away. All of this so called Greenlink support is nothing more than the Mayor’s way to try and get money out of the Senior Levels to accomplish who knows what that is in his own agenda. No wonder he is on such good terms with the Federal Government these days since he believes that Senator Fortier is going to provide him a ton of cash for Brighton Beach.
Listening to CKLW, what the Mayor effectively said is give me a whole bunch of money now so that I can complete projects before you take all of our workers for the DRIC project. All of a sudden, we have a shortage of workers where just days ago the Mayor was again taking credit for trying to figure out how to send them out of town. He wants the Province to pay him upfront monies that we might not receive at all over the next few years so he will go away quietly on Greenlink.
What the Mayor is saying is if you want me to back off on Greenlink and not start a lawsuit claiming that your Environmental Assessment is defective---why else was David Estrin at Council giving his one-hour dissertation on environmental law--- then you better pay me money now and big amounts of money or else.
Think I’m being cynical. Just take a look at the Star editorial the other day “A new bridge…Make a deal on access road.”
- "Issues surrounding the access road to that new border crossing, however, are threatening to derail this momentum, with the city and province at loggerheads over how much of the route should be out of sight and covered with green space…
The city maintains GreenLink costs about the same as the Parkway but the DRIC team counters it would cost $700 million more.
The city…has hinted it might pursue legal action to ensure the city’s interests are protected. Legal action would be an unfortunate development as it would likely delay construction of the bridge and road, which federal officials estimate could create 25,000 person years of employment and economic spinoff benefits of between $3-$4 billion...
“Let’s not talk about war or battles, but peace and the solutions we can work out together if everybody puts their mind to it,” said Hrastovec…
Egos and petty politics need to be set aside for the good of this region and the good of a national economy heavily dependent on trade.
The Windsor-Detroit corridor handles an estimated $500 million in trade every day and the city and province can’t sit down and hammer out a compromise between two projects separated by only $700 million and two kilometres?
…But that development won’t proceed smoothly and quickly until the city and province bridge differences that are hardly insurmountable given the massive and long-lasting benefits of this crucial project.”
There you have it. That is what the issue is all about. Windsorites have been used again as pawns. Our emotions have been played again by our elected officials.
How much money can Eddie get from the Province. He is negotiating from the maximum being $700 million or the difference between the cost of Greenlink and the DRIC Road.
Now we know that this has nothing to do with quality of life of Windsorites or future generations or more parkland or connecting Communitities or keeping trucks off of City streets or any other of the feel-good statements that have come out of our City Council for so long. It all has to do with money.
That is the message delivered by the Star Editorial to Ministers Duncan and Pupatello which they are to convey to the Premier.
Is there anything wrong in trying to get more for the City? Absolutely not. As far as I’m concerned, the more the better. However I have no confidence in a Mayor who is, as far as I’m concerned, out of his league when it comes to negotiations on anything significant. The latest example being the deal with the Spitfires.
I’m also concerned that the Mayor’s sense of timing leaves a lot to be desired. The Tunnel deal is a prime example of that where we have already lost hundreds of millions of dollars because he is incapable of doing a deal when the Tunnel actually had some value, or rather perceived value.
If I am right, then I do not like to be used either or treated as a fool or not trusted by my Mayor and Council. I don't like things being kept from me either when the future of this City is at stake. I do not like that Taxpayer money is being used, and wasted, in such a manner as well.
I do not think that I'm that far off the mark in what I think about the Mayor's campaign for Greenlink. I happened to recall something that I read about a controversy in Hamilton where that City sued the Federal Government over an Environmental Assessment. I found a few references on the Internet. After you read this, then you judge whether I am right or wrong in what I have just Blogged:
- "the Hamilton municipal government is accusing 65 federal government staff of "deliberately and unlawfully" using their public office to harm the city by participating in an environmental assessment of a controversial city expressway. The city is suing the civil servants and four former federal cabinet ministers for $75 million, charging the public servants illegally used the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) in 1999 to stop or delay the Red Hill Creek Expressway.
The lawsuit says "the defendants abused their public office by engaging in targeted malice towards the City's completion of the Expressway" and utilized environmental assessment "in an unprecedented, illegal and unconstitutional manner in order to achieve that objective."
The formal statement of claim filed in court by David Estrin of Gowling Lafleur Henderson also says "the defendants knew, when they determined to use their public office to stop the City completing the Expressway, that the City would be harmed in the result..."
The city openly admits that its aim is to achieve an out-of-court settlement which would transfer tens of millions of dollars from the federal government to municipal coffers."
I saw in a news story in March, 2008 that:
- "Councillors have voted to continue a controversial lawsuit against Ottawa involving the building of the Red Hill Valley Parkway.
It has also removed a cap on legal costs plus decided to keep the costs from public view until the suit's end...
Councillor Brad Clark, who supported keeping the lawsuit going, called it "the right thing to do" as an effort to keep pressure on Ottawa to settle. He wasn't bothered by removal of the cap or keeping costs from the public until the suit was over. Legal costs have been estimated at $243,000 since 2004."
It's an interesting strategy. The trouble is the Mayor is playing with the future of this Community. If he is wrong, and if the Senior Levels pull out all of their money, and don't forget that there is a federal election coming up and the Conservatives have better places to spend $1 billion, then what happens?