Is Eddie's Canal Vision Doomed To Fail
$110,000 for a feasibility study on a new museum. $90,000 for a feasibility study on the Armouries becoming a concert hall for the Symphony. But only $65,000, and private money no less, for technical evaluations to confirm the practicality, and the feasibility of key elements of the Bluelink vision. "Bluelink" is my name for the plan for connecting the City to the river using a canal.
A lesson that you should have learned from the whitewash WUC audit, dear reader. Frame your terms of reference properly and you get the answer you want. Read on.
Here is what one may think if one has a good memory. Before the canal even gets off the ground so to speak, it will fail.
We don't need a feasibilty study. It is doomed, done, finished, kaput. We don't want to rain on anyone's parade with all of that cash pouring in for the study but save your money folks!
Oh sure, it was an "intriguing proposal" but it has not got a chance.
Oh Eddie, how could you! Those wonderful 3 drawings that you showed us on the City website which I assume cost us $10,000... all for nought. Perhaps they can be autographed and auctioned off subsequently to get some money back for us.
One can just imagine a restaurant owner downtown all worked up over how much money the new project would bring to his establishment with all the people moving in and then getting so upset when he finds out that nothing will happen, again. But then, I am sure that he would agree with this sentiment
- "I would go as far as saying that its dishonest of our politicians to begin these studies if they do it knowing they may not have have budget to implement them. "
- "The study will make recommendations on the design, construction and operations for a new museum in Windsor, according to an administration report to council. It will define the market area and community needs, analyze demographics and forecast usage. The effort will also include a financial analysis.
"This study will take into account all those things," said Mary Baruth, the city's manager of cultural affairs. "It's going to look at what attractions we should be celebrating here. You can't predetermine what it will say, that's the point of the study."
Not a hope. It's effectively an engineering study about the canals, to prove it can be done:
- "The technical evaluations are needed to confirm the practicality, and the feasibility of key elements of the plan must be undertaken. It is essential that the design concept be based on technical and scientific assessment. An initial project scoping and feasibility study will be commissioned to examine the issues in greater detail."
With enough time and money, they can build it....but will anyone come. That is what is missing.
Dave Cooke is heading the show! Here is what he should be saying now. It is a no-brainer:
- "Cooke lives in Toronto but still has family here and considers himself a Windsorite. "I still really care about Windsor. It just makes me so angry that we're missing such a huge opportunity. If you want to revitalize your downtown, you build things downtown."
He fears the "urban village" touted for the Western Super Anchor site is merely a sop to minimize opposition to moving the arena from downtown. "What marketing studies have been done? Where's the business plan to show us this is even viable? Show us the goods...
He argues that a formal request for proposals must be issued and if it takes a year to sort it all out, so be it."
No that was not about the University Engineering Complex but in July, 2005 about a downtown arena. So to be consistent, he has to kill what Eddie wants to do since there is no business plan or marketing plan being asked for in his terms of reference. Canals do NOT equate to an arena or an Engineering complex no matter how much someone is trying to make them so.
And a three month period is ridiculous.
It is only AFTER this study is completed that the goods are shown
- "Upon completion of the project scoping and feasibility study, the general scope of the project would be defined, the overall practicality and feasibility of the project would be confirmed, and a more informed decision could be made on how best to proceed with the balance of project planning, design, approval procurement, tendering and construction."
It makes no sense. Cooke should be rejecting the idea right upfront, not being part of it. This proposal is designed to fail in 3 months or as Henderson said
- "who...could object to discovering whether a project that could transform an underutilized area of downtown is achievable? If it is, great. If it isn't, time to move on."
- "The surest evidence of this undertaking's credibility is the involvement of Dave Cooke, former education minister, current chairman of the University of Windsor board of governors and, if we're very lucky, Windsor's next mayor. Cooke is heading a feasibility study that will determine over the next three months whether the dream can be turned into reality, and at what price...
"I see lots of challenges but humongous amounts of potential," said Cooke. He cited Fort Lauderdale, which boasts 266 kilometres of canals, as a classic example of how waterways help create a destination attraction. "This is not some wild dream with no connection to ordinary people's lives," said Cooke, explaining that it could transform Windsor's image and attract both tourism and investment dollars."
What gives now? It's a "sop" and pie-in-the-sky. There are no "goods shown."
Don't you get it...frame the terms of reference narrowly, and when Cooke says that it can be done, then who cares if anyone will actually live there or whether it is ever built. It is like-----full tunnelling or Greenlink. Sure it can be done but why???? We can spend years figuring out that answer with more studies.
That is not too satisfying an explantion though. Just for an election campaign is too easy and too obvious. That is not how things get done here. To get from Point A to Point B in Windsor, one must follow a route involving most of the letters in the alphabet. Nothing is ever direct.
What do I think---Get a secret "compromise" over Greenlink and the DRIC Road, get some promises for money for Windsor for backing off on Greenlink, do it all within 3 months if possible or within the new study time period and then kill the canals for being excessive in cost and use the money for what you really want----creating shovel ready land at the airport for industrial purposes!
Why do I say this? Mr. Fischer, when he first presented to City Council after he was hired, talked about the need for City-financed industrial land infrastructure development at the airport.
- "City of London running short of industrial lands."