Council Drama Disappointment
Oh well, the Bridge Company lost the vote to demolish their home but won the war. I guess that is some consolation for them.
I wrote this fantastic BLOG as you will recall explaining what would happen when Ward 5’s Councillor Loopy was going to be consistent in his approach and vote the way he did with respect to the other damaged home. Remember the video clip where Councillor Hatfield said it made “common sense” to tear it down even though the owner had no development plan.
I was so excited. My prediction was exactly correct. The vote ultimately turned out to be 6-4 not to allow the Bridge Company to demolish its fire damaged home. I thought for sure that Councillor Loopy was going to be consistent since the fact situation was virtually identical and would vote to make it a 5-5 tie.
Can you imagine my excitement as well when at the beginning of the Council Meeting the Mayor was not there and Councillor Lewenza was in the Chair. I was hoping that it was similar to him leaving when the Kevin Flood matter was being heard as you saw in the clip too. If Junior ever thought to run for Mayor, he better forget it. His performance in running the meeting last night was a disgrace. Thank goodness that Eddie returned or else the meeting would still be going on. Unfortunately, Eddie's presence removed a lot of the drama for me and predicted the end result.
If there was a tie, Eddie would be put on the spot and have to do something. Instead, Councillor Loopy raised some issue with respect to noise if the house was torn down that even the City Engineer did not seem to understand or agree with. With that, the Councillor I guess had a way to distinguish the two matters and voted not to allow the demolition.
In other words, the Councillor made the ultimate sacrifice and made himself look foolish rather than put the Mayor in a difficult position. How nice of him to do that. What a "team player."
Some other random thoughts.
The Bridge Company representative had contacted the Clerks Office and said that he was going to be unable to attend the meeting. One would have thought that perhaps out of courtesy Council could have deferred the meeting for a week or so until he could attend. Councillor Marra to his credit introduced a Motion precisely to do that but it was defeated.
Just to make sure that everyone who was watching TV knew that the Bridge Company representative was not there, our Mayor needed to call out his name to make a big production out of it.
But then again, it seems that Council does not want to hear what the Bridge Company wants to say anyway. Do you remember the time that Council refused to extend the Presentation period of 10 minutes when the Bridge Company was there to explain what they wanted to do with respect to the border and in particular with respect to the Green Corridor plan. It was only a project of $1 billion and the Bridge Company should have been able to explain it all in detail in 10 minutes it would seem. Mind you, Council gave Schwartz over an hour to outline his plan.
Councillor Postma voted to tear down the home. She had no choice given what she has been talking about recently with respect to the homes on Indian Road. Unfortunately for her, she demonstrated to her residents that she was incapable of convincing other Councillors, including her Wardmate, to support what many residents in the area demanded. It was not a good night for her either on the landlords’ matter where her colleagues agreed to defer the matter even against her strong opposition.
There must be two Procedural Bylaws that are in use at Council. We saw the first one being used and interpreted by the Mayor very strictly with respect to a part lot matter. However, when it comes to the Bridge Company, the other Bylaw is used by Eddie. He allowed Councillor Jones to talk about all the homes in the area and why the Bridge Company had not presented a development plan to Council. I wonder why Eddie did not say that the Councillor was off-topic and should be speaking only about a particular house that was the subject matter of the Application. Thanks to the second Procedural By-law the good Councillor was able to get a few digs in.
I am very upset at the Medical Officer of Health. Councillor Jones has been struck by the amnesia disease as well. He claimed that the Bridge Company had never presented any plans about what they wanted to do in the area. He must have forgotten about that meeting involving the people from the Green Corridor group at the University. As Councillor Halberstadt wrote in his BLOG today:
- “Council's Ambassador Bridge detesters claim that the Bridge has not offered any concrete plans for redevelopment of the street. I beg to differ, especially after unearthing an 11-page Green Space proposal for the Ambassador Bridge Plaza that was shown to the Chamber of Commerce several months ago.
I displayed the document to Council last night in making my arguments in favour of the demolition. The plan, conceived in co-operation with the University of Windsor's highly-respected Green Corridor group, calls for wetlands stormwater remediation, an eco parking lot, a green gateway opportunity and bike paths and berms.
Bridge detester number one, Councillor Ron Jones, wrongly stated that the green corridor plan has not been presented to anyone.
Ron, unlike myself and his ward mate Carolyn Postma, has apparently not heard from many citizens in the Indian Road ghetto who have pleaded for Council to remove the blight. More recently, he might be right, since there is strong evidence that residents are abandoning that neighbourhood in droves.
In another juicy irony last night, a report was considered on changing ward boundaries for the 2010 municipal election. It cited demographics indicating that Sandwich lost 1395 residents between 2001 and 2006, an 11 percent reduction. I would hazard a guess that the population flight has accelerated since the Indian Road nonsense began with the city's Draconian Interim Control Bylaw two years ago.”
Councillor Halberstadt at least had the courage to speak out publicly to support the demolition of the house and remain consistent with the position that he has put forward.
Where do we go from here? We’ve had Interim Control and Demolition bylaws, Sandwich Community Improvement Plan and the Heritage Plan. The “Blight Report” is next. In a different context at Council, Eddie mentioned that he had read the report over the weekend I believe. It must have been a pretty poor “long-standing” family event that he attended that gave him a chance to read the Report.
If you will recall in his State of the City Speech, he said:
- “It is my hope Council will commit to acting on all of those CSP initiatives that deal with the way the city looks.
There are few sites as depressing as abandoned homes, storefronts, or gas stations. And the number of derelict properties in Windsor is disproportionately high given the prosperity we do have.
These abandoned buildings are a blight on our city.
That’s why we need to take action.
When it comes to the look of our city, small things can make a world of difference.
This is especially important in downtown Windsor, along the waterfront, and on major thoroughfares…
Let’s consider the implementation of a green streets program, and encourage a tree planting and flower planting effort.”
Call me silly but I thought that this was exactly what the Bridge Company wanted to do with respect to their homes in the West End but that the City was opposing them.
One needs to ask the question why this was not allowed to happen. Obviously, there is an answer and I think it is “blight” which will be the new anti-Ambassador Bridge tool. Moreover, thanks to one "loose lip" at Council, the Bridge Company was told exactly where to look for what Council will try to do next.