Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

CIBPA Meeting Is Wednesday

It is too bad that Windsor does not have political leadership at the local level that has any sense the way another border community does.

Instead, we have a version of the Hamilton litigation strategy that was created by our legal weapon of mass destruction to get money out of the Senior Levels but without litigation. Eddie does not have the guts to sue the Senior Levels because he understands the consequences if the Senior Levels pulled out of town. Windsor's strategy calls for full tunnelling, Greenlink, oppose the Ambassador Bridge and stalling.

Keep reading right to the end and you will understand why I make my comment

What is the matter with the CIBPA? Do they really think that the Mayor and Council care what they have to think about the border issue? They don’t. They don’t even care what citizens think. They have their opinion and that is all that matters.

It should be interesting to see how many people show up tomorrow night to attend their session. It should also be interesting to see what people talk about. Will it be just in relation to the border file or will it turn into people denouncing Council for their inaction? I do not envy the Chair’s position if the crowd starts getting angry.

It should also be interesting to see if any Member of Council makes an appearance.

I expect that there will be attempts made to “disrupt” the meeting to ensure that nothing is done, especially the setting up of a political action group. That would terrify our politicians.

The Association’s message really is rather straightforward… this City is dying so let’s get together and figure out a way to get the border file moving without the threat of litigation. I do not find that message so very threatening.

But City Hall does because it does not fit into their agenda of getting money from the Senior Levels.

How else can one explain the front-page story in the Star, the Star Editorial and the lack of mention of a story about the Ambassador Bridge.

Such perfect timing. I find it remarkable that the day before the Meeting the Star headline screams out:
  • MoE scientist slams DRIC

    Certain health risks of border route not assessed, toxicologist says

    A government team overseeing construction of a $1.6-billion highway to a new border crossing failed to properly conduct its human health risk assessment, according to a scathing 16-page internal report by a toxicologist for the province's environment ministry.”

Eddie is always right. Every opponent is always wrong. Why can’t the business and professional people understand that and back off?

  • “The toxicologist's memo confirms the city's position that DRIC has failed to meet its obligations under the environmental assessment for the highway, Francis said. "It shows a number of deficiencies and concerns," he said.”

Is this just like the Dr. Diamond MoE bombshell that turned out to be a dud?

Again, the day before the Meeting, the Star demands that the Premier come down to Windsor and bow down to our Mayor. Why can’t the business and professional people understand that Eddie rules as well and back off:

  • “As we've said, since our MPPs have removed themselves from actively representing the city's best interests due to conflict-of-interest concerns, it's time for Premier Dalton McGuinty to come to town.

    It's time for the premier to explain why the GreenLink proposal -- a better, greener alternative -- has been given such short shrift. The time has come for McGuinty to work with city council to find a solution that's acceptable to this community.”

Do not worry about jobs. We have months more to threaten:

  • “In February, provincial officials also confirmed that the bulk of the jobs and work associated with building the border access road won't be created until the fall of 2010, at the earliest.

    Preparatory work, such as utility relocation and demolition of properties, might begin later this year. But those jobs aren't contingent on what the eventual project will look like.

    That was confirmed by Infrastructure Ontario spokesman Steve Dyck last week: "It doesn't matter what consortium gets the project, or how it will be designed, that (preparatory) work has to be done."

Let us remain shortsighted. Let us maintain the reputation of being the only City in North America that is fighting its Senior Level Governments and private industry who want to pour billions of dollars into this City. Let us instead come up with slogans, send out glossy magazines produced by the Star and re-organize our Undevelopment Commission for the umpteenth time!

Now about the Ambassador Bridge. According to CKLW, and not the Windsor Star, the City will be retaining an American lawyer to fight the US Coast Guard decision that the Ambassador Bridge Company project has “no significant impact.” I wonder how much more money that will cost taxpayers. I also wonder why the Star did not cover the story. Perhaps because it would infuriate some people?

In case you wanted to read about that story on the CKLW website, do not bother going there. Nothing is posted. I guess that story isn’t all that important even though that is one of the issues that the business and professional people are concerned about

  • “INTOLERANCE over…acts of delay.”

The effect of the Star’s action is disgraceful and a complete disservice to this community. It is time that they stopped giving the Mayor and Council a free pass. Effectively the Star is saying that we have months more before anything needs to be done so back off CIBPA and let Eddie do his thing:

  • “For a start, a 32-week review of DRIC's environmental assessment for the Parkway proposal began in January. That puts completion at around the start of September…

    it would seem there is plenty of time left for the province to sit down with city officials to hear this community's concerns.”

I trust that people will not be sucked in by this shameful approach by the Star. I will be Blogging about this more later on but compare what is going on in Windsor with what took place in Port Huron:

  • “During nine meetings between February and November of last year, state transportation officials and local leaders met to hammer out mitigation and project enhancements for the Blue Water Bridge Plaza…

    The Project Enhancement and Mitigation Group included representatives from Port Huron, St. Clair County, Port Huron Township, the Michigan Department of Transportation and several other groups.

    Details of the mitigation efforts are in Chapter 5 of the Final Environmental Impact Statement, a document released today. The efforts aim to ease the burden on local communities for enduring and sacrificing for such a massive project.

    St. Clair County Administrator Shaun Groden described the relationship between local officials and MDOT as a "rough marriage" until about a year and a half ago, when the meetings started. He said all involved came to the realization that the two sides must work together to make the best of the project.

    So, instead of fighting the project -- which is slated to start in 2011 and end in 2016 or 2017 -- Groden said local officials adopted a new strategy: to try to make it as beneficial as possible.”

    Groden said while "I'm still wary about it," the project has evolved from one that threatened to make Port Huron a "cavity" in St. Clair County, to one that will benefit the area in many ways.

    "When you look back even 18 months ... I think there has been considerable movement," Groden said.

    "I think we accomplished much"

That I expect is what the CIBPA meeting is all about. It is a shame though that no one from Windsor’s increasingly isolated City Hall bunker will listen.