Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, December 21, 2009


Two stories, separately published in the Star and then put together to give a context.


Story 1

"Zoning plan has fatal flaw

In the meantime, with so much empty space in the city's commercial/industrial zones, city planners have floated this concept in a Land Needs Analysis Report submitted to PAC:

"New commercial development needs to be encouraged/facilitated in the downtown, main street and commercial corridors.

"We would recommend that no approval for additional commercial space in the City be made that would result in new commercial development within the next five years."

It might seem sensible on the face of it, given the fact Windsor's downtown is half empty and commercial strips are riddled with empty stores and empty lots. Not to mention those dozens and dozens of empty factories dotting the city like monuments to a half dead auto industry.

But Windsor's tiny development community -- which is basically on life support these days -- says those two phrases "no approval ... for five years" -- are a fatal flaw certain to kill what's left of Windsor's commercial economy."

Story 2

"London developer eyes downtown core

Windsor's battered downtown is getting a much-needed vote of confidence from larger-than-life London developer Shmuel Farhi, who has been opening his wallet to scoop up properties here and hopes to make an announcement in February of his plans for the core area.

"I don't want to say too much much right now. But it's going to be good news..."

"Over the next two months we'll be expanding our interest in Windsor and hopefully early in the new year we can come with an announcement in regard to my future business there," said Farhi.

In 2010, his company will take formal possession of a vacant 1.75-acre property west of the Art Gallery of Windsor, acquired in the 2006 land swap with the city for the WFCU arena property.


Story 1

"[Sgt] Corey said the woman was understandably distraught, but he rejected the suggestion that the core had become a danger zone.

“Downtown is a safe place to be,” Corey said. “There’s no doubt that incidents of this type receive a lot of media attention and rightly so. We never condone acts of violence in any form, we pay attention to that, we’re on it and we deploy more officers downtown on the weekends because we understand the crowds are going to be there.”

Story 2

"Mayor advises staying clear of Pelissier Street late at night

In the wake of another murder on Pelissier Street, Mayor Eddie Francis warned residents Monday to steer clear of the area late at night if they value their safety.

“If people are concerned, they should be concerned,” said Francis. “I would avoid that street. At 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m., if you’re concerned don’t be on Pelissier Street on that corner."


Story 1

"Francis and Farhi met for the first time about a year ago [or Novemeber, 2005 since the Story was published 11-08-2006] at a wedding in London."

Story 2

"Speaking of conspiracy theories, not to mention smear tactics, you've no doubt heard the one (repeatedly endlessly during the recent CUPE strike) about how Francis and Farhi are first cousins who cooked up the arena land swap in order to feather the family nest.

This is the blood libel that won't die, no matter how many stakes are hammered through it. In the summer of 2008, following a canal press conference at the art gallery, I cornered Francis outside and asked about the rumour. He chuckled and called Farhi over.

Did you know, he asked, that we're cousins? Fahri roared and gave Francis a crushing bear hug. "If you and I are cousins, my friend, there can indeed be peace in the Middle East," he cackled...

They met in 2004 at the wedding of Francis's university roommate in London, where Fahri, who owned the reception facility, introduced himself and Francis started pitching Windsor as a place to invest."


Story 1

"Mayor Eddie Francis has warned the Ambassador Bridge company to meet with council “forthwith” and state its plans for the homes it has bought and left vacant on Windsor’s west side, or the city will take action...

The bridge company has been given until Dec. 16 to agree to meet with council by mid-January and present its plans. If the ultimatum is ignored — as has been the case with several previous council invitations — council “will need to consider its own initiatives,” the letter says."

Story 2

"Mayor Eddie Francis was “provocative” and acted in bad faith when he issued an ultimatum Thursday to the Ambassador Bridge company to advise council of its intentions for more than 100 homes acquired in Olde Sandwich Towne or face unspecified action by the city, according to a group representing residents in the area..."

Story 2a [Resident's Group Press release]

"The Mayor's statements today are a further example of the bad faith the City has been exercising throughout this long controversy...

At the OMB prehearing held Tuesday December 1, 2009 CTC advised the City that it is committed to working cooperatively and requested a third party mediator, within the OMB process established at the prehearing, to sit down with the City, CTC and BUHDAG to resolve this situation."


Story 1

"Basse conducted more than 30 interviews and studied security videos, phone records and e-mails, but reported last Monday to Mayor Eddie Francis and council he was unable to determine the source."

Basse Report


Story 1

"Francis said council is willing to entertain the proposal but insists the bridge company follow the proper process. He said the only application the bridge company has ever made is for the demolition of six Indian Road homes in May 2007."

Story 2

"1) Close to 20 Ward 2 residents are expected to speak out about the derelict homes in the shadow of the Ambassador Bridge. Homes owned by the Ambassador Bridge on Indian Road, Edison Street and Bloomfield Road are boarded up and the city, wary of the bridge's intentions, has repeatedly denied the company permission to tear them down."