Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 Legacy

The real world has a way of messing up the best laid bureaucratic plans. Whether it is a world economic melt-down or a terrorist attack, no advance planning can ever deal with the consequences because they are never expected in the first place. Models can never be built for events that can never be foreseen no matter how hard the planners try.

On this, the anniversary of that horrific terrorist attack, we in North America now understand that we were brought into the real world of terrorism to which we innocently believed ourselves to be immune.

I had worked on a file in London, England for my previous employer and seen how security there had been upgraded because of IRA threats. In fact, there were two incidents of bomb threats near where I was working, one a block away near the Law Courts, that made me nervous about taking the underground again.

I remember being in the Soo exactly one year after the 9/11 attack and debating whether I should chance crossing two international bridges that day to return home or waiting for one more day just in case.

How many times have you cursed security checks at the airport or been asked to remove your shoes and belt at the departure gate because you happened to be the random selection on the flight? Have you ever caught yourself checking out the other passengers and wondering...

All of this is leading to this interesting story I read this morning in the Niagara Falls Review:

  • "Life after 9-11
    'We have never recovered' from that day

    In the days and weeks after that terrible morning in September 2001 when jet planes full of innocent travellers crashed into New York City's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a lonely farm field in Pennsylvania, then-president George W. Bush and other politicians in the U. S. and Canada appealed to shocked and confused citizens to set their fears aside and return to their everyday routines.

    Go to work. Go shopping. Take the kids to a ball game.

    After all, the terrorists weren't just attacking buildings, people were told; they were attacking our way of life.

    Eight years later, it's anything but business as usual in communities all along the world's longest undefended border...

    Border crossing figures for the past decade show just how much things have changed.

    The Niagara Falls area is home to three international bridges - Queenston-Lewiston, Rainbow and Whirlpool.

    In August 2001, the number of vehicles crossing the three bridges combined was 1,170,237.

    The figures drop steadily every August after that. Last month, there were only 740,228 crossings.

    It has been the same story at the Peace Bridge, between Fort Erie and Buffalo.

    It saw 845,160 cars and 3,728 buses cross during August 2001. Last month, 569,406 cars and 2,654 buses made the mile-long transit over the Niagara River.

    In the years leading up to 9-11, cross-border traffic and trade climbed, mostly as a result of the implementation of the Canada-U. S. Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

    "After 9-11, the whole culture of the border changed," says Ron Rienas, general manager of the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority.

    "Before 9-11, you used to be able to cross the border simply by making an oral declaration (of citizenship).

    "Not anymore. Those days are long gone and won't be coming back."

    Rienas, who worked as a municipal planner before he was a bridge manager, says the decline in cross-border traffic has had a negative economic impact on Fort Erie and other border communities.

    Ironically, fewer vehicles crossing the bridges didn't translate into faster crossing times. In fact, the opposite happened.

    As border guards spent more time inspecting vehicles and scrutinizing personal documents, the time needed to get from one side of the Niagara River to the other started to increase.

    At its worst point in 2002 and 2003, bridges in Niagara Falls and Fort Erie regularly experienced long lineups of trucks waiting to cross the border. In some cases, trucks were backed up for several kilometres along the QEW, a situation that caused serious safety issues.

    Even as the number of vehicles crossing the border declined, tens of millions of dollars were being poured into projects to reconfigure the approaches to the bridge, move buildings and increase the number of customs booths -an effort to speed up inspections and better accommodate traffic flows.

    The reconfiguration of the Canadian side of the Peace Bridge cost $42 million.

    "All of the changes you saw happen on the Canadian plaza of the bridge are a direct result of 9- 11," says Rienas.

    As potential terrorist targets, security at the bridges was stepped up, too.

    "It used to be international bridges were like any other bridges, as far as security was concerned. That's not the case anymore," Rienas says.

    Arlene White, executive director of the Binational Tourism Alliance, is all too familiar with the problems at the border. And she's just as familiar with the myths.

    White and her agency have taken a leading role in trying to educate people about the facts about crossing the border and in lobbying governments to take steps to break down barriers without compromising security.

    She is quick to point out that there have been improvements at the border in recent years. However, there are still times when there are needless delays and "inconsistencies" in the way travellers are processed through customs checkpoints.

    "Perception is an issue," says White. "Every time somebody has a difficult time at the border, they tell people or it hits the media and people think, 'Why should we get the proper I. D. if we're only going to get hassled?'"

    Despite the problems that exist today, Thomson, Rienas and White each say they're optimistic things will eventually rebound.

    "It's going to take some time, but I think it will happen," says Thomson. "We're hoping that over the next five years things are going to progressively get better."

And that is what has bothered me about the border debate for so long. It has been a phony one in which we are being fed stories in order for a few unknown people to achieve a political objective.

Eight years later and the best that can be said is:

  • "We're hoping that over the next five years things are going to progressively get better."

Look at our region and how we have suffered. The platitudes from politicians and bureaucrats about us being the most important crossing in North America and that our region is a priority for massive Government investment are designed to mock us rather than solve a problem. It is a farce already and completely predictable when a politician drops in to saya few words.

Spending mega-billions on a DRIC project..I am sure that will happen after the Minister of Finance just said:

  • "Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the federal government will run deficits until at least 2015 -- two years longer than originally forecast.

    He said it will be a tough road to getting Canada black in the black, but added the Conservatives will not raises taxes or cut transfer payments to the provinces.

    Flaherty also said Thursday afternoon that the deficit for 2009 will be over $5 billion more than originally thought -- moving up to a projected $55.9 billion, from $50.2 billion...

    "While Canada is showing signs of a fragile economic recovery, returning to balanced budgets won't be easy, he told an audience in Victoria, B.C.

    "It will require decisions of government that won't always be popular or pain-free," he said in a prepared speech. "It will require a lot of saying 'no' to pet projects and special interests."

Oh why worry, P3 companies can find the money, just as they could NOT in the BC Port Mann bridge project which had to be saved by the Government or it would have collapsed.

I am sure that investors will come rushing in after the Standard and Poor's rating of the Blue Water Bridge was downgraded by two notches and its outlook called "Negative." Or will a huge Government guarantee of profits through a "shadow tolls" arrangement or other variation as is being proposed for the DRIC road allow them to make a profit of billions for 30 years at taxpayer expense?

Does it take an S&P comment, "significant reductions in traffic volumes," before Sean O'Dell and Minister Baird will admit the reality that is happening here and elsewhere?

Look at the numbers above in the Niagara area. What makes anyone believe that the numbers will increase here to justify the waste of billions on a DRIC project because of, primarily, the auto downturn and the collapsing tourism market----Eddie's air cargo mind's eye vision!

The issue is clearly not capacity...our border concern is that the numbers are too low! Nor is it security and redundancy thanks to Senator Kenny's lack of concern about the DRIC bridge delay and now, the "floating bridge concept."

Our issue is traffic flow! Four truck booths at a cost of a few million of private dollars eliminated truck back-ups without spending hundreds of millions on a useless Schwartz/Francis Horseshoe Road.

We do not need to spend billions of dollars. There are other much less costly efforts that could be taken to reduce border thickening as the many reports have demonstrated over the years. As the Niagara article pointed out:

  • "Ironically, fewer vehicles crossing the bridges didn't translate into faster crossing times. In fact, the opposite happened.

    As border guards spent more time inspecting vehicles and scrutinizing personal documents, the time needed to get from one side of the Niagara River to the other started to increase...

    tens of millions of dollars were being poured into projects to reconfigure the approaches to the bridge, move buildings and increase the number of customs booths -an effort to speed up inspections and better accommodate traffic flows."

But we still have the same problems, problems that have not been tackled the way they should have been. I explained to you why with the graphic the other day from the Lufthansa report.

Our border 9/11 legacy is the desire to do whatever it takes to wipe out a private company's business for political reasons even at the expense of our entire region.

We have become the victims of the terrorist attacks as well.

There was no need for the high unemployment in our area, the foreclosure of so many homes, the suffering of so many, the need for our best and brightest to have to leave town to find a job

No, the problem could have been solved, years before, and the construction just about completed to tide us over as our automotive industry collapsed. We could have been the leader in distribution, which Eddie is now trying to use in order to further his career but with an unrealistic solution.

Instead, more DRIC delays and litigation that can stop everything cold for decades. Now that is bureaucratic planning for you when events and consequences are never understood at the start.

As I wrote before

  • "One of my better BLOGs had to do with the second Cropsey hearings and the description of how the Ambassador Bridge changed over the years from being a bridge that could handle the passage of cows to the one handling the most traffic between Canada and the United States.

    •"there was an off the record discussion about the history of the Ambassador Bridge. During that discussion, Dan Stamper talked about the early tolls on the Bridge. Apparently there was a charge for cows using the Bridge although Stamper did not know how many cows actually crossed over.

    Just think about that and fast-forward 80 years until today. That same Bridge that could be used by cows is now the major border crossing between Canada and the United States carrying by far more traffic than any other bridge and yet is only at about 50% capacity. I have Blogged before about how many studies have said that the Bridge would be jam packed by this date and yet it still can handle millions of vehicles more without any problem.

    What it tells me is that the Ambassador Bridge people know how to run a bridge to handle the volume of traffic that crosses over. They have been able to do it without the need of building another bridge and are only looking at it today because their bridge is getting older and requires rehabilitation and because of the technology that requires another lane in each direction so that pre-approved traffic can flow smoothly."

    What has bothered me about the entire DRIC border discussion is the failure to recognize the significance of initiatives like removing Customs Clearance away from the border, pre-processing centres which have reduced the number of trucks going to secondary inspection dramatically, the FAST and NEXUS programs and the use of technology. There also seemed to be a failure to recognize until fairly recently that the issue with respect to the border is customs clearance and not more lanes across the River.

    The obvious reason for not having a big discussion about all this is that all if all of these programs were instituted then there would hardly be the need for a new DRIC bridge. There would no longer be a need to build additional capacity even forgetting that the Ambassador Bridge is about 50% to 60% of capacity now."

That is our 9/11 legacy.

Is Freedom Of The Press Being Eroded

Oh my goodness. I may have hold my nose and stand up for the Windsor Star.

Just look how politicians are using the media to enhance themselves and their point of view and to circumvent the 4th Estate!
  • "Obama to Urge Students to Work Hard in Back-to-School Speech

    President Barack Obama is to urge students to work hard, listen to their teachers, and set their own education goals - in an upcoming speech that has been criticized by conservatives.

    President Obama is to deliver the back-to-school address Tuesday at a high school in Virginia's Arlington County, just outside Washington. It will be broadcast live on the White House Web site and the C-SPAN cable network.

    Some conservatives say Mr. Obama is seeking to indoctrinate children into what they call a socialist agenda. School districts in several states will not show the speech in classrooms after objections from some administrators and parents.

    The White House has characterized the uproar over the speech as "silly," saying the president's message simply aims to motivate students to take their education more seriously.

    Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs Monday said it is a "sad, sad day" when politics intrude on anyone speaking to school children and teachers about the responsibilities they have as a new school year begins.
    An innocent action? A sad day? Hrrumph. How about this as getting them while they are young:

    "While it is not unusual for presidents to visit schools, or even give national speeches to students, Tuesday's speech raised the ire of conservative organizations and some parents. They accused the president of using the platform to sell his political initiatives to the nation's youth at best, and at worst, accused him of wanting to indoctrinate children with his "Marxist" ideas.

    The White House was at least partly to blame for the unexpected controversy. The Obama administration released a lesson plan for teachers in advance of the speech that encouraged students to "help the president," -- a line that was later changed."

Pshaw, that is nothing. A one time TV appearance that most kids will not remember after recess or their lunch break. The Americans need a lesson from our Conservative Government if they want to learn how to manage the media.

Tell me that this is not extremely clever but ought to put a chill into the hearts of newspaper publishers.

  • "Watson: $17.7 million for 3 local projects

    St. Clair College received more than $5 million in federal funding for an enhanced journalism program Wednesday...

    The $17.7 million in funding, taken from the new Southern Ontario Community Adjustment Fund, was announced by Essex Conservative MP Jeff Watson just one day after federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff triggered talk of a fall election...

    Veronique Mandal, a former Star reporter and the current director of the college's journalism program, said the $5 million in funding would be used to purchase cutting edge equipment so her students could learn practical skills that would help them land jobs in the rapidly changing world of journalism. The program will place an emphasis on convergence, which means reporters will be trained in multiple mediums using the latest gear.

    "We will have a state of the art newsroom, classrooms and equipment, all of which will give students a broad base of experience," she said. "We will also be expanding and developing innovative new components for the program."

The whole thing is bizarre.

Overstating it am I? Oh ye of little journalistic faith. Read on about the Government program itself because I have a quiz for you afterwards:

  • "The Community Adjustment Fund (CAF) is a national two-year, $1-billion economic stimulus measure announced as part of the Government of Canada's Economic Action Plan...

    The Community Adjustment Fund was designed because the Government of Canada saw the challenges facing communities hit hardest by the economic downturn. Canada’s manufacturing and resource-based sectors have suffered from drops in both demand and prices. Resulting job losses in sectors such as forestry, mining and manufacturing have been significant...

    Many communities across Canada rely on industrial sectors that have been hit hard by current economic conditions, including forestry, mining, agriculture, fisheries and manufacturing...

    Examples of eligible activities include those that seek to attract new business or retain existing enterprises and jobs, improve market access, develop value-added opportunities, develop and improve municipal infrastructure, build community capacity and support the development of economic strategies, adjustment and growth. Activities that support “green” strategies and technologies could also be eligible..."

Here's the quiz. Good for St. Clair getting the cash for their existing program and more power to them. But you explain to me how what is being done at St. Clair fits into this program. I am having a lot of trouble trying to rationalize it.

The question that should be raised now by the media is why is it being done.

Where is the Windsor Star in all of this? Why aren't the Editors fuming about this? Where are the Star columnists frothing at the mouth about this direct investment by Government crossing of the line separating journalists and the Government? Where are Joe and Brian for heaven's sake or even IGGY?

Can you imagine if this new program teaches students how to use the new media so that the power of the press is weakened! No more pesky journalists in the Parliamentary Press gallery to ask embarrassing questions. No more journalists to uncover government waste or scandal. No more truth seeking and reporting. We would be at the mercy of Government press release journalism.

We know already that many newspapers in North America and elsewhere are in serious financial shape, including the parent of the Star. The result has been a decline in the number of reporters covering the Governments. Now the Canadian Government could be weakening the media further.

Read this story from the New York Times if you think I am kidding:

"Big News in Washington, but Far Fewer Cover It"

The Star should be denouncing the Government initiative. They should be demanding that the Government back off immediately. The Star must support journalist integrity and independence. Heck their Parent Company and its Chair should be at the forefront considering what is happening in Windsor.

This is nothing more than the thin edge of the wedge. Where will money be granted next and for what purpose?

It must be stopped immediately. I do not object to money being given to the School with no strings attached but not to this program directly.

Notwithstanding what I think of the Star, newspapers need our protection.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Greenlink Is Dead; Is the Airport

No tears. No obituary notice. Not even a proper burial by the Mayor.

How rude.

Buried instead in a mini-Gord "why the airport is a really dumb dream but let's pretend that it has a chance since Eddie and Council have nothing else before an election" column:
  • "With the border crossing and new highway "investments" pretty much wrapped up, nothing else looms larger than the airport lands as a generator of jobs, the mayor says. Most councillors seem to agree."

One other thought...Take a look at these comments:

  • "The worldwide air cargo industry is currently "in a little bit of a crisis," Schmid told council.'

  • "Worldwide, Schmid admitted, "the trend is to private investment." But since Windsor owns the land and the facilities, "a mix" might be in order in this case. "I think you have to be flexible."

  • "How many jobs could be created? It's too soon to speak in those terms, Schmid said."

Hardly words of comfort for us to spend Eddie's guesstimate of $20M of taxpayer money for a terminal. That amount is based on what?

However, here is the shocking revelation that may explain about Eddie and his visions:

  • "But Mayor Eddie Francis already has a vision of a bustling airport filling his mind's eye..."

I got it. Do you think Eddie's mind's eye may need glasses!

BLOGextra: Why The Feds Don't Want Matty Around

The border file is becoming a worse mess than before if that is even possible. Take a look at my PS below and you will see what I mean.

If you want to see why the Feds need to get rid of Matty Moroun as the owner of the Bridge Company, take a look at this graph prepared by Lufthansa in their report.

I am sure that we all knew this but, when it is put out in such a simple graphic, it makes the case that I have argued on here for years even more compelling.

It makes it all so understandable now.

The four top border crossings for trucks are in Central Canada--now you know why the PM is directly involved too in talking about the DRIC Bridge with US Presidents Bush and Obama. Matty has an intimate role in each of the crossings.

Here are the concerns for Canada:
  1. He owns the Ambassador Bridge which the Government wants to own either by itself or with the US
  2. A DRIC Bridge cannot be built with his competition a mile away
  3. He competes successfully with the Blue Water Bridge and takes business from them even though they have twinned bridges... imagine if he did too!
  4. The Government may want to sell or P3 the Blue Water Bridge but now will have trouble getting a good price for them because of his competition
  5. He wants to build a truck bridge in the Fort Erie area and the obvious fear is that he will be too successful and take away too much business from the other truck crossings
  6. Canada wants shared border management there but if they do it there, they could not oppose Moroun having it on the US side here resulting in no need for a DRIC Bridge thereby undercutting Point #1
  7. I won't even talk about the Tunnel and that mess since its volume is so insignificant BUT the Tunnel plays a big role in the DRIC matter and SBM.
  8. Now we really know why the Feds would not allow the Bridge Company to become its manager.

As you can see, it is so much more in the Canadian Government's mind than merely building a new bridge in Windsor/Detroit.

PS...Canada has to be concerned about the decline in traffic too and whether a P3 can work for the bridge or road here now. Or in Sarnia. How will Sean O'Dell rationalize this to his political masters:
  • Research Update: Blue Water Bridge Canada Ratings Lowered Two Notches To 'A' On Deteriorating Financial Risk Profile; Outlook Negative

    from S&P Credit Research 1350 word report published Sep 09, 2009

    Abstract: We lowered the long-term issuer credit and senior unsecured debt ratings on Blue Water Bridge Canada two notches to 'A' from 'AA-'. The downgrade reflects our assessment of significant reductions in traffic volumes and a deteriorating financial risk profile. The negative outlook reflects our assessment of the operating and financial risks associated primarily with the near-term volume exposure to economic conditions. On Sept. 9, 2008, Standard&Poor's Ratings Services lowered its long-term issuer credit and senior unsecured debt ratings on Sarnia, Ont.-based Blue Water Bridge Canada (BWBC or the authority) to 'A' from 'AA-'. The outlook is negative.

Read All About It

Here is what readers are writing about:

1) Wouldn't the Mayor like to command the respect you have from his staff.

2) re: You Are Sooooo Rude

Thank you Ed for putting the atmosphere into context so well.

3) Regarding your 'so rude' blog. Wow! Right on the money!

Week 3 showed management dropping the hammer. No more easing back. Time to work! The [Name of Department] had a meeting last week. Performance sucks. The ship is sinking and you all know what happens to the captain the boss said!

Then the caseworker got fired. Then garbage men suspended for 60 hours which added more delays.

4) here's what I wrote as a comment to gord's comment on the bridge in the star:

"That's gord for ya! Screw the workers (CUPE), you know we have to keep taxes under control.....then 2 weeks later lobby for extra funds to make sure that south windsor gets more parks, and hides the trucks underground...

What a joke.....oh yea and didn't you retire gord?"

What hiprocrisy!

Moroun is going to build a bridge for free, isn't he?

5) I was reading your blog and came across a comment on Indian Road.
it reminded me of a video I taped back in August of 2008. I videoed
this for a sister in law who can't get around town on her own. Not a
great or pretty thing to see, but it was interesting for her none the
less. Even more interesting is the fact that this video was done last
year but how long before that have they been left this way? And nothing
has changed since. I counted 16 boarded up homes but that was only on
the side I recorded, along with empty lots filled with dirt and gravel,
awaiting their usefulness.

The buildings are left to rot.....very sad indeed. What I don't
understand is why it's important to not disturb the soil because there
may be native artifacts, etc hidden within it, yet the homes were built
there already and if there was anything to be found, apparently no one
cared then, so why now. If they were disturbed, chances are they were
destroyed.....but I guess whatever excuse necessary to hold back Matty
is all that matters. It just needs to 'sound' plausible. Sigh....I'm
so embarassed to be living in Windsor these days. I, for one, will be
happy when his 'Eminence Greasie' is long gone and all of the crap he's
left behind is picked up and dumped in a landfill in Michigan.....

I've attached my Youtube video, it's nothing special, (more embarrassing
than anything)....just wanted to share.

6) Seeing my comments on your blog about the 15000 “jobs” the construction of the parkway and bridge will bring.

15000 jobs * 5 years * 52 weeks/year * 40 hours/week * $20/hour wage = $3.12 billion in labour

I guess I’m so upset about this issue is that it is blatant politicking. Politicians taking advantage of a population ravaged by unemployment. Dangling this carrot of jobs is, well, abusive. Does anyone have the guts to stand up and say exactly how many people will need to be hired to do this project. This is a political hand grenade and when 15000 people don’t get hired the outcry will be huge someone is going to be out of an MPP job.

Maybe that’s why in the Monday, August 9th article they told us the number of full-time direct jobs was only going to be 1859 direct full-time jobs and there was no attention drawn to this much smaller number. So in the future they can say “we told you there weren’t 15000 jobs, weren’t you paying attention?”

I don’t understand why no one else has picked-up on this. I’m disgusted with the whole process and then to be continually misled in the media and nobody else has figured out that 15000 is an impossible number. I am at a loss.

7) Did you hear the interview with Jim Prentice and Patty Handysides on
CKLW late yesterday? He said "when the new bridge is built adjacent to
the bridge" was this a slip?, an announcement?

Yes, I can't believe misperceptions, inaccurate information etc - it
just never ends!

8) [Re contracting out] It would bust the union and it will with this method.

It is so obvious. You would have to be blind to miss it.

9) [RE next pay stub] You read my mind I think :) It is still there glaring me in the face Unpaid Leave $X. Bastards.

10) Yet Another supervisor posting! Nice pay too!

(Approximately 4 – 6 months)

DEPARTMENT: Housing and Children’s Services

LOCATION: 400 City Hall Square East


REASON: Position #3996

CORE FUNCTION: Reporting to the Manager of Municipal Early Learning and Child Care Centres and in co-operation with other centre staff, is responsible for the operation of the extended programs associated with the Jefferson Early Learning and Child Care Centre.

CLASSIFICATION Classification NU12 in the Non-Union Salary Schedule with a bi-weekly
UNDER SCHEDULE: rate of $2,656.71 to $3,229.26

11) [Re Red Bull] Here's the scoop.

From reports I have heard Dwight only wants to pay half.

He must have read the numbers weren't so great as he said.
So unless they come to a deal by next week no announcement.

Funny how things work.......Mike Goulian just won his first Red Bull Race and his first major appearance is in Windsor. What a beautiful photo op for anyone,

12) [Re Ferry project] Brian Masse can't understand why the Federal Government is [not] ponying up on this shovel ready project. Funny he doesn't ask the Federal Government to allow the shovel ready Ambassador bridge enhancement project to move ahead. In fact I think he should be insisting the Federal Government allow it to move ahead as there is no infusion of taxpayer money required. He is such a hypocrit.

13) Maybe they should be called "Greg Ward Fairy Stories".

The paragraph "Thousands of Windsor workers who commute daily to Detroit may soon be able to leave their gas guzzlers at home and take the ferry instead" should be a huge hint as to whether this will ever come to fruition. I can't see anyone in any level of government that would do anything to interfere with the Tunnel.

14) [Re The Grass Still Ain't Going To Cut It] ... not to mention the inconsistency that they had issued demolition permits for several houses (which had been demolished) architecturally identical to some of the current structures proposed for demolition. The bottom line is that the rules changed for no reason other than the identity of the applicant. Prior applications which were approved had no such submittal requirements.

15) Just reading those words today brought back all the rage. I just wanted to send you my blog...

Fun article. I love how you give your readers a chance to be heard. Thanks again!

"Mr Henderson,

In what part of the city do you reside where the 'dust' has settled. There is nothing settled and you are sprinkling dust on some unhealed wounds. This strike was not necessary; we were pawns in a game of taxpayers versus the mayor and council; taxpayers versus CUPE; oh yes, CUPE versus the mayor. The strike was filthy and destructive, to not only the city's appearance but to all parties involved.

Today, there is still garbage to be picked up, council members either not speaking to each other or publicly attacking each other, managers lashing out or giving the cold shoulder to their workers, threats against CUPE members, charges pending for some. On an interpersonal level, relationships have been negatively impacted in public and the workplace. Coworkers who once were friends, are now enemies. Each writer here can talk of their own experiences, probably with a great deal of emotional content behind it. But the only cheering I've seen or heard since the beginning of the strike was when the YES vote came in. We cheered NOT because we won, we cheered because the strike was over, one of the most horrible times of our lives. I'm pretty sure no one else was cheering either.


Your desire to mock and punish City employees with this article, is preventing the city from healing. And I for one, need very badly to heal and move on. I would suggest you do the same. This will be my last blog, indeed, the last time I read the Star. My rage and disgust have reached an all time high."

16) Just to let you know, that Sandra/Dwight photo op/media stunt from Monday was
originally scheduled for the previous Friday.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Upgrading E C Row: Blame It On Lufthansa

Of course you now that more is involved than appears on the surface. Isn't that the way things are done in Windsor? To go from Point "A" to Point "B" in Windsor, we have to go through all of the other letters in the alphabet.

Oh my goodness, the shame of it all, How will it ever be explained? All these years opposed and now having to back off.

You see dear reader, we saw the new Manning Road plans, the uppgraded 10 lane E C Row for the DRIC Bridge west of Huron Church. The only thing missing was the centre portion of the Expressway right through Windsor. Did you really think it was going to remain 4-lanes and become a choke-point in this magnificent new transportation system? Do not be so foolish!

Like it or not, Eddie Francis is going to have to suck it in and reverse himself.

  • "The City of Windsor has consistently been on the record as being vehemently opposed to any expansion of E.C. Row that would lead to international trucks being introduced to the expressway," he said.

    "We believe E.C. Row is at capacity for local and regional traffic."

Trucks, loads of international ones, are coming to the Expressway and soon. The road will have to be upgraded and we will applaud Eddie for doing so too. Heck, it is going to be portrayed as a key part of our new economic development future that will bring us great prosperity so who can object?

Oh it will be very hard for Eddie to change his position. Fortunately, it will NOT be his fault. There will be others who will take the blame. He of course will take the credit.

Let me give the obvious examples, not forgetting that the Feds and Province always wanted a Lauzon/E C Row connection as in the Nine Point Plan:

  • "Province will assume full responsibility for E.C. Row Expressway between Lauzon Parkway and Ojibway Parkway, and will widen it by one lane in each direction.

    Province will assume full responsibility for Lauzon Parkway south of E.C. Row Expressway and will extend/upgrade the highway from Highway 401 to E.C. Row."

Heck, blame Gary McNamara for starters. Of course he is doing what Sam Schwartz said and in the order Sam said. As I Blogged before, that history has been revised:

  • "Francis raps Manning work; Four-lane link to 401 would flood E.C. Row with trucks, mayor says

    Mayor Eddie Francis says he fears a plan to turn Manning Road into a four-lane connection between Highway 401 and E.C. Row will mean a dramatic increase in the number of international trucks using the expressway.

    But Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara dismissed Friday "all the negative outcry" over the planned county road expansion and said not wanting trucks on E.C. Row is "a little bit over the top..."

    Early designs also include expanding a Tecumseh stretch of the expressway -- called County Road 22 -- between Manning and Banwell roads into six lanes, narrowing to four close to the Windsor border.

    Should improvements to Manning Road be completed before fixing the Talbot Road-Huron Church Road corridor, Francis fears it will lead to trucks getting off Highway 401 and heading to the expressway for easier access to the border."

DRIC is an easy target to blame too. Again, look at the mess that Dougall is in with one lane closed in each direction. Walker was a disaster. How about Howard? Imagine what will happen to traffic on Huron Church with thousands of international trucks and cars bound for the US clogging up that street. Those vehicles will use City streets for years to get around the huge backups. What a mess.

Of course, back in 2005, we read this:

  • "E.C. Row Expressway will never be used as an international truck route, MPP Sandra Pupatello (L--Windsor West) said Friday.

    "Both Dwight (Duncan) and I have said E.C. Row will not be used for trucks -- period," Pupatello said. "I can't be more emphatic than that."

    Transport Canada bureaucrats and their hired consultant complained Friday their recommendations in a report released Thursday to add new lanes to the expressway and improve Huron Church Road leading to the bridge are being misunderstood.

    Federal officials want to widen E.C. Row strictly for the benefit of local traffic and not for international truck use, they said.

    "We want to emphasize we are not advocating putting trucks on E.C. Row," said Sean O'Dell, federal executive director for the Windsor Gateway Project. "We think the city could benefit from improving the conditions on E.C. Row. There are no ulterior motives."

    Transport Canada's preferred short-term option for 10,000 trucks rolling through Windsor each day is for them to remain in the Talbot Road-Huron Church Road corridor, O'Dell said, despite the federal call for two additional lanes on E.C. Row and new Lauzon Parkway and Manning Road connections to Highway 401.

    Mayor Eddie Francis has blasted the report as the latest federal attempt to shove trucks through the heart of the city on the expressway.

    "This is the same thing they said in 2003," Francis said. "They continue to say trucks won't go there, but once you connect 401 with Lauzon Parkway and Manning Road, trucks will take the path of least resistance.

    "They can wrap this up any way they want, but that's something everyone in this community can clearly see."

I know that Dave Wake said this:

  • "DRIC has also determined that during any construction it can maintain border traffic in the Talbot-Huron Church corridor and no other roads, such as E.C. Row Expressway, will be required for use as a detour, Wake said."

Oh that's probably like 2013 for the completion of the DRIC Bridge, a target not a promise. However, if E C Row becomes a mere temporary detour while the DRIC road is being built, who can object?

And you know how "temporary" Government programs become permanent like the income tax especially after so much money will have been spent to upgrade the Expressway.

Blame the Senior Levels. They will get cold feet on building the DRIC road as planned when the real construction cost numbers come in as I set out a few days ago. Heck if Bridge completion is at least 2 years away, who needs a DRIC road now, especially with litigation. Who is going to finance and build a road to nowhere?

The Province cannot do it alone. If the Feds get upset over a measly $2m for the Ferry project, imagine when the real cost comes in at a billion or two higher!

But in the end, Eddie will have to point the finger at Lufthansa, his own consultants. They will take the hit but in a very positive way.

They have not really discussed in their Report how trucks will get from the airport to the border. Perhaps they will fly there magically. I am sure you can guess why not. It means thousands of trucks on E C Row since the "cargo service" will be primarily trucks not air anyway. I know it, Lufthansa knows it, Eddie knows it and now so do you, dear reader.

If Eddie's idea is to work, he needs a secure expressway to the border, especially if there is pre-clearance.

Gee, that fits in with Brighton Beach and the DRIC bridge since we already know that an upgraded E C Row is planned west of Huron Church. Just upgrade the road east of Huron Church and tie it into the Manning Raod/Lauzon plans. That is a no-brainer. Each piece falling into place seaparately so no one will really appreciate what is happening until it is too late.

I have Blogged about this before too.

Of course, this is all part of a bigger plan. If taking away all of his truck traffic with the new road network being built piece-meal, a stage at a time so they think they are fooling him, does not scare Matty into selling his bridge cheaply, nothing will:

  • "It is assumed that Road Feeder Services (RFS) and Charter Traffic create the majority of the cargo tonnage for YQG. The dominance of the forecasted cargo tonnage that is created by RFS reflects the role of Windsor as a transit location for cargo being unloaded from trucks crossing the border between the U.S. and Canada."

Not a mention of E C Row in the Lufthansa report although we did read:

  • "Ontario provides more than 16,500 centerline kilometers of provincial highways. Highway 401 for example stretches 820 kilometers from Windsor to the Quebec border and is one of the busiest roads in the world...

    For many industries the Ambassador Bridge – carrying nearly a quarter of Canada-US Trade in 2008 – is the main conduit between the United States (Detroit) and Canada (Windsor). It is the busiest commercial vehicle border crossing in North America."

The road network comes in later after we have all bought into Eddie's concept and it is too late to stop:

  • "7.1.3 Development of the “Cargo Village”

    If YQG became part of an extended Cargo Village, not only would the City of Windsor and Windsor-Essex County benefit in terms of business development, revenues and new jobs, but YQG itself would likely benefit from the demand for air cargo services (and passenger services) generated within the Cargo Village. The medium to long term objective therefore should be to plan, design and develop a Cargo Village at YQG that will become a multimodal gateway, incorporating airport and surrounding industrial areas, together with rail links and trucking facilities, to attract, bundle and channel the international movement of cargo to and from points in North America."

A planned campaign will be started to justify all of the trucks on E C Row. Eddie will have to permit it because he cannot be responsible for a deathtrap on City streets or to be accused of changing his mind for the wrong reasons.

Anne Jarvis for starters will do another column. She has scared everyone with the Dougall Avenue work column. Heck, all she will have to do is change a few words and there will be an E C Row deathtrap column with all of those trucks mixing in with cars:

  • "A scary gateway into city

    Are you a thrill-seeker? Do you crave death-defying adventure?

    Try navigating the Dougall Death Trap...

    This area isn't even safe for motorists. Being stuck in backups due to accidents is a regular feature of commuting that stretch. There were 93 accidents, almost two a week, between Ouellette Place and West Grand last year...

    But none of the projects include Dougall because the environmental assessment hasn't even started.

    It's not like no one has noticed this death trap.

    A consultant told the city almost 20 years ago that this was a problem."

Wow, imagine the columns that she, mini-Gord and Gord will do along with Editorials blasting truck traffic on E C Row! They will demand that the Senior Levels take over the road and upgrade it for safety reasons

Eddie will generously give in to public pressure and allow it. What a guy. That is why he will change his mind otherwise he would remain firmly against it. As firmly as his mayoral election promise of having a partnership for an arena downtown with a maximun City exposure of $15M!

Just thought you ought to know what is really behind the airport plans. The beauty of it is that the foreign-retained consultants who live more than 4-500KMs from here are only being paid a mere half a million dollars for all of this. They probably have not been let in on the secret either.

Mere peanuts in the grand scheme of things. If the Feds can provide the cash for Estrin's $6 M legal and consulting fees through an over-inflated price for Brighton Beach, why they can pay Lufthansa one way or the other too:

  • "While still early in the process, Francis guesstimates it could cost up to $20 million "to build out the facilities to get us started in the air cargo business."

    He describes as "complementary" the more than $50 million in recent stimulus spending approvals for airport improvements, including a new runway, as well as to service the surrounding lands. He said senior governments can be expected to assist with Windsor's efforts at "transitioning" its struggling economy."

C, D, E, F....W, X, Y, Z!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Stories Of Interest

I am trying desperately to catch up with items of interest for you. There are so many more items I want you, dear reader, to consider.


What a crock!
  • "Copies of the 117-page report by Lufthansa Consulting were handed to city councillors Friday.

    A special council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. to have it formally presented by the consultants and discussed."

Get real. "Formally" presented. Do they take us for idiots!

Sure because it has already been presented to Council and in camera a month ago but not at a Council meeting. It was presented at a Windsor Airport Board meeting in Council Chambers where members of the public were kicked out.

Remember my BLOG where I talked about the Don McArthur story that was published online but never made the printed pages of the Star! August 12, 2009, "The Story The Star Would Not Publish"

  • "The reporter walked into the public chambers at City Hall shortly after the meeting began about 2 p.m. A host of people who aren’t on the board of YQG — the corporate entity that controls the publicly-owned Windsor Airport — were in attendance.

    They included councillors Alan Halberstadt, Fulvio Valentinis and Caroline Postma along with Norma Coleman, Francis's chief of staff...

    SEVEN Members of Council, SIX Councillors (a majority) PLUS the Mayor!"

I have a first impression too. And it is not a good first impression either.

My sense is that the decision has already been made, a done deal no matter what is said tonight

  • "My impression is that councillors will be behind the idea of exploring it in principle," Coun. Alan Halberstadt said Sunday, noting that federal money may be available to fund a more in-depth study. "If that's the case, I can't see anybody opposing going to the next stage."

My sense is that Councillor Halberstadt can make a big show of him being insulted personally and get mad about the Feds seeing the canal information before the public but since he is now in the loop with the airport, he does not seem so concerned:

  • "With other regional airports -- notably London and Hamilton -- actively pursuing the same business, Mayor Eddie Francis said he wants Windsor to move fast on the next phase, developing an actual business plan with an outline of what facilities are required. Not wanting to wait, Francis said the local development commission has submitted a grant request to the province to fund the next phase, expected to cost as much or more as the $220,000 the city paid for the feasibility study."

My sense is that funding it through the Undevelopment Commission before Council "formally" saw it is a way around Council and ignoring Council opinion. Did the WEDC Board agree? Whose airport is it anyway?

My sense is the meeting tonight is a farce. Why bother? It has already been discussed behind closed doors and Councillor Halberstadt was there so he knows exactly what was said.

My sense is that Democracy is dead in Windsor.


I am so sick of that description for Windsor projects and trying to make us something we are not and can never be. The Cargo Village is merely the latest buzz-word for us to be ga-ga over.

It has cost us millions so far, halted development in its tracks, prevented any economic redevelopment with nothing achieved other than disappointment:
  • "After all, if you're calling on the feds to come up with a bridge design that will blow the socks off the jaded sophisticates of Paris and the high-octane achievers of Sydney, you can hardly expect it to connect to an expressway through Windsor that looks like something Detroit was building in the early 1960s...

    Landmark? Visionary? Exciting? We have that in spades in the GreenLink plan developed by traffic guru Sam Schwartz and the New York-based PB (Parsons Brinckerhoff) engineering and design firm."
  • "I'm still picking my jaw up off the floor after spending a few days immersed in the urban marvel that is downtown Chicago. It's all too easy, dwelling in the shadow of a dying Detroit, to forget there's a metropolis just five hours west of here that redefines that overworked term "world-class..."

    Windsor has so much to learn from these folks...

    We're the city that talked endlessly about building a downtown aquarium in the 1990s but couldn't summon the collective will or the leadership to do anything about it.

    And now, sadly, we're the city that has trouble seeing value in a canal that could transform a sterile downtown and become a magnet for family friendly attractions, including an aquarium or a children's theme park.

    You have to spend money to make money. Chicago, which spent $475 million on a 25-acre park with cutting-edge attractions, learned that long ago. And it's bursting at the seams with visitors in the midst of a brutal recession."

Why can't people be happy that we are Windsor with all of our advantages that we have never exploited properly and build on what we have rather than trying to make ourselves something we are not. I lived through this silliness when I lived in Toronto when we were always comparing ourselves with the great cities of the world. We are a small town of 200,000 souls for heaven's sake!

If you missed this in the Star opinion page, or even if you did not, it is worth reading. It is from historian J.L. Granatstein and fits our situation perfectly:

  • "So we can't be a superpower. But don't be too sad. That relieves us of heavy obligations and great power responsibilities for the preservation of peace and, when peace collapses, it saves us in all likelihood from heavy casualties in (some) overseas wars of empire. We are now and will be what we are -- a developed democratic nation-state with a high standard of living, and that is no mean estate.

    But if we can't be a great power, can we at least be great? A great nation, in contrast to a state of no distinction, understands its weaknesses and strengths and seeks to maximize its potential. It strives to better the economic and social well-being of its people as it protects them from the threats of others. It jealously guards its sovereignty at the same time as it tries to play a responsible role in the global community. Greatness demands self-knowledge, and this regrettably may also be something that Canadians lack. Too many Canadians trumpet our virtues, real or imagined, overestimate our influence, and despise our neighbours for their success.

    Greatness for Canada means becoming both modest and honest.

    We need to know what we are and understand what we can be. We must strive to be not more powerful, but better. If we can do that, we can make Canada great."


I was so shocked that the Chair of the Board of the University and the head of the Canal Study did not make the pitch:

  • "With the decline of its economic bread-and-butter automotive industry, Windsor could redefine itself as the Great Lakes capital, according to proponents of an ambitious plan to see an aquarium built in the city core.

    "What we're trying to sell here is that we're at the centre of the Great Lakes basin and there are no other Great Lakes aquaria," said Doug Haffner, acting-director of the University of Windsor's Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research.

    "It has lots of potential.

    We want to diversify and we're trying to redefine ourselves (as a city) ... this is a good start," said Haffner, who was part of a group that met in Mayor Eddie Francis's office last week to suggest launching a study on the plan."

Hmmm. Where was Mr. Cooke? Did he know anything about it? Was he in support? Did the University authorize the approach? Does the Mayor with his busy schedule just meet with anyone who has an idea about what to do downtown?

Only $70M! I wonder if the Unviersity can afford to pay for the costs considering it has huge amounts needed for its stadium, medical school and engineering complex.

My insiders tell me that the subject had never been raised at a Board meeting. I wonder if any Board members have any knowledge of any University Aquarium proposal or whether the University Administration does. If not, then why is the proposal being floated at all.


  • "Francis, in a phone interview Monday from Ottawa where he's attending this year's Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference, said he's heard "a significant level of interest expressed" for the canal project. He said other proposals mentioned so far to complement that development for the downtown west side include a children's park and a relocated science museum.

    The mayor said Michigan developers and out-of-town architects have been among those expressing curiosity about getting involved in the canal proposal, as well as "a group of interested professionals who are currently in the downtown ... a lot of people are excited."

Throw in a ferry terminal and an aquarium and all of these unnamed, curious but excited people and we have a re-election platform!


Just imagine Dwight and Sandra being unchained and in public. Now THAT would have been a real photo-op:

  • "Rules have prevented the two local MPPs from discussing the $1.6-billion Windsor-Essex Parkway with council, but the chains are off with final approval announced Monday of the road's environmental assessment by the provincial cabinet.

    "We have reached a point where both cabinet ministers can be engaged in meaningful and productive discussions," said Mayor Eddie Francis. "That will be the city's focus for the next several weeks."

Of course, this is all ridiculous because we know that Eddie has met with the Ministers several times secretly. It is another ground for alleging bias in the process that can stall everything.

So why would they meet now? After Cabinet approval has been given, nothing significant can be done or else it has to go through another EA process. It is too late.

  • "The approval is final and this design is the basis for what we will build," he said. "There is some room for minor adjustments, but the parkway is what we are proceeding with. The city had some good ideas that have already been incorporated in this."

Oh of course we can now have the posturing for the locals over Greenlink.

Councillor Gignac wants a letter sent to force Sandra and Dwight to be cross-examined in front of Council. Uh-huh.

Councillor Halberstadt is now talking about judicial review. He can take the hit for this instead of the Mayor for the sabre-rattling. As if this will happen before an election in a City with the highest rate of unemployment in Canada.

Can we say that "Council Absurdity knows no bounds!"

So what is this all about. Simple. Just like the overpayment at Brighton Beach, the Province now has to step up to the plate to overpay. How does it do that and not make other Cities and towns upset. Again, the Star tells us in the last paragraph of a story:

  • "Among matters to be discussed with the ministers is funding to upgrade local roads that will be used as detour routes during the DRIC project, which is expected to take several years to complete."

You cannot do this kind of horse-trading in public.


The Ferry project cost overrun made me think of this.

We really should try and guess what the final DRIC road cost amount will be since the outrageous tendered cost will provide the justification for building a cheaper solution road and upgrading E C Row.

Start at $1.6B which is not a real engineered cost number but based on MTO guidelines I believe and is based on 2011 dollars.

Nothing will happen until 2011 and with all of these infrastructure programs going on across Canada, consultants and workers will be at a premium so costs will increase as the project is delayed.

Stretch out the road building until at least 2015 since that is now the new date supposedly for the bridge completion. After all, you cannot build a road to nowhere except in windsor before elections. (Forget about those lawsuits that will stretch it out indefinitely unless there is a resolution.)

Natually, inflation will be growing and the cost of money to finance the project will be increasing since money will still be hard to find in the capital markets.

Add in the extra costs for expropriations because of the outrageous Brighton Beach settlement.

Add in the AFP "risk contingencies," transaction costs and all of the mistakes the Ontario Auditor General will find too late especially since this is supposedly the first AFP road project for Infrastructure Ontario.

Add in at least a third more as in all recent Windsor jobs such as the Ferry project where the Feds are balking about putting in an extra $2M.

Then add in the Danish Professor's Mega-Project premium because we have all been told stories about low costs and terrific benefits when the reverse is true.

My number is easily over $3B, closer to $4B. What is yours?

Monday, September 07, 2009

Eddie's Newest Business: His Pies In The Sky Cargo Village

In case you did not know it. YQG is a nothing airport compared with our major competitors. Here are the figures that demonstrate it. Windsor's cargo tonnage was inconsequential:
  • "Existing data about freight tonnage and the number of passengers handled at YQG is very limited. It is estimated that 300 tons of cargo were handled in 2008."

Yet I am in support of the concept but for different reasons. How could I be otherwise. It's a fantastic idea. In fact, it is such a good idea that I argued for it back in 2005 by giving an example of how it was done in New Jersey.

The reasons why the concept makes sense have nothing to do with what Lufthansa says but it is to take advantage of an asset that we have never properly appreciated: the power of the Ambassador Bridge being the #1 border crossing in North America. We were too hung up on autos and casinos and now Eddie Francis visions for our prosperity.

Why oh why didn't Eddie follow my advice back then and partner with the only party in the area that has the capacity to do it better than anyone else: Matty Moroun.

Perhaps now people will understand why I have advocated for years for the need for a border solution involving the Bridge Company not opposing them:
  • "[Deep Throat] had also said something about the Wall Street Journal. Quickly, I searched its pages and found a story about Northern New Jersey. The region's median income was $73,973, the highest of any state, home prices have increased, about double the national average, and the area's shopping malls are busy. It described "the solid if dull warehouse sector [as the] driver of the area's commercial real estate… Its central location on the eastern seaboard along with its excellent highway, air, rail and seaport access make it a hub of choice." Remarkably, our Development Commission said something similar about Windsor being a leading transportation hub and that we can reach 125 million people within one day’s drive. It also talked about the low cost of industrial real estate.

    Can you believe it! New Jersey! Becoming an economic powerhouse. Why couldn’t that happen to Windsor I thought. We can do all of what New Jersey did and more with our business leaders and talented workforce.

    Finally my source said cranes. I assumed he meant building derricks or ones that flew. Instead he meant Crains Detroit! There I read "Detroit development projects like an expanded Cobo Center or a bigger Motown museum could get the one thing they need to see the light of day — money. Amendments to the Port Authority Act passed by the state House two weeks ago aim to extend the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority’s bonding authority well beyond marine applications… Port authorities in New York City and the Minnesota cities of St. Paul and Duluth also have used their bonding authority to spur regional economic development."

    It all came together. The Bridge Co. figured out how to make the Port work for the economic benefit of the Region (and for their pocket-book too no doubt). We could see more jobs, higher income, improved real estate prices, a bustling retail sector and so on. No wonder the Tunnel was not the story. No wonder Gord Henderson admitted: "I’m in awe of Moroun and his hired hands. These folks are the masters. They’re always two or three cunning moves ahead of the other players…"

    One last question I demanded. "Does Mayor Eddie have the guts to call the Bridge Co. to try and partner with them?" Upon hearing that, my source just smiled and departed."

I read the Lufthansa Consulting report. Before anyone gets too excited about YQG becomig a major international airport, it won't. Most of the business that a Cargo Village will have is truck-based! And what is the basis of Matty Moroun's business---trucking and distribution.

  • "It is assumed that Road Feeder Services (RFS) and Charter Traffic create the majority of the cargo tonnage for YQG. The dominance of the forecasted cargo tonnage that is created by RFS reflects the role of Windsor as a transit location for cargo being unloaded from trucks crossing the border between the U.S. and Canada."

Let me give some highlights of the Report with my comments because most will not read it:

  • "Air cargo can play a large role in developing an airport; in the case of Windsor International Airport (YQG), considerable quantities of air cargo are generated in its catchment area, mainly by the automotive and agricultural sectors. YQG furthermore is characterized by excellent accessibility and provides ample space for development and intermodal transshipments, but currently lacks state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities to process and handle air cargo...

    The impact of perishable cargo on the study has been adapted within the running project. Initially it was planned to focus the study on perishable cargo. Following intense interview sessions with industry leaders from the greenhouse and farming industry Windsor International Airport and Lufthansa Consulting decided to give the study a broader scope and develop the air cargo market potential and forecast focusing on all cargo types (general as well as special cargo such as perishables). However the figures for Ontario’s perishable trade discussed in this chapter have been considered in the air cargo forecast." [Bye-bye Onion guys. The cargo village could never be sustained based on agricultural products. Is it any wonder they have disappeared?]

  • "The planning and development of Windsor International Airport is influenced by the specific market environment – an environment being characterized by a high degree of uncertainties and ongoing developments. As a consequence a high degree of flexibility had to be integrated into all data evaluation and assessment phases." [In other words, who the heck knows what will happen so you cannot blame us if this is all wrong]

  • "Motor vehicles and parts are the main products being exported by Ontario
    with 35.7%...

    Most imported parts are motor vehicles and parts (22.2%) with a value of
    CAD 72,366 m..

    The North American automotive industry, concentrated in Ontario and Michigan, ensures that there are a multitude of opportunities for cross-border investment, and a strong economic partnership between Canada and Michigan." [Does it make sense to build a huge distribution network based on an industry that may not grow as it has in the past or which will grow differently and which is centred away from here now anyway? Auto trade may grow but will it grow here as before. Again, the importance of building the Enhancement Project now is vital because Matty Moroun knows how to generate businesss for his crossing and to take it away from Sarnia/Port Huron as he has demonstrated! A Government bureaucrat would never know how to do it or care. But we must considering we lost a vital CN train tunnel to Sarnia before! Moreover, do not forget Highway H2O and his key investment in the Detroit Port.]

  • "In the most likely scenario the impacts result in an average growth rate of 28.17% (for the forecast period 2009-2034) which is based on the fact that Windsor International Airport starts off the cargo business with a very low volume. It is expected that the total cargo tonnage at Windsor International Airport will grow from 161 tons in 2009 to 79,708 tons in 2034." [There are all kinds of nice charts and figures telling us how business will skyrocket upwards between now and 25 year from now. Sounds like the DRIC projections doesn't it!
  • "To a large degree, air cargo traffic relies on scheduled, frequent passenger services inhub-and-spoke as well as in point-to-point traffic. YQG is presently suffering from a lack of scheduled uplift capacity. The volume currently transported is almost entirely based on the occasional charter flight. As a result, YQG is not being recognized as a cargo airport by either forwarders or shippers. Field research has shown that shippers would be inclined to ship through YQG if cargo capacity were provided on a regular basis. The demand for cargo capacity by local and regional shippers adds to the attraction of YQG for cargo and passenger airlines. However, the growth of the air cargo business at YQG is likely to be initially based on Cargo Charters and truck-based services for transit shipments. Onward transportation by truck may occur on road feeder service or flying trucks, in which a truck substitutes a flight." [In other words, a distribution business based on trucking. "A Road Feeder Service (RFS) is a truck which substitutes a flight. This transportation mode is especially popular in Europe, where the RFS is organized by an airline, while the operation is done by forwarding or trucking companies. The RFS operates under a real flight number, is defined by origin and destination and certain “on” and “off-block” times. Even the Airway Bills (AWB) show the “truck flight number” and the exact origin and destination.

    Surprise, surprise...Lufthansa Cargo is the market-leader in Europe in this type of service. We are paying Lufthansa to decide if they want to take over the business. Take a look at this for their road feeder service in Norht america as an example

    eg Over 500,000 tons of freight are transported by road each year by Lufthansa Cargo. Consignments that are fitted with a flight number, such as air cargo, flow to and fro between the big German distribution centres in Frankfurt, Leipzig and Munich and approximately 80 other European airports. Even distant transport routes, such as those to Helsinki and Madrid, are served by trucks.]

  • "YQG is presently handicapped in its cargo development as it lacks specific cargo handling and storage facilities. The ability to handle cargo is rudimentary and not in line with international handling practices. The establishment of a modern, efficient Air Cargo Terminal to accommodate general and special cargo (e.g. perishables, valuable cargo) with supporting facilities and distribution centers (e.g. for forwarders and logistical service providers) would be a major step for YQG towards becoming a full-service airport. It would also improve the competitive position of YQG and be a prerequisite in attracting cargo business to YQG. Further, the establishment of an integrated Pre-Clearance Facility for cargo intending to cross the Canadian-US border will serve to significantly increase the air cargo opportunities. [OUCH! Taxpayers, get ready for Eddie to tell you how much WE have to pay to do this. If pre-clearance is important, then the whole concept may be dead based on the US Homeland Security Secretary's recent letter effectively killing "shared border management!"]

Here is what Council needs to look at right now, which they won't since they will rubber-stamp this to go forward. They would not dare vote NO to kill another Eddie pre-election vision and be accused of killing our future right before the election now would they.

Heck, it is the canal deal all over again. Who cares what Councillors think or care. You remember "Eddie's arrogance knows no bounds:"

  • "With other regional airports -- notably London and Hamilton -- actively pursuing the same business, Mayor Eddie Francis said he wants Windsor to move fast on the next phase, developing an actual business plan with an outline of what facilities are required. Not wanting to wait, Francis said the local development commission has submitted a grant request to the province to fund the next phase, expected to cost as much or more as the $220,000 the city paid for the feasibility study."

And for sure, no one dare suggest calling Matty to get his opinion, his assistance, his support or even his money to help move this forward logically. Instead, Eddie needs to find an alternative player whom City taxpayers can finance:

  • "Given that the consultants are connected to one of the global air cargo leaders, Francis was asked whether they too would be approached as a potential Windsor client. The mayor replied yes, adding that prior to their involvement in this study, the consultants "didn't know that Windsor existed, let alone its potential."

Don't you get it? "Windsor client" gave it away. It is another business for Eddie to run rather than be Mayor and fix roads, sidewalks and sewers! it is so much more fun. No wonder he will want a third term.

Watch your wallet....we are going to pay and pay and pay. No point complaining, no one on Council now will listen. Maybe that is why we better hope we can get new people with some sense elected.

  • "6.1.1 Development of Air Cargo Related Facilities
    YQG is presently handicapped in its cargo development as it lacks specific cargo handling and storage facilities. The ability to handle cargo is rudimentary and not in line with international handling practices. The establishment of a modern, efficient Air Cargo Terminal to accommodate general and special cargo (e.g. perishables, valuable cargo) with supporting facilities (e.g. for forwarders and logistical service providers) would be a major step for YQG towards becoming a full-service airport. It would also boost the competitive position of YQG and be a prerequisite in attracting cargo business to YQG. [In other words, we taxpayers, not private industry pay out first for facilitites and hope someone comes. How many new passenger airlines have we seen with the upgrade to YQG so far. If it is such a great opportunity, let private investors do it.]

  • 6.1.2 Distribution Centers
    Traditional and recent distribution centers (e.g. e-commerce fulfillment) rely on fast, safe and efficient logistical solutions. While trucking plays an important role for short and medium distances, only the employment of (all cargo) aircraft will make meeting delivery times possible over long distances. Therefore the settlement of distribution centers (on or off-airport) is likely to generate air cargo for YQG (one way or to/from YQG).

  • 6.1.3 Airline Marketing / Air Service Development
    YQG is presently suffering from a lack of uplift capacity. The volume currently transported is almost entirely based on the occasional charter flight. Due to the lack of scheduled uplift capacity, YQG is not being recognized as a cargo airport by either forwarders or shippers. Field research has shown that shippers would be inclined to ship through YQG if cargo capacity were provided on a regular basis. The demand for cargo capacity by local and regional shippers adds to the attraction of YQG as airlines are increasingly interested in the revenues from transporting cargo. [In other words, we pay for it all first!]

  • 6.1.4 Pre-Clearance Facility
    Being able to pre-clear US-bound cargo at a facility at YQG would eliminate the need to undergo time-consuming checks and inspections at the Canada-US border crossings. It would make YQG interesting as a port of entry for US-bound goods, whether they reach YQG by truck or air. Onward transportation by truck may occur on RFS or Flying Trucks. Similar to the RFS transports, the “Flying Trucks” are mainly used in Canada and the US. These trucks feed the cargo into the large airport gateways, e.g. in the US, for onward long-distance transportation but are not operated under a flight number. However the units are built up completely on aircraft pallets (or containers) and all paperwork is also finished at the origin station or forwarder warehouse. Windsor would be an ideal location as it is bypassed by significant truck traffic. [The Americans have said pre-clearance is dead]

  • 6.1.5 Stimulus Packages and Local Business Development
    In line with other industrialized countries, Canada has passed an economic stimulus package to give a jumpstart to the contracting economy. In 2009, the plan (CAD 40 bn over 5 years) is expected to raise the GDP by 1.4%. Similarly, the USA has passed a stimulus package of far greater magnitude. On the state and regional level, various programs exist to facilitate and attract business development (e.g. Funding Programs for the Manufacturing Sector). Potentially, companies thus attracted to set up shop in the vicinity of the airport may generate air cargo. ["Potentially" and "may" as the basis of spending taxpayer money!]