Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, April 09, 2010

It's A Sell-Out


All of you Windsorites who sent in post-cards for Greenlink or had the Greenlink flags on your car.

All of you Windsorites who attended the Edgar (aka Eddie) meetings to be educated why Greenlink was our salvation and why the DRIC road was evil.

All of you Windsorites who have health problems and who have children that might be impacted by the health effects of the DRIC road such as having to wear breathing packs.

How do you feel this morning after you read the leaked story to mini-Gord?

Do you feel dirty, used? You ought to.

You have been used and abused for years as Windsor suffered. This is nothing more than the Joint Managemnt Committee Report of 2002 re-negotiated in secret by the Mayor and imposed on Council a few days ago and now imposed on us.

Everything that everyone fought for---down the drain. For what, a few extra dollars that Edgar can waste on another mind's eye vision of his. We could have had this result years ago so that we would NOT have suffered during the economic downturn.

There is only ONE winner in all of this. I will let you figure it out for now from reading mini-Gord's story.

Oh and in case you have nothing better to do, read the following about how you have been let down by the Voice of Council. It's not everything. I got tired after a while copying all of this stuff from my archives. Read what Edgar (and a bit of Gord and the Star Editors) said over the years and weep now for yourself, for your children, for Windsor.

We have all been pawns. We have all been suckers:
  •  As Francis put it, Windsor deserves a first-class project, meaning a bridge that would pay for itself with tolls and a tunnel that would be a "money pipeline" for the Canadian economy. "We're not going to settle for something they want to do on the cheap. They can do the right thing and our job is to ensure they do it," he vowed.

  •  Despite bending to pressure and agreeing this week to consider tunnelling as part of a new route to the border, a binational team working toward a new crossing should go further and dump the other options, Mayor Eddie Francis said Tuesday.

    "If they are serious about the well-being of Windsorites, they can commit to a tunnel," he said.

    "It can be done, it's just a question of will."

  •  Mayor Eddie Francis and other local politicians say they are ready to push senior government decision-makers into building a tunnel to keep border-bound trucks off city streets.

    "Tunnelling is the best solution we've seen thus far," Francis said.

  •  Francis insisted the new Schwartz plan, which cost the city $500,000, is not negotiable. "This is it. This is the city of Windsor's position…"

    "This is not going to be a plan I can sell on my own. It's going to require the entire city to stand up for Windsor and send a message to Toronto and Ottawa that we deserve a higher quality of life. If the residents join with us I assure you they will get it.

    "We will be able to walk away with great pride that we accomplished something many said could not be accomplished."

  •  [Henderson] Hyperbole and rhetoric shouldn't be needed to sell this plan, which has been crafted at considerable cost behind closed doors and which Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis insists is the city's non- negotiable position. Francis has staked his political legacy on this plan, which is being dubbed GreenLink Windsor and heralded as the 21st Century interpretation of the parkways designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the genius behind New York's Central Park.

    If this plan is as good as Francis and Schwartz and city councillors claim it is -- and they have had more time to review the foundation of facts behind the pretty sketches than Windsor residents -- it shouldn't need a salesman. It should sell itself. It is a bargain and supporting it should be a no-brainer for Windsor residents tired of rigs on city streets and associated noise and air pollution.

  •  Mayor Eddie Francis welcomed the "very positive" reaction to the GreenLink plan, saying residents were eager to move forward.

    "This is it," he said. "It's no longer just the city saying we want this. Now we have the numbers behind us."

  •  The city is launching the grassroots lobbying campaign just two months before final recommendations are released by a binational government team on locations for a new border crossing, plazas and roads.

    "The question is simple -- do people want to see a cheap DRIC solution or a better solution in GreenLink," said Mayor Eddie Francis. He said it's vital for citizens to express what they want - - the GreenLink plan that offers more truck tunnelling and parkland on the border route to a new crossing, or the plan touted by the Detroit River International Crossing team...

    "This is a serious project that requires serious consideration," Francis said. "Our team is world renowned and world recognized," he said of the GreenLink proposal. "(DRIC) has never built a tunnel."

  •  [Henderson] The DRIC press release ended on an arrogant note, explaining that the study team "will rely on Ontario's successful approach to highway design and construction. This means using best practices and standards to ensure road safety is the number one priority."

    Note they refer to "highway design," not tunnel design. They can't make that claim because it's a field in which they are worse than neophytes.

    Sadly, none of this matters. The asphalt bureaucrats and their Dalton Gang allies have decided to ram their half-assed plan down Windsor's throat and nothing will stop them. Pupatello told a Windsor TV station Thursday that this issue will be decided on the basis of "the science" and that the city is wasting its time collecting postcards supporting GreenLink. I guess that means the close to 10,000 area residents who've mailed in those cards should have no say in these matters.

  •  "We are at 11th hour and we need people to say our community likes GreenLink and will not settle for anything less," said Coun. Caroline Postma.

  •  [Star Editorial] The community hasn't been presented with any compelling evidence that GreenLink isn't feasible, or a good investment.

    As the mayor said: "What others must accept is that this new border crossing isn't just a cost. It is a strategic investment. A strategic investment in helping our environment. A strategic investment in connecting and protecting our communities. A strategic investment in improving our quality of life.

    "We can't, and we shouldn't pinch pennies when it comes to these kinds of projects that are integral to our residents, to our city, and to our future. We shouldn't focus on the cost today, but on the purpose tomorrow. This investment will transform our city, and transform our region."

    In other communities, the mayor pointed out that senior governments understand that infrastructure investments pay off. The Greater Toronto Area will benefit from a $17.5-billion plan for infrastructure and transportation. Railway links will be renewed from downtown Toronto to Peterborough.

    So why is this community any less worthy of a similar well- thought-out investment? An investment that will have far greater impact on the economic well-being of Canada.

    But what seems obvious is that without the help of cabinet ministers Dwight Duncan and Sandra Pupatello and MPP Bruce Crozier, this community's interests will not be put first.

    "Sandra, Bruce, Dwight -- help us out," said Francis. "We have seen what you can deliver for your city and region. Now that the decision regarding one of the most important projects in our region's history is upon us, together we can redefine the future face of our city, and our region. We ask you to come to the table. To work with us. "

    In fact, the mayor said he was "pleading" with the MPPs to get involved. But really, it is their political responsibility and moral obligation to finally put this community first when it comes to the border file.

  •  "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the city and improve quality of life for residents," he said.

    "For too long we have (carried) the consequences of having international traffic go through our city. What we are saying is, you are building a highway and it's in our backyards and we've got some children out there.

    "Do not build a 1950s-style highway, no other city has to deal with what we do..."

    "We will not go away," he said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this city. It's time for Windsor to stand up.

  •  On Wednesday, Mayor Eddie Francis welcomed the medical society's intervention, even though it came on the eve of the release of the DRIC report.

    "It's never too late for the right decision to be made," Francis said. "DRIC is a study -- that's all it is. Depending on what they release, it will have to be submitted to the decision-makers, so I welcome the doctors' position."

    As the caregivers of our community, he said, "doctors are the people who treat the consequences of pollution -- asthma, cardiovascular disease, and having their voice is a very important voice."

    Glanz, a cardiologist, said this region not only has high rates of respiratory illnesses but is a "hot spot" for cardiovascular disease.

    The doctors' public statement is a reminder to the province as well as DRIC officials that their priority should be the health and quality of life of Windsor-area residents, Francis said.

    "Health and quality of life should be the overriding issue," he said.

    "And that's why my blood boils every single time they say this is the most expensive road that we're building in Ontario. My blood boils because they fail to recognize the quality of life should be issue No. 1, that you have an opportunity here to improve the lives of individuals, to improve the environment."

  •  DRIC's $1.8B border link includes 2 km of tunnels; Binational team to unveil plan today

    Francis said Wednesday he has been shut out from learning any details about today's announcement.

    "I hope tomorrow isn't going to be a day where the city was sold out," the mayor said.

    "We don't know anything, but you assume (that) if it was good ... we would know something. I can only conclude it's not good. If it was, they would be working with us."

  •  Francis described DRIC's presentation Thursday as a public relations campaign.

    "What council has expressed is they clearly are pissed," Francis said. "It's not GreenLink and council wants to explore all their options -- legal, technical, community -- all of that."

  •  A lot of councillors feel passionate about the issue. They feel betrayed," said Mayor Eddie Francis on Friday. "A lot of them believe in a better solution and all are looking at ways how to achieve that."

  •  DRIC's health report says residents are already suffering from higher rates of health problems because of bad air quality. The parkway project would do little to change that.

    "The conclusion they come to is Windsor is already suffering from heart, cancer, respiratory and other medical conditions associated with pollution and the parkway in their opinion is somewhat similar to doing nothing," Francis said.

  •  "This is a long process and there are a number of steps available to us," Francis said. "The step we are involved in now is make a compelling case under the (EA) process for more changes."

    Council will not rest until it sees more tunnelling in residential areas, he said.

  •  "We're here today to arm you with as much information as possible," Francis told a meeting of about 300 residents Saturday at St. Clair College.

    "Go fight for your neighbourhoods and residences.... We've had 17,000 signed cards in support, more than 3,000 people at public meetings and DRIC says we don't reflect what the community believes. At those meetings next week it's imperative you tell them how you feel."

    The mayor said the DRIC proponents always insist that their plan, consisting of partial tunnelling or bridging along the length of the open route, would have minimal impact on the quality of the Windsor air.

    But Francis said that position is misleading.

    "They say it will make no difference to the airshed, no discernible difference beyond 100 metres, no change in the quality of the Windsor airshed," the mayor said, referring to the DRIC illustration showing the white cloud blotting out neighbourhoods.

    "When you go to those meetings next week, ask them instead what will be the difference in air quality in my backyard."

  •  Mayor Eddie Francis will bring forward several of the city's hired experts to explain to city council today concerns over information contained in a human health risk assessment report released by a government study team.

    The Detroit River International Crossing study team released the data a couple of weeks ago as part of its final environmental assessment documents required to build a border feeder highway in the Huron Church Road-Talbot Road corridor’’.

    "The reason we are bringing them in is so the public is as informed as we are," Francis said.

    "The data is so alarming from the health report that we want the public to understand and (the experts) will walk everybody through it.

    "It's a decision we will live with for several decades. It's imperative to understand the impacts of their proposal."

    Findings in DRIC's health report say residents are already suffering from higher rates of health problems because of bad air quality and pollutants from diesel trucks that will remain essentially the same whether DRIC builds its new parkway or not.

    The city's GreenLink border plan calls for 3.8 kilometres of tunnelling in the corridor -- twice as much as planned under DRIC's parkway proposal.

    The mayor believes the road project must improve the quality of life in nearby neighbourhoods, not simply maintain the status quo. He said more tunnels can minimize the future pollution impact and better shield residents in subdivisions.

  •  "For all residents sick of our air quality, the choice is clear," said Mayor Eddie Francis. "Accept the status quo or try to stand up and get (the provincial government) to make changes that are required to improve quality of life for this region."

    Those changes include more adoption of the city's Greenlink border plan, which offers twice as much tunnelling as DRIC'S $1.6- billion parkway proposal -- a six-lane below-grade highway in the Huron Church-Talbot Road corridor.

  •  Council's position remains that the DRIC parkway plan is "bad for health and puts people at risk," Francis said.

    In a city with above average rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer and asthma, Francis wants a solution that takes that into consideration.

    "We know it's possible," he said. "But what DRIC is proposing is a 1950s-style (road) solution."