For many of us, this is a joyous day: The Day The Molinaros Walked Away from the Bay Beach Project.
Although many of us are pleased, we are also aware of the tremendous price we paid to save our beachfront property from a high rise development.
And we also realize it is not over and we will be blamed for every failure and business loss in Fort Erie going forward.
All because we worked to save a waterfront park area for the people. Since the property was bought by the town in 2001, community groups have worked to improve the land. But it seemed that some at town hall had other things in mind for the Bay Beach Properties, especially the carpetbagging town planner, Rino Mostacci. His grand vision included high rises all along the shore of Bay Beach, starting with the giveaway of public land to the Molinaros in exchange for an ever-decreasing list of amenities. He has since left to take his costly dreams elsewhere, but he left behind a deal that was flawed from the get-go and one that was objected to by the very people who live in or visit Crystal Beach.
The people fought back through legal channels, proving only that the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ontario Municipal Board way too often rule in favour of developers; they do little to protect regular citizens and endangered species from wanton development. It took a continued and unrelenting effort on the part of the so-call NIMBYs to finally convince the Molinaros that it is not in their best interest to continue their plans. It took a plan and people with the guts to keep at it to save our beachfront. Those who worked to keep the property in public hands were subjected to all sorts of abuse and harassment. It cost many a lot of money to be part of lawsuits and legal challenges.
It was definitely a case of David vs. Goliath. David seems to have won.
This is not over by a long shot. We must come together as a community to work out a plan to fix up the Bay Beach Properties. Grants need to be applied for (as none were under during Mostacci's reign.) Fundraising and the demolition of the old snack bar must be done as soon as possible. We need only look to other communities like Grand Bend to see what can be achieved.
We know it can be done.
We've been waiting years for the chance.
PS. In other news, the Canadian Motor Speedway has enlisted the help of a psychic for its public relations team. The psychic predicts that the CMS will be a great economic benefit to the area. Can we bet on that?
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